There are two ways to approach a country as great as India: one with eyes and another with the heart. And each shows you a different country, with nuances that reveal fabulous diversity of its cities, its inhabitants and even culture. Because you will find people that while crossing the street are separated by features and stories sometimes insurmountable. I recommend using all the senses at the first time you travel there, because every moment will be very special. This is India, a place that you can love for a day or miss a lifetime.
When you travel with eyes discover full of sensuality and color, shops full of silks or handicrafts, and cities where you can still imposing forts and palaces to those who sometimes get across neighborhoods with millions of people crammed next to the modern city and its amenities.
When you travel with your heart, you are of those looking for something without knowing why, which are attracted by the land of Hinduism and meditation, walking alongside the Jainists, Brahmans, Sikhs and other castes and religions that define way of life and the future of more than 1,000 million people.
So is India: the world of landscapes without times, the sunsets in the desert of Jaisalmer, sunrise on Lake Udaipur, the absorption in the temples of Ranakpur, and the Secret of Wind Palace in Jaipur. Are crowded trains of people, odors, heat, disorientation, but also is a path where everything is lived to the surface. And to experience that feeling nothing is better to embark on a journey through Rajasthan, northwest state that retains the memories a period full of Maharajas, dunes, power struggles and cultural wealth, and scenery that no traveler should miss in their life.
The starting point, once we have left behind the crowd from New Delhi, is Jaipur, the Pink City example of the waste of the past, and whose color is due to the eccentricity of its rulers just a century ago. But its history is older, with three points should not miss. The first is the Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal), where their lattices, hallways and rooms marked the boundary between women wrapped in colorful saris that formed the harem of the Rajahs and the crowded street from wandering merchants. Today is a place from which to observe with contrasts relaxation, peering through a peephole to the outside to imagine the stories of their strollers, and to hear the sound of the wind from the East. Then it’s time to go to the Astronomical Observatory (Jantar Mantar), a sort of giant mills that make you feel so small as one of the stars who were dedicated to investigate 300 years ago. The third point is not exactly in the city, but in the nearby Amber, where a colossal palace marks the beginning of a huge wall surrounding the nearby hills.
We left the capital of the Rajasthan head to Puskhar, after passing through the city of Ajmer, from which it is easier to take a local bus to travel the 11 kilometers that separates them. A bus where between boxes, animals and you feel fat observed but also embraced by people you find it strange that you share this type of transport when buses air-conditioned we anticipate steadily full of foreigners. It is also the place where they were scattered some of the ashes from Gandhi, on the streets filled of small local with boiling oil for making cakes and sandwiches, Restaurant with beer smuggling or hotels with charm and red, purple and blue. Each one lives in their own way, but to enjoy the city’s to get away, up to the temple from Savitri in a rise of more than an hour and enjoy the views from there the sacred lake and the blue and white of the buildings reflected in the water. A complete turn around the lake makes you think about the value of time, the silence and stillness that gives you dozens of buildings across today in a nostalgic decadence but with a richness that talk about the end of the day watching the sunset. And best of new: the warmth of a young Sikh who lets you call for just a few cents to your family and gives you a bottle of water at local price. Respect and the conviction that if we can look at ourselves and share much more than we think.
And it touches back away, this time heading to Udaipur, the city of lakes, where the contrasts will make the trip. Contrast between the life of more than half a million people who live there and tourists who come to sleep in the luxury hotel located in the center of Lake Pichola, famous as the scene of one of the 007 films. In Udaipur walk along streets crowded with small temples dedicated to each of the Hindu deities, with kitch decor, overloaded, but with the charm from candles, sculptures closest incense and to child at art. The center of this chaos is the Royal Palace, with a visit highly recommended over centuries in history of their governors, many of them closer to god than ordinary people. Nearby is the Jagdish Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, and surprised by the detail of the sculptures that rise along the walls. And do not miss Jagmandir Island, from which you have stunning views from the city and the nearby Lake Palace Hotel, on the island of Jagniwas, where you can have a coffee even if you’re not staying.
At 90 kilometers from the city from Jodhpur road, are the temples of Ranakpur, one of the wonders from Jain architecture, built entirely of white marble and where more than 1,400 sculptors competed to create the most beautiful pillar for enjoyment of visitors . The principal is the temple of Adinath but must wander around to get into other less popular with equal wealth. Capturing the nuances take years, perhaps a lifetime, but we expect the Blue City, Jodhpur, and we complete the stage reaching Meherengarth strong.
This city takes us back to one of the signs of identity of India: the wars. The fort itself is majestic, very well preserved, made of sandstone, which gives a lovely ocher evening, and with five centuries lattices hanging over your head. This is the magic from this country, show the harshness and beauty in the same face. And we come to the last stop of the visit to Rajasthan, although there are still hundreds from outside corners for visiting. The brooch puts a new city fortress of Jaisalmer. Being one of the most away from New Delhi, almost on the border with Pakistan and in the desert of Thar sometimes not included in travel plans but once there you know you should not miss it. Besides the fort, within the walled compound awaits a city full of houses, narrow streets, palaces and the eternal sacred cows stand out at ease. A must-see is the houses of the merchants or havelis, carefully prepared both on the outside and inside, with thousands from sculpted figures and courtyards wrapped in lights and shadows throwing any photographer to hunting best shot. This same feeling you have in the royal cenotaphs from Bada Bagh, maintained through a restoration process that is still. Leaving the city there is nothing better than a camel ride through the dunes, just at dusk, to thereby close a new day in a country where you do not know what to expect the next day. So I advise you discharge complete guide to Rajasthan on the web or download the travel application on your mobile, who knows, if inspiration for your next destination.