Its 9 o’ clock in the morning, my phone starts buzzing, Chhotaram (owner of the homestay) on the line and I am still not ready. I grin, ‘why did I make such early morning plans?!’. I quickly packed my bag and rushed to the spot, and found this super sturdy jeep awaiting. The moment I saw the vintage jeep all my morning blues drove away, I knew the journey ahead is going to be exciting.
And I wasn’t wrong, we started driving through villages, spotting native wild life and listening to interesting stories Chhotaram had to say about his place. Curious in me probed him to speak about his journey, how did he come up with an idea of a homestay in a remote village – he says, “I started 6 years back, renting out my space for foreign tourists who were looking for local experiences. It rapidly spread through word of mouth and today I am expanding, my resort is under construction. I was spell bound hearing his journey, with little access to internet and no formal education he has come a long way learning new skills by only interacting with his visitors.
We made a pit stop at the village sarpanch’s house, where they showed the traditional way of making opium drink, (Its illegal & no more in practice, only displayed to visitors). It was fascinating to watch and capture the whole process.
At 12 noon, we reached homestay. I was welcomed the traditional way by chhotaram’s beautiful wife and was taken to my hut. Yes, you heard it right, quaint little hut! This was the whole point why I had included Jodhpur to my itinerary after Udaipur. I wanted to experience a stay with Rajasthani family, living like locals and more importantly needed time to myself. Chhotaram’s home seemed the best option where I could catch up with the slow countryside pace. For travellers, now becoming immersed in the local scene provides a more authentic way of exploring the world. By staying with locals, you will learn new things about the culture and this will be the best version of your travel.
I spent rest of the day, exploring my hut, taking a walk down the empty streets, striking a conversation with villagers around and unwinding with a book, sipping their amazing masala chai.
It got even interesting by night when a gang of other travellers from different parts of the world checked-in. I met them during dinner, soon we were deep in conversation exchanging our experiences. Our talks extended till late nights, relaxing on charpoys beneath the stars.
Next day morning was a wrap-up, after delicious breakfast I bid adieu to everyone. Though the stay was just for a day, I felt so at home – it was an experience you can’t get anywhere else. The hospitality this beautiful Jodhpur family showed, in my eyes, is better than any resort!
Contact details of Chhotaram Homestay here – 09414720724. FB > http://bit.ly/2jOzOY7