The Farm at SUJÁN The Serai nestles in a corner of the camp, bordering soft hillocks and mellow bui scrubland. The poultry (all local desi species) dashing about in the daytime, from the adjacent coops and the occasional mooing of indigenous Tharparkar cows from their rattan-covered sheds, leaves you in no doubt of the location of this patchwork of green hues, in the middle of what is the Thar desert ecosystem. The lettuce abuts the tomatoes who blithely bend over home-grown spring onions and garlic in the golden light of a sun that can belong only to Jaisalmer.
The forts and palaces of Rajasthan are examples of the most spectacular architecture symbolising dynastic power and built as strategic military defences by the proud rulers of this region. For modern visitors they represent the grandeur and opulence of the Rajput courts, their legendary wealth, their turbulent history and their readiness to find and embrace death, if defeated. Some of the largest forts in Rajasthan have seen bloody battles, long sieges, intrigues, jauhars (immolations) and sometimes, defeat. Since the region is strategically located along India’s western frontier through which historically important trade routes passed, it was constantly under attack by forces intent on entering North India, right from the time of Alexander the Great.
The myth of the creation of the camel is dates back to Hindu tradition. Parvati, the goddess of power and the consort of Lord Shiva (the supreme god who creates, protects and transforms) was waiting for Lord Shiva to finish with his meditation. To pass the time, Parvati was playing with the clay and mud where she sat and had moulded an unrecognisable five-legged animal. She marvelled at her creation that she asked Shiva when he had returned to breath life into her clay sculpture. Shiva had originally rejected her proposal as he believed that no place would be habitable to this penta-pod and therefore by giving life to the animal he would not be able to protect and sustain it. However, Parvati persisting and persisting, Shiva had granted her wish.