Todi Garh

Deserts of Rajasthan

It’s nearly 11:30am and I am sitting in our deluxe room with Siobhan, my lovely room mate at Todi Garh. She is educating me about Jaipur!
We definitely got the best room in the house thanks Harish…bless!
We are staying with the royal family at their palace and met Harminder Singh, who runs things here with his family reinvesting their wealth into the surrounding villages…very beautiful man!
We arrived here at around 5:30pm yesterday after a long day of driving, hoping onto a public bus for 4 hours, then in our own private jeeps for another 4 hours through the deserts …looked a bit like Amboseli or Maasai Mara with all the Acacia trees that had been brought in from Africa years ago.
The whole groups energy just perked up when we found this gem in the middle of now where with no clue as to what awaited us after this long, bumpy ride through the deserts of Rajasthan.
We were greeted with flower garlands and bindi blessings..some coca cola and I shared a beer with Siobhan and chilled with Harish my new Indian best friend who is going to help me trace my roots in Gujarat! Woohoo!
Woke up at 4:30am for a 5am trek up the mountain to see the 16th Century old red fort…was a hard slog and a great reminder of the plan to leave smoking cigs behind in India…I know the moment will come when it is time ..inshallah! and I need to make this decision yesterday!!!!!

Watched the sun rise and felt the wind blowing from west to east which apparently means the monsoons are not close, if it blows the other way it means the rains are coming…

Had chai up there with Harish, Vinny (Sri Lanka) and Kat (OZ yoga chic) and Umuji (who works at the palace) ….
The wind was kind and beautiful just like last night when we rode camels into the desert …
A really touching thing happened to me with one of the camels Mono, she just put her head all over me and was blowing air through her nose all over my body like blessing me. She wanted me to stroke her and she put her head on my belly and on my face and Kabir, her keeper, starting laughing and was genuinely surprised with this reaction.
Mono and I were in our own worlds for a few moments, then I walked away to climb up the dune but had to come back because my heart was racing and just felt the moment needed more time. 
So I came back to her and we carried on with our embracing like long lost friends…
That moment really touched me and sent me to some deep silent place that I just wanted to sit in and not  engage with anyone else.

So I grabbed a massive Kingfisher and sat with everyone on the dune breathing it all in…

At the end of the ride I came and said goodbye to Mono,  and Kabir took my hand and held it for a long time just feeling the energy…truly something deeply magical about that experience…
Something I remember from long ago…

This morning I went to greet the horses and the same thing happened…

I had a great breakfast of one banana and poha (saffron rice and peanuts) mmm my favourite meal that I had in Kanpur during Vipassana with coconut sauce

We then went off walking through the village and I just shot the shit out of everything, it was like walking through a painting…the people, the pink, purple and blue painted houses and children running around screaming “Good morning”… “One photo”…

“Okay byeeeee”, pigs and dogs roaming around doing their thing while food is laid on the roads for them and the birds to eat.


 I met a tailor, saw the cute little post office, met the man who makes all the clay pots, Taju (30 yrs with 2 children), went to the home of the family that makes the slabs for roofing, walked into a temple for Krishna that was six centuries old, met some incredibly beautiful old women and held their hands and just basked in the beauty of it all…
I feel at home here in the desert and sand dunes, looking up at the milky way that’s so clear in the sky who is waiting for the clouds to bring the late rains and fill the drying village with hope for new life…

Today we leave for Jaipur  in the afternoon for two nights and then some of the group will leave us while some of us will carry on to Udaipur and Nimaj and then Delhi…
Jaipur, biggest city of Rajasthan, known as the pink city built by a wealthy Maharaja.

Pink is the colour of welcoming, warmth and hospitality apparently.

The entire old city is painted pink! 

North India’s first planned city where the Jantar Mantar, one of five observatories built by Jai Singh the second in the 18th century!

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