I once read that travelling is an awakening of senses. An enlightened state as one might call it. While these words might have brought back the shudder that one might experience while crossing the ruins of Bhangarh, let’s not go over to sixth senses. For now, giving a treat to the five senses at Rajasthan is what this piece is aiming for (come back later for the sixth one).
While in Rajasthan, inhale more than you can.
With that line, I’m not hinting at smoking. I’m talking about the Spice Market of Udaipur and Jodhpur. Hail a tuk tuk, hop on, and wander through the overcrowded lanes of the spice market. While the spreads of red ‘hot’ chillies drying in the sun make for a perfect camera moment, there’s coriander, cinnamon, dried tea, cardamom, cloves, fennel, turmeric, asafoetida, fenugreek, coffee and more in the air. And yes, there’s the sweet, alluring aroma of gur (jaggery) too.
While in Rajasthan, take off your headphones.
Led Zepplin or whoever it is that rules your playlist, crossing over to the state of Rajasthan calls for taking those headphones off. From the epic ballads and panihari songs to notes that remind you of the once one state of Pakistan and India. And yes, you don’t need to go in search of it. While you will surely find two artists playing pungi or bin in the bylane of Amber Fort at Jaipur, locals also love to hit some glorious notes at Jodhpur. Setting the desert on fire in the night.
While in Rajasthan, do not stop eating.
I say that because you wouldn’t be able to. Even if you try. As for the food of Rajasthan, it comes in whiffs, riding the air. Before you set your eyes on it. The gooeist (couldn’t find a word apt than that) ghevar, masala gatta, mohan maas (meat cooked in milk), mava kachori, churma (crushed wheat mixed with jaggery and ghee), dal and, of course, baati. Rich in calories, the typical Rajasthani food is made to last for days, owing to the war like times of pre-Independence days.
While in Rajasthan, behold rather than just see.
I say ‘behold’ because that was perhaps what the Batman did when he scaled up the walls of the prison and saw Mehrangarh Fort. There’s so much to see at Rajasthan that you might, in all probability, pray for another pair of eyes at day end! Historic havelis, majestic forts, kings’ seats. It’s all there, apart from acres of sprawling desert sand that runs orange while the sun ducks down the sand dunes. Add to it, the luring, colourful attire of the folks here. I bet you wouldn’t haven’t seen such a riot of colours ever before.
While in Rajasthan, let your skin tingle.
By tingle, I mean much more than just the warmth and honest smile of the simple, charming folks of Rajasthan. I’m referring to the fact that this state boasts of indulgence inducing spas like the one at The Leela Palace, Udaipur. And while spas might be passe for you, the landscape here is a treat enough. Walk barefoot in the moonlight at Jaisalmer deserts, to feel the sand grains shift beneath your feet. You’ll love the moment all your life.
While I scour through the other parts of India, to get you more such ‘all senses pervading’ places, share your experiences of the Rajasthan odyssey with us. Happy travelling.
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