The thought of spending a complete day overlanding across remote locations and off-roading always excites us! And it’s not just about the exhilarating drive; it is about mingling with locals, partaking in their rituals, gorging on authentic local food, understanding their means of livelihood and possibly getting a chance to learn cultural secrets(!), all the while driving through beautiful raw-untouched regions!
That’s exactly what we do during our Rajasthan Self-drive Expedition, which we aptly like to call ‘Into the Dunes’, owing to the rare driving experiences in the desert, while you indulge in everything else the royal state has to offer.
Here’s an insight into what one day in Rural Rajasthan with TerraQuest looks like with five reasons why you must take this drive!
1. Keeping it Wild.
The first half of the day is spent driving across a riverbed and through ever-sandier trails to get up-close with the desert wild, either native or migratory. The numerous flocks of Domesielle Cranes, ducks and geese against an otherwise barren existence is a breathtaking sight!
Remember when an eminent Bollywood Celebrity was charged with the crime of Poaching a rare bird? Well that was in this region! The region is known for the Blackbuck and the Chinkara, rare birds, preserved in this area! The region is also inhabited by the Bishnoi Tribe, who are known as the original conservationists and live by 29 principals, with animal protection and conservation being high on their list.
Guess the Andaz Apna Apna actor was unaware of the sternness of the Bishnoi Tribe!
2. It is the people who hold their land together!
One thing that we love the most about driving through remote and rural regions is mingling with the locals. They pay more heed to humility and hospitality than anything else. Hearing their stories is enriching; we actually understand issues that really matter rather than the typical problems we city-folk are so good at creating for ourselves. How they counter these issues, in indigenous ways is commendable.
Through our drive we stop at a small rural settlement, or the local Dhani, and spend time with a Bishnoi Family. We learn how the local family has adopted innovative farming techniques, how the entire family survived a flash-flood, on one tree, and how their lives have changed over the years to adapt to the changing weather conditions! It’s not only a great learning experience for us, but also for the kids on our Expedition. Yes, you read it right, we usually have kids on our trips, little outbound cubs and with their never-ending escapades.
3. The foood.
Besides all the other experiential meals that we indulge in at the Rajasthan Expedition, the meal that we have with Bishnoi Family is just the best. Bajre ki roti cooked on wood-fire with gatee ki sabzi, and freshly beaten lassi – all of it, sincerely cooked for us by them! The setting is even more bizarrely authentic – a charpai set in the middle of lush green fields (in the desert, yes.)!
Those of you who have any remote inclination towards cooking, can learn the locals tips and tricks while the food is being prepared!
4. Amal Sabha
We all have uniquely distinct rituals of celebrating friendship, of promising to keep a secret, or of taking a vow that we’d never forsake.
The Rajasthani’s, well they have their own ways.
The Amal Sabha is a Rajasthani tradition of celebrating brotherhood, secured with the partaking of opium. Opium is grown in Eastern Rajasthan for pharmaceutical use. Tribes everywhere around the world have their own ways, and Governments often find it difficult and futile to meddle with age-old rituals.
The opiate recipe is prepared and watered down on the palm of the guests. We take a few slurps and the strange, bittersweet taste embeds this raw, rustic experience in our minds forever.
So this is just one day. And this one day of adventure and indulgence is culminates with a spectacular off-road drive through to our exclusive glamp-site!
Safari tents, each set-up with an en-suite chemical toilet and folding beds, set up temporarily, exclusively for the experience!
While the tents provide you with luxury in the middle of nowhere, the night is one full of wonder! We prepare mutton in their traditional “Junglee Mass” recipe, sip on some fine beverage as we sing songs around a bon-fire we set-up. Anyone up for star-gazing in the desert may take a short walk away from the camp.
In the morning, we walk up the hill to experience a sun-rise in absolute solitude! It’s also perfect for the kids to run around, pitch their own tents and probably go for a short morning hike while the adults blissfully stock up on their Vitamin D!
Every winter TerraQuest conducts a Self-drive Expedition to Rajasthan.
For details on our upcoming Expeditions to Rajasthan send a query to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our itinerary page here
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