Someone I have very high regards for, reminded me a few days ago that I hadn’t completed my Rajasthan travelogue. And, understandably so, I was thrilled. A) Because it meant that someone was looking forward to reading my travel writing, and B) it meant that they had read my previous posts; that’s why they knew that I hadn’t completed it. What more can a writer possibly want?
Anyway, as we only had a few hours on our last day in Jodhpur as I mentioned in my last post, we had to pick what we wanted to do. We chose ‘A visit to Bisnoi village’ . The ‘Bisnoi’ sect revolves around protecting nature. That includes all flora and fauna. As the story goes, the sect was created in 1451 by Guru Jambeshwar to protect trees and wildlife following battles between the Hindu population and the Muslim invaders. The community follows 29 rules which involve waking up early, feeding birds, keeping your home clean, etc. – rules for healthy living. Only then did we understand why people took feeding birds so seriously in Rajasthan. Making birdfeed was an occupation, and feeding animals and birds was considered a good deed. The Guru proclaimed that the ‘black buck’ would be his manifestation in the event of his death, and so it must be conserved.
The journey to the Bisnoi village was a one and a half ride on roads that were good at the beginning of the journey but became rugged towards the last 45 minutes. Despite the scene outside lacking beauty, we couldn’t take our eyes off the road or the land around us lest we should miss spotting the elusive ‘blackbuck’. So, we kept our eyes glued on parched, dusty roads and at uncultivated open lands where desert shrubs grew wild, and we caught sight of peacocks, peahens and some more peacocks and peahens. Occasionally we saw some cows, buffaloes and a herd of disciplined goats, but there was no blackbuck.
When we did not spot one even after forty minutes of driving and stopping, the driver cum guide decided to stop at a rest area that overlooked a watering hole. It looked like a mirage in the middle of miles and miles of dry and dusty landscape. There were egrets and cranes in the watering hole- scores of them. There were ducks too, or so they seemed from a distance. A person at the rest area was kind enough to provide us with binoculars, but they were no use- through them, we saw as much as we did without them. After taking photographs of the birds from all angles as we waited to spot other wildlife, we decided to return to the car, disheartened.
The weather was sultry and it was exhausting to stand out looking for something we had no clue would appear. However, as fate would have it, when we were on our way to the exit, we happened to turn to take one last look at the watering hole. And there it was – the elusive blackbuck and a herd of deer. We stopped to watch until he and his companions left the scene, and got into the car, content. We had achieved our purpose.
But it wasn’t the end. Because we spotted some more deer and another blackbuck on our way to the village. They crossed right in front of us to get to the other side of the road, allowing hubby (who hadn’t seen it the last time) to see it too.
The houses in Bisnoi village though made of mud, unpainted and lacking any kind of modern amenity, were spotlessly clean. ‘Cleanliness’ is one of the tenets of the Bisnoi sect. Our first stop in the village was at a weaver’s house. We sat in the courtyard while he demonstrated the loom and informed us carpet weaving is done using camel hair or cotton. The girls tried their hand at the loom too. Once we saw the process, we were taken to another room outside the house where the finished daris hung, ready for sale.
Note: If you buy one, they arrange it to be shipped to your destination, so you don’t need to worry about luggage. We didn’t buy any but have decided to when we visit Rajasthan exclusively for shopping.
After seeing the carpet making process, we stopped at a home where block printing was done on cotton sheets, cushion covers and table cloths. I couldn’t resist buying one though we’d already picked five earlier.
The next home was where pottery was done. The Potter demonstrated the making of a pot in front of us. Trying my hand at pottery was and is on my bucket list of things to do. But I’ll have to wait for another time to try it as we were getting late for the airport.
So, after buying a ‘magic oil lamp (that you can fill oil in from one end but when you turn it upside down, the oil does not fall out), we got back on the highway for the return journey, stopping only for an authentic Rajasthani lunch at a restaurant. It took us an hour to get to the airport and with that our Rajasthan trip came to an end.
I hope you enjoyed reading the travelogue and watching the videos (below).
To check out the previous days, you can click here.