When visiting India’s premiere palace and desert state, the grand, gilded, maharaja-strewn state of Rajasthan, you’ll probably find yourself enjoying the pleasures of the Pink City (Jaipur), the Blue City (Jodhpur) and that romantic, cinematic city on the lake, Udaipur. However, key to understanding and enjoying this state of rajas is to get off the beaten track. Go rogue, go remote, and go rural.
Not only does this give you a break from the sometimes crazy chaos of the metropolises, it gives you an insight into village India. A slower pace and and less haste allows you to truly appreciate the wonders of this beguiling region. Two such places that foster this type of slower exploration are Narlai and Jawai. The former is a gorgeous heritage boutique hotel and the latter an African-style safari camp. What unites both these spots is the desire to see more and do it right.
Jawai offers early morning and evening leopard safaris. However, just as rewarding is to see the sun rising over the Aravalli Hills and the local goatherds wrapped in traditional dress. Similarly, Narlai encourages a dawn or dusk hike up the 756 steps of the mount on its doorstep to the elephant deity at its apex. But take your time, and pause on the winding steps, to soak up that view, ring the bell of the temple partway up, and when at the sunny summit, sip a chai latte and watch the sun fade over the hillocks as the village below you lights up.
Anton is just back from India, and aside from a strange head wobble and some amazing photos, he’s brought back more enthusiasm than ever for trip planning there. Drop him a line for his informed opinion on going rogue from the Bay of Bengal to the Himalayas.