Ten Years Ago Today . . .

. . . I was in India.

When I first heard of the city of Jaisalmer I was entranced, it seemed to me to be at the end of the world. The golden city is  dominated by the fort, a living, vibrant place that has a life of its own, hanging on the edge of the far west of India.

It’s a very commercial town, everywhere you turn someone is trying to persuade you that you need spices you’ve never heard of, saris, wall hangings, ornaments of all types. I expect it’s even more touristy now. But that doesn’t spoil it’s charm, the twists and turns of each cow inhabited alley, gets under your skin and even deeper into your nostrils.

There are several Jain temples, with finely detailed interiors, and a plethora of Buddhas.

The stoneware is so beautiful it’s hard to know where to look.

But there are quiet spots to reflect,
And sculpture to wonder at,
Haveli’s are mansion houses of the wealthy. While some in Rajasthan are dilapidated, many are well maintained and open to the public for a few hundred rupees. This one was a museum come antique shop, I think pretty much everything was for sale at a price, even though it was also a home.

In the afternoon of October 20th,we went wandering around the streets. As in cities all over the world, groups of men gather on street corners and squares to play cards and board games, while the women are hard at work trying to feed their families.
The fort is one of the biggest in the world, built high on a hill with three layers of walls and ninety nine bastions. Here is a view from one.

In time for sunset, we went just outside the town to see the fort change colour, by day it’s the colour of a lion, but at sunset it turns to a honey gold.
Although the sunset was disappointing, traveling friend and I were happy to be all dressed up in our finery, in the most mesmerising city at the end of the world.

jais17Jaisalmer is around 800 kilometeres from Delhi, and it can be reached by train, an overnight journey. Better still, try a slow journey and stop along the way. Rajasthan is wonderful and the people are warm and friendly, who are justifiably proud of their heritage.

I wish I was this warm

If you’re like me, living in the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere, this is the season where we seek out small pleasures to compensate for the short days and chilly weather: fireplaces, down comforters, hot chocolate (or glühwein, if we must…).

Says Ben Huberman for this weeks challenge at the Daily Post, Warmth. The Thar Desert is without doubt the warmest place I’ve ever been, in a midday temperature of 44 degrees, I was hot and happy, even though it felt like the inside of my nose was burning. Dry heat seems to agree with me, here are some photos of my favourite kind of warmth.

Visit https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/warmth/ to join in.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

Sara Rosso at the Daily Post says that ‘On top can be a feeling, a perspective, or a physical location’ and asks us to share photos that express On Top this week for the photo challenge.

My photos were taken On Top in Bikaner, Rajasthan,

from the roof of a temple.

This is a photo that I’ve posted before. O don’t what it is about it but it’s one of my all time favourite photos, so I’m sharing it again. It’s the same place as the gallery facing a different direction.


Join in at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/on-top/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand 2

It should have occured to me before that some of the grandest places I’ve seen, were in Delhi and Rajasthan, northern India. So here is a little gallery of some grand places I visited there.

Travel Theme: Big

I don’t seem to have many pictures to fit the theme this week, I guess I’m not drawn to big. Perhaps its because the UK just isn’t very big, or maybe big is difficult to capture. Anyway a few years ago I went to India and I’ve always remembered this big Hanuman along the road. I hope he’s big enough!

IMG_2085 copy

Big is Ailsa’s theme, join in at http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/08/16/travel-theme-big/

Travel Theme ; Contrast

Travel on the chaotic streets of Jaipur in Rajasthan and you can’t fail to notice an abundance of contrasts. Wealth and poverty, youth and age, ancient and modern. Here is some of the traffic chaos, shiny gas guzzling monsters, alongside tuk-tuks and hand carts, all relentlessly squeezing themselves in and out of one of the old city gates.


Next, not the best photo I’m afraid, the Palace of the Winds, what a romantic name. Also known as the Hawa Mahal, this five storey masterpiece was built in 1799 by Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh. It’s lattice windows were made so the the royal ladies had a window on the world without being seen as they were in purdah. Imagine the luxurious opulence inside compared to the lives of the ordinary people on the outside.

This post is for Ailsa’a Travel Theme, join in here, http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/04/19/travel-theme-contrast/


Poetics at D’Verse offer the theme of place this week so I’ve chosen a photo I took at Savitri hill in Pushkar, Rajasthan. It’s a place that evokes strong memories for me.


Savitri Hill

Savitri I was beaten

am I Gayatri?

briefly chosen by Brahma

did I displace you?

you sacrificed Yajna

to play games with Laksmi

Parvati and Indrani

you still sit in anger

staring east at your rival

separated by lake

by Pushkar the great

Holy pilgrimage

and the one to defeat me

weak mortal

Travel Theme: Hot

Oh Ailsa I love hot! This is the hottest place I’ve been 44 degrees – or at least the hottest place where I had a thermometer. It’s an abandoned village in the Thar desert, Rajasthan and I’ve written about it here I hope you’ll pop back to see, because I didn’t have so many followers then! To see some more hot shots visit Wheres my backpack

Travel Theme: White

To mark the 30th annual World Peace Day Ailsa has chosen White this week. I’ve chosen three peaceful white scenes to share with you.

The first is taken in Beer, a little fishing village in East Devon. Beer is on the Jurassic coast and it’s a place I visit regularly. It’s always mystified me because it has white cliffs, but as you can see in the distance, the cliffs to the east at Seaton are red, as are the next around to the west. 

Next, a pretty white thatched cottage also in Devon. 

Finally, a lovely white entrance to a temple in Bikaner, Rajasthan. The door is solid silver. 

Please go and visit Ailsa – it’s worth the trip for the white peacock!



Travel Theme:Red

Ailsa at Where’s My backpack has  chosen Red for her travel theme this week.  Purple only tops red by a tiny margin as my favourite colour, so I’m delighted, but will restrain myself to one photo!

So I have laid out the red hangings, made from recycled sari’s, one of which I bought, from this shop in Jaisalmer.