Friday, January 29, 2010


As for Jodhpur, the view of the fortress of Jaisalmer, which stately rises from the dusty and stark plain of the Thar Desert, is pretty impressive.

But the two cities are quite different. While in Jodhpur the prevailing color was blue, here everything is sandy-yellowish. And while Jodhpur’s fort basically contains the maharaja’s palace only, Jaisalmer’s fort is indeed a true citadel, with still inhabited houses, and ‘true’ people (and not tourists only) wandering about the narrow streets and alleys.

And, for us ‘visitors’, this is perhaps Jaisalmer’s main charming and, at the same time, frustrating aspect. Charming because it makes Jaisalmer ‘real’, and not just an open-air museum. Frustrating because it is indeed a pity to see amazingly beautiful buildings, houses, balconies, etc. surrounded by garbage, bad-smelling, and falling into ruin...

But this is perhaps an element that should help us to look at India without the ‘tourist’ lenses, and remind us that India, despite a steady 8% growth in the past years, is a country where 830 million people (75% of the population) live with less than 2 dollars/day, and where 45% of the households has still no access to water and sanitation. These people live in Jaisalmer as well...

No comments:

Post a Comment