Saturday, 12 March 2011

On the road through Rajasthan - India's garden of Eden!

View from the tented camp across Pangarh Lake
There are some places on this earth that are so beautiful, they don't need to qualify as gardens! In our last few days in Rajasthan we found one such place - way off the beaten track and with virtually no track to it! And although it's not a garden as such, the whole area is like the garden of Eden - acres of unspoilt countryside; opium poppies everywhere; and magnificent vistas across crop-filled fields and full lakes after last year's bumper monsoon.
Walking through the opium fields in Rajasthan
India is among the top three opium producing nations of the world, alongside Afghanistan and Pakistan, and production here is strictly controlled by the Government. The white opium poppy is grown in just three of India's states - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh - but production is sufficient to supply 50% of the opium utilised by the world's pharmaceutical industry to produce codeine, morphine and other medicinal products.
Approach to the tented camp on the shores of Pangarh Lake ... I got out of the car and walked!
We were lucky enough to spend a whole day driving through this idyllic countryside, on our journey from Jodhpur to Bijaipur Castle, and then on to the tented camp operated by the owners of Bijaipur on the shores of Pangarh Lake.  It has to be said that the road down to the camp left us all with our hearts in our mouths (above) and although I've referred constantly to Prakash's driving skills during my recent India visit, this descent was too much for me and I got out and walked (much to the amusement of my fellow travellers). 
Another glorious flower garden - in front of the tented camp - planted by the owners of Castle Bijaipur
But it was worth the heart-stopping journey and when we finally arrived at the edge of the lake, it was yet another sight to behold. Castle Bijaipur's tented camp is another flowery paradise, even if the tented accommodation lacks the luxury of an African safari camp! I suggest you read Paul and Pauline's description to get the full flavour of our night on the lake, because they sum it up extremely well. 
First light on the lake - why I love India so much!
The location is absolutely fabulous, but even I have to confess that I might think twice about staying here again, if only because I was woken to the sound of howling animals in the early hours of the morning - a haunting sound that reminded me just how insignificant humanity is when pitched against the forces of nature! But as dawn arrived (above), I soon forgot the darkness doubts I'd suffered, and remembered why I love India so much. 

8 comments:

  1. Though it looks very simple, the tent camp also looks very inviting with all the flowers planted nearby. And the sunrise over the lake--spectacular!

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  2. I have never seen an opium or poppy field in that expanse. I wish to walk through one sometime. :)

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  3. Incredible! I am in awe of all the beauty around India. Those poppy fields are amazing and that tent looks much more luxurious than I would have imagined. By your description I probably would have gotten out and walked too!

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  4. The Opium Poppy field was impressive, but the sunrise on the lake, wow!

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  5. I love saying the word "opium"....it sounds bad:) Well not really....people just made it that way. Love your pics...makes my mind wander and want to explore. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Dear Charlotte, I feel so fortunate to be able to share in your wonderful travels through your stunning photographs. I can truly understand why you love India so much. P x

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  7. Is that sunrise view from the tented camps? Never mind. It doesn't matter. I would love to hang out there.

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  8. Cjharlotte, Once again its nice to travel with you. The pictures are beautiful and bring me along. I have never been to India, have friends who have. Maybe someday. Right now too busy with my garden spot, and that is OK for me. I have poppies but not the Opium variety, rather big, very big orange Oriental. When they bloom this year I will think of your trip. Jack

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