It’s back into Rajasthan for a quick visit, this time a different part than we’d seen before. It’s also a closer look at the traditional Rajput culture, which has shaped the character of the whole region, and touches on the work that we’ve done over the past month.
The people in this state have only been “Indian” by legal definition since 1950, and the local maharajas and maharanas kept power until 1971.
Like many other parts of the world with long and difficult histories, there is a strong independent streak here.
The Mewar kingdom around Udaipur is rugged hill country, with massive and imposing fortresses hewn out of the mountains.
In Agra and Delhi, we’ve heard the stories of Akbar the Great and the Mughal Empire. The Mewari were among those who stood up against them.
Proudly defiant over 15 centuries, the folklore tells stories of epic battles, and people choosing mass ritual suicide over defeat.
The landscape is also very green, due to the wetter climate here.
There’s been monsoon weather the past two days, and it was positively torrential.
But that doesn’t even slow down the couples speeding down the highway on their two-wheelers, with just one arm raised in front of the face, in place of a windscreen.
Nor does it stop my local driver, from pushing a small but trusty Honda Amaze up a bumpy single-lane road through the mountains, where Google Maps shows only an empty grey expanse.
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