Mar 6, 2011

Storming Rajasthan III - In the Golden Fort

We left the Blue City of Jodhpur behind us and set off down the dusty desert roads for Jaisalmer, the city of the Golden Fort (Shonar Kella popularized by the movie with the same name made by Oscar winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray).  It was a 330km journey and judging by our past driving experience, we didn't expect to get there until 9 or 10pm.
Before leaving Jodhpur, our wonderful chauffeur, Nitin, made sure that Canadian (crazy) Madam didn't miss the famous Mirchi Vara and kachoris of Jodhpur.  These Mirchi Varas are delicious and not for the mild at heart! It's literally a hot pepper coated with a spicy potato and oinion mash with a breadcrumb exterior that is deep fried.  It tastes divine! We grabbed a box of sweets for the long ride and were on our way.

In search of Mirchi Vara
Lunch wasn't a "fancy restaurant" experience but around 4:00pm we stopped at a roadside "dhaba" or Indian fast food shack.  The charpoys (vinyl and aluminium multi-purpose sitting/sleeping furniture) were laid out and wooden blocks were placed strategically to form make-shift tables.  We met an adorable little boy of maybe 9 or 10, whose name was Salim.  He could recite the menu in one breath and if stopped in between, would resume from the start!

After asking him, I learnt of a very interesting arrangement in Salim's family, that came about based on economic needs and reality of their situation.  Salim doesn't go to school but earns Rs. 2000 each month by working at the Dhaba. His older brother goes to school and comes home and teaches him what he has learned.  This way, Salim supports the family and is somewhat being educated.  What an interesting arrangement, I thought!  So much reality for a 9 or 10 year old boy, who didn't stop smiling and serving the best rotis I've ever had!

The journey to Jaisalmer took us through more dry and open lands of Rajasthan.  We saw a lot of windmills that had been installed all over the desert areas.  At about 9:30p.m. we finally reached Jaisalmer.  The hotel we stayed in had an amazing view of the Golden Fort from the rooftop restaurant.  It looked dreamy and called out to me to come and explore it's narrow alleyways.
part of the King's palace - Jaisalmer Fort

Golden Fort of Jaisalmer

After a delicious dinner of kaju curry, gatta, and egg curry, sleep was next on the agenda before I embarked upon the next adventure, camel safari in the Thar Desert and exploration of the Golden Fort!

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