Monsoon for Indians is sweet and exhilarating because it signals the end of torrid, diabolical heat, often of 100F or more. So, when the skies turn grey and clouds appear, the excitement mounts. People start smiling. Spirits soar. The clouds mass in great billows and a Biblical darkness descends as thunder and lightning fill the skies. When the heavens open, the rain does not fall, it hammers. In minutes, the earth is swirling with so much water you feel fish might leap forth. Children dance in the streets. Strangers smile at one another in delight. The aroma released by rain on sun-baked earth is intoxicating.
Overnight the landscape is transformed into a lush green vision. The monsoon is also incredibly romantic.Rajasthan has belatedly realised that it’s time it started selling the monsoon experience. After all, this is a state where the maharajas, who knew a thing or two about enjoyment, built special monsoon palaces in the hills for the sole purpose of watching iindoors In Rajasthan, because it rains for an hour or so at a time – and not every day – it’s business as usual: when it stops you can go out sightseeing, shopping, trekking.Sitting on the restaurant balcony and watching the mingling of earth, clouds and sky, it can be understand why Indians rhapsodise about the monsoon; why it has inspired Indian artists for centuries.There are monsoon ragas, poems extolling the monsoon and monsoon miniatures showing emperors lolling on bolsters and frolicking with buxom belles in misty gardens bathed in the soft, pearly light typical before a monsoon.Rain or shine, though, there’s much more to Rajasthan than sightseeing. Because most of the palaces and forts are located near villages, you can experience another culture and lifestyle – rural India at its prettiest – without forsaking the comfort of a modern heritage hotel.