Rajasthan diaries – Bisnoi Village

Rajasthan diaries – Bisnoi Village

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.

The blackbuck

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.

Bisnoi Village

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.

Block printing on bedsheets

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).

Block printing. I bought some blocks too and hope to try my hand at it.

Blackbuck crossing the road in front of us

Carpet weaving

Pottery- I wish I could have tried my hand at it, but with time being short, I had to push it to another time.

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To check out the previous days, you can click here.

25 responses to “Rajasthan diaries – Bisnoi Village”

  1. Fascinating. I had to interrupt my reading of this post as I spotted the deer here running in the woods out of the corner of my eye. The woven patterns look so similar to Navaho weaving in southwestern USA, but I am not sure if they loop the weft around multiple warp strands like that, and I think their looks might be vertical. It is interesting to see the difference in both the looms and the potter’s wheel from what I am used to seeing here. A potter sits in a chair here and kicks a smaller wheel on the bottom of a post that the big wheel upon which the clay sits. And modern weavers also work looms at table height.
    Chairs have made our leg muscles incapable of sitting on the ground or low stools. I read a while back that it is not healthy to sit so much on a chair.

    • Wow! Its so nice that you get to see deer everyday of your life. It must be such a pretty sight.
      I had no idea they weaved in the US too…I thought it was more a Persian, Afghan thing. I think in Rajasthan, especially in this village everything’s outdated. It’s like stepping back in time. They live such simple lives- despite being close enough to the city to make changes. I wanted to try my hand at pottery but I never expected it to be such a messy affair. But it’s amazing to see the pot taking shape…kind of like magic🙂.
      You’re right about sitting on a chair…we need to get up and stretch or walk a little every half-hour so the blood flows. I don’t do it but I know I need to.
      Jo, I hope your knee is feeling better now. Thank you for sharing so much information. I never fail to learn from you. Hugs.

  2. Thanks for taking us along. I recently saw block printing featured on some travel show. From carving the blocks, to making the ink, it’s a fascinating process.

  3. This sounds a fascinating visit and it’s great that you saw the black bucks – they look like beautiful animals. We saw a demonstration of block printing in Jaipur. We had a go ourselves, and I bought a lovely throw there as a souvenir of our Rajasthan trip 🙂

    • Yes, it was fortunate that we saw the blackbuck since I picked ‘Bisnoi village tour’ for the last day, or else I would have got a earful from the family.
      Ah lovely🙂…that you tried your hand at block printing. I hope to try it out soon with the blocks I got. The throws and quilts there are very pretty. I managed to get the visiting card of a store that sells online too…for the future🙂.
      Thank you, Sarah for reading and sharing your experience in Rajasthan. It does seem that it’s a great holiday destination for those who like exploring.x

  4. This also brings to an end my travels through Rajasthan. I should thank Smitha for having taken us along also and experience the places and sights I have never seen before. The Travelogue is excellent capturing the soul of every place she visited. The photographs are beautiful. In fact I suggest that she brings out a proper hard bound travelogue. All the best, and thanks for the tour.

    • I had no idea you had not visited Rajasthan. I’m so glad I could take you on the trip. Thank you for asking me for day 6- it pushed me to complete the travelogue. Thank you also for suggesting a hard bound travelogue. It feels good to know you think the posts are worthy of it. Warm regards to you.

  5. HI Smitha, I knew you would get around to sharing your final post in due course. Your always do. This is a terrific visit. I would love this village with all its lovely handcrafts. What luck you had seeing this blackbuck. It’s like our lion sighting which was so fortunate.

    • Robbie, I’m smiling at your faith in me. Thank you! It’s nice to hear you say it. The trip was wonderful. I’m glad I could take you along too. I’ll be going on another one soon…fingers crossed. Thanks to WordPress, we get to see so much more now- like I got to see the lions close up 🙂 and it feels personal unlike a documentary because someone you know is sharing pics. Your lion sighting was cool -I’d forgotten how big lions are. Were you in an open vehicle?
      I’m certain you would enjoy Rajasthan if you visit.

      • Hi Smitha, yes, we were in an open vehicle but the lions were not frightening. They were like to cubs playing around. The elephant was a little scary as he got aggressive. We are planning a short trip to Namibia to Swakopmund. We had planned to go to Istanbul in June but that is looking unlikely because of the war. Such a great pity the world now has this new horror to deal with. Have a great day. Hugs.

        • Omg! I thought it was closed. They were so close. The elephant did look enormous and scary- it’s darker than the ones here.
          Wow! The next trip sounds something to look forward to, too. June, we hope to travel as well as the younger one should be done with her boards. Like you said, I guess we need to make the most of what we have and not dwell on things beyond our control. I’m going to follow it. Let’s use this year then to explore places around us.🙂. Hugs to you too!🤗

        • Yes, I do, Robbie. But I must have missed reading the post that you’re talking about. I’ll check it out now. Thank you for sharing the link with me.💛

  6. Thank you for completing your dairy. Fascinating animals, pottery and carpet weaving. Did they tell you how long does it take to complete a medium-sized carpet?

    • Aha! I’m so happy you stuck around for the entire trip :). It takes a month or two to make a regular size dhurrie because it’s entirely handmade. Apparently, Ikea sources its dhurries from Rajasthan and some other places in India.

  7. Your travelogue was a wonderfully welcome break in the day for me Smitha! I thoroughly enjoyed you taking us through this village – so good to see cleanliness and care for animals as a way and values in life, modernity doesn’t have anything to do with it, actually the richness of the heart and art work combined with these values feels so amazing and admirable. Simple truthful way of living.

  8. One of the brilliant things about traveling is to see and learn about new places and for me understanding the people/culture of the area… The descriptions and videos you have made, brings out this joy and yearning for me to want to venture out and recapture these feelings again. It is so important to do these days, as well – as you say we can control what we can control, and it is important to seek out life and not hide. Cheers to you and your travels.

  9. I very much enjoyed by trip to Jodhpur in your last post Smitha, particularly the blue city. And in this post your search for the elusive ‘black buck’ – I love the idea of this community and the reason behind it.

    • Ah, I was hoping you’d read this last post on Rajasthan🙂. The blue city and the Bisnoi community were both very interesting even for us. I had no idea that a community dedicated itself to the environment and where people are willing to lose their life trying to protect a tree or an animal.

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