Saturday, April 25, 2009

Walking through the Jaisalmer Fort

Once again out on the main courtyard just outside of the palace, it was easy to imagine the events that occurred in this square; announcements of the maharaja, extravagant entertainment for VIPs, and the assemblage of troops ready to do battle. Following a cow’s lead, I meandered through narrow stone-paved alleys, past temples, residents outside their doors, and a seemingly endless number of shopkeepers inviting me to look inside their shop. Sometimes the cows got a bit feisty, butting passers-by. Others lazed in the middle of the path. All left their “calling card” along the way, forcing people to watch where they were stepping. Although most of this ancient living fort was in remarkable shape, there were reminders of its precarious situation. Some of the buildings were in ruins and a few bastions had collapsed, the high water demands placing stress on its structure. Large amounts of rubbish was dumped along one part of the fortress’ walls, leading us to question whether the view was worth maneuvering around the litter.

In front of one house freshly-painted blue with a mural of Ganesh and dates below it were some women applying henna to their feet and hands. As one of the young women quickly and confidently squeezed out the henna onto the hands and feet of my friend, she explained that she had been recently married and that the date below the Ganesh mural marked her wedding. Strung between her house and the building across the narrow street was a mesh of grid-like silver tinsel. A girl created mehendi on my hand as well, but the designs were less elaborate and reminded me more of doodles, revealing that she had a lot of practicing to do before being ready to adorn the hands and feet of friends and relatives for important events.

See more photos of Jaisalmer on Flickr

1 comment:

Bibi said...

Like this guy! His turban looks good enough to eat.