Postcards from a village near Pushkar, Rajasthan

I've always wanted to go to an actual village, and on a recent trip to India - I got to experience one of the best 24 hours of my life. When you live in a big city like Dubai, the idea of silence, barren land and 'no wifi signal' fade to make sense. We live immersed in so much convenience and technology even without actually understanding it, that to see how lives are lived in small villages in the middle of the desert in India can be a heart wrenching experience. (I am not exaggerating)


Why did I choose Pushkar - and where is it? 
Pushkar is a small town a couple of hours from the capital city of Rajasthan. It is very famous for its annual camel fair - when thousands of camels from all over India are brought to this town to trade, showcase, breed etc. That's how I know about this place. I have a fascination for small towns, the community - what makes the people stay in these towns, how they earn a living, how the children think, where do they buy their every day groceries from and what kind of functions/ festivals do the people go to. The fact that there was easy access from Jaipur via the railways and that I found this amazing farmer who had a small boutique hotel (like really a tiny hut) that seemed like an experience worth having combined with the fact that I did not have a reason to travel to Pushkar; made me go to Pushkar.

How did I get there?
I bought a ticket 15 minutes before the train left the platform. I'd searched before hand on xx which the fastest train would be and went to the ticket office and bought a one way ticket - a tiny paper slip that in all probably nobody was going to check. The ticket for the ride cost less than a dollar. I could'v'e gotten the reserved + air conditioned cabin had I booked my ticket before hand which I didn't. 
It was a real hustle just getting into the train - lots of families rushing in to get a seat - it was first come first serve. I was no competition to the ladies around me, all pushing each other ensuring their own kids safely get in. I still managed to get a window seat. I can't describe how beautiful the journey was - dotted villages, women in colorful long skirts working their way around large farms, tiny huts, children who would try and wave at all passing trains and sudden occurrences of large trees that seemed to be hundreds of years old.
The train would stop in Ajmer. I was accompanied by a few acquaintances - we took a shared tuk tuk to the main bus stop from the Ajmer train station. I was very tempted to visit the famous Ajmer Sharif Dargah - one of the most famous shrines in India.
The bus ticket to Pushkar was less than half a dollar. A tiny discount for women (small win).
We got off at the Pushkar stop. It was literally in the middle of now where. Our host - the farmer and hotel owner came to pick us up in a rented car (I was surprised it wasn't a camel).

The farm.
My friend and I, a female backpacker from Canada, were both quiet. This was too much to take in. A small town getting smaller every minute. We traveled for around 15 minutes until taking a turn onto a side dirt road to the farmers home.
The house was a tiny concrete box type structure in the center of a large barren area. We could see lots of family members - all excitedly, though terribly shyly, slowly coming to greet us. There was genuine warmth - the kind you don't get to see or feel in a Dubai or a Delhi.
Water is a serious concern in these areas - so even though this family's main income used to be farming - it's now renting out the two horses and two camels for weddings or a desert safari. A family of around 12 members supported by a couple of farm animals - I found that weirdly powerful.
It was beautiful - there was a hardly a friendly wind - but it being end of February - the sun wasn't so harsh.
I was a few kilometers away from the nearest town; Pushkar. For miles and miles, I could see plains - an earthen colour. I could see a couple of camels grazing so lazily in the neighbors compound. It was like another parallel universe.

A few photos :


When was the last time you had a meal that was cooked using charcoal in the open in the middle of nowhere. This small farm looked even more stunning at sunset. I stood on the farm land, doing nothing for a few minutes. There was pin drop silence. Just a few goats and cows doing their thing.



There was a dog as well - Max, he was the protector of the farm animals - chasing away stray animals. The dog was a sweetheart. The few trees that dotted the farm seemed like they'd been there since eternity.




Milking a goat was a first for me. Very weird experience. I would've been scared to milk a cow - thankfully this goat was calmer and well, smaller.





Village children, chasing our camel, saying a hello - truly a heart  warming scene.




The farmer's sons took us on a camel safari towards the mountains - an amazing experience I shall never forget.




I lay there, looking at the foliage, the sky, the old tree, hearing nothing but the chirping of a few birds, a few sentences exchanged with Melissa and nothing else. While this was a popular camping site for backpackers, we were lucky not to see too many people.


Hippies who have been staying here for years.


Hello.


The youngest girl was obsessed with my phone - she was amused rather. Her brothers were shy.



Max liked me. He'd come and quietly sit beside me and loved it when I petted him.

Okay, so was this a safe experience? The concept of being safe never leaves my head the moment I step out of my comfort zone. I did some research, had company - I may not have done this alone, and was at peace only after I saw the big family. Spending a few hours here was an ethereal experience. I had taken the necessary precautions. However, I did get an upset stomach after my trip to India. I was really careful but probably got carried away seeing so much of desi food. Or it was the buffalo milk - it's quite heavy and maybe my body did not take it well.

How can you book  this experience? Honestly, I doubt the farmer's family has any presence online - so the only way to book is to go to the main street in Pushkar - the one beside the lake. He owns a small kiosk that offers camel desert safaris inside a travel agency store. His name is Kalu and he's a quite famous. Ask around.

You can decide to visit the farm and his family for a few hours and he'll include a home cooked meal and a desert safari for merely 1000 INR (15 USD).
This experience was definitely outside of my comfort zone - but I'm so glad I made it. I hope you will too if you do get a chance. It'll be an experience to remember.

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