Monday, April 02, 2007

Rajasthan on my mind



Don't know if it was the last post I did (on the movie Dor), the amazing dance troupe of Gulabi Sapera (aka the Gypsy Queen of Rajasthan) that we saw live in New York over the weekend or the New York Times travel article that offered guidance on how to see India in under two weeks with the advice to 'skip Rajasthan'. Or maybe it was a combination of all of these things and I just needed an excuse to share some great music that found it's way to me...

Yes, Rajasthan is one of India's most popular tourist destinations (for Indians & non-Indians alike) but suggesting one should skip it because it has become too touristy is just plain silly. It reminded me of when U2's 'Joshua Tree' came out and propelled them to the legendary status that they enjoy now. A friend of mine told me that he was no longer a U2 fan because they had sold out and were now popular. Pardon? Things become popular with people because they are good and are worth visiting (or listening to, etc.) and shouldn't be shunned just because you are now not the only one to appreciate them.



The pictures you see are from our visit to the city of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. This city is literally in the middle of nowhere and takes eight hours via train to reach from the closest rail link - air travel is not an option due to security concerns over it's proximity with the Pakistan border. But if you go there you will be amply rewarded as it is akin to stepping back in time, 'Lord of the Rings' style. One quarter of the population lives in a 13th century fort (the city's centerpiece) that is now home to several inns as well which fill up rather quickly I might add. The picture below is the view from our room in the fort itself. If you do go to India take the time to visit this city, it is something you will not soon forget.



The two songs from today are inspired by Rajasthan - one is from a Bollywood movie (Bhawander) and one is a classical piece. Abto Jagna and Rajasthani Instrumental are both rich in their melodies and make me miss the mythical 'Land of the Kings' that much more.

8 comments:

trupti said...

Those pictures are beautiful...I remember visiting Rajasthan twice, one of the best family vacation I ever had....thanks for the tracks! I'm sending you a santoor track in the mail "Jaisalmer"..hear that one for sure.

trupti

carla said...

Lovely pictures, Sanket. I am someone who only knows India well from the movies, and as a movie-lover, I am enchanted by the color and beauty of movie-Rajasthan. I am eager to compare that to the real thing. When I finally do travel to India (later this year? who knows?) I don't plan to skip Rajasthan, whatever the Times may recommend.

Daddy's Girl said...

Beautiful, beautiful pictures... I love the ones on Nilong's Tabblo as well. I plan to visit India later this year, but because it's going to be a very short trip (we can't get much time off work), my friend and I are thinking of limiting our visit to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Agra (a package deal for the touristy 'Golden Triangle', plus Mumbai). So our taste of Rajasthan will be limited to Jaipur. Sigh... I might have to wait for the next trip to see Jaisalmer...

Sanket Vyas said...

Trupti - the song was beautiful, I much prefer the santoor over any other Indian instrument as it is so calming and sweet to hear.

Carla - The 'real' India will enchant you just as much (if not more) than Bollywood. The guy who penned the article obviously knew his stuff but it still boggles my mind that he wrote what he did. But to each his own - I returned the 'Rough Guide to India' because it didn't have a chapter on my home state of Gujarat!

DG - Thanks for the kind words on the pics, Nilong certainly has a great eye but even she admits that it's hard to take a bad picture in India ;) Your itinerary is a sound one and a great introduction to India. I have been back 6 times and this marked the first time to Jaisalmer for me. However if there is any way to visit it instead of Jaipur, try. Jaipur is wonderful but you will get all that it offers and more (the fort, camel rides in the desert, little crowds) in magical Jaisalmer.

Daddy's said...

Thanks Sanket!

trupti said...

hi Sanket,

The song "Ab to Jagna hai" is from the movie "Bawandar"- Sandstorm, featuring Nandita Das in the lead..it's a true story and is very gripping. Watch it if you get a chance.

Cheers,
Trupti

Theresi said...

Hello Sanket bhai, just wanted to comment on the photo of the staircase. It is actually from Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. I have photographed that exact staircase as well. Rajasthan is an amazing place and my heart truly belongs to it. I am working right now and am not supposed to be surfing, but I am def. bookmarking this site and coming back later to read everything. Thanks for sharing!! Cheers!
~Theresi

Sanket Vyas said...

Trupti - I did end up seeing Bawandar and loved it.

Theresi - Yes it is and thanks so much for coming by to visit. We recently saw an amazing documentary on India and they also had the SAME staircase in it. If you ever go - do not hesitate to go the extra mile (or 2;) to Jaisalmer...