Saturday, April 9, 2016

Weekend in Rajasthan

After about three and a half months into my time in India, I've finally figured out a good travel-to-home ratio. For every two weeks I spend in Hyderabad, I need one to visit a new place. Now that finals have started I won't be traveling until the end of my program, but my last trip was so productive and exhausting that I'm happy just being in Hyderabad for a while.

I spent the last weekend of March in Rajasthan, with about two days each in Jaipur and Jaisalmer. My friend Alena and I left Hyderabad very early on Friday morning and landed in Jaipur around 6 AM. As the sun hadn't even risen yet, we decided to catch a few hours of sleep before exploring the city. We checked into a hotel and after resting for about two hours, we headed towards the Hawa Mahal. We did some shopping in the area and then explored the City Palace for a bit. Then we grabbed lunch in the area, headed back for another nap, had dinner in our hotel restaurant, and then headed towards our sleeper bus to Jaisalmer.

As beautiful as Jaipur is, Jaisalmer was definitely my favorite part of our trip. I'd visited both cities about a decade before as part of a two-week trip through Delhi, Agra, and Rajasthan, and even then riding camels through the Thar Desert was one of the most memorable parts of the trip. After resting in a guesthouse near the Jaisalmer Fort, Alena and I headed into the desert for a camel ride, which took us to where a few other friends from our program already were.

That night, we ate a meal cooked by campfire and listened to our guides perform some Rajasthani songs. We stargazed for a bit  definitely my favorite part of the trip  and I got to see four shooting stars before the moonrise ruined our night vision.

The next morning, we woke up with the sun, had breakfast, and got back on the camels for a final ride. We headed out for lunch and exploring in the Fort, relaxed in the guesthouse, and then headed towards our train back to Jaipur.

For the last day of our four-day weekend, Alena and I walked around the Amber Fort for a while, talking, taking photos, and trying to stay cool in the hot sun.

While it definitely feels like Hyderabad is much hotter than the desert, I'm trying to enjoy the time I have left in this city, trying to soak up all that I can. Here are some photos from our trip.

~ V

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