Deserts have never been so interesting.
Rajasthan, the name encapsulates all that is enigmatic, earthy and elegant. Literally meaning the ‘Land of the Kings’, it is the largest state in India. It is ironical, bordering on the absurd, to note that almost 85% of the inhospitable Thar Desert lies within this extremely hospitable and tourist friendly state.
As one steps onto Jaipur, an overwhelming sense of awe grips you. The entire city is pink! It is said that the then Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Raja Ram Singh II, ordered the entire city to be painted pink, the colour of hospitality, in honour of the Prince of Wales Albert’s visit in 1876. Afterwards, the Maharaja’s wife liked it so much that a law was passed making it compulsory for every structure in Jaipur to be ‘pinked’!
The people of Rajasthan, specifically in the interiors, suffer great hardships in their daily grind. The immense warmth in their hospitality in spite of the harsh conditions is testament to the big heart of the Rajasthanis. A Rajasthani folk song, ‘kesariya balam padharo mhare des (saffron hued friend, welcome to this land of mine) has become synonymous with Indian hospitality and tourism.
Rajasthan is home to the brave, angry, gritty, luxury-loving Rajput families. As a result, the entire state is strewn with palaces, forts, minarets, gardens and other architectural wonders! Added to that is the earthy, full tunes on local string instruments such as Ravanhathha or Khamaicha, the colourful clothes and turbans of the men and women along with spicy tangy food, and Voila! We have a heady concoction of sights, sounds and gastronomic pleasures!