The traffic did not move for 40 minutes. It was clear that continuing to wait in my car would be pointless, so I pulled over my beat-up Tata rental into an empty spot between two street-side soda vendors. To be completely transparent, it wasn’t a parking job per se. It was more like driving up on the sidewalk far enough so that the vehicle would not impede street traffic. While I usually abstain from such vehicular negligence, I was merely taking a page from the local book. You know, that page on India’s “liberal” parking policies.
My original day’s schedule was to behold the intricate honeycombed latticework of the Hawa Mahal, the rose-colored terraces of the “Palace of the Winds.” At a quarter past four, and 10 miles away from the palace, I resigned to my fate – I would have to see it another day.
So instead, I strolled up the street in search of the cause for the congestion on the street, while swatting away dusty children beggars and greasy merchants inviting me in for a cup of chai and their sales pitch on Indian handicrafts. Perhaps there would be an interesting story behind the traffic that ruined my day.
Around the corner, there was the sound of sousaphones and the trumpet of elephants. Then came a procession of girls, mothers, and grandmothers holding up ghudlia pots above their heads with hands ornate in henna design. They marched down the street in single file, singing songs of devotion to Parvati, the deity of marital bliss.
I was just in time for the Gangaur festival.