I read an interesting travel article on the Washington Post recently. The author, Lisa Singh is in search of an authentic Indian village expeience. Not the Chokhi Dhani type.
I wanted to experience an overlooked side to Indian life. Nearly all Western travelers stick to India’s cities. Here in Rajasthan, a largely desert land visited by nearly half of all tourists to the country, those wanting a taste of Indian rural life often settle on a place like Chokhi Dhani. Billed as an “ethnic village resort,” it’s an amusement park on the outskirts of Jaipur where visitors ride bullock carts, eat in mud huts and watch dancers perform under the open night sky. You’ll also hear shrieks of fright from the crowd every time the electric lights inadvertently flicker off.
She is not willing to forgo the hot shower but quite a game not to let a few mice scare her off.
I didn’t want to forgo hot showers, but I was eager to spend days away from the city — and not a moment too soon. I’d flown into Jaipur in February as a three-week garbage strike gripped the city of more than 2 million and the smell of burning trash filled the air. The day the Hindustan Times reported that strikers “bayed for their leaders’ blood,” I hired a driver, met up with Mr. Agrawal and hit the road.
However, if you are willing to forgo the hot shower and not scared of a few mice or cockroches, I will suggest a different recipe for you.
1. Catch a state transport bus going in the direction of either Himanchal Pradesh or Uttranchal (or any other state you want to visit). You may get a few goats as your fellow passengers.
2. The most expensive room in the off season may cost you 150 rupees (3 dollars roughly) if you are lucky to find a proper hotel.
3. There will be a lot of friendly people around away from the big town madness that Delhi induces.
4. Sometimes the bus journey turns out to be a little bit too much even for me.
5. The places that are the last stop ( or almost te last stop) of a state transport bus are too beautiful for words in the state of Himanchal Pradesh and Uttranchal.
9 thoughts on “In Search of an Indian Village: Travel Article From The Washington Post”
happy teacher’s day!
I can suggest some more options. Not an authentic indian village but they can go to smaller towns.last time on my route from Indore to Bangalore, I have to catch train to Banglore from Khandwa. Train was very late so I had to stay in Khandwa for 15+ hours. I spent that time roaming around in Khandwa and from that experiance I can tell you that life in smaller towns is very different than what we have in big cities/metros.I also had similar experiance when going to Nagarjun Sagar from Hyderabad our bus brokedown in some very small place (I dont even remember the name of place now, but it was almost like a village). but ya offcourse they have to forgo hot showers.
Bellur, thanks a lot for your wishes.Nilesh, thanks a lot for sharing your experiences. And sometimes the city life makes me so tired!
It is true about the cities. I have been watching these foreign travellers to India on TT for a while now. Its the same track – Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Mumbai, Goa, Kerala. Few people go off this track.And come to think of it, they call it backpacking!
Nice post once again !!I have been to Neemrana, in winter ofcourse, let me tell you it’s a beautiful place.I disagree slightly with Arun here. I know a few foreigners who went to the remotest places in India, rather they love doing that, traveling in local 2nd class, sitting uncomfortably for 18-22 hours. Actually, it all depends from where they get info about our country. If someone has already visited the villages & has liked them, he/she surely going to recommend to others.Most of the tourists approach hotels/guides and then are guided to these famous places.
yeah, westerners has this stereotype about rural india.i hope it will break in the near future
Arun, when I first noticed it that *many* foreigners end up ony seeing the crowded cities in India, I was quite surprised!Cuckoo, that is true but I thought for a small number, but I may be wrong.I too hope so Maverick, I too hope so.
hey …thx for the compliment – more than the foto, the sight of waves coming as high as 10 feet is a sure beauty!!!and as for the off the beaten track to give the westerners some credit, its not tht easy – considering all the ‘anti’ marketing about the bad weather, people out to get ur money, the heat and the language divide…but ive been travelling the blog world, and i have chanced upon quite a few people who have done some different places – like gokarna, madurai , nilgiris … then again it takes alot of guts to say ‘yea i didnt want to see th taj although i crossed half the world to visit India!!!’
N that photo appealed to me a lot because I could imagine the atmosphere and was longing to be somewhere like that.I agree it is not easy for westerners to roam in another country but then what to do? In fact before writing this post I made my husband also go through the article who is infinitely more patient in these matters and he also felt he could not understand what the author was trying to say. Hence this post 🙂