Kerauli- day 5 I think.

I missed doing yesterday’s blog because I fell asleep after another amazing day being bombarded from all sides by India. So I’ll do today first. Left Jaipur early and drove for 5 hours through a rural India I would never have seen had there not been a spot of civil unrest in the area which meant we had to do a very bumpy detour, but people in every village we drove through have waved and welcomed us. It’s such an astonishing country though hard to say why really in any fresh way. What has struck me constantly is the incessant energy of doing things be it hair cutting or sweeping, herding goats or making cow dung patties but India seems to teem with energy. The villages in this area are very basic but a sort of African style reed circular hut seems to in vogue and homes are painted in an indigo and lime mix which is stunningly beautiful as window shutters might be lime green or turquoise.

It was a delightful surprise when we arrived at the most beautiful country mansion for our overnight stop, it’s the Rajah of Karauli’s home which is (since around Independence) a hotel for the likes of me. It is most wonderful! Watered and tended gardens, peacocks, exquisite furniture and pottery, family photos and portraits, a cortile to expire for with turquoise and yellow silks on day beds and chairs, water channels tinkling.

We all went by carts pulled by very pretty camels through the narrow streets of the crowded busy Friday afternoon streets of the village to a palace so exquisitely decorated with gems and silver and gold inside and out in the Moghul style, great black bags of bees nests hanging from eaves here and there. The whole procession there was crazy with health and safety somewhere else! Tuktuks, cars barping horns trying to squeeze past our carts and camels as if there was no tomorrow in lanes so tough and narrow we were almost in the villagers laps. The camels paid absolutely no attention to any of this and just plodded along! Then we went to Friday evening prayers in a Hindu temple – another way of giving thanks for life and nature, it was so noisy and lively, unlike anything I’ve seen. Then dinner in the vast dining room surrounded by tigers and stags, very Raj.

Had a short chat earlier with the Rajah whilst sketching – my nose burst into blood (not unusual for me with such dry heat) and he was so concerned and kind he almost whisked me off to his local doctor!

And now I’m so tired I have to sleep.

I’m enjoying this trip so much.

Not much sketching sad to say.

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