In search of rural Rajasthan, I landed up at an organic farmstay just an hour from Jaipur.
Swarms of people greet me as I alight at the Jaipur railway station. Some arrive in the pink city with royal expectations. Some transit through it to seek the desert culture of Rajasthan. And many slyly try to identify first-timers to the city so they can put their touting hat on.
I incessantly nod no to the constant soliciting of Madam auto, Madam taxi and Madam hotel, until I reach the exit of the station and someone’s Madam auto soliciting succeeds. I can see his bewilderment when I ask to go to Surya Vatika Road on the highway towards Chomu. The fare negotiation is skewed in my favour for once, because he has no idea where we are going.
We drive past the bustling city, past the resorts that line its outskirts. Until we turn off the main highway into a by-lane that winds along vast patches of dry land, barren even at the onset of spring. We occasionally see signs of the organic farm I’m heading to, and a few wrong turns and some help from a cyclist later, arrive at my destination.
As the auto whizzes off, I am greeted by the sweet smell of the earth, the kind that mixes with our soil and makes us nostalgic about the India we grew up in. Maliram-ji, my host at the farm, greets me with a broad smile and a nod, and ushers me in. In the distance, Maliram-ji’s wife, clad in a bright red lehenga-choli, is effortlessly lighting a chulha.
The birds are chirping, as though in my welcome, the trees are in partial bloom, rows of vegetables show signs of the end of winter, and the resident cows, goats & dogs are lounging in the sun. This green relief from the barren landscapes we’ve just driven along is one man’s dream to build an oasis in the middle of the desert, and prove that environmentally conscious measures can make a difference to the ecology of a place.
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Maliram-ji shows me to my little hut, whose mud walls and thatched roofs ensure that I won’t need any artificial forms of heating that night. I immediately fall in love with its cosy Rajasthani décor and the fibre roofing of my bathroom, which creates the effect of open air bathing while preventing creepy-crawlies from sharing my bathing space. My bathroom window opens into half-blooming fields of yellow mustard.
The day is warm, but the mini forest at the farm ensures natural air-conditioning, in which I take deep breaths; fresh air is a luxury for my citified lungs. I spend the morning lazing in the breeze on a woven khatiya, spotting magnificently coloured birds flying from tree to tree and often breaking the silence with the sweet harmony of birdcalls. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of the chaupal, I have a sumptuous meal of Manjoo-didi’s chulha food, cooked with vegetables grown organically on the farm; I can tell the freshness of this meal apart from anything else I’ve tried in Rajasthan.
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We play hopscotch that afternoon, and as she jumps from one tile to another, the music of her anklets intoxicates me. When the sun starts to set, I venture out of the farm and into the fields of mustard and jo that surround it. The yellow crops shimmer in the light, reminding me of Sting’s fields of gold. I walk along, now spotting a Kingfisher perched on a tree, now cringing at the carcass of a dead camel in a dry river bed, now smiling at a lady working in the farm, adding a bright red colour to the vast stretch of green & yellow. Living everyday in the city, we forget that it is the little things that bring the most joy to our stressful lives.
Also read: Sarmoli, Uttarakhand: A Himalayan Village Where Locals Run Marathons and Their Own Instagram Channel
Unlike most sunsets I’ve seen, the sun doesn’t paint itself or the sky with bright pink or red colours. It assumes a soothing pale yellow form, and sprays some yellow colour into the sky around it, leaving it largely untouched by its departure. I walk back to my farm to warm myself by the heat of the chulha and dine under the stars, accompanied by folklore animatedly related by the couple. We talk about the villages near the farm, the folk culture of Rajasthan, and their curiosity about life where I come from.
Also read: What the Kumaoni People of Uttarakhand Taught Me About Life
When we part ways for the night, I carry with me a strange sense of longing; I long for their contentment, the innocence of their thoughts, and the simplicity with which they live in this little green haven.
Nirvana Organic Farm: Practical Information
Nirvana Organic Farm is located 45 minutes from Jaipur city, towards Chomu. The best way to get there is to take a train from Delhi to Jaipur, followed by an auto (~INR 350). The cottages are priced at INR 1,500 per night.
Have you experienced rural Rajasthan? When was the last time you travelled to relive the simple joys?
I originally wrote this story for The Hindu.
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, “sustainability influencer,” social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes that travel – if done right – has the power to change us and the world we live in.
Jaipur is my hometown, but I never ever ventured to breathe in the fresh air of villages & farms. This post of yours make me but this experience in my bucket list.
I’m glad it does! But I guess that’s true for all of our backyards, we think we have all the time to explore them 😉
ख़ैर बड़े शहरों में तो ऐसी आबोहवा जल्द नसीब नहीं हो पाती पर छोटे शहरों में ये सब बड़ी आसानी से सुलभ है। फिर भी हम ऐसे जीवन, ऐसी फ़िज़ा का आनंद नहीं ले पाते क्यूँकि ज़िंदगी की भाग दौड़ में इन छोटे ही सही पर प्यारे पलों की ना तो हमें कद्र है और ना ही उन तक पहुँचने के लिए समय।
How beautifully put, Manish 🙂 And absolutely agree!
You are really doing a great job here.
Always help when you are planning a trip……….
Glad you found it useful, Rahul!
Read this in the Hindu after bolting up straight and grabbing the paper after seeing your name. 😀 It was such a soothing read.
Feels like a place where time moves very slowly.
Glad you found it and read the original in print, Anisha! It sure is a place where time slows down, perfect for a break away from a hectic city life 🙂
Flavouring and living the typical rural life is something I always yearn for. The freshness and naturally active lifestyle is unbeatable when compared to the hectic city type!!
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This article is a perfect depiction of interiors of Rajasthan. The rural life is as simple and innocent as nature and people here are very co-operative. Rajasthan is not only famous for its forts, Haveli’s and rich cultural heritage, but is also famous for its liveliness and intimacy with nature.
This blog is perfectly showing the feel of village’s soil of Rajasthan. Thanks for posting such type of blog. Enjoyed reading post on your blog.
You are an inspiration for person like me. you always write amazing blogs and one of the best things that inspire me about you is your travel destinations. they are like unique and offbeat. Great hats off. and thank you for sharing your experiences.
if you want to feel desert of rajasthan than visit garh rajputana camps in Jaisalmer..its amazing..
NIce Article, Always we have to escape from the taunting people when we go to the new places because they always try to despoil us, So we have to beware always.
Anyway, I like this place also the different culture of Rajasthan attracts the travellers more. I like the “glimpse of the farm stay”. The eye-catching art by the lady is appreciated.
Thanks for this nice article.
Very nice Article. I’ve visited Rajasthan many times and it’s my favorite place to visit. I truly think the real essence of Rajasthani culture lies in its rural areas. Rajasthan is truly blessed with rich traditions and festivals. The local tribes in rural areas are quite welcoming. Keep up the good work!