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The Land of the Maharajas – Jodphur – Message #5 – September 14, 2005

on March 21, 2013

Hey all,

Just a quick message…my “access to Internet” woes continue. The Rajasthan area does not have very reliable Internet service so I have to practice being patient. Tough for me as most of you know!

At any rate, Rajasthan is a beautiful part of North India and as was the case with Udaipur, I am only in Jodphur on the recommendation of the High Commission’s travel agent, who is incredibly good at his job. Both Udaipur and Jodphur are places I am very glad I added to my travel list. These additions mean that I will not make it to Varanasi, which is one of the holiest places in India and one of the best experiences for a tourist is to observe Hindus go through their various rituals at the banks of the Ganga River…At first I really wanted to include that in my tour but Nara (travel agent) said it would take up a lot of travel time for something that would only require an hour to experience so he suggested Rajasthan instead and so far I am glad he did.

The people of Rajasthan are incredibly nice. A lot of the area is rural and the people living in this area have a fairly simple way of life. Most of the people I have met so far are very soft-spoken, polite and somewhat shy. What a contrast after Delhi! I also have not been approached by any beggars since leaving Gwalior and part of this must be due to the fact that some of the places I’ve been to around Rajasthan simply are off the beaten path and therefore people have not become accustomed to getting money or goods from foreigners. Although I “look” Indian, I have also found that I am getting a lot more “looks” (not stares, really, as the people here look away as soon as I make eye contact) and people know I am not from round these parts (although they may still think that I am Hindustani).

There is a significant history of Maharajas (royalty) and Maharanas (warriors) throughout Rajasthan and a lot of the men here have their ears pierced (both lobes) and wear ceremonial turbans (though they are not Sikh). Also, most people have the name “Singh” either as their middle name or as part of their surname. I always though “Singh” was a Sikh name but it turns out it is not. I will have to find out more about this from one of my tour guides either here in Jodphur or in Jaipur.

In ten minutes I am being picked up by my driver and guide to do a city tour of Jodphur and then tomorrow I am visiting a local village (Bishnoi village) where I am told I will be offered Opium (a village tradition/ritual) but, of course I asked if I would offend anyone by not consuming the Opium. Turns out the Opium is only offered ritually to visitors but no one will be offended if I say no (and the locals expect most foreigners to decline). Phew….

Tomorrow late afternoon I am heading to a desert town where I will get to take a sunset camel ride…wahoo! This place (Osiyan) was not in the original tour schedule but I was told about this place by my driver and have decided to add it on rather than taking a camel ride in Jodphur. Then I’m off to Jaipur on the overnight train.

Wendy – all the stuff I borrowed from you is coming in handy – thanks! Especially for the various travel pouches and such.

Dad – happy belated birthday.

Mehb – I get in on Tuesday, Sept. 20 – you said “see ya on the 21st” but you’ll see me on the 20th – make sure mom and dad know that I arrive on the 20th – I don’t want to be stuck at the airport!!!!!

Shauna – thanks for the updates about Ethan…I miss him tons so I really appreciated your update…please give him lots of hugs and kisses for me…I can’t wait to see him!!! (And everyone else, too…but honestly mostly my sweet nephew!)

Narmin

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