Festivals & processions are Jaipur’s trademark. These attract loads of visitors, India and non-Indian alike. So we were rather disappointed when the festival calendar for April showed none. The bigger was our surprise when we literally happened to run into one! Stepping out into the street from a little yard that harbored a vegetable market, we stood face to face with an elephant. With its head beautifully painted, it swayed along the street carrying an elegantly dressed man and a child. Even in India, at least in an urban area, this is not the most common sight!
What followed was a two hour long procession of various groups, mainly women in colorful saris (each group had their own color) chanting what could have been “Peace for the World”, girls and boys students in school uniforms, and last but not least, cluster men in traditional white cassocks wearing a bright paper flower on their chests. The parade ended with groups of men playing music, all dressed in beautiful white uniforms and wearing colorful turbans
We did not understand completely what it was all about, not being able to understand the chants and read the flyers given, all in Hindi. But even not knowing what we supported so passionately, these two hours were simply an amazing time!
Paul, Jane, and the two of us were the only non-Indians present and received a lot of attention. Unfortunately, this also included being handed drinks and food constantly. Especially the drinks were horrid. They came in bright colors: pink, blue, yellow. It was definitely undrinkable! With masses of people around us scanning every single move and reaction on our faces were was no way out. Pretending we enjoyed the precious gift, we kept smiling and holding on to the very cup to avoid more offers.