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Ethnic Rural Life in Rajasthan

A majority of population in Rajasthan reside in villages. The rural vistas have a lot to offer to the visitors. Being the origin of the famous folk arts and crafts of the state, the rural settings are home to the most warm-hearted people and peaceful surrounding. Away from the hustle bustle of cities, rural life is the best way to re-energize you amongst people that derive their energy from their own close knit and very generous society.

The peaceful surroundings not only present a view of the very different lifestyle but also offer the most sumptuous cuisine along with some dazzling attires and numerous celebrations. Staying with the villagers in their mud houses and spending a day or two with them will bring you across a way of life so peaceful and content that you may never want to leave.

The serene surroundings not only provide a view of the very different lifestyle but also offer the most sumptuous cuisine along with some dazzling attires and innumerable festivities. Staying with the villagers in their mud houses and spending a day or two with them will bring you across a way of life so peaceful and content that you may never want to leave.

For what is referred to as a desert, Rajasthan is amazingly populated: its landscape scattered with a number of villages and hamlets, telltale signs of tree groves and populations of cattle being the only indication that there is such a settlement in close proximity.

The typical village has always been difficult to spot till one is actually upon it. Its simplest hamlets, the most basic form of civilisation with a way of life that has probably remained unchanged since centuries, consists of a collection of huts that are circular, and have thatched roofs.The walls are covered with a plaster of clay, cow dung, and hay, making a termite-free (antiseptic) facade that blends in with the sand of the countryside around it. Boundaries for houses and land holdings, called baras, are made of the dry branches of a nettle-like shrub, the long, sharp thorns a deterrent for straying cattle.

Eco - friendly Houses
If a hamlet looks bleak, it is hardly surprising: the resources for building these homes, which are the most eco-friendly living unit, are made with what is available at hand, and in Rajasthan, and particularly so in its western desert regions. This can mean precious little. A village that is even a little larger may have pucca houses, or larger living units, usually belonging to the village Zamindar family. Consisting of courtyards, and a large Nora or cattle enclosure, attached to one side or at the entrance, these are made of a mixture of sun-baked clay bricks covered with a plaster of lime.

Decorative Facades
Decorative facades in such units are limited to creating a texture in the plaster in the facade, or using simple lime colours to create vibrant patterns at the entrance, and outside the kitchen. These homes capture, for many of its residents, the only cosmos they know. For the women, but for visits within the village community, the only social occasions were in the nature of pilgrimages which were usually combined with fairs. But it is when they step out that the stark desert and the village break into a feast of colour: turbans bob past in saffron and red; skirts billow beneath mantles that veil the faces of their women- if they didn't, the jewels that glint on their foreheads and faces would add to the shocking surprise of their magentas and their blues, greens and pinks.

A Multi-cultured Settlement
Each village is a multi-community settlement, the various castes creating a structure of dependence based on the nature of their work. While changes are being wrought in this structure, with ceilings on land holdings, and with young seeking employment opportunities in towns distant from their villages, the social fabric has still not been rent.

Rajputs - The dominating Community
At the head of the village settlement are usually the Rajputs, the warrior race whose kings ruled, till recently, over these lands. The Rajputs served their kings, joining their armies, and raising their cavalries , but an attendant pursuit was as agriculturists. Often, they employed labour to work on their extensive fields, and kept cattle for dairy produce. In fact, the cattle density in Rajasthan is very high, and milk from desert settlements is supplied to the large cities close to the state, including Delhi.

Religious People
An intensely religious people, each home in Rajasthan will have a room or at least an alcove where they fold their hands and say their prayers before calendar images of their gods. To seek benevolence from their gods, for in this hostile landscape, it is easy to be superstitious, and they pray to the terrible image of Kali, the wrathful form of Shiva's consort, to protect them from the demons of the elements, and the scrounge of mankind.

Ethnic Cuisines
The principal meal for the family consists of dinner, when freshly baked bread and porridge is served with a yoghurt curry called karhi, and with vegetables that may consist of dried beans, or, now, increasingly fresh produce that is grown and transported from neighbouring states. For most families, breakfast is a glass full of hot tea gulped down with stale bread, before rushing off to attend to the day's tasks, and lunch is a frugal meal of unleavened bread eaten with a spicy chutney of chillies and garlic.

Meeting point-
Temples may be one of the several places in a village where people gather, the others being in front of the shops, or at a tea-shop, or in the village 'square' which is usually an old, leafy peeple tree with a large platform built around it for people to sit on. Wells are also gathering points, with the men bringing their sheep and cattle to drink here in the mornings and evenings, and the women collecting to fill their earthen pots with water that they carry home for use in the kitchen, and for bathing. Since water is so crucial to their survival, wells are often elaborately decorated, and have tall pillars that would indicate their presence for travellers on long journeys through the desert. Songs about wells, and walking long distances with pitchers, form part of the repertoire of music that swells in the state.

Rural villages to visit
Shekhawati circuit is the best place to live in a village community as the privacy is there and the rajputs are known for their loyalty and if any ceremony is there like marriage then it will be same as a big fair the entire village persons involved in that. For any further query or information feel free to contact us.

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