The Real Rajisthan

The Pink City, Jaipur

I soon learned why  it takes 30 mins  to travel 5km  anywhere in India.  Mustapha, the driver of our private coach for the week, drove patiently towards the swarming traffic on the roads leading to  The Pink City. It was a few days before the Holi celebrations and everyone seemed to be on the point of collision.

No guide books can prepare you for the chaos of  3 wheeled tuk-tuks, bicycle rickshaws, creaky swaying old buses, vintage cars, 4 wheel drive vehicles, cyclists and motorbikes laden with enormous loads. We saw camels and bullock pulled carts, scooters with a driver and up to 4 passengers, wandering dogs, holy cows, and beggars. It is not unusual for traders selling all manner of produce, to stop traffic to sell them something. Women and men are wandering around carrying enormous packages on their heads, they are deftly weaving in and out.

 

tuk tuks

 

snake charm

There inside the entrance was something I thought I would never see. A snake charmer really can get a snake to pop its head out of the basket!  Hawkers were doing a brisk trade selling packages of brightly coloured powder. Inside the Pink City I can hear drums and wander to where people are jiggling their hips. I  cant help but join in the spontaneous outbursts of dancing.  The Holi celebrations have begun.

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Bagru village is  off the tourist trail, it is a place of textile printmaking, dyeing and block making. Shy women spy on us from doorways, and gregarious children and pigs dyed blue,  follow our 23 strong group around the village.  Indigo Blue paint snakes through open drains everywhere.

Hand Block Printing Bagru village

Resist stamping before dyeing

 

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Jaipur Elephant Festival, India

The choice was, we could spend our savings on a second honeymoom or pay off the car loan. That is why we are  joining Colouricious on a Textile Trip to India.

The  Jaipur Elephant Festival and a Holy week party will be the highlights .  Elephants dressed in gorgeous jhools (saddle cloths) and elaborate  jewellery, tinkling anklets and bright make up, people  sprinkling ‘gulaal’ (colored powder) on the crowds from their  perch on top of the elephant… my camera will be permanently switched on.

Jaipur in  Rajasthan,  sings with buildings of antiquity, tradition and colour, I cant wait to sit in the Palace of the Winds and sleep in a  hotel called the The Home of the Clouds. It may be 259 Kms from Delhi airport and I’ve no idea how long we will have to travel from our  home in Spain to Heathrow, to Delhi and by coach to  our destination, but I am sure I will be going straight to sleep when I get there.

I will enjoy throwing colored powder paints at everyone at The Holi, “Festival of colours”, with  its loud parades, music, and dancing. The festivities mark the beginning of spring and the end of the winter with bonfires and theatrical treats. Nobody is exempt,  if we are on the street we expect to be daubed with paint.