Just a few weeks ago India celebrated the festival of Diwali. This important and popular Hindu festival, known as the festival of light, rejoices in the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil and of knowledge over ignorance. The festival also signals the change of season, and quite suddenly the warm post monsoon weather is replaced by a winter chill. In India this also heralds the popular wedding season and in previous years, Diwali was the beginning of the peak travel season.
Earlier this year, I had almost completed writing the fifth edition of my most popular book, Love Jaipur, Rajasthan and in normal circumstances would have released this around the Diwali festival ready for Luxury Vagabonds wanting to fall in love with Rajasthan. For now, the book is on hold, however, I hope this collection of interviews with a few of my dear friends in Jaipur, will transport you to the gorgeous pink city and encourage you to visit before not too long.
Love Jaipur, Rajasthan
My first visit to Jaipur was in 2001. I was living and working in New York and had joined my dear friend, Dave Freeman, the author of ‘100 things to do before you die’ on a journey to India. We had planned the journey around attending the Maha Kumbh Mela, one of the ‘things’ in Dave’s acclaimed book. In a strange twist of circumstances, we arrived a day or two after the largest gathering on the planet (over 70 million people) had taken place and most of the people had decamped. So, after our sacred dip at the confluence point of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati Rivers we then were free to explore other parts of India. Like most first-time visitors to India, it seemed a good idea to head to Jaipur, the famous pink city and gateway capital of Rajasthan, India’s largest and romantic state.
Little did I know then, that less than a decade later that I would have been resident in India for five years and be releasing a book Love Jaipur. I have been lucky to make some wonderful friends, who make it easy to fall in love with Jaipur. I am delighted to introduce you to some of them and hope you enjoy their insights into local life.
India and Covid-19
On March 15th, 2020 India closed its borders and shortly after implemented the world’s largest lockdown. All of India’s 1.3 billion people were asked to stay home. Since then, India has, like the rest of the world, opened up. Since March, India experienced a steady increase in cases, peaking at about 100,000 a day in early September. However, instead of continuing to climb, the daily tally has been falling for the last two months, and is now believed to be half what it was.The government and medical experts believe the peak to have passed but remain on alert.
Jaipur and Covid-19
In early March, a group of Italian tourists in Jaipur were the first reported cases of Covid-19 in Rajasthan. Since then, according to the health department, Rajasthan has recorded over 250,000 cases and around 2000 deaths. The Rajasthan government has made mask wearing in public places mandatory and has imposed night curfews for the month of December across many districts across the state including Jaipur, to combat the spread of the virus.
I am grateful to Abhishek, Anuradha, Barbara, Brigitte, Geetanjali, Himanshu, Jeremy, Megha and Thierry for taking the time to talk with me and to share how they are adapting both personally and professionally during these extraordinary times. These conversations made me yearn to return to Jaipur. I eagerly look forward to catching up with these and other friends in person as well as being able to roam freely the by lanes and bazaars of the city. Until we can travel again, I hope you join me in some Jaipur dreaming
To celebrate the festive season and encourage travel dreaming, I am delighted to gift a Love Travel Guide to anyone buying directly from our website, in December 2020. Simply choose any two books and add them to your shopping cart. They both must go to the same address. When checking out, if you are ordering for international delivery please use coupon code HAPPY HOLIDAYS INTERNATIONAL and for India delivery please use coupon code HAPPY HOLIDAYS INDIA and we will then credit one book. You will only pay for one book and postage. This is an exclusive offer for the readers of Field Notes. Please note we can’t guarantee delivery by Christmas, but are confident that this will be a super way to start 2021.
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