Stories from folks who have immersed themselves in the Kalandri experience. These guests have come here and experienced the simple joys of rural living and in turn taken away memories of a lifetime.
- Stay in this beautiful haveli totally free of cost
- Enjoy meals made from the local produce
- Laundry facilities
- A spiritual journey at the beautiful temples of Kalindri
- Free Internet
- Tennis & other leisure activities
When my friend Nupur first told me, we visit a real Indian village, I expected a couple of houses, surrounded by nothing but pure nature. But once we got to Kalandri, I saw those big streets, schools, temples and many many shops. So for me, Kalandri is at least a town. But that didn’t make my experience worse. In fact, during my stay – which was only for two days and for that definitely way too short – was overwhelmed by the pure kindness and open-mindedness of the people.
We arrived around lunchtime, so man and women walked by our car slowly – nothing else would be possible at almost 40 degrees. Since I am a western woman in India, I get a little bit of attention anywhere I go. As I looked in the friendly eyes of the inhabitants, I could see more than curiousness. It looked like they were proud, that some foreigners – I count my Indian friend who was also in Kalandri for the first time also as foreigner – wanted to visit their town, which on the first glance does not offer much to tourists.
Small but pretty
What was the most obvious thing I recognized, was that life in Kalandri is quiet. Just the right experience for me, seeking for peace after visiting big and crowded cities like Jaipur, Agra and Udaipur. This seems also affect the people because everybody seemed really relaxed and lucky to share his or her knowledge with us.
When we were walked around the town by a 25-year-old Monica, I saw that there are many places to visit. There are many shops and beautiful temples. The men and women seemed to care much about them and so the places looked really pretty.
Though I do not understand a word, I feel there is a connection
When we went for dinner to a family, the ladies told us everything about the marriage habits and the special clothes and jewelry they wear. And of course, we had to try on too. I felt like a real princess, no like a real Rajkumari. This was when I understood that one does not need words to understand, get along and to have a really good time.
Later three girls from the neighborhood joined us. Nupur translated from Hindi to English and from my English to Hindi. I learned that they were seven sisters and one brother and told them in Germany a man with seven beautiful daughters would be called a lucky man. He would be proud of them and would be sure that they will finish school properly and get good jobs, whereas boys are difficult sometimes because they do not care so much about learning and rather play football or go out. I think this was where two totally different worlds got together. But we learned from each other and were laughing a lot.
Sleeping under the stars
But the highlight of my visit in Kalandri highlight was my visit to Ramesh’s farm. We got there by a tractor which itself was an adventure. The farmer’s wife cooked a delicious meal for us and I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere. But best of all was the night because we slept just under the stars. This was my first time and seeing all the stars above me, I got so excited I hardly could sleep. Then the family told, they slept like this almost every night and it was hard for them to fall asleep in the house. And though these people have so little compared to my western standard, for me, they are rich. because they can experience nature’s beauty every night.
Purpose of my visit
I had been introduced to Mr. Ramesh while I was working in Bangalore last year. It was the same time, I first came to know about his ancestral village called Kalandri, 20-25km from Sirohi district. While I was traveling in Udaipur in late September, I discovered that Sirohi is merely 130 km from Udaipur and that’s when I decided to visit this village, because one seldom gets a chance like this. Being a co-founder at Anthill Creations (builds playgrounds for children with recycled materials like tires), I also wanted to see if there could be a potential space where we could build such a playground. I went there with no expectations but to spend a good time, to try to understand their lifestyle and culture and to experience a slow village life for a change. I was accompanied by another solo female traveler called Kathi from Germany, whom I met in Udaipur and who was interested in coming along. We stayed together in the village for two days after which she had to leave for Jodhpur, and I extended my stay in Kalandri for yet another day.
Two different worlds
Recently, I have had a privilege to visit few villages during my travels and each of my experience has been so close to my heart. I guess it’s the love that people have in their hearts and when they share it with you, it leaves a lifelong imprint. It truly seems like cities and villages are two different worlds and for each of us, there is so much to learn from people living in villages, so as to become more humane.
Treatment – almost as a foreigner
The entire time, I was there, the feeling of being an oddity (not in a negative way), the feeling of being different was pretty much constant. As I used to pass through any street or corner, I could sense all the eyes on me, eyes filled with curiosity, eyes filled with questions. They wanted to know where I have come from, where my foreigner companion belongs to, what jobs we do, why have we come here, whether we are married yet, and so on and on. I was surprised as well as glad when on the third day, there were some women who came just to
meet me and know more about me.
Ramesh’s House – Our Stay
It was a notable house where we got to stay in and it definitely added to our experience. It was a house which can remind anyone of the old times, with its white carved column heads, lining the perimeter of the well lit courtyard which welcomes you as soon as you enter. The house had been meticulously adorned with antique wooden furniture, beautiful metal lamps and square frames with photographs conveying the rustic charm of the village. We were shown our room on the ground floor, which had two single wooden beds and a bunch of rectangular windows, letting in enough light in the day to lit up the space and offering a partial view of the street across.
8 years in India, this is my best walk with nature and sunrise. Actually, I set my alarm by 6:10 am but I was waked up by a bunch crazy dogs just outside of the house around 6 am. It was a little struggle when I started by 6:10 am; outside the dogs are looking aggressive since they just finished a major fight and having no idea what this foreigner is doing here. Meanwhile, the temperature is quite low and totally dark. I can’t even see the face of the dog apart from their aggressive eyes.
But as u knows, all these did not stop me. Holding firmly to my Mi phone, I started anyhow.
Then I started fighting the road, this is someplace I have no idea where I am and where I am heading to and I can hardly see the road. But since I know the direction I just keep going that way. Finally, I reached the edge of the village where I can formally start my journey.
I initially look like nothing is there ahead but u never knows what will be there for u.
I am getting little excited and start running for some distance to warm myself up.
Looking at the photos u know how much I enjoyed, birds are singing like a choir and I am like the Captain, sometimes I join their songs also even I can’t understand their language.
After 1 hour, I am getting little tired but sunrise did not come yet, I was about to turn back when I saw the sun started rising from the edge of the mountain far away.
When I took out my camera to capture the view but found there is some electrical wire come in between, I started running very fast to cross the wire lines to capture a perfect picture, but when I just crossed that wire, I was in a downhill where the sunrise is not able to see.
I know in another 1 min the sun will fully come out when I found a pillow to completely save me. I get on to it in 5 sec and took a photo which I won’t regret for my life.