Kalakho Days 1 and 2: camels and a stepwell
Trip Start Jan 10, 2012
24Trip End Feb 01, 2012
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It was very foggy and cold as we set out this morning. I have seriously underestimated how cold northern India can be and am grateful I decided to take transit to the airport. That's the only reason I have my fleece sweater - as opposed to a lightweight sweater - with me. By now it badly needs laundering but I can't take it off for long enough to wash and dry it. ;)
I am now in Rajasthan, land of camels and fields of mustard, fennel and and winter wheat. Signs of poverty are disappearing; the people, while perhaps not wealthy do not seem to be poor. Our bus proceeded along increasingly rural and rough roads until it could go no further. We were loaded into jeeps and land rovers and driven over rough dirt roads to the Dera Lake View Resort though the lake has long since dried up. We are housed in comfortable cabins that we never lock; it is only our group staying here and we are too isolated for intruders.
We cameled for about half an hour to a small Meenu village of ten families comprising around 100 people. There we witnessed the traditional ceremony of the marriage of Holy Basil and Vishnu. Initially only men and boys were in evidence. Eventually some women appeared but they kept their distance; shy and modest, they held shawls over their faces.
Kalakho Day 2
I have been blown away! No matter how hackneyed that may sound, I can't think of a better way to express myself.
Today we visited Chand Baori, the stepwell at Abaneri. Stepwells were built to make underground water accessible to villagers in both dry (low water levels) and monsoon (high water levels) seasons.
These two days at the Dera Lake View Resort have been such fun. Straying from the beaten track has let us experience the "real India" (Shagzil's term). We have found people who are not wealthy to be sure but are not poor either. By and large they appear happy and healthy and most welcoming/curious - depends where we are - when we are around.