Thursday, 31 October 2013

Rajasthan – Its Culture And Clout

It had been my long awaited dream to sit in the desert of Rajasthan and enjoy the traditional folk dance and music. My inspiration came from the movies, travel shows and magazines – I envied people who sat in the desert by a bonfire and basked in the traditional dances of Rajasthan. I wanted to experience the same – Rajasthan’s royal and rustic life. I wanted to be part of the typical Rajasthani revelry. 

This year in March, I finally decided to fulfill my dream. I went to Jaisalmer and I exactly knew what I wanted – a camel safari in the desert followed by a traditional folk dance and music.


Before I go any further, I want to ask you a question – do you share the same enthusiasm for Rajasthan’s culture? What is it that’s so fascinating about it? I can understand that it’s something unusually charming for foreigners, but I am an Indian. I am born with Indian dance and music, culture and colors. Why do I find it so alluring?
 
I think Rajasthan’s culture and traditions have a mystical quality. Although I would enjoy any other Indian cultural dance and music, there is something more intriguing about Rajasthan. It is more about the atmosphere and the feeling (I guess).

Desert camping resort

The desert camping resort

In my post Thar Desert – A Safari To Remember, I had narrated my camel safari experience in the desert. After the safari, I was escorted to a desert camping resort. We were given welcome drinks on arrival. The resort was well-equipped with all the amenities – comfortable tents with cots, mosquito nets and attached bathrooms.


Since it was almost dark, the lights were lit in each tent and the lounging area. Needless to say, it was a beautiful evening - it was a totally different experience to be in a desert with bareness stretched far and wide with absolute quiet.

Traditional folk dance

The razzmatazz

But, I could barely feel the isolation of the desert. I could see the stage set for the dancers to perform. The fire was lit. And within a short while, all the tourists gathered around the stage, whilst the show was about to begin.

Draped in the aura of Rajasthan’s age-old traditions, two girls took the stage. Along with them were two drummers who gave them fabulous beats to dance to. I personally felt that their costumes (ghaghra) were too heavy, which kind of curbed their movements.

I even told one of the staff at the camp that the dancers’ costumes should have been lighter. But I was apparently wrong. The girls created magic with their heavy ethnic attires. The way they swirled was powerful. The dhols (drums) were awesome!


The pinnacle of the performance was even more stupefying. The dancers beckoned all of us to join as the dance climaxed. When I saw the foreign tourists matching steps with the dancers, I felt culture was an excellent excuse to mingle with people. Rajasthan’s deeply rooted cultural legacy has played a bastion in its undeniable clout as a tourism giant.

Wikipedia on Rajasthani folk dances

Folk dances of Rajasthan depict their everyday life, their happiness and celebrations. The Ghoomar dance from Udaipur and Kalbeliya dance of Jaisalmer have gained international recognition. Folk music is a vital part of Rajasthani culture. Kathputali, Bhopa, Chang, Teratali, Ghindar, Kachchhighori, Tejaji, parth dance etc. are the examples of the traditional Rajasthani culture. Folk songs are commonly ballads which relate heroic deeds and love stories; and religious or devotional songs known as bhajans and banis (often accompanied by musical instruments like dholak, sitar, sarangi etc.) are also sung.

Khartal and dholak fusion

After the dance performance, an amazing fusion (jugalbandi) was also in store. It was a fusion between dholak and khartal. I knew what dholak was, but Khartal was something new to me. The khartal artist was sweet enough to come up to me and teach me how to play it. Well, I tried my hand at it and thought it wasn’t so difficult. One can learn it easily with a little bit of practice.

Fusion of dholak and Khartal

Wikipedia - (Khartal is an ancient instrument mainly used in devotional / folk songs. It has derived its name from Hindi words ‘kara’ means hand and ‘tala’ means clapping. This wooden clapper is a Ghana Vadya which has discs or plates that produce a clinking sound when clapped together.) 

  
So that was my rendezvous with the mesmerizing culture of Rajasthan. I experienced what I had seen on television and read in the magazines. It was like a fantasy come true. The thirst to unravel the magical land of Rajasthan has not quenched, it has kindled fierier.

To experience the magical Rajasthan, try Rajasthan Tour Packages, which can make your trip memorable just like mine.

Practical advice

To book a desert safari, do a thorough research online. Talk to various hotel managers about their packages well in advance. Compare rates and offers and make a decision according to your need. Like if you wish to go for only a day safari, it’s better to opt for an early morning safari than the evening one. For dinner and cultural dance, pick an overnight safari.

I chose a safari offered by Deep Mahal Hotel (Jaisalmer Fort).


Do you think culture and traditions bring people together? Please do share your views in the comments section.

35 comments:

  1. Tell me about it!
    Your post brings back so many memories. :)

    The sad part about these desert safaris is that there are people who are waiting to fleece visitors. I guess it's very important to do some homework and find the right channels to go thru' for a great experience.

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    1. Yeah that's true, D.Nambiar - everybody wants to make money and the poor tourist gets into the trap. But if one is careful then there shouldn't be any issue.

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  2. I to am reminded of the experience I had there.
    There is something magical about Rajasthan that attracts.

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    1. Thanks Indrani :) Yeah Rajasthan spells magic!

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  3. Beautiful images and good narration.
    We had a wonderful time in Jaisalmer too! You can read about it at http://magictravels.blogspot.in/2011/10/rajasthan-rolling-6-jaisalmer.html

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    1. Thanks magiceye :) Yeah I'll check out your link. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Rajasthan! There is just something about it. It keeps me pulling back towards it. Not because it's my home, but also because I believe this place is my salvation. Your post created chills across my spine.

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    1. That's wonderful to hear! Thanks so much for your kind words Bhavya :)

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  5. Been wanting to do this since forever. Maybe this will be my first solo trip! You've inspired me!

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    1. Thanks so much for saying that, Different Doors! That's really heartening. :)

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  6. Wow awesome clicks and write up dear <3

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    1. Thanks Radha :) Rajasthan is too magical to click bad pictures!

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  7. Yet to experience it. But it sounds wonderful from your words.

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    1. Thanks Niranjan :) Please do experience it! Desert safari and folk dance are just too good to miss.

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  8. You are Lucky, Renuka! you got a memorable experience of the Rajasthani culture, dance, camel safari and much more..\
    Thanks for sharing...
    Such great tour..

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    1. Yeah that's true, I am lucky indeed! Thanks MastHoliday :)

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  9. Amazing photos, good writeup, its really inspiring me to visit it as soon as possible ��

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    1. Thanks Jyotsna :) I'm glad to hear that! Rajasthan is waiting for you!

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  10. beautiful post & brilliant pictures! i just hope that i ll be able to see this with my bare eyes soon.

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    1. Thanks deejthtraveller :) Yup, you must experience Rajasthan!

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  11. Wow, I must admit this is something I've never done in my life. A camel safari in the desert followed by a traditional folk dance and music sounds just like an amazing experience to me. The local village looks so cozy and I love how the women dressed up.

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    1. Thanks Agness for stopping by :) Yeah, the safari and traditional folk dance experience was amazing!

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  12. would have loved to be there, nice pictures

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, aliasgarmukhtiar :) Yeah, desert safari and cultural dance are great experiences.

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  13. A desert safari sounds very intriguing. Your post reminded me of that. :)

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    1. Thanks Laura :) I'm glad to hear that. You must experience Rajasthan's desert life!

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  14. sounds like a good trip. I have never been to rajasthan. Definitely your post gives taste of flavour of it. But I hope to travel there. Thanks for writing

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    1. Thanks Pankaj :) If you have never been to Rajasthan, then do check out the related posts too!

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  15. I have been longing to see a desert and do camping there, and do a camel safari to see sunrise from the desert. I'm sure those Rajansthani folk dance would have made every other tourist to their feet to the groove of music!

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    1. That's true, Anu :) It is such a fascinating experience to be in the desert and enjoy the traditional dances.

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  16. You are right about Rajasthan's culture having a mystical quality to it. Growing up, one of my favorite Bengali book was 'Rajkahini' which told the tales of Rajputs of an age long gone. When I finally visited Rajasthan, I found a lot of places too touristy. But a night spent camping in the Thar desert, walking on the dunes under a moonlit sky is still the high point in my memory.

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    1. Thanks Anwesha for stopping by :) Walking on the dunes under a moonlit sky sounds so exciting! Rajasthan is magical beyond words.

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  17. So beautiful Rajisthan could be, i got to know all after reading your posts and after seeing the amazing pictures of the place and its people. Loved it.

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    1. Thanks Anjum :) Yeah, Rajasthan is simply amazing!

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  18. You presented the simple and royal life of Rajasthan. The Thar Desert Resort, Traditional Rajasthani Folk Dance, Fusion of Dholak and Khartal all the things covered very nice. An amazing Collection of pictures attached and all are really fantastic. It shows the culture of Rajasthan which is unique and great. Rajasthan has a number of Historical Places, Hotels, Spa & Resorts, among them Ananta Spa & Resort provides the best in services and amenities at Pushkar, Ajmer.

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