India: Rajasthan

On the Road in Rajasthan: "Horn Please!"

Jaipur to Bikaner

Rajasthan, India 

February 24, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

The phrase "Horn Please" is emblazoned in huge, colorful and artistic boldfaced letters on the rear end of every powerful, solid, steel-framed intercity truck. Or "Sound Horn" appears. Or "Blow Horn." My favorite is "Blow Horn." India is a nation of one billion horn blowers.

It is good form. Everyone is encouraged to sound his horn to alert the truck driver ahead that his rig is about to be overtaken. And, (and this is a big "and") every driver of every type of vehicle alerts everyone else of his presence and his insistence to proceed unimpeded according to some preordained universal master transport plan known only to himself.

Nawalgarh: "The Haveli and Mundan Sanskar"


Shekhawati region



February 20, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

"Jan, why India?" "Why now?" Perhaps you are asking these questions. The obvious answers are: "India is close to Thailand." And, "There's no time like the present." True. Very true.

The real truth is that my friends in Mumbai, Paawan and Sushma, invited me to an auspicious family celebration.

Bharatpur, Deeg: "Birding at The Bagh"

Bharatpur, Rajasthan


February 17, 2007


Dear Friends and Fellow Bird Watchers,

One chilly, shivering evening last week at the open-air rooftop restaurant of my hotel, the Hotel Sri Nanak Continental (don't let the name fool you), smack in the middle of the incessantly beeping - beeping - honking - honking - beeping - honking - beeping - beeping - beeping and barking! automotive parts supply shop district of New Delhi, I met Penny and John, travelers from England who were pleased to sell me their guidebook Special Places To Stay - India.

My next destination is Bharatpur, just west of Agra. My first "special" choice, The Laxmi Vilas Palace, is fully booked. So here I am at The Bagh.

The guidebook reports:

Jaipur: "The Pink City"

Jaipur, Rajasthan


February 23, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

Noise and dust pierce the senses. Construction cranes pierce the sky. Jaipur is crowded. Jaipur is "developing."

My gracious hosts at the Govind Niwas Guest House, Admiral and Mrs. Madhvendra Singh recall earlier days when in the evening they would relax on their veranda or in the spacious garden in front of their home

Now, the avenue is just too busy. My friends are resigned to the inevitable yet they continue to enjoy the beauty of their city.

How many travelers have I met who focus only on Jaipur, dusty and "developing?" Like my hosts, I seek out Jaipur, pink and attractive and "developed."

Jaipur, Amber Fort: "It Keeps Getting Better"




February 23, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

It just keeps getting better!

"The magnificent delicate-pink, fort palace of Amber (pronounced Amer), a beautiful, ethereal example of Rajput architecture, rises from a rocky mountainside about 11km north of Jaipur." [*]

As Adit and I drive into Amber, the walls and the towers, more golden than pink, sit high and imposing on the mountains to my left.

Bikaner: "The Red City"

Bikaner, Rajasthan


February 25, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

"The Lalgarh Palace is a sprawling extravaganza of carved friezes, jalis, pillars and arches in the distinctive reddish-pink sandstone. (Bikaner is known as The Red City.) Constructed between 1902 and 1926, the palace combines traditional Rajput and Renaissance European features with Art Nouveau decor inside." [*]