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Old 13th November 2019, 18:20   #1
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Default Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Pushed to undertake a trip to Pushkar

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"I have a crazy idea to go to Pushkar on 9 & 10 November to see the Camel Fair. Are you interested? I can reach Delhi on 9/11. It's either a 7-hour drive or afternoon flight to Kishangarh. I have to reach Kolkata on 11/11."

This WhatsApp message from a schoolmate, Suchatte, who lives in the UK (not Uttarakhand!) and is an avid photographer, at the end of September set the ball rolling for this hurricane trip to Pushkar. It started with a trip to the airport a little after 3 am on 9/11/19; a 400-km drive to Pushkar followed by a 7.5-km walk through the fair in the afternoon and evening on 9/11/19; a few hours of disturbed sleep (more about that later); waking up at dawn on 10/11/19 and another 10-km walk to "capture" the sunrise, and later visit the Brahma temple; a 10-hour drive back home, to reach at midnight; and finally, another trip to the airport at 10 am on 11/11/19!

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First task on hand: finding accommodation. Prices of decent hotels (read: car parking available) in and around Pushkar for the period of the camel fair are through the roof. The cheapest option we can find are 2 non-AC rooms at the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation's Hotel Sarovar - and what tilted matters in the Sarovar's favour is the location, right next to the Pushkar Lake.

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Ample parking, spacious rooms, clean toilets, a reasonable tariff (despite the seasonal hike during the camel fair - yes, even RTDC does it!), breakfast and one meal included in the room charge (buffet of simple vegetarian fare), and very friendly and cooperative staff, all made us feel at home immediately. Yet, at bedtime, I discovered that the fan in our room has a 'binary' regulator - full speed or nothing! Unfortunately, the blanket was prickly (yeah, I know, camels love prickly stuff - I dont!), and entirely ruined a peaceful night's sleep.

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Of course, motorized traffic is blocked off from entering Pushkar for the duration of the fair. So here we are, waiting for someone from the hotel to be despatched, to show us the way past those barriers, through narrow lanes, to arrive at the hotel. The cops aren't friendly, but we managed to park the car finally.

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Parked

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Some of the photographs in this thread are by Suchatte, and I have tried to acknowledge the same for specific pics as far as possible.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 21st November 2019 at 17:34.
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Old 15th November 2019, 11:21   #2
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

All's fair at the camel fair

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The Pushkar Camel Fair is by no means the only fair where camels are bought and sold. In Rajasthan, camel fairs are also held in Nagaur (Jodhpur), Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Gangaur and a few other places. Pushkar is by far the most well-publicized camel fair of them all, and it is said that at times the number of photographers and foreign tourists outnumber the camels there!

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Well, it is a fair. How can a fair exist without its entertaining attractions? - the Ferris Wheel (there were at least 3 giant ones there) and other rides, magic shows, food stalls, handicrafts, toys, balloons - and of course, rides on camels, camel carts and horses.

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Pushcart at Pushkar PC: Suchatte

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Camel shopping

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Shades in many shades

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Colourful circles for the womanly wrist

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Iron implements and kitchenware. The cast iron pan would be a chef's delight!

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Recycling camel excreta (so that you can have much to write home about!)

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Camels in the fair - caught in a never-ending circle

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Will the camel have the last laugh? PC: Suchatte

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 21st November 2019 at 17:36.
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Old 17th November 2019, 11:53   #3
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Fair or unfair? Camel laws cause loss

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Camels are in trouble. Actually, camel breeders are. From what we hear, the 2019 camel fair has less than a quarter of the number of camels that used to turn up even 5 years ago. In 2016, a new law, the Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter & Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, came into being. Aimed at preserving, protecting and increasing the camel population in the state (the camel is the State Animal of Rajasthan), the Act prohibits slaughtering, export or transport of the animal out of the state, migration within the state without permission, or causing 'bodily pain, disease or infirmity' to camels. Penalties are steep, and can include imprisonment up to 3 years.

Quote:
“Over 10,000 camel-cart owners may not be able to earn two square meals a day. Be it transportation, selling milk or using the animal in any activity will be treated as atrocity,” said Umed Singh Raibari, a Raibari community leader. The community is largely into rearing of camels in the state. “Migration can't be stopped as food for camels is not available in Rajasthan round the year. Besides, the animal is taken to other states for mating,” said Himmat Singh. If the government bans trading and migration, population of camel will decline at a faster rate, he argued.
Source
Quote:
Nowadays this community faces restrictive grazing laws, social hostility and falling incomes. Camels are essential to herders because they can survive the heat, require little water, and offer their milk and hair in return but the Raikas find themselves struggling to survive. Keeping camels is hard work and demands a lot of skills. Raikas are the only people who are able to communicate with their camels with the slightest tilt of the head or hand.

Narain Singhal, a herder of Bijapur village in the Pali district of Rajasthan, came to Pushkar fair with five camels. As he said, they are not even getting the right price for trained camels. “Last year I was unable to sell any camel. I am not optimistic about doing good business this year. The price of cattle remains low for the past few years. We are now breeding fewer camels because there is no demand as we cannot sell outside of the state,” said Singhal.

The price of cattle remains low for past few years. Each camel sold in 10-15 thousand rupees. Previously, the Raikas used to sell only young male camels the fair. That isn’t enough anymore. They get Rs 10,000- 15,000 for each camel and the price will be little higher if it is a trained camel. But it is difficult after the state government enacted the Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 2015, providing severe punishment for selling camels for slaughter, for taking them outside the state, for castrating them and even for using the nose peg. At the same time camel was declared the state animal of Rajasthan in 2014.

New laws and policies, supported by some environmentalists and animal rights’ groups, have curtailed the movement and altered the lifestyle of the Raikas. National parks like Kumbhalgarh now restrict access to camel herders, limiting their old migration patterns. With these restrictive laws making it difficult for camel herders to access land and resources, some Raikas have been forced to sell even female camels at the Pushkar fair to supplement their earnings. Until 2000, only young male camels were sold. Few animal rights organisations had asked the government to ban female slaughter to try to preserve the species. Since March 2015, the state government called for a blanket ban on the slaughter of both male and female camels – thereby eliminating a steady source of income for the Raikas.

The income opportunities from camel herding are getting zero. As a result, many left the community looking for alternative livelihoods and migrated to other states. Amar Dewasi of Jodhpur came with his father Jaitaram to sell their only camel at Pushkar fair. Camel husbandry was their traditional occupation, but now he works in a hotel in Goa as he said, “I cannot continue to do a 24/7 job without earning any income. Raikas have no livelihood options in Rajasthan.”

Raikas have no options other than the dairies that pay only a small amount for camel milk. The Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has not even permitted marketing camel milk in the state. However, in countries like Suadi Arabia, Somalia, and Mauritania small-scale industries have developed around camel milk products. Even in Europe, camle milk is sold as a health food.

Source

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Tourists enjoy joyrides on camels. It seems there are more camels involved in this activity at Pushkar, than are for sale

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Camel carts ready to take you sightseeing into the desert PC: Suchatte

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We declined a ride on this animal, despite the owner's pleas

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This field used to be full of hundreds of camels throughout the duration of the fair in earlier years, as we learnt

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Camels await buyers, even as they pose for photographers early in the morning

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 21st November 2019 at 17:38.
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Old 17th November 2019, 18:31   #4
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Camels through the lens

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Camels at sunrise

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A herder brings in his camels to Pushkar early in the morning, amid a swirl of dust

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Camel art

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A camel herder's family tent. The ladies cook as their camel looks on in disinterested fashion

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Camel dance competitions and races are also held, though we didn't get to see any. This camel with leg bells is a participant

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Photographers outnumber camels, they say - with a variety of equipment, from GoPros to huge lenses

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The poor puppy isn't getting much attention...

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...but this dog certainly is!

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This camel appears to be upset that it is not getting enough attention either, and seems to be reaching out to bite the fellow while his back is turned! PC: Suchatte

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Neither was there much attention or activity around this mobile clinic for camels. But then I Google up a bit about Spana, and out come a lot of very interesting information about an international group that helps camels and other animals around the world. Read here

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Old 21st November 2019, 10:07   #5
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Horses for courses

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One special horse

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They TD horses here, not cars!

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The gentleman seated on the left and pointing, is buying the two white horses PC: Suchatte

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The method of bargaining and finalizing on the price - indicating with fingers under the cover of a cloth.
No outsider knows what price was paid. Is that where the term 'horse-trading' comes from?


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One angry horse...

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...and a pair of angry bulls!

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Old 21st November 2019, 14:13   #6
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Pushkar's spiritual fare

Pushkar is not only about camels and horses, even during the ongoing fair. With the upcoming Kartik Purnima, participants in the religious rituals number many thousands, and the town and its numerous temples as well as the streets, shops and people have a sacred connection with divinities of all kinds.

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The revered Brahma temple, which, the locals will have you believe, is the only one in the world - not really

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The Pushkar Lake appears cleaner than what I remember some years ago

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The lake all lit up at night - the animated lighting shows running camels and leaping monkeys

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Sacred corner near Gau Ghat alongside the lake

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Spiritual reflections PC: Suchatte

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Happy smile

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Sacred rubber stamp. The man in the cap carefully stamps the word राधे ('Radhe') on the foreheads of devotees willing to pay a little money to him

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Dressed up as the Goddess Kali to beg for money. Want a photo? Please pay! PC: Suchatte

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One more little goddess

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Guarding the gateway to God PC: Suchatte

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Stepping up to God through a metal detector PC: Suchatte

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Colours of religiosity

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Suhaag Bhandar: The shop that ensures wedded bliss forever

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Men of God wait to meet Him

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Sacred threads of many kinds

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Old 21st November 2019, 15:02   #7
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Posing for the money

It's early in the morning, and we are out before sunrise to photograph people posing for the camera, in an effort to earn a little money. 10 to 20 rupees per person is the going rate, while foreigners pay even 50 or 100 rupees at times.

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Toothbrushing before the action begins

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A nomadic family gets ready to pose outside their tent

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Capturing the fellow as he lights up his chillum

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Smoking up

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Monochrome smoke PC: Suchatte

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Counting his earnings after he's finished playing music for money

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They collect money too

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And there are these folks, happy to be photographed without asking for money PC: Suchatte

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 21st November 2019 at 17:45.
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Old 21st November 2019, 15:08   #8
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Great snakes!!

The snake charmers pose with their cobras, and quickly disappear as the day progresses.

They don't want to be reported for Wildlife Act violations.

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PC: Suchatte

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PC: Suchatte

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Curious (and daring) foreigners pay more

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Old 21st November 2019, 16:49   #9
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Food for thought

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Pushkar's famous malpua being prepared. Not as tasty as I remembered them to be, from previous visits

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Malpua and rabri

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Hot milk with malai

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Stalls selling pakoras are ubiquitous

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Our share of paneer pakoras. The sauce was avoidable

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All kinds of tea (and coffee too)

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There was a time when tea was always available in earthen cups (kulhads) like these. Today, tea stalls charge extra for serving tea in these

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For those who want their tea to be served out of a fancy stall, we found this at the Hotel Highway Xpress at Behror. The place even has hand sanitizers at every table!

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A restaurant where the doctor can be alone?

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Stuffed parathas with white butter and a side of chhole masala are an all-time favourite meal in North India

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Burritos and falafel, anyone? Read the menu in Hebrew please!

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Foodies' must-visit place for attaining Nirvana?

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Old 21st November 2019, 20:17   #10
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 21st November 2019, 20:21   #11
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Beautiful pictures, catching the everyday hustle and bustle of good old Rajasthan! Do share more images of Ciazzler.
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Old 22nd November 2019, 12:54   #12
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHelix0202 View Post
Beautiful pictures, catching the everyday hustle and bustle of good old Rajasthan! Do share more images of Ciazzler.
Thank you.

Didn't take many pictures of the Ciazzler®...

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...but here's a bike rental shop and some bikers' pics from there. Even spotted a yellow-plated Navi there!

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Old 22nd November 2019, 13:03   #13
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Less talk and more substance. The captions to full justice do the photologue!

Thank you for sharing a pictorial insight into something like this which still keeps our country unique yet amusing and no wonder the international tourists are awestruck witnessing such fairs.
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Old 23rd November 2019, 18:50   #14
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Having done my schooling at Ajmer, Pushkar always makes me nostalgic. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to attend the Camel Fair, but many a times have cycled all the way from Ajmer to Pushkar. I always challenged myself to cycle up the ghat (towards Pushkar and on the return). Tried it for the first time when I was in class 5 (along with a few elder cousins), could not succeed, has to push the cycle up. But from class 7 onwards, it was a done and dusted on a regular basis.

While in class 8, as a part of the scout camp, we (a group of about 80 students and 8 teachers) spent three nights at a camping ground just at the base of the ghat (from Pushkar to Ajmer). Very early in the morning, in pitch darkness, I would go under a culvert to complete my morning chores, lotta in hand.
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Old 26th November 2019, 16:18   #15
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Default Re: Ciazzler® Roadtrip | Pushkar Camel Fair - A Photologue

Beautifully penned SS Da. The pictures are great. What is even better is your touch in the captions. Thoroughly enjoyed reading the travelogue. You have captured so many thing in such a short trip.

Cheers,

Pawan
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