Rajasthan on celluloid, now feels more connected. From Bikaner to Mandawa, Agra to Delhi, 2014 started with a spill over vacation of 2013. From capital city Jaipur to pilgrim centre Pushkar, passing Ajmer to reach Jodhpur, meant 8 hours long drive. This was the best opportunity to befriend our non enthusiastic driver Mr Sonu. Inter city drives turned him from a passive driver to an active contributor, giving Intercity comparisons. In his version Jaipur, his native, held an upper hand, over Delhi. I chuckled, as his comparisons pleasantly reminded me to the likes of Amravati v/s Aurangabad and Pune v/s Mumbai.
Sam Sand Dunes, gives a glimpse of Rajasthan, we all are familiar with. Be it "Sooraj hua Madham" song, or Nanhe Jaiselmer's poster boy, movie scenes unfold at the deserts of Jaisalmer. Love Aaj Kal's last scene, Shudh Desi Romance last song, its Rajasthan all the way. There is heightened excitement in watching these movies/ songs after visiting the places.
Contrast to Jaisalmer,Bikaner shows the aristocratic side of State. Mandawa, on the other hand, looks like a poor cousin to Bikaner. But their smart lodging facilities are a real attraction. Mandawa has converted it ill maintained havelis into Vantage Hotels. There can't be a better example of best out of waste.
The best part of Rajasthan is that, even non tourist attractions will give a local feel. Busy roads of Jaipur, will have camels walking on its sides. Radio stations, loud speakers, festivities are incomplete without their trade mark " Dumadum Mast Kalandar Song". Colourful turbans out for sale are hard to resist. I gave a miss to bags, and bought turbans this time.
Finally from the land of Maharajas to the land of Shehanshahs. From an architectural heavy weight to a commercial centre. From a Rajasthani State to a Haryanvi Union Territory. Where Mahals replaced Minarets and Open Havelis became enclosed domes . Delhi was our final stop before returning to home city Chennai.
NB - Keeping up with my tradition of posting travelogues late, this post comes 2 months after the actual travel period. :)