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It seems to be wedding season in India. Sarah and I came to regret the cute little balconies that our rooms had in Ajmer and Pushkar.

Don't get me wrong: the wedding procession is a wonderful tradition. But there are only so many times per day one can tolerate the all-consuming musical riffs of a marching band that doesn't have a concept of tune. There are only so many times per day that we can drop what we are doing and run to the window to observe the glittery ruckus without being a little annoyed.

So Sarah and I have moved on. We took the public bus some two hundred kilometers south, to Bundi. We don't know why we chose Bundi, and we've only so far seen it from the bus window and a little lethargic exploring in the (already oppressive) heat of the desert.

But so far we haven't been disappointed. Bundi is a magnificent ancient city; blue havelis and rotting palaces smished together under the watchful eye of crumbling, ancient walls. It is also very unapologetically Hindu. The reformed iconoclasm of the Mugal Empire has been reabsorbed into the generous aesthetic vocabulary of the Hindu pantheon. The abstract elephants of Akbar’s artwork are replaced by actual elephants sculpture, and instead of empty mosques the palace contains the rotting remains of icons of Krishna.

There is a magic to this place, undoubtedly the same magic that drew Kipling when he retired here to write. It remains more or less unspoiled by the caustic pressures of the tourism industry. Short-term travelers typically find it too far out of the way to be worth their while.

"Our home, very shanti shanti," Mr. Kiwan Niwas assured us, as we tripped across his doorstep, weary from our journey. He has a flailing large Rajput mustache that would look splendidly noble in the antique costume of nineteenth century India, but in a t-shirt and jeans, it makes him look a little like a retired cowboy, or country singer. All the same, shanti shanti sounded good to us, as did the price for their family's extra bedroom.

It’s a little less of a “guest house” than we expected. It’s a little awkward to have the two of us occupying the largest room in the house while the other half dozen crowd into the bedroom downstairs; a little strange that whenever we need food they stop to cook it for us. We can only trust that if this were indeed an imposition, they wouldn’t do it. Meanwhile, we enjoy the Hindi chatter of the children and watching the littlest one tottle about.

We have about a week to enjoy the “shanti” before we’ve got to go back to Delhi. It will be hard to go back to the city, but alas, duty calls. We have other plans brewing.

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