13 Images

Rajasthan, India

A camel rider is silhouetted against the setting sun at the Desert Festival, Jaisalmer’s annual celebration of Rajasthani culture in the out-of-the-way to town in the Great Indian Desert. (Amanda Jones)
A gypsy dancer performs at a temple in Jodhpur. The Indian city is also home to the palace of the current Maharajah of Jodhpur, Gaj Singh II. (Indigo Jones)
A Rajasthani musician performs at Manvar, a desert camp halfway between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. India has recently reintroduced the tented safari camp, similar to those in Africa but with a decidedly Raj twist. Once upon a time, royal tiger hunts involved silk-lined tents, five-course meals and Champagne in crystal flutes. Although the modern camps are not as extravagant, they’re elegant enough to spark a visitor’s imagination. (Amanda Jones)
Rajiv, a camel guide, takes a break at Manvar. For a mother and daughter exploring the region, the camel rides were a big draw. After a sunset lope across the dunes, one young rider’s joy was transparent. (Amanda Jones)
A Rajasthani dancer is dressed to the nines for the Desert Festival in Jaisalmer. Thousands of people, mostly Indians, descend upon the city to see the Mr. Desert contest (he with the most macho mustache, superior warrior costume and best-tied turban), dancing competitions, camel races, camel decoration and, of course, air force jets performing flyovers. (Amanda Jones)
A spot of gold: Colorful blossoms float in a pond before an altar to the Hindu god Ganesh at Manvar camp, in the Great Indian Desert. (Indigo Jones)
An ancient temple rises in the middle of Lake Godi Sagar. The man-made reservoir was once the only source of water for Jaisalmer, a lyrical town of carved sandstone havelis (mansions), forts and palaces built in the 12th century. (Amanda Jones)
One hump or two: Young Indigo Jones heads out from Manvar camp for a dawn camel ride. The overnight stop at the luxury camp and resort also included a jeep safari through the desert to spot wildlife. (Amanda Jones)
Welcome to the palace: A colorfully dressed doorman welcomes guests to the Umaid Bhawan Palace hotel. The hotel, which is part of the palace of the current Maharajah of Jodhpur, Gaj Singh II, is a tribute to Art Deco, Eastern style -- with lavish silk Indian prints and canopy beds. (Amanda Jones)
Birds take flight around the main dome of Umaid Bhawan Palace. Finished in 1943 by the current maharajah’s grandfather, the palace took 15 years to build and has 347 rooms. (Indigo Jones)
A hennaed Indigo Jones makes friends with a kid goat during a stop at a village in the Great Indian Desert. The jaunt to India gave the 9-year-old a taste for adventure travel and a look at the disparity between her cushioned life in California and the hard lives of the children she encountered. (Indigo Jones)
Riders and their camels rest up before venturing to the Desert Festival in Jaisalmer. The annual celebration of all things Rajasthani culminates with a camel race on the wind-rippled dunes outside Jaisalmer. About sunset, camels and their hopeful village jockeys line up for a race of about a mile. People stream in on foot, by camel and loaded into trucks to watch the spectacle. (Amanda Jones)
A Bishnoi village in the desert outside Jodhpur features thatch-roofed huts. The Bishnois, a community found in Rajasthan and neighboring states, hold trees and animals to be sacred. (Indigo Jones)