Its the season of festivities

 

It is that time of the year in India, north India atleast, when early mornings and late evenings should have had that little nip in the air which  signals that winters are just round the corner. But this year has been a little warm. It is late september and temperature is still in the high thirties, almost 40 degees celsius. The nights are ok but even autumn seem far away. But this year has been no different, I guess. Global warming or whatever you may call it is already here. We have seen so many changes in the weather in our life time. It does not rain as much, it does not rain when it should and it does not rain where it should. Imagine Barmer in the Thar desert got flooded two years ago! Don’t believe it? Well, heres a link to the story.

http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/node/38270

It is festival season also. Navratras, Id-ul-fitr, Dussehra, Diwali, Guru Parb, Id-ul-juha and Christmas will be celebrated in the next three months. It means it is time for feasting, after some serious fasting, for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians alike. It is the time for annual shopping and splurging also. Its the time for annual bonuses also , notwithstanding the recession. The government has also announced a bonanza for its officials who will be getting their bonuses and arears of pay revision. Naturally, the martkets are rejoicing. There are offers galore on automobiles, jewellery and cosumer durables. Gold has touched new highs and stock market is exuberant. Even real estate projects seem to be catching up. In our neighbourhood alone, some buildings are coming up very fast.

It is also the time when tourists start arriving in Jaipur. There are a lot of ‘heritage’ guest houses in our neighbourhood and we see that some foreigners have started arriving already. Have you ever noticed that they rarely travel with families? There are single travellers, couples and even groups . They are mostly young people in one’s or two’s and elderly people in groups but rarely any children. Indians tourists on the other hand are rarely seen without their children. Regarding the ‘heritage’ guest houses all of them are recent constructions pretending to be old a nd heritage structures. But they appear to be a hit with gullible tourists who book them over the internet without knowing whether the buildings are actually old . Of course, there are frescoes, murals, and other such works incorporated in these buildings to give them that ethnic and authentic look. And speaking of Jaipur, here’s the city’s best known monument-the Hawa Mahal.

S5300559

Have you ever wondered what these foreigners may be thinking as they roam our palaces and forts and markets with  caps on their heads,  ‘lonely planet’ in hand,  cameras around their necks and money pouches around their waists? As a rule they look quite bewilderd to me. Who will not be when confronted with the reality that is ‘India’? A young Austrian woman, who happened to be travelling once with us from Jodhpur, told us that the sheer number of people in the streets had overwhelmed her. She had initially thought that the streets were perhaps crowded due to a holiday or something but later realized that they were always so crowded. Noise is another thing that shocks them. They wonder why we are so loud? Loud speakers, horns, processions, temples, baraats-they appear loud to us also but why do we shout while speaking on the telephone?

Auto rickshaws are another peculiarities of Indian life which can not fail to perplex people not used to these contraptions, They look comon enough to us but I have seen these foreigners clinging to their dear lives while perched precariously in these rickety vehicles. But that does not prevent them from enjoying a ride or two. It is infact a high point of their visit.  Yeah, that is indeed Angelina Jolie and family in an auto rickshaw.(Pic from IBNlive.com)

 

 

Speaking of foreign tourists, how do they decide what to visit in India as the choice is truly mindboggling. No wonder since most international flights land up in the capital city, most tourists end up in the golden triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. But seriously, Jaipur is perhaps the most highly over rated destination. You should try Udaipur instead. Its palaces are  bigger and better. Its lakes, when full, are a sight. The view from the monsoon palace-Sajjangarh- is to die for. Here’s a peek.

Lake Palace

udaipur handycam pics aug 2009 030

City Palace

udaipur handycam pics aug 2009 015

Anyways, the variety is so mind boggling that it is even difficult for us Indians to choose where to go for our vacations. But puja holidays are here. Any suggestions where one could go for a short break?

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