The three days into Rajasthan have been an incredible experience for Australian ultra-marathoner Pat Farmer, so far.
The days are sweltering and spent in plus 35degree heat along a desert highway while the former minister runs for 80km. But the nights are spent in luxurious ancient marble palaces.
While Mr Farmer is continuing his commitment to the people of India and Australia, and in particular for disadvantaged girls, he and his wife Tania had their two-year wedding anniversary.
“When it was suggested to me that we go to a temple and experience the Indian tradition of a wedding anniversary, I wasn’t sure that Pat would be keen do it,” Mrs Farmer said.
“Because it was right in the middle part of the run, in the hottest part of the day and he was trying to get the kilometres finished.
“But when I asked him, he didn’t hesitate in saying yes.”
The couple were taken to a small white temple, just off the highway and after taking off their shoes they were ushered inside. There they renewed their vows, placed a garland over each other’s necks and offered fruit to a shrine.
“It was wonderful, what better way to remember the day you were married than experiencing that.”
After their vows were renewed, Pat went back onto the road to finish his 80km for the day. The temple was the only break he took all day in the 37degree heat.
Mrs Farmer said she was then sent forward to the accommodation and was unaware it was a palace in Deogarh.
“He never loses sight of the fact that we’re a couple and even when he as such an important job, he still focuses on the things that matter to his family,” Mrs Farmer said.
“So it was not only 80km today, but it was the amazement of being able to stay in the King Palace – or Maharaja Room – at Devgarh Palace.
“It was like something out of a movie. I walked into the room and it was nothing short of a movie about Cleopatra – the beds were wrapped in sheets you’d see out in Arabian Nights, there was a large bathtub where water was flowing out of a brass snake and magnificent pebbled tiled floors.
“The palace dates back hundreds of years and is heritage listed, but is open to the public as a hotel.”
Mr Pat Farmer said Rajasthan is an outstanding place to visit and the ministry of tourism for this state have gone above and beyond.
In particular, on the second day when members of the tourism industry led Mr Farmer and his run crew through the city of Udaipur on their motorcycles.
“It’s just the most amazing place I’ve been,” he said.
“I’ve run from the north pole to the south pole, I’ve run in China, Japan, Vietnam, Middle East, most of New Zealand, some of Europe and the whole of Australia.
“So that really says something.”
Mr Farmer began his 4600km journey on January 26 from Kanyakumari. His next major destinations are Ajmer on March 3and Jaipur on March 6.
Updates and donation links can be found on patfarmer.com