2019 Diwali – Chanoud Rajasthan INDIA

Our Indian small group journey continued from Jodhpur –  We hit the road early to travel to the remote village of Chanoud. Along the way we stopped in a very small village to visit a local Dhurrie rug maker, Rupraj. He has become very successful with high demand for his rugs and he has now enlisted the support of the entire village in assisting him making the rugs for travellers world wide. The only way to purchase a rug from Rupraj is by visiting his village.

By lunch we were arriving in the lovely village of Chanoud for two nights in the palace. It goes without saying, our meals at Chanoud were like all of the meals we had in the remote villages, delicious ! Made from local produce from family recipes handed down over the years. Every small village we stayed in during our Indian journey provided us with fabulous meals, it is difficult to decide which of the varied meals was the best !

In the late afternoon we took to jeeps, driven by the palace owners, for a visit through the local region. Past farmlands with goat herders bringing their flock close for the evening and farmers ploughing the fields and tending to local crops, including sesame seeds. Throughout the region they are eradicating shrubs by removing and burning them making Charcoal, a new lucrative business selling the charcoal to people in the major cities.

Our jeep excursion then crossed onto a salt pan leading to a local waterway where we had evening drinks and snacks as we watched the birdlife fly in for evening drinks as the sun slowly set behind the beautiful Arravelli hills. A very peaceful and beautiful way to conclude yet another day full of sights that filled our eyes with memories that will last forever.

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Back at the Palace, dinner was on the palace rooftop with stars above and the sounds of the locals letting of crackers as the the Diwali celebrations began.

A late morning followed with a walk through the village with the retired school headmaster. Before we began, the family provided us with some pottery oil dishes to donate to the local residents so they could use them for small lights outside there homes to celebrate Diwali.

We were also given photos of the local people, taken by previous guests, to take with us to help break the ice between us and the locals, enabling us to all interact. The children and indeed adults would come up to us to see if we had a photo of them and if not they would point or explain what direction the people in the photos lived in the village. It was a great way to meet and then talk with the local villages.

What we thought would be a short village walk became an adventure as we all talked, smiled and laughed together merging our two diverse cultures.  We have since sent photos we took in the village back to Chanoud Palace so future guests can enjoy the same experience that we enjoyed.

Later in the day we were fitted for saris, tunics and turbans so we could dress for dinner and celebrate Diwali with the family. We were taken to the families private courtyard in the palace and watched as the they held a traditional religious ceremony in their family temple. We were then treated to a music and dance performance before we witnessed a spectacular fireworks display over the palace. A small group of local children were invited into the palace let off crackers, we were given sparklers so we could join in the celebrations with them.

Unexpectedly we jumped back into the jeeps and we were driven to the darkest part of a village.  A new solar street light had been installed that day donated by the Chanoud Palace family with some of the money we paid to say during the Diwali also contributing to the new light. There was a brief ceremony conducted by the palace family and the village elders. The street light was turned on and it was hard to know which was brighter the new street light of the beaming smiles of the local people.

Diwali is the festival of light and this small but worthwhile gift was a great way to be able to help give some permanent light to the local residents. We then headed back tour our roof top dinner location for another fabulous meal and treated to another fireworks display.

Our visit to Chanoud Palace – Exploring the surrounding farmlands, our memorable village walk, being so warmly included in celebrating Diwali with the family in the palace was truly rewarding.

The family owners of the palace and the village of Chanoud I know will always hold a special place in all of the hearts of our Destination Journeys travellers.  We must give thanks to Claudia at Tikka Tours and the team from Travelscope in India for their connections with the family at Chanoud to make our fabulous stay during the 2019 Diwali celebrations possible.

Glenn – Destination Journeys.

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E-mail GLENN at DESTINATION JOURNEYS for your next holiday.

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