It’s easy to become distracted by the craziness and diverse lifestyle of city culture, but amazing things lie off the beaten track too. Deep in the heart of India lies the charming village of Tordi Sagar, a typical rural farming town that shows a softer more slower pace of life.
We’re staying in a heritage hotel, named Tordi Garh an 18th-century building that has been passed down from generations. It’s a labyrinth of narrow corridors, flights of stairs and a multitude of original features such as tall stain glass windows, carved archways and an elaborate terrace used for entertaining guests. The architecture and style have been preserved as much as possible, each room decked out in basic vintage style furnishes, making for a truly one-off stay.
A walk through the village and all thoughts of the maddening crowds of Jaipur are soon left behind as I settled in to enjoy the pastoral settings. It’s a place of intrigue, as our tour guide, ‘JD’ led us to the remains of an underground temple that would flood in monsoon season and a fortress that stands immaculately in the middle of now farmland. Its a place with so many rare surprises which only adds to its charm.
Although Tordi Sagar does see tourists, it’s still not widely visited by westerners and locals greet us with a friendly curiosity. Children run to greet us with big smiles on their faces, thrilled to practise their English.
Tonight we ate a traditional home-cooked Indian meal, served using the local produce grown on the farms surrounding the house, before heading out on jeeps to watch the sunset on the sand dunes overlooking the village’s reservoir. A glorious reflection of the sky glistened in the ripples of the water, and the faraway hum of the city could be heard as the sun came down.
We returned to the house in the dark, yet the night was hardly over. Two local school girls arrived, henna tools in hand, and we were more than happy to let them practise on us. In hindsight, this seemed like a great idea until the henna went on to my hand in a less than graceful way than anticipated. But none the less it was a nice chance to chat and meet two girls from the local area. The night followed with dancing, drinking and mingling as music flooded the corridors and the terrace was turned into what I can only liken too, a school disco- with less YMCA and more Indian R&B.
We woke up to tweeting birds, with not a car horn to be heard, a rarity in one of the worlds most chaotic countries. Heads are cloudy this morning but we put hangovers aside for a wander through the town before departing for Pushkar.
Visiting a local pottery was hypnotic as they worked the clay into a mixture of bowls and cups that will be recycled and remade again and again. As here, it’s less expensive to use clay crockery to smash after use, than to waste clean water to wash them. An alien concept to any westerner which just makes me more appreciative of the things that we just take for granted.
We were welcomed into locals houses, most were basic yet homely. They don’t have much, only what is needed, it’s such a massive difference to what we’re used to. Yet the children are so happy, spending most of there time playing outside and waving to passersby. It has a real sense of community that I think has been lost in England.
If you’ve done Jaipur, a visit to Tordi Sagar, which is just a 5-hour drive away, will give you a different perspective on the country.
Hello, I’m Samantha. A twenty-two-year-old fashion communication and promotion graduate. An avid shopper, lover of interiors and good coffee addict.