Rural Tourism in Rajasthan
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We all know that there are two facets of India. One is metropolitan love, while the other is the rural heart. Even now a great part of the population of the country lives in villages. It is these villages that are keeping the customs and traditions alive. Be it the tribes or farmer villages, there is so much character in rural India.
(Source: Flickr Nevil Zaveri)
There are two facets of Rajasthan. One is modern and urbane, while the
other is rustic and traditional. It is interesting to see the sheer
contrast in these two facets. Nowadays an increasing number of people
are inclined towards seeing the rural side of the state. That’s why
rural tourism has come up really well. There are many tribes that live
in the interior regions of Rajasthan. They are still very rooted to
their customs and traditions. Some of the most popular places to see in
the Tribal circuit include the following.
The same holds true
for rural Rajasthan as well. Rural tourism has been an important part of
the state tourism. Rajasthan is known for its rich architecture,
culture and traditions. Each year it attracts thousands of travelers
from different parts of the world. In the recent years rural tourism has
become a favorite among travelers, especially foreign travelers.
It gives them a glimpse of the village life and how the people are still so deeply rooted to the values. Also it is a great way of experiencing hospitality at its best. Villages are mostly divided as per professions. A traditional Rajasthani village has a group of people living in thatched roof huts with walls made up of clay, cow dung, and hay. The villagers have strong faith and religious faiths. However, they are striving hard to keep the age old customs and traditions alive especially among the youth. But at the same time many villages have also adopted new technologies in a positive manner. The ideal way to visit these villages is through a camel safari. Taking you into the interior of villages, you would certainly enjoy the camel ride.
The best part of rural tourism is that tourists get an option of homestay. This is beneficial for both the villagers as well as the travellers. During a home stay, you get an opportunity to live with the people and interact with them. A firsthand experience of village life, what else can you ask for?
Highlights of Rural Tourism
When you are staying in a homestay, you get closer to nature and witness the warmth of people as well. A lot of tourists also prefer rural tourism because it gives them an opportunity to see the real Rajasthan which is beyond the cities. Folk dances, music, traditional food and handicrafts, you get them all in villages.
Thar Desert is one of the most preferred destinations for rural tourism in the state. The predominant population of the area is of Bishnoi tribes. You can go on a full day and half day safaris in the villages and get a closer look on the rich cultural life of the state.
The region around Shekhawati is one of the most popular destinations for rural tourism in Rajasthan. In the vast stretches of sand, one cannot find a village till far and wide. It is the tribes or the nomads that add color to the life of almost barren land. The villages in the Shekhawati region are a major tourist attraction and a large number of people visit them each year. The other prominent villages are located around Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Barmer.
Tourist Attractions in Shekhawati CircuitHarshnath Temple
14kms from Sikar it is a popular old Shiva Temple which dates around 10th century. Though most of it is in ruins, the temple still retains architectural brilliance. There is another old Shiva temple close by built by the Chauhans in the 18th century. It was destroyed by the Mughal ruler Ayrangzeb and only ruins remain till this day.The place gets very cold during winters and is a good tourist attraction.Jeen Mata
There is a temple of Jeen Mata worshipped by locals in this part of Rajasthan.
This temple is located about 57kms from Sikar dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The most interesting part of this temple is that it was built by Muslim artisans. Hindus not only from Rajasthan but from other states like Delhi and Hayana visit this temple.You can get a good look of the Desert from the nearby place.Handicraft of Shekhawati Circuit
(Source: Flickr Marmontel)
This circuit is a good place for some authentic shopping of bangles, Pomcha and chunri. Their houses have unique sculpting in marble.
Food of Shekhawati Circuit
You will not find a better place to taste authentic Rajasthani home food anywhere else that too at a very reasonable rate. Village food includes Bajre ki roti, Kadh, sarson ka saag, lassi, papad, pickles and butter, Among other food items that foreigners and NRIs take along are Sangari and Kair which are traditionally processed items.
Hadoti Circuit starts from Jaipur and continues till Baran and covers places like Kota, Bisalpur and Tonk in between.
Tourist Attractions of Hadoti Circuit
This dam is
80 km from Jaipur, Bisalpur Dam has a large reservoir and is a popular picnic spot. Shivad Temple
Shivad is a small town located about 98 km from Jaipur. It is famous for its rustic architecture and Shivad temple. It is a Shiva temple which is housed within an old fort and the local people believe that it is one of the Dwadash Jyotirlingams. Balmiki Temple
Sitarabi is located 50km from Baran town. It has an old temple of Balmiki. The local people say that Goddess Sita gave birth to Lav and Kush in this temple.
The tribal circuit starts from Udaipur and move till Banswara covering Rishabdeo and Baswara in between.Dev Somnath Temple
The temple is located 15km from Dungarpur on the banks of River Som is the famous Dev Somnath temple. Known for its magnificent stone carvings, the temple is a fine example of the rich heritage of the area. Madareshwar Temple
Madareshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is very famous among the locals and a prime tourist attraction of the region. The temple is surrounded by Kalp Vrikshs (trees) that are known to fulfill blessings. Rishabdeo Temple
This is an ancient Jain temple managed proudly by the tribals of this region.Amjharas
This place is about 32kms from Dungarpur where the idol of Mahisasurmardini is worshipped as Karhar Mata.Raj Rajeshwar Temple
Raj Rajeshwar temple has several temples of Lord Shiva. This is also a place of historical importance where in ancient times, the queens would perform Sati ie. self immolation in the pyre of their husbandsBaneshwar Fair
is a very popular fair about 65kms from Dungarpur on the banks of Mahi and Som river where homage is paid to the dead by tribal community.Handicraft of Tribal Circuit
Carvings on Parewa and marble stones is a specialty of this region.
This circuit has capitals of Kachhawa dynasty namely Amber, Bhangarh and Dausa.
This is ancient village said to exist during the times of Mahabharata. The legend behind is tryis related to Dwapar Yug in Mahabharata. Yudhishtra's Ashvmegh horse was taken hostage by the ruler of Bhandarej. All the people of the village went to participate in the battle between Bhandarej ruler and son of Karna, who was ultimately defeated. However, after the intervention of Lord Krishna Bhandarej ruler faced defeat. Lord Krishna was impressed with the participation of the villagers, However, he was surprised and angry when he learnt that an old woman did not participate in the battle as she wanted to protect her wealth. This angered him and he cursed that the village would be destroyed. Very soon, the village was destroyed after a heavy storm.Bhangarh Fort
(Source: Flickr Parth Joshi)
This is a 17th century fort built by Sawai Madho Singh and a village with more than 200 households developed out side the fort. But today it is a haunted place and many stories do the round regarding its background.Bhadrawati Palace
Bhadrawati Palace which is now converted to a Heritage Hotel has a fascinating history dating back to 11th century when Dhula Rao Saheb, Kachawa Chieftain defeated the Badgujars and conquered Bhandare.
This temple is said to be more than 250 years old and the deities of Lord Krishna and Radha that adorn the temple are believed to have been brought from Bengal. The special feature of this temple is Bhandarej Paintings showing 12 avatars of Lord Krishna which details life of Lord Krishna including his birth, fight with Kans and his adolescence. The colours have retained its original texture because of good maintenance.Bhandarej Bawri
This Baori is a unique blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture built in 1732 by Thakur Deep Singh and Daulat Singh.
When in Bhaderaj do not forget to get some leather handicraft which is being practised here for more than 15 years. Shri Rameshwar Prasad Bairwa, this art is now practised by more than 60 families.
It is said Abhaneri was the capital of Nikhumba before Alwar was founded. Shri Abhay Singh Chechi, Gurjar founded the village meaning “glorious city".Harshadmata Temple
Muhammad Gazni destroyed this beautifully carved temple built in 9th-10th century during his invasion in the 11th century. The locals revere this temple dedicated to Harshad Mata.
(Source: Flickr Dixie Lawrence)
This wonderful step well or baori was built Raja Chaand of Chahmana Dynasty who ruled Abhaneri during the 8th-9th century A.D.Sikandra
It is believed that Sikander while on his journey from Delhi to Jaipur was so amazed by the beauty of the place that he made his friend the ruler of this area. The new ruler named his kingdom Sikandara in honour of his friend. The place is famous for delicate stone carving which is now a profession for more than 6000 people. Other places that you should visit during your trip to rural Rajasthan are:
(Source: Flickr ganuullu)
The biggest dam of the state, Mahi dam is a popular tourist attraction. It is located in Banswara, about 87 km from Dungarpur. It is serene and peaceful, thus making it a perfect location o be amidst nature. Bundi
(Source: Flickr Oliver Laumann)
Located 200 km from the state capital, Bundi is a famous attraction for rural tourism. The old fort in the city and the Bundi festival are some of the highlights of the area. Kanoi Village
Kanoi village in Jaisalmer
district is famous for its picture perfect sand dunes. There are numerous desert safaris in the area. In addition to that, you can also enjoy camping in the dunes. Khicchan Village
Located in the Jodhpur
district, Khicchan village is home thousands of Kurjaan birds that migrate from Siberia in winter season. Villagers have demarcated the area where food and water is given to the birds. But that’s not all; the village also has more than 100 havelis. The people of a nearby village – Phalodi are intricate artisans and craftsmen. Embroidered bed linen and jootis are the must buys from these small villages. Alsisar Village
Just 27 km from Jhunjhunu, Alsisar village is paradise for history buffs. The area is known for its rich architecture and has many hawelis, fortresses and temples. The place is certainly a photographer’s delight.
Located in the Dasua district of Rajasthan, Lotwara is said to be the land of peacocks. It is situated on the banks Banganga river. Trekking around the village is loved by tourists. Take a stroll down the by-lanes to witness a magical sunset or sunrise. Bhoori Pahadi
Bhoori Pahadi is located in Swai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. It is just 30 km from Ranthambore National Park. Tourists can get a glimpse on the life and activities of the Meenal tribe in the area.
Transport for Rural Tourism
Well the best way to explore the rural circuit of Rajasthan is by hiring a car. You can easily rent a car and visit the various interior places as well. Rent a car as per your needs and budget and you are sorted. In addition to that, you can also ask for a tour guide which will be a great help for you. Once in the rural area make use of the ship of the desert – Camel and enjoy evening and morning safaris through the sand dunes.