We are living in a treehouse on Morjim beach, in the north of Goa. I fall asleep to the sounds of a lulling sea and wake to the melodic cacophany of birds. We have found paradise, secluded from the many tourists and merchants of Calangute and Baga beaches. Several days spent in serenity, where once again I recall how beautiful and simple life can be. On the 13th the journey continues to Bangkok…
I am quite certain that I was an Indian princess in a past life. when we arrived to the Shiv Niwas Palace in Udaipur, I felt at home. This was to be our residence for the next 3 days, what was once home to the royal family, and is now the guest quarters for soulful travelers seeking stately refuge. It was within these walls that I felt the side of an India that tells of its riches and history.
The Lake Palace is a spectacular sight, only reachable by boat but admirable from any distance. This tranquilty defines Udaipur.
The color of Jodhpur is mesmerizing. A blue that lights up your soul at the sight of this vast urban sea. It is said that this shade of blue is meant to repel mosquitos. Perhaps this is why so the air seemed so calm. Mehrangarth Fort lay atop this palatial city, looming dark and massive against a city of color.
It is the markets of India that appeal to me the most. To observe the people as they pass by on rickshaws, bicycles and motorbikes, mingling with the cows and other livestock. I am attempting to blend into a world that I am only beginning to understand. I wish for a moment to look through the eyes of a small child, eyes that reflect sincerity.
An adventure beckoned. A solemn morning visit to the cenotaphs of Badabagh, the royal burial grounds, an elegant compostion of Mughal and Hindu architecture. My next stop was the old capital city of Ludhrva followed by Kuldhra, a ghost village, deserted and deconstructed due to tariffs imposed on the villagers. Following a picnic of roti and dahl, the subsistence food of India, namely, flat bread eaten with an assortment of 60 types of lentils in varying sauces, we arrived in the small desert village of Khuri.
There I met my camel and the adventure began! This agreeable creature and I quickly developed a rapport as we spent the next several hours trotting in the grand style of a camel, into a space of perfect serenity. The only voice heard was my own, as I delved into the life of my camel driver, a young animated Indian who spoke cordial English, Spanish and French yet could not read or write in any language, including his own. I am fascinated with the lives of the desert people, who rely to such a large extent on the tourism industry. As does so much of India. There in the desert, amidst moments of my own quietude, I could feel timelessness.
The havelis of Jaisalmer are most magnificent. This one in particular caught my eye and I could not turn my gaze away. This sculpted sandstone building is detailed with such delicate stone lacework. Clearly built by brocade and jewelery merchants who had a taste for detail.