Jodhpur/Osian : from the blue city to the desert village

The high walls of the Meherangarh fort dominate the small streets, terraces and blue houses of Jodhpur. We are walking around in the tiny streets between the laughing kids, avoiding the cows and the donkeys on the way. Trying to reach the fort, we finish in dead end roads, discovering an amazing quiet life, far from the noisy touristic avenues. Once at the top, we can observe all the women hanging their laundry on the numerous terraces. At the same time, many craftsmen are sculpting, modeling or painting, in great noise reaching us up…

It is easy to be fascinated by the sumptuous castles and forts, built on top of cliffs. Ivory weight, ocre or pink, these vestiges from a fastuous past are bringing us many centuries back, when maharadjas use to fight riding elephants. We can imagine the great living conditions of the maharaja’s family, admiring the nicely sculptured patios, the countless number of rooms and show places, as well as the bath and sanitary system. Numerous “persienne” also remind us the “rana”, the maharaja’s women, sometime powerful, but often prisoners of the harem, decorated with “persienne”, so they can observe the outside world without been seen… The hands’ traces of the “satis”, on the exit walls, underline the sad destiny of these “rana” obliged to follow their husband in death, by being fired alive with their husband body.

We leave Jodhpur rapidly to spend a night in the Tarh desert. We spend 2 hours on camels, observing the rural houses, in earth and straw, so similar to the Chadian ones.  We see some millet fields and some vegetable garden, in the middle of the sandy roads. We are welcomed by a large family, where for generations are living together, from 10 months to 90 years old. All the life is organized around the central patio. The sister in law is cooking “chapatti” on the fire, whereas the brothers are milking the goats, and the grand-father is smoking outside the house. Kids are walking in the middle of the sandy dunes to reach school, while the numerous peacocks observe them. These disseminated villages, which seem to be less developed, have electricity and current water supply since two years…

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Udaïpur/Bikaner : from a lake view to the desert beauty

After more than 30 hours of bus, we finally arrive in one of the most beautiful city of Rajastan: Udaïpur. We found there a fairy tale room with a beautiful view on the lake and the city Palace. We spent hours admiring the sunset and the sun down from the terrace or from our beds in alcove. We could also see the women washing clothes in a festival of colors, and the men washing themselves without much « pudeur ». We randomly were there during a big Muslim day called the Maouloud. The city was then covered with colorful banderoles. All the men wore nice weight clothes, and the women wore beautiful saris. They walked the whole day in the street with joyful music and stopping regularly to eat and drink tea for free. The whole city was partying, even the rickshaws were covered with flowers. We joined the party by sharing teas and talks in the animated streets. I spent the last afternoon in Udaïpur biking around the lake and getting voluntary lost in small streets, far from the touristic agitation…
As soon as we arrived in Bikaner, we joined the Camel festival, at the doors of the desert. The camels, all beautiful decorated, were waiting in the middle of the sand dunes, under a heavy sun. Some even get fur cutted to make nice arabesques. The whole day was animated by various competitions from catch to camel races. Several students talked with us to improve their English, to take pictures and to know us better. Some women also tried to communicate with us, even if they didn’t speak English. Their saris were even more beautiful in the desert, with their long transparent veils, letting us see the belly button and numerous bracelets and jewelries. The next day, we followed the camel entrance in the city with decorated horses and young girls in colorful saris. We admire women and camel danses the whole afternoon.

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