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THE FOREST OF THE 29 — THE WORLD OF MERCHANTS

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Uploaded on Feb 24, 2011

Rajasthan, and particularly Marwar (« Land of Death») is an area of caravan routes. The feudal lords of the region (the Raos) were closely linked to the world of merchants. These astute tradesmen had networks throughout India and organised the passage of merchandise to the Oman sea. Spices, carpets, silk goods, gold, zinc, silver and opium were carried on their camels from the far side of Thar to the ports of the west coast. From there, the precious cargo was sent to Arabia, Persia, the near east and even Europe. In exchange for hefty sums of money, the Raos protected the caravans against bandit attacks. But the merchants did very well out of their trading, as testified by their magnificent homes, «havelis», which have lasted down the centuries. One of them inspired the house of Inda in Bikaner, in chapter 6 of Irène Frain's book « La Forêt des 29 ».

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