Royalty exists in modern Rajasthan

I was in Rajasthan for a friend's brother's marriage recently. The area in specific is the Mewar region in the northern part of the state. The closest airport is Udaipur while the nearest railway reach is through the small town of Falna. All this is in Pali district. Infact, this entire region is connected from Mathura to Ahmedabad by the Indian Railways.

This particular belt in Rajasthan is still so rich in wildlife, which actually left most of us visitors baffled. Leopards are sighted quite frequently in the foothills of the Aravalis. Amongst others one could easily spot rabbits (rather hares), partridges, wild boars, jackals and even the venomous cobras and their lazy counterparts; the pythons. The Sindaroo Dam located at the foothills of the Aravalis is home to a lot of the wildlife in the area as this is the main water body in the entire area. 

We were accommodated in tents. Well yes tents! But these tents were luxurious versions complete with air-conditioners, showers, wash basins and toilet with faucet! Clean beds with pristine white bedsheets in an air-conditioned tent; what more could one ask for in the middle of sand laden Pali! 

The marriage of Happy, the bridegroom, the young Rajput lad all of 28 years, couldn't be any less royal in this small remote village. His dad Thakur Devi Singh was the local MLA from this constituency couple of years ago and also the Sarpanch (Headman) of the village. Their house is a mix of the old structure which was where they all grew up and the new added modern version. In all, a huge mansion in Chota Guda! The dusty sandy lane leading to their house is also frequented by the family's Mercedes! 

The rituals had started 4 days ahead of the marriage date. The entire village consisting of approximately 18 families with about 8 persons per family has a population of about 120. These 120 had a merry time with 3 meals a day provided by my friend Chandan on all days! The kitchen was at war literally. Meat was cooked in tons! Wild boar, chicken, mutton and partridges were being digested even before the sun could rise again!

The day prior to the marriage, the family decided to invite people from erstwhile royalty, the neighbouring "gharanas"! By evening, there was traditional music playing from atleast 3 different sources! Alcohol had started flowing into the bloodstreams of a billion guests! The attires of the guests were indeed royal as you can see below. With a very conservative estimate, atleast 130 bottles of JWBL were consumed that evening! The Chef in Charge, Mr. Badri, was at the helm of affairs to provide non-vegetarian starters to go with the booze!

The ladies danced in the traditional attire while the younger ones, who had touched life with a dab of modernity, were in western attires doing the thing! It was a perfect amalgamation of traditions and modernity! At the end, Happy, the bridegroom, sat on an elephant and made a trip to the "kuldevi" or family deity located a kilometer away! 

The entire episode to me was an experience like never before. The enormity of the event in a remote area with such detail and grandeur surely left me zapped! Jai Rajputana!


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