Went on a tour of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan last weekend - had to cut the tour short b/c of a knee injury, but one eye-opener for me was the completely different side of Rajasthan that was revealed by bicycle.
Let's face it - for general tourism, Rajasthan may have a lot of beautiful forts and monuments, but the people experience leaves a lot to be desired. Aggressive behavior (esp towards women), scammers, pushy touts, etc.
This time was a completely different experience. Polite friendly people, genuine conversations with no ulterior motives and generally, a very laid back and relaxed time.
- Truck drivers who waved hello as they passed (giving me AMPLE room on the road)
- A schoolteacher who came by and wanted to know what was different about my bike - a conversation that evolved into a discussion on manufacturing advantages of China vs India
- A cyclewallah who refused to accept money for helping me adjust my rear brake
- A shop owner who took me to the back of his house so I could douse myself in cool water after a few hours of the mid-day sun
It made me realize that THIS was the real Rajasthan - not that phoney baloney consisting of decorated elephants taking tourists up the hill or the Lonely Planet recommendations.
I need to go back (although at a time of the year when I do NOT have to do 100km a day in 44C sun).