The colors of Rajasthan pop-out in sharp contrast to the dry and dusty hills that roll through the state. Electric hues are cheerful ornaments on a landscape that’s not always easy to look at: Blue walls paint dilapidated villages with cheer; Pink saris wrap poor women in the regal; Red turbans turn sheep herders into modern Indian cowboys.
This is why I keep going back. It’s an easy sell with the kids, too. And it’s relatively manageable – a consideration that prefaces travel plans in India when you have children.
We spent three days in Rajasthan this week at an old feudal property three to four hours from Delhi. It’s only 170 kilometers away, or 106 miles – but travel here takes time.
And patience. (The vehicular, human, and animal traffic.)
And a steel will. (The trucks. The potholes.)
The effort to get to a destination makes the arrival especially satisfying.
After our bumpy passage to Patan Mahal, the kids escaped from the car to explore the nooks and passages of the old estate. You can usually count on ramps for horses or elephants, lots of hidden stairwells, layers of balconies, and breezy verandas. If the kids are old enough to run around without getting into too much trouble… well then, visiting property like this one is close to paradise for a family.
There are a number of palaces in India that are owned by the descendants of ancient royalty. We stayed in a relatively new property, dating back to the 18th century:
Its middle-ages predecessor (now abandoned) sat further up the hill (first photo), and on top of the mountain, the medieval fort and oldest ruin of the local royal seat (bottom). We dragged 10 kids to both sites:
Climbing this shale with my throbbing, post-race knee wasn’t easy – but as someone reminded me, there’s plenty of time to lie around when life is over.
Here’s our victory rest in a sliver of shade at the top of the hike:
And our victory swim at the bottom:
Poor Eddie braved the burrs. Anyone wearing nylon or cotton was victim:
Foreigners are still a rare sight in small villages like this one. Children greeted us with handshakes and smiles and offerings of a few English words. The camera is a good ambassador and everyone loved seeing themselves on the LCD screen:
This lady covered her face when I pointed the camera, so I zoomed to her feet. The bangles look natural on her:
And gaudy on me:
Back at the ranch, dinners were chatty and cheerful:
I survived the run. It was a hot day and my slowest race (1:57) – but I felt strong and that made all the difference on my knee. I received sweet notes and support from many of you – Thank You! Mumbai next….