Rajasthan: Beyond the obvious
We have always been mesmerized by the beauty of this historical land of Rajasthan. Whether it’s the tales of valor of the Rajputs or stories of love between the courtesan and the prince, or the artistic havelis of the traders community or the miniature paintings that adorn the walls of the forts, the Mirchi ke bade or the delectable Laal maas for lunch-this land gave us plenty of reasons to fall in love with it.
When we design a trip, we keep all these elements in mind. But we want to go to the other other side. We want to go beyond the obvious. So yes, we love the architecture, we love the history, we love the cuisine, we love the culture, but we want to do more, when we are there. So we have designed an offbeat exploration of the three cities that we mapped down.
Here are the top 5 offbeat experiences that we have on our trip to Rajasthan.
1. Horse Safaris in the Aravali ranges: The countryside near Udaipur is quite different from the bustling banks of Pichola. Tiny villages, stray cattle , dried up river beds and a dramatic landscape are common elements. So while our trip starts in Udaipur, we also go on an adventure exploring the typical Rajasthani countryside on horses. It will be a half day affair, and its great for beginners too. One goes around the smaller villages and explore the topography and also breaks for lunch at a local’s home. An experience which will stay with you for a long time. So giddyup!
2. Banks of Pichola-Backpackers paradise: There is plenty of time to explore the many bylanes of Pichola. Rooftop cafes, quaint bakeries and even coffee shops. Flea market like stalls where you can buy great accessories or clothes(read wristbands/bandanas and harems) or get leather bound books for your literature loving friends to write in, or get miniature paintings to adorn your wall with. Eat. Chill. Relax. Shop. And VOILA Udaipur turns into the perfect leisure getaway.
3. Bazaars of Jodhpur: With the clocktower standing tall amidst the chaos that engulfs the local bazaar of Jodhpur, expect the unexpected here at all times. The Sardar market located under the Mehrangarh fort which looms over the whole blue-city, this market sells everything under the desert sun-trinkets, bangles, cattle, spices , fabric called Lehriya. Also located here is the vibrant Spice Market, a photographers delight. A riot of colours and myriad condiments will take over the scene, an explosion of sorts-which perfectly symbolizes the spirit of the Sardar market. We are also indulging in a Masterchef class in a humble kitchen in the market, where we will be taught beginners Rajasthani cuisine. To learn these skills in this charged atmosphere will be something else altogether.
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4. Night safari in the Thar- Yes, we are camping in the desert, a local dance performance will follow and we plan to chat around the bonfire. But what we are really excited about is the camel safari post sunset. We will have a million stars above us for company, and a walk through the desert on our camels, with the soft sound of the camel’s step against the sand. Sigh!
5. Haunted town of Kuldhara: The truth is out there.
While we are super stoked to spend 3 days 2nights in Jaisalmer with the gorgeous architecture of the traditional traders haveli’s and the fort, we cant help but feel the thrill about visiting Kuldhara. A village of Paliwal Brahmins which has an eerie past to it. In the year 1825AD, 17000 Paliwal Brahmins left Kuldhara and surrounding 83 villages over night, migrated to a place that no one really knows. Legend has it that the Paliwals were affluent traders on the silk route and contributed maximum to the taxes of the land, However one of the conspiracy theories state that the Prince of Jaisalmer took fancy to the village headman’s daughter and to escape his clutches, the whole population just vanished overnight, leaving behind their land which they had lived in for 5 centuries. And when they did, they buried all their wealth underground in this village and cursed the land so that no one else could set up home here. a Rajasthani folk song about this migration goes, ‘Let’s leave the calves in the stables, let’s leave the cradles, let’s leave the milk boiling on the cooking fire; let’s leave all that we have here, never to come back again.’ –and leaves us with goosebumps.
Are’nt you looking forward to the Rajasthan getaway now too-so common take those leaves and lets head out. Ofcourse we are a sucker for the good-old fashioned forts: the city Palace, the Mehrangarh, Jaisalmer, we will watch the colourful dances at Bagore Ki Haveli on the banks of the Pichola, we will chill on the many terrace cafes . But these experiences which go beyond the obvious will make this one helluva tale to tell.
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