We (John and our group) arrived India where people speaks 100 languages . Women in our group were welcomed with the typical red dot on our foreheads in hotel. We spend almos a week in this luxury hotel for about a week.There is lot more to see in Delhi (Now I feel). The main sites to watch in Delhi are the Gandhi’s Tomb and couple of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. No place in the world have such an ancient traditions blended with the modern city. Dogs, monkeys and children cross at their own risk.Childrens scream more than anyone else for the cricket matches. We used indian travel to book the hotels.
We had a great breakfast in the morning .We travelled from Delhi to Rjasthan in Bus. Bus services are available to reach Rajasthan from Delhi.In Rajasthan we were surprised by camels instead of cows in Delhi. Things became more colorful once we reach Rajasthan.One could see decorated camels,colurfully dressed women carrying water,and lot more.
Here is a microcosm of all that India is. Most of the people are with a humility if spirit and ready to welcome foreigners. We continually wave through our windows to those who stare with curiosity and seem to say, “why have you come here?” Rajasthan was in our dream list for almost 5 years.
We’ve come to attend the annual Camel Fair in Pushkar that has taken place for a thousand years. Pushkar is also famous for its annual fair (Pushkar Camel Fair) held in November. The natural environment of Pushkar and the sacred lake has become increasingly degraded in the last few decades. Tourist facilities and the deforestation have degraded the environment. Over 50,000 camels lined up for he event. We unpack at our camp called Exotic Adventures.
Our spartan tents did have ensuite toilets but toilet paper was at a premium. There was a 24 hour guard outside who stingily rationed our quota. In the desert, nights are frigid and afternoons sweltering. Set on miles of shifting sand dunes with festooned camels and a flood of pilgrims, the scene looks totally surreal.
Its like a State Fair on steroids. There is a flurry of horse, bullock and camel races, contests for milking, animal decorating, turban tying, tattooing as well as snake charmers, free carnival rides, mystics, astrologers and dazzling stalls of handicrafts at giveaway prices. The ground reverberates with activities. Thousands of Rajasthani woman have arrived dressed in their finest clothes in near neon colors. I watch trained monkeys, painted cows and cobra’s dance. No words can adequately describe how this helter skelter overwhelms my 5 senses.
Others can have Europe with its cathedrals and museums. For me, this exotic exposure and cultural immersion is the ultimate travel! Covered in dust, we return to camp. Each night there is entertainment under the stars with musicians, folk dancers, puppet show or fire eaters. No alcohol is allowed here and all meals are vegetarian buffets.
An Ayurveda Center offers us treatments to cleanse body toxins. We decline them: induced vomiting, enemas, nasal drainage and blood letting. Pilgrims come from afar to bathe in the ghats and worship round the clock. We learn about religions here: Zorastrism, Sihkism, the mystic Sufi’s, Jainists who won’t kill a mosquito, Hinduism that claims no absolute truth and the caste system. We tour temples at the lake; some are “blessed” by priests. Later, a highlight for me was a one hour Camel Cart Safari behind the scenes of the fair.
Children line our route shouting to us “hi, hello, one pen please!” We see a camel slaughtered and half naked people washing. Back inside the grounds, we visit an orphanage and scatter individually to get lost in the feverish revelry. We ride huge spitting camels that provide us a heightened perspective of it all. I purchase a dozen garnet necklaces and silver ankle bracelets. Teenage boys approach Terry to photograph him. He’s 6’5’’. The childer hear have n’t gone to schools but can speak english very well.
We arrive to the famed “Pink City” of Jaipur, now more deep maroon from pollution. In touring its palaces, fort and architectural marvels, we learn of the great Amber rulers and maharajahs of the Moghul empire. History comes alive and I find myself so interested in that which I never cared about. And here is a shopper’s paradise for silk sarees, gems, jewelry and marble crafts. I visited an animal sanctuary called “Help In Suffering.” The worst cases of various species are treated here by volunteer veterinarians. Forty five stray dogs are sterilized daily and I witness a surgery.