Ditch the usual suspects. If you ‘Want REAL – Go RURAL’. Musafir.com takes you to one of the most royal corners of India in Rajasthan on a rural tour to Samode, near Jaipur. Offering respite from the fast city life, this small village is all about connecting with locals, exploring the rural lifestyle and discovering the legendary corner of ‘Incredible India’. Get detailed information on our Andaman Tour Packages here.
Samode, a small fairy-tale like village situated about 40 kms from Jaipur is known for its cultural heritage, historical monuments and one of the most romantic hotels – Samode Palace.
Rural Samode will offer you an experience of royal Rajasthan along with the flavour of local lifestyle. One can have a hands-on experience in traditional cooking, making lac bangles, partaking farming in local fields and even milking the cows.
Home away from home
Opting for a homestay to get a pure rural experience is cheaper and suitable for families, groups, couples and single lady travellers like me. At homestays in Samode, you can be assured of your safety as all the homestays are registered with the state tourism board. I stayed with Kumawat family comprising of six members (Mr. Raj Kumawat (father), Mrs.Kumawat and four kids namely Juicy, Frooti, Mango and Chiku…funny names but cute!). The house comprised of six rooms, each with basic amenities and cleanliness.
Sleeping on the terrace (rooftop), gazing at the endless sky and countless stars is an experience of a lifetime. The family members informed me to not leave any belongings on the terrace as the monkeys take it away early in the morning even before anybody else awakens. Well, though it can be part of an adventurous experience, never engage them – they are notoriously ruthless.
The beautiful Samode Palace was visible from the terrace- lit beautifully and surreal. The 500 year old structure is still; much as the rulers might have known it centuries ago. With an excitement to visit one of the most romantic and charming hotels of India, I ventured into my dreams roaming around in the royal courtyards of the palace.
The ‘Royal’ encounter
Starting my rural expedition with a local guide at 6 am, I headed straight for Samode Palace – one of the best heritage hotels in India. The entrance of Samode Palace is as grand as the word ‘Palace’ suggests. Redefining ‘royalty’, the structure is a fusion of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. The jaw dropping frescoes in the Durbar hall and in the Sultan Mahal are said to be 250 years old.
“Lord Krishna had 16,000 girl-friends and was the most romantic Hindu god,” said the manager of the hotel while showing me the exotic murals in Sheesh Mahal (palace of mirrors) suite – the most romantic suite in India. With original mirror-work, mosaics and carved archways, this is the oldest room of the property with no natural light. Every room and suite in the property has unique furnishing and antiques.
Unlike cities, rural India has a very different and traditional nightlife. The best way to enjoy evenings in Samode is by opting for local Kalbelia dance performance which is considered to be the most sensuous dance forms of Rajasthan. In an evening bathe in the moonlight under the starry sky and the hypnotic rhythmic chants by local musicians will rekindle the spirit in you. The peace and calm of the gentle rustling leaves and wind and the star lit night adds an air of romanticism to this wonderful dance form.
One of my evenings was spent sitting with the local ‘panchayat’ (group of older people), listening to the tales of their struggle during the earlier days. Some of the tales involved interesting Samode legends dating back a century ago.
Samode, being my first encounter with rural India truly exceeded my expectations. The emblematic hospitality at homestay indeed made for a memorable holiday, far from what I have expected from the royal state of Rajasthan. Come on; experience a lifestyle still untouched by the hands of modernity! A life still veiled from electricity, where you might have to fetch your own pail of water…
Go Rural: Know Rural
1. Always wash hands and drink packed bottled water. Do check for ISO mark and seal on the bottle.
2. Sunscreen lotions, hats, shades and mosquito repellent creams are a must for a rural Rajasthan stay.
3. Electricity is an issue in Samode. Remember to have enough camera batteries with you for capturing your Kodak moments.
Mahar, a small village about 1.5 kms. from Samode with a history of over 1,000 years can prove to be an engaging destination for history buffs.
Chamore – a town situated 10 kms. from Samode for its bustling markets for shopaholics.
Shopping silver jewellery from Stonex Gems Work, purchasing lac bangles from local market, drinking tea at Yadav Tea stall, camel rides over the sand dunes and hot air ballooning over Samode Palace.
Author : Anita Jain
Photo Courtesy : Anita Jain