Late last year, I visited Bhap village, near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Despite being one of India’s most travelled states, Rajasthan harbors secrets that take long to find, and even longer to forget. Bhap village, surrounded by a serene village lake, gorgeous salt pans, massive sand dunes, and friendly people, is one such secret. This photo essay is a collection of fond memories from the days I spent there:
1. SOAKING IN THE SERENITY OF RAJASTHAN’S LAKES
in Bhap village. Bhap itself is a typical Indian village with no proper sewage or drainage system, but after a disheartening walk through its narrow by-lanes, arriving on the pristine shores of this village lake is nothing short of amazing. Across the lake, we could spot several herds of camels trotting along in the desert.
2. LAUGHING WITH VILLAGE KIDS
in a village near Bhap, where Dalit families are still discriminated against and not allowed to visit the village temple. The smiles of these Dalit children give hope that India’s future will be brighter than that.
3. MEETING SALT WORKERS
at the nearby salt lakes, as they painstakingly dig salt from the waters and port it to a cart.
4. PLAYING WITH REFLECTIONS AT THE SALT LAKE
near Bhap village, which is far off Rajasthan’s tourist circuit.
5. STAYING AT A HERITAGE VILLA IN RAJASTHAN
called Barsingha Villa, with mud huts luxuriously furbished from within, opening into royal courtyards.
6. FINDING A GREEN VILLAGE IN THE THAR DESERT
of India, where sandy brown is the dominant color. Trees, shrubs and other vegetation has survived in this village due to its proximity to the Indira Gandhi canal, that starts in Punjab and offers irrigation facilities to the northwestern Rajasthan.
7. PLAYING WITH KIDS ON THE SAND DUNES
which, unlike the dunes of Jaisalmer, are completely devoid of travellers, camps, camel safaris and such. The moment we sat atop these dunes, the kids came rushing up to play with us, and asked us to take pictures of them rolling the sand.
8. RELISHING TRADITIONAL RAJASTHANI FOOD
made with delicious fresh vegetables, and served with local rotis.
9. TASTING FRESH CAMEL MILK
which is warm, a little salty, and very nutritious. When families in these villages take up other professions, they give away their camels to nomadic herders like this man. He walks in the wilderness for miles every day, feeding the camels and taking care of them, renting more camels from village to village, sleeping wherever someone offers him a bed and food, and finally selling the best camels of his lot at Rajasthan’s many camel fairs. When the going gets tough, fresh camel milk keeps him strong.
10. FEELING LIKE A SMALL FISH IN THE VAST DESERT
of Rajasthan; pure bliss.
11. MARVELING AT A PINK SKY AT SUNSET
and at nature’s ability to add such brilliant colors to the dull monotones of the desert.
12. CONTEMPLATING ALTERNATE PROFESSIONS
you know, just incase the whole travel blogging thing doesn’t work out!