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Thursday 1 March 2012: Fort Khejarla

Today we arrived at Fort Khejarla, a place that doesn't exist - it's not on maps nor in guide books, yet it's the most stunning place. You arrive at a narrow archway /entrance, and once through it, emerge into a vast and beautiful courtyard with the Fort towering over you. The Fort was constructed in 1611 and although in some ways you feel you are right back in the early 17th century, there is much that is modern and luxurious about this place. The rooms are royal chambers, and contain every comfort with tasteful ethnic decoration. I could have stayed here for a very long time.

It was only when we walked out later that I realised we were in the desert: we walked through the village (where we received a very friendly welcome), and then on up the hill to the temple of the goddess Durga to see the sun set across the plain. We had hampers of coffee, tea and biscuits brought up for us from the Fort and enjoyed cardomon flavoured custard creams as the sun went down.

After sunset, and we were the only people remaining, a tremendous drumming started up, so thunderous and mesmeric you could think of nothing else. We discovered later that was precisely the point - the drumming cleanses you of all thought and prepares you for prayer. It was a humbling experience.

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