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The Antiques Roadshow

sunny 25 °C

A road trip across Rajasthan is a mind-spinning kaleidoscopic journey through history, where, apart from cellphone towers and satellite dishes, the present century ends at Udaipur’s city gates. After that the roads deteriorate into a mishmash of nineteenth-century cart tracks, early twentieth century tarmac and a short stretch of modern dual-carriageway, (though the centre median is completely ignored by bus and truck drivers who see no reason to stick to the correct side if there is less traffic on the other). Our vision of this ancient roadway was re-enforced by the odd camel cart…
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And even an elephant… Elephant_ride.jpg
Every road journey in India is a spring-snapping, bone-jarring, death-defying adventure but, as we climbed the arid Aravalli mountains, the 16th century fort at Kumbhalgar took our breath away…
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This enormous ‘castle-in-the-air’ stands on a peak more than a thousand feet high and is surrounded by a curtain wall of more than 36 kilometres. The view from on high is truly spectacular and explains why this bastion was breached only once; and then only for three days…
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After Kumbhalgar we drifted through the middle-ages as we passed dozens of ancient ox-driven bucket wheels being used to lift water from the wells…
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And then we were back in 1469 at the beautiful Jain temple of Ranakpur… Ranakpur.jpg
...the finest, best preserved, (and cleanest), religious building on our trip by far.

But our day in the history department wasn’t over. When we arrived in Jodhpur we discovered that our heritage hotel, The Kothi, had a colourful past and a wonderful host family…
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This magnificent mansion, with 20ft ceilings and a wealth of antique furnishings, has been the home of six generations of the Singhvi family since it was built in 1888. The soaring main hall with its stone balcony is home to an antique-collector’s dream of ancient artifacts including many pieces inlaid with ivory and a diamond encrusted shield made of hippopotamus hide…
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Here in Rajasthan we are not watching The Antiques Roadshow – we are living it.

Posted by Hawkson 07:39 Archived in India

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