Independence Day in India, one of 3 major celebrations in a year here

I awake to a lovely garden outside my window, birds chirping and hazy morning light covering the beautiful lawn and garden benches. We are close to the water and boardwalk here. Last night we could see vendors on the boardwalk and lots of visitors and tourists walking. It is a beautiful city in the city part – where we are now. In contrast to Agra and the parts of Delhi that we experienced, this city is more modern and even has hanging baskets of flowers along the boardwalk!! Still tuktuks and traffic, we are still in India.
It’s blue sky today … Our first morning blue sky since arrival! Fantastic, fresh and vibrant. Flowers and greenery everywhere. Everything looks better with blue! Lol. A great day of celebration. Sunglasses needed!  
First stop the Amber Fort and a ride on the back of an elephant! Wow – very fun indeed. The view was spectacular of the surrounding area as we climbed higher and higher. Many young men taking photos and we were to find out later how aggressive their sales techniques were … But for now, enjoying the adventure and vistas. Jaipur seems much cleaner than the last places we have stayed … And although congested, seems a bit more manageable. The fort was huge, and indeed spectacular.  
On this trip I am inspired by the details of the carvings and paintings, frescoes and other designs of architecture that I have seen. I am hopeful to combine them one day in a quilt of my journey to India.  
After the Fort we went to a handicraft cooperative where we were served tea, soft drinks, pakoras and some other snacks and shown the beauty of carpet making in wool and silk. Then to the fabric and textile area where we were shown all kinds of textures, colours, sizes and prices! When one appreciates quality it is easy to fall in love with the art.  
We had a saree wrapping demonstration – and they used me for a model for the other women to watch. I was draped and wrapped in just a moment … Covered in pink from head to toe 🙂 and even a bindi mid forehead just between my eyebrows. It was fun to be the model and the process seems so effortless to the talented woman doing the demonstration. Still no Saree purchases in our group!  
Upon leaving that venue we went to another palace structure and then on to the observatory and explained how horoscope study is used in India. Interesting! The sun was out in full by now and the air warmed up quite a bit. We were treated to a ride on rickshaws through the streets and to the market area of Jaipur.  
We got back on the bus, some of the gals heading to the central market area of town for some shopping. The rest of us followed the itinerary to the Gem cutting demonstration and an opportunity to shop some for those serious gem and precious stone lovers!
Back to the hotel for a walk along the boardwalk and photo time. Feeling like part of the street celebration, we walked and enjoyed the hubbub in the air and on the walkway. Street food and knickknacks were being sold, balloons being held, kids squealing with delight and playing … A cow eating some seeds left for pigeons. It was late afternoon and the sun soon to descend.  
A few of us went for supper via TukTuk just a few short blocks away. And home early for relaxing this evening, packing and preparing to head out tomorrow to Pushkar. It will be a smaller town, I understand, and partly in desert. We are meeting with spiritual guide type people I believe, and have some time to shop in the market in Pushkar. The sun will shine and it will be a lovely day away from the hustle and bustle of big cities and aggressive sales folk ….. What treasures will we see? Will we feel blessed?  
Trying to stay in the moment as much as possible and to hold the space for all that comes and goes through me here in India. Land of beautiful things, eastern sun and exotic visions.  
Good night my family and friends, Namaste….
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