A warm breeze. Silence and darkness all around. Here we are, lying on a bed in the open air, in the Thar Desert, near Pakistan. Absolute silence. The dromedaries who once in a while clear their throat are the only interruption. The sand dunes hide themselves in the darkness, the moon rise is still to come.
Thousands of stars in the night sky. A thousand times bigger than our own sun, shining million light-years away. Astronomers estimate there are a hundred thousand million stars… With the naked eye we can only see 5,000 stars and only half of them from where we stand. It makes you realize how small we truly are in this Universe.
It reminds me of a theory I made up as a child. During a family outing to the Omniversum in The Hague I got fascinated about the Universe and black holes. I imagined that the earth is no more than an atom in a tube of tooth paste. I imagined the cap to be the black hole, through where we all will disappear one day, and behind the cap there is a new world of giants and more tubes of tooth paste. Tooth paste. Hehe, I probably made it up just before bedtime that night. 🙂
We scan the sky. Mars, Venus, Jupiter, shooting stars, The Milky Way, the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, North Star, Orion, Nebulas. All so clear. Will planet X be out there?
The eyes grow heavy. It’s been a long day. But what a day! All day long we’ve trudged through the desert on our dromedaries: Johnny number 1 and Paulo. Surrounded by vast plains and sand dunes. Our guide made us a tasty Indian lunch under a huge tree to escape the heat of the day. So peaceful. A few hours later we arrived at our “thousand stars hotel” and were presented an amazing sunset to mark the end of the day.
An insect in Wouter’s ear wakes us up. The moon now stands high in the sky. The Milky Way disappeared and only the brightest stars are visible. Slowly it gets lighter and a beautiful sunrise welcomes us into a new day. It’s Rajasthan at its best.
To get to Rajasthan was not an easy one. First, it took some days to get hold of train tickets from Goa to Mumbai due to the Ganesha Chaturthi festival. We eventually got hold of tickets on the final day of the festival and after a 10 hours trip we ended up dancing on the streets of Mumbai in front of a Ganesha float. Wow! The Indians know how to party! And without a single drop of alcohol. Not sure if the famous Dutch Kingsday would be the same without any alcohol…
To prevent from getting stuck in Mumbai, we had one goal the next day: get online train tickets to Rajasthan and then we would see. What a nightmare. It took us the whole day. Serious. We tried and tried. Error after error. Filling in forms. Again and again. Gosh. It was far after lunch when we gave up and jumped into an Uber to the train station. Of course, we ended up in a chaotic traffic jam. Cows, tuk tuks, cars, scooters, people, everyone was juggling to move another centimeter. Except for the cows. They just stay where they are, not suffering at all from the honking madness around them. Mumbai at its best, let’s say.
It took sooo long. When we eventually got to the station, we got a little hope as there was only one person in the queue. But nope. It was Murphy’s day and so the lady at the ticket counter took her job way too serious. One and a half hour! Checks, forms, explanations over and over again. More checks. Pretty sure nothing, but really nothing, was wrong with our tickets… Pffft, it was one of those days that your patience levels are being tested… Bye bye Mumbai, maybe better next time.
Rajasthan on the other hand was really nice to us. It’s been said that Rajasthan has more history than the rest of India. The land of Kings. And indeed, towering forts, palaces, buzzling bazaars and colorful cities. We visited Jaipur, the blue city. Jaisalmer, the golden city, Jodhpur, the pink city and Pushkar, the pilgrimage town. It’s all India and at the same time it’s not alike from what we’ve seen so far. In fact, each place is unique with an own vibe and story. I would not be surprised that if we ever go back and visit some of the other places to have a completely new experience.
>> Quick Story of Jodhpur Fort <<
The good part: it’s all equally beautiful. The pics say more than words, I think. Rajasthan is a place to immerse into history as you wish and moreover: to just be. Enjoy the views and stroll around. Let things happen. Watch the daily chores. You have no idea what is about to hit you at the next corner. Small chats with the locals. The funny stuff of cows, monkeys, squirrels and dogs. Delicious Indian food. Beautiful sunsets. Fantastic.
India, we want more. 🙂 Taj Mahal and Varanasi, here we come!