Like every other blog about Rajasthan, India, I could tell you how beautiful the cities are, how full of life and colour they are. I could tell you how the people are some of the most interesting I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know, how they are some of the poorest and yet most generous, how drivers happily navigate their way around herds of goats and roaming cows that stroll down the middle of the country’s highways. But instead I’ll share with you a few stories of my own, rather unique, experiences in Rajasthan…
Once upon a time in Rajasthan I hijacked a rickshaw
You may have already read my previous blog about being hunted through Delhi (if not, go for it here), but the madness didn’t stop here. Once upon a time in Rajasthan, I hijacked a motor Rickshaw. As most of my stories go, in hindsight this probably was not one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was after a brilliant evening spent dancing with a group of locals in a bar in Jaipur, the party (who had just come from a wedding, dressed in all their traditional attire and looked absolutely fabulous) were so happy to have a group of Westerners to entertain, they showed us an amazing time.
It was on the way back to our hotel that we flagged down a motor rickshaw and (how I did this I do not know) I managed to convince the driver to let me have a go at driving, which miraculously he agreed to. He did not however, agree to me taking his rickshaw for a spin on my own, down the wrong side of the road in the busy city of Jaipur. As all my stories go (so far so good), all ended well and I now have ‘Rickshaw driver’ to add to my list of achievements!
Once upon a time in Rajasthan I witnessed a street brawl
This beautiful city of Jaisalmer was our first stop from Delhi. Known as the ‘Golden City’ because of its yellow sandstone architecture. This grand fort (now a world heritage site) is absolutely stunning both to walk through and to view from the other side of the city as seen in these photos. Walking through the town, we were able to spot dogs, cows, pigs and even camels roaming the streets. And here we found a handicraft house selling all sorts of shawls, wall hangings and covers, each embroidered by locals and all magnificent, I couldn’t leave without buying a shawl for myself!
One evening, my sister Gabby, some friends and I were all enjoying a delicious meal (I believe I had gone for a ‘Saag Paneer’ – a spinach and cheese dish – one of my favourites!) up on a roof top restaurant. Half way through the meal we heard shouting from below, and Gabby jumped up to lean over the edge to view the street below.
What came to unfold was a street brawl, that started off with a few locals and ended with about twenty to thirty men yelling and fighting. Families living in the street had opened their windows and were shouting down at the chaos. Pretty soon what seemed like the whole town was involved! We watched the whole thing unravel from the safety of our rooftop. Our waitresses and bar tenders stopped their service and joined us leaning over the edge. Fortunately no serious injuries were endured before the police finally turned up and shut the whole thing down. Our dinner was cold by the time we returned to our seats but it was worth it for the entertainment!
Once upon a time in Rajasthan my camel passed out in the Thar Desert
I would highly recommend a trip to Pushkar. A beautiful town home to Pushkar lake, on the verge of the Thar Desert and a very sacred sight for Hindus who come to visit from all over India to pray at said lake and the picturesque temples which can be found all through the town. It was here that we organised a camel trek into the desert, upon which (about three hours into the trip) we stumbled on three holy men standing in the middle of the desert playing their Sitars. How amazing does that sound?! It seemed perfect. But I mustn’t lie, they were all really terrible at playing the Sitar, and as I disembarked my camel (who I’d decided to name ‘Jimmy’), to watch the men tragically perform, Jimmy-the-camel promptly collapsed on the ground and passed out. I didn’t realize I was so heavy!
These three men let us play their Sitars, and to their credit its much harder than it looks!
Let me know your thoughts below! And read more about my India adventures here.