Here is my research for day five. This is what really happened!
We had a long drive form Bikenar to Pokaran but the roads were good. The landscape was flat scrub-land – I saw trees decorated with scrapes of fabric and asked the guide what they were about. Simply……..where the thorny branches had ripped fragments of cloth off the people as they passed by on camels. However there was also an unexplained trail of old shoes along the carriageway.
Mile after mile of flat land then a stop for masala chai. Here I bought a few post cards to send home.
Beautiful sweet smelling jasmine.
Then we arrived at The Fort, Pokaran and what a welcome we had.
The piper played his shrill, bagpipe like music.
We were showed with rose petals from above.
The place is a tourist attraction as we were – everyone seemed to want to have their photo taken with us.
Other parts of the fort were tranquil.
Some had come to visit the Temple.People lived at the fort along side these small gerbil like creatures.Then I climbed the stairs to my room.
I was never sure what I’ve find behind the locked door to my bedrooms.
A huge suite with a four poster bed, an anti room, a shower room, a bath room and a grand elevated toilet in it’s own space.And this cushion on the ceiling.
A beautifully made fabric cover for all the necessary info.
I had my own private courtyards as well.
A couple of details.But it wouldn’t be India without the charming repairs!
In the afternoon we were introduced to the owner of the Fort – Prince Parama, a charming man, deeply committed to the local economy and especially the traditional pattu weaving. He invests money in the villagers as they learn the skills at the fort. It takes 15 days to warp the loom with many patterns and colours used to produce a very fine cloth. 2.5 metres or about 3 yards can be woven in a day.
Soon we were clambering into jeeps and another ride through the dessert to one of the Prince’s villages. Everywhere seems to have running water but their life is conducted in a very simple manner – an art I have lost! Few Westerns go to the village so we were just as much an interest to them. The presence of Prince Param didn’t phase them.
All the family appeared to be involved from the oldest lady in the village to the young boy who had just returned from school.
The men were gathered round a corner so we went to pay our respects to them, and especially the twinkly eyed elder who was very proud of his moustache!
Back into the jeeps but, of course, not to return back to our rooms but another treat.
We had arrived in the middle of nowhere – apart from a small mound.The drivers started to unload boxes.
And more boxes.
But the Prince’s dog was carefully carried to the ‘top’ by his dedicated handler whose sole job it was to look after him.
Soon we were being served chai and pakoras – I felt quiet the memsaab. The panoramic view faded as dusk settled around us.
The drivers had fun racing at top speed and soon we were back at the fort. Time to have a wander into the small town.
Every shop seemed to be selling shoes or handbags – I bought a pair of slippers for my daughter without much hope of them fitting as they were so narrow.
No time for a wash before dinner, it was either that or a beer and the beer won!
The garden was beautifully lit.
The dancing didn’t have such an effect on me as the previous evening
Then the finale of a firework display before going inside to eat.
Prince Param chatted with us during dinner, telling of his forthcoming wedding and a little about his life. His beer bottle was carefully concealed by a cloth as his man poured it out for him; he was kind enough to share it with us. Another wonderful, packed day of surprises.
A video of our stay captures the magic of the place – see it here!