Do you like stories? Do you have a mind that can imagine the past as it’s narrated to you? Can you see the kings and queens live in these beautiful palaces, a beautiful mahal being built for a princess so she feels like she is sleeping under the stars when all she wanted to do was sleep under a sky full of stars, can you feel her distress which probably is being sold to you as a father’s genuine love in the form of Sheesh Mahal? Can you search deep within yourself to define the beauty of Rani Padmini, to give a form to her face, the one who is the most beautiful, brave and witty? Can you hurt enough when you hear stories of woman choosing Johar (Community Suicide) over living without their husband who died in war, think of the ones who did not want to kill themselves but probably were forced to under societal pressure?
Rajasthan is a world full of deep stories – some that are narrated to you, some you can read into, some you imagine and some that can impact you to the extent of changing the way you think about certain things in life. The Rajasthan moment (shown in their tourism ads) will happen to each one of you and here’s an attempt to share my episodes of #VachanaSthan #JaaneKyaDikhJaaye 🙂
As we explored the Amer(Amber) Fort in Jaipur, we heard him play the Sarangi and sing Bollywood songs. On ask, he sang this beautiful Rajasthani folk song for me and I have been a fan of Rajasthani music ever since. He makes me want to go back to Rajasthan to have a conversation, to hear his story of what he sees while he sits there at Amer everyday!
Of all the stories that were told to us during the Sound and Light Show at Amer, my favourite is that of Chetak, the brave horse who in spite of being injured, galloped for 3 miles away from the war ground to save his master. Animals are always more lovable than humans 🙂
While walking through the Maharani Market, the process of block printing was explained to us. The purity of vegetable colours, amount of time taken to make it, the beautiful patterns on the wooden blocks, the skill required to merge two patterns and the process of bringing it all together to create a piece of authentic garment. Watching all this with thousands of birds chirping in this really high-pitched sound definitely makes for a unique experience.
As we took a boat to cross over Lake Pichola in Udaipur to lunch at Ambrai, we were told the story of how the lake came into existence. The fact that it is manmade and maintained, that the excesss water is directed towards Lake Fateh Sagar, that this water is purified every day to be consumed by people of Udaipur, that it houses some of India’s most luxurious hotels and yet the most beautiful structure is this unnamed, unclaimed, unused beauty. There is so much to Udaipur some good and some not so, the beautiful bagore ki haveli hosting the culture of the state, the little alleys that makes the exploration, exciting, the extravagant weddings and narcissist kings creating an unmissable contrast to the stories of sacrifice, the peaceful monsoon palace, the depressing biological park, the overrated 5 star hotels, the underrated haveli stays, memories of exquisite food that stay with you for days to come, but the cynosure remains Lake Pichola, surrounded by enough options to explore it the way you would like to!
Even Khilji waited for his aha moment as he camped outside the Chittorgarh Fort for 6 months waiting to get a glimpse of Rani Padmini. The complicated way in which he was allowed to see her reflection is definitely impressive but I am not sure if Rani Padmini was in agreement to the plan. I’m glad she got an opportunity to show to Khilji that she is beauty with brains as she successfully rescued her husband from the clutches of Khilji’s arrest.
As I climbed to reach the 9th floor of the Vijaysthambh, I could not help but notice the intricacies of the work in this monolithic pillar. The victory must have meant a lot to the kings of Chittorgarh as the efforts seem tremendous and the beauty, eternal.
Stumbling upon Hotel Tribute was icing on the cake. They called me hukum, made me sit under this gorgeous tree, overlooking the Rang Sagar Island which houses hundreds of migratory birds and served mouth-watering food. I definitely got my taste of royalty and I must admit, I liked it 🙂