【环球时报特约记者 宇同】许多去过印度旅游的朋友都为其绚烂丰富的色彩而迷醉。尤其是印度西北部的拉贾斯坦邦。塔尔沙漠覆盖了该邦的大部分土地,本应单调荒凉的沙漠地带却因几座多彩城市点缀其间而变得充满灵气,成为印度知名的旅游目的地。“粉色之城”斋普尔、“蓝色之城”焦特布尔、“白色之城”乌代普尔、“金色之城”杰斯梅尔,4个主要城市个个都有鲜明的主体色调,一圈儿转下来,堪称一趟“好色”之旅。[Global Times special correspondent Yu Tong] Many tourist friends who have been to India, have been fascinated and intoxicated by its rich and splendid colors; especially those of north western India’s Rajasthan state. The Thar Desert covers most of the land of this state; what should have been a monotonic, bleak and desolate desert has however become one of India’s most renowned tourist destinations. This is because of the desert being embellished with a few colorful cities that change it to a place full of aura. Jaipur, the “City of Pink”; Jodhpur, the “City of Blue”; Udaipur, “City of White”; Jaisalmer, “City of Golden color”; four major cities – each one with a distinctive body color. A round trip covering them could be called a tour of “beautiful colors”.
徜徉在色彩的海洋 An unhurried stroll in the colors of the ocean
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan state and is one of the corners of the “Golden Triangle” (New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur being the three corners) of Indian travel. Jaipur city is pink in color and includes attractions like the palace of the wind (Hawa mahal), Amber Fort and the ancient observatory. Looking out, regardless of whether it is a building housing people or a palace building with walls made of red sand stone, pink is the main color everywhere. In a pink building, local women seem to look more beloved in pink saris. Pink shadows cross the street from time to time and add a touch of romance to the city.
Jodhpur is blue in color. When looked down from the dangerous terrains to the North of the Mehrgarh Castle which overlooks the Northern part of the old city of Jodhpur, one sees a crowd of houses, high and low, laid out in open view. The eyes fill with blue color, lighter shade here, darker shades there; and give a feeling as if a person is staring into a fairy world in a dream of fantasy.
Udaipur on the other hand is white in color. The entire city is constructed around the Pichola Lake and looks like a grain of bright pearl on the edge of the desert. Regardless of whether it is the Palace Hotel and temples on the lake or the palaces and houses on the edges of the lake; regardless of whether the building constructed with marble or is made of brick; when one views out, he only sees white buildings set in the backdrop of blue lakes and green trees. This sight is full of elegance and romance and it is no wonder that Udaipur is one of India’s most popular honeymoon destinations.
West of Udaipur, lies the Jaisalmer castle. Resplendent and magnificent with a glitter of gold and jade, it stands in the depths of the bosom of the Thar Desert. Looking out over the desert sunset, the horizon looks as amazing as it has been touched by gold. The castle looks like as if it has been cast with molten gold and it looks like it is moving up and down like a mirage due to the transpiration of summer heat of the desert. It attracts you towards itself and makes you want to worship it.
一城一色各有来历 One city one color and many different origins
Historically, the state of Rajasthan was divided into dozens of the princely states. As the ruler of the princely state, the kings of these states were invested with the highest authority in their own territory and their personal likes and dislikes often influenced the color tone of the whole city. The hues and colors chosen by these kings have continued till date and gradually evolved into a part of the local tradition and became a part of the residents’ aesthetic view. In the land of Rajasthan, the magnificent and resplendent colors of each city have a unique story behind them.
It is said that the traditional origin of the “pink city” of Jaipur dates back to about 150 years ago. In the year 1876, during the British colonial period, Queen Victoria and Prince of Wales paid a visit to Jaipur. The king of the princely state, Ram Singh heard of the Prince of Wales’ liking for the pink color and gave an order that the whole city be painted pink. The Prince, as expected, was amazed with this pink city and fell in love with it. Moreover, when he was crowned as Edward VII, the King of England, he continued to take great delight at Jaipur and granted many concessions to this vassal state. This city has since then, has maintained a pink appearance all through. The locals also like to paint their hoses in pink whenever a new house is built.
There are still some controversies about why so many of the houses Jodhpur are painted blue. One of the explanations is that the color blue represents the Brahmins who make up the highest level in the caste system in India. It is said that Brahmin families in the old quarter of the city first started painting their houses painted blue to differentiate them from the others and make obvious their high status. Later, when the Indian government passed laws to abolish the caste system, some of the non Brahmin families also began to paint their houses blue displaying their make –believe high status. Later, gradually the whole city began choosing blue color to paint their houses. There is another explanation that is of the opinion that, the residents of Jodhpur’s houses had a major issue with termite infestations in the past. One of the effective solutions found for termite prevention and control was to add copper sulfate to the blue paint before dabbing the paint on the external walls of the house. Thus the city’s residential areas gradually turned into an “ocean of blue”.
Udaipur is known as the white city is mainly because some of the main buildings here, including the palace, were built with white marble. The houses of the residents and temples surrounding the palace and along the banks of the Pichola Lake are also mostly painted white. The most striking aspect of this whole scene is the “Pure White Lake Palace Hotel” laid out in the center of the lake. This hotel is said to be the summer palace built by the local king for his beloved woman in the eighteenth Century. His successors to the throne later transformed the hotel into one of the world’s top luxury hotels. According to legend, the queen of England, the first lady of the United States and Vivien Leigh, the famous star of the movie “Gone with the wind” have all left their traces at this hotel. The 007 series movie “Octopussy” was also supposed to have been shot here and propelled the fame of Udaipur worldwide. Silhouetted against the blue sky and white clouds, the white palace housed in between the clear waters looks like a castle set in a fairy tale of love. Another myth of love — the white colored Taj Mahal stares across time and space at a distance, in a display of romantic feelings of Indians.
The Jaisalmer castle was built in twelfth Century. There used to be an old inn near the ancient castle where camel caravans stopped to water camels. Companies of traveling merchants from Arabian countries would trade here in spices, silk and dried fruits and this place gradually became an important trade center in Western India. This road was also an important branch of the ancient Silk Road. The golden color of the castle mainly comes from the rich yellow sandstone in the vicinity and the entire castle from the walls to the palace and the houses all make use of yellow sandstone as their building material. The slow moving sand dunes reflect the sun’s rays and the sun shines on them creating a layer of golden color; against this backdrop, the magnificence of the castle looks like it has been contrasted with an ancient desolation. Filtered through thousands of years of history, the smooth edges and corners of the yellow sandstone did not appear mottled, but seem as if they have covered themselves with another layer of warmth.
Everywhere in the temples and palaces of the castle, one can see fine and intricate carvings in various patterns and designs. When the reporter visited a temple, he was fortunate to witness the work of the artisans engaged in renovation of the place. The craftsmen explained to him that in the ancient times, while building the “golden city”, the golden yellow pigment was obtained by an extraordinary method. It is said that the pigment was obtained from cow urine. The cattle were first made to eat mango leaves for a few months. This made their urine turn yellow; this urine was then collected in a container and put out in the bright sun to cure. The sediment was then processed using a secret formula and to get the golden pigment which had a bright luster. In the Hindu culture, cattle are the incarnation of God and this golden paint brewed from the liquids that came from the body of a cow is used to outline the idol to make it more divine and powerful. This shining golden yellow is called “India yellow” by some artists. “Unfortunately, since this method was found responsible for adverse health of the cattle, it has been declared illegal in our generation and is prohibited from usage. Nowadays, chemical pigments have replaced the cow urine brewed paint” a workman ruefully said.
男人的帽子和女人的纱丽 The head wear of men and the saris of women
Any beautiful scenery needs people to go along with it, only then does it not lose its flexibility. Each of “colorful” Rajasthan’s cities is made more mesmerizing by the variety of colors that the local people like to dress themselves in. Compared to other parts of India, it seems that the women of Rajasthan love to dress up in saris, the traditional dress of Indian women. Sari is a 5 to 6 meters long and one meter wide piece of cloth. When it is cleverly wrapped around a woman’s body and the woman walks towards you, the whole picture looks like a gorgeous and graceful part of the scenery. While one is on the road in Rajasthan, one can often encounters small groups 3 to 5 women balancing earthen pots on the top of their of heads dressed in colorful saris and shawls and absolutely not missing a shirt.
The clothing styles of local men are quite ordinary but their head dresses compete with each other for beauty. The head dress that Rajasthan men wear is called Pagree. White, pink, saffron, blue are all the favorite colors of male Pagrees and when they attend celebrations and festivals, they even have a Pagree that is multi- colored. In fact, a Pagree is just like a small sized sari, a 2 meter long, 20 cm wide piece of cloth that need a clever and skillful approach to tie. It is worn tightly to sit on the head like a hat and there are different styles of tying a Pagree with each style giving it a distinct shape and form.