6. August 2016 – 12:50
In two weeks through the Indian desert state with palaces, camel, yoga and interesting encounters
Rajasthan is the main destination, along with Agra and Delhi, for many Western travellers. In fact, the great desert state, with its impressive stories of Maharajas and Mughal kings, can be traced back while visiting the mighty forts and magnificent palaces throughout the state! In addition, you can have a deep insight into lived religions of the people, if you visit the ancient Jain temple in Jaisalmer, participate in Hindu rituals in Pushkar or visit the largest mosque in India in Delhi.
But the most formative and touching moments, you experience while interacting with the Indian population: when you attend a school class in a small village, when you are invited to tea in the home of an Indian multi generation family, when you are introduced by an old woman into the arts of hand washing in a stream, milk cows and goats, dance in the monsoon rain, drink mango lassi, eat with hands, travels in a sleeper train, negotiate with the sellers and, and, and…
If you then take some nice yoga classes and enjoy the culinary delights of Indian cuisine, the Rajasthan trip is perfect!
Here is a short tour report of our last Rajasthan tour:
We conducted our Rajasthan trip in August. On the one hand, this has the advantage of travelling in the low season, which is much more relaxed, on the other hand you also get the monsoon rain in all its glory! But fortunately it doesn’t rain very often in Rajasthan even during the monsoon season and every now and then the rain feels really nice and is even part of the experience of India!
Start in Delhi
We started our private journey with a driver and car in Delhi and immediately after arrival we swung ourselves on the bikes to explore the small streets and monuments of Old Delhi by bike in the early hours of the morning!
On the same day we went further to Agra, 4 hours away by car. On the way we had some heavy monsoon rains, but in the car we stayed dry and also the visit from the opposite viewpointof the Taj Mahal was relatively dry.
The Taj Mahal
In Agra we really only made a short stopover only to see the Taj Mahal.
So the next morning the Taj Mahal was visited and it’s overwhelming again and again!
Then we continued with the car and our excellent driver Kundan to Jaipur. Kundan himself lives in Jaipur and had to tell us a lot about his adopted home! He knows his way around, recommends good restaurants and takes us safely from one place to another. We take a look at the Amber Fort and then reach our small hotel in a quiet location in the evening, which is nevertheless located in the middle of the city center to reach the main sights on foot.
In the small Haveli, which is still inhabited by a large Indian family and also has countless individually furnished rooms and roof terraces with magnificent views, we are greeted with rose petals and a flower garland and an orange dot- called Tikka- on the forehead! We feel like we’re in the Best Exotic Marygold Hotel and explore the winding building.
Bicycle tour through Jaipur
Early in the next morning we went on another guided bike tour. This time, the focus is not so much on Jaipur’s sights, but more on the lives of the people of Jaipur!
Of course, we also pass the main sights, such as the Palace of the Winds and the City Palace. In addition, however, we experience the everyday life in Jaipur: we visit the busy vegetable market, drink chai (Indian milk tea), stroll through a park where the Jaipuris do their morning sports, visit a family that actually lives in the house with all their cows, taste Jaipur’s most popular dessert in a candy shop and watch the marble artists at work! Between the stops we cycle through the narrow streets of Jaipur and are part of the traffic – very exciting!
So many impressions!!! Afterwards we visited the Jantar Mantar- a “walkable observatory from the 18th century.
After a “hand reading” and a visit of the Govind ji templewe continued the trip to Pushkar.
The holy city of Pushkar
We reached Pushkar just before sunset and spend the evening on a nice rooftop restaurant.
The next day started with yoga and a rich breakfast. Then we explored Pushkar on foot, walked through the alleys for some shopping, participated in a small puja (holy ceremony) at the bathing ghats of the lake and visit the famous Brahma Temple – one of the few in the world!
Another intense day and on to the three-hour drive to the Yoga Ashram. We looked forward to a quiet day to process all the impressions (and also to wash our laundry).
Rest in Yoga Ashram
We are traditionally greeted with a small ceremony, and after having a delicious and healthy meal, we take part in the evening fire ceremony in the temple complex and greet the guru of the ashram.
The next day was spent by exploring the ashram, doing yoga in the morning and evening and of course washing laundry.
We also visited the surrounding families, cooked together with the ashram inhabitants and dined with Guru ji in the garden.
The desert city of Jaisalmer
Deeper and deeper we drove into the desert and it not only got barren, but also really warm! This time we resided in the middle of the fort in a small castle hotel with a beautiful roof terrace.
The afternoon was free to explore the Golden City and we got surprised by a heavy monsoon rain. Children danced in the rain, women washed their clothes and the men used the heavy shower for an extensive bath!
On the camel
In the morning we started again with yoga. Then we strolled through Jaisalmer, visiting the Jain temples and old Havelis before we went further into the desert.
Here our camels were already waiting for us, on which we rode to the sand dunes. A sunset, a simple dish, prepared on an open fire and the night under the open starry sky with countless shooting stars and some local folk music, made the evening perfect!
Yoga in the desert, a small breakfast and then back to Jaisalmer and on to Osian. Here we stayed at a homestay with an Indian family and the next day took part in a small jeep tour to visit the Bishnoi tribes, who live according to 29 rules and are strongly committed to nature and animal welfare.
Jodhpur- The Blue City
In Jodhpur – just an hour’s drive from Osian – the monsoon rains really surprised us! And not only us, but also the locals, who sais that there had not been such a rain here for 20 years! We spent the afternoon comfortably in the hotel and watched the heavy rains from a safe distance over a cup of tea!
Luckily, the next day was drier, so we could explore the mighty Fort and Jodhpur. The ride with the Zippline was fun and the evening cooking class with Rekha and Rishi was definitely a highlight! We learned how to prepare the most delicious recipes and felt less like customers, but more like friends.
Udaipur – the most romantic city in India
A long drive to Udaipur- the main roads were still partially flooded by the heavy rain, so we took a small detour, but still reached Udaipur safely.
Here we enjoyed the slightly greener surroundings of the Aravalli mountains and the view of the lakes with their palaces, which seemed to float in the lakes.
Just outside of Udaipur, we took a small hike through villages and over small hills to a Shiva temple. In the villages we were warmly welcomed by the people, led to their little houses and brought to school. Here the little students presented their rehearsed program for the coming Independence Day to us.
Also the next day with a yoga class, a walk through the Spice Market and Sarjjan Ghar Park and a subsequent miniature painting course was very relaxing.
On the same day we took the night train to Delhi. Travelling by train through India at least once, is a must! And with the arrival the next day in Delhi, our Rajasthan tour was complete!