Rajasthan needs no introduction.
Colors flood my senses from the moment I drive into the city of Udaipur from the airport late in the evening.
After stopping to pick up the best Dal Baati in town from Santosh Snacks -a small eatery frequented by locals, we drive past the new areas of the city until we reach the old haveli area – the area near the Pichola lake.
This is where the festivities of the Gangaur festival will be held in its full splendour over the next few days.
I have come to experience this folk festival – its people, its costumes, its sounds, its sentiments, its traditions and its colors.
But before we get to the colors, an ironical glimpse of the dry and harsh terrain of Rajasthan – a terrain that hosts the most beautiful colors and cultures of India!
Rajasthan is the most visited tourist spot in India after the Taj Mahal in Agra. And so, it caters to a wide spectrum of tourists> There are 7 star comforts in hotels, food and in transport modes.
And as usual I try to spend my time living at the level of the locals in order to extract the most from my trip.
I have not come to see buildings and landscapes – although those are interesting too. I have come to experience the lives of the people. And for that it is necessary to mingle with the people – not other travellers like myself – but with the local people – the Rajputs, the Marwaris and the tribals.
And so in the city I dissolve within the urban festival crowds. I travel by local state buses used by tribals and stand shoulder to shoulder with the rural visitors of an annual village fair.
In all of these places I have a great time. Because I am surrounded by warm smiling people who are inclusive and welcome me into their lives.
A few articles that chronicle my experience in Mewar, Rajasthan :
Folk Art – wall paintings
These articles will be published over the course of 2012 .