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  • Penelope Haines

Pushkar to Khimsar - Day 12


More travelling today.

For the last few days we've been heading steadily westward across Rajasthan towards the great Thar desert. The countryside is getting increasingly more arid although crops are still grown. Fenugreek, cumin and other spices prosper in the dry soil, and scrubby trees, used for feed, dot the countryside.

We stopped at a Gaoshala - a retirement home for all the cattle that roam the streets. Cattle are of course sacred, and not to be harmed, but when injured, old or unwanted they come to one of these numerous state or privately funded facilities and receive medication, care and a place to live out the rest of their lives. Although these were sick animals, they were being well looked after. We saw one cow being massaged; others wore bandages. All were fed and cared for.

The facility also cares for unwanted peacocks, other birds, monkeys and donkeys. It seems to be the local equivalent of the SPCA.

Tonight we're staying in a 15th century fortress which has been converted into a heritage hotel and stands right on the edge of the desert itself. It's the most magnificent place - truly beautiful. There's not a detail that hasn't been well thought out. Our bedroom is the size of a ball room, bathroom ditto. The grounds are lovely and the service is expectional, I felt like a Maharanee.

The Gaoshala


Our bedroom for the night


Bathroom


Inside the fort


The library/bar


The fort at night



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