Fleck by fleck of golden drops into oceans make. No, not an ocean of water of course- this constituent is the maker of deserts. In my mind- a vision Royal Rajasthan. Assuming for you a travel enthusiast identity, any Indian who has yet to explore the sandy part of the country would at least have the “R” page dog-eared for future in the big fat travel guide. Foreigners- some are ardent enthusiast waiting only for a right opportunity to take the plunge while some are just faint acquaintances with the classic sand dunes and camel image of Rajasthan. Whichever category one fits into, for a prospective traveller, there are a few essential points to remember before setting out for their trip to Rajasthan.
Day and Night: It’s hot! Very hot, in fact- during the whole time the sun is up- regardless of the season. However the nights are a complete twist, Bollywood style- chilly, windy and in winters- downright freezing. Therefore, while packing, along with copious amount of sun-protection like sunscreens, shades, caps and scarfs one also needs to pack in sufficient clothing to beat the chill at nights- especially if night trips are a part of the itinerary.
The Elixir of Life: Long walks or drives are in order during any trip. In Rajasthan, the heat can be quite awful without proper hydration. While mineral water is available in all big and small outlets, it is always advisable to carry with you a personal stock of water and soft drinks.
Jibber-Jabber: While a fair few English speaking guides are available, the majority of local population would be found communicative in local languages and Hindi. Picking up a new local language is a bit difficult, so knowing Hindi- at least in bits and pieces- can come in handy.
Watch what you, put in your mouth: Most of the local delicacies are known for their spicy flavour. Indians are used to hot food, but Rajasthani delights- like the mirchi vada- can sometimes be a tad much even for the experienced. For foreigners, it is advisable to try things out in minimum quantity before ordering a plateful. On the upside, with the desserts like lapsi and mawa kachori, the burnt tongue can be healed easy.
Shop till you drop, but not before you have exhausted all your bargaining capabilities. Like any other tourist attraction, items are rated high but can be brought down with haggling skills. If the final price still rings a “swindling” ring, leave the shop for the next one. You’ll always find what you’re looking for at other shop only steps away and it is advisable to settle only after having looking around a fair bit. Don’t fall for guide recommended shops, they can often be in cahoots with those certain shopkeepers and derive the benefit of commissions.
Don’t Miss - the dunes, the camels, the sunsets, the forts, the kalbelia dancers, the puppets and all such things that make Rajasthan. Now that you’re equipped with some basic necessary tips, a dip in the golden ocean is only a matter of time.
Contributed by Ateendriya