Culture and People / Photography : Nature and beyond / Rural India

Athithi Devo Bhava : The awesome hospitality of Rajasthan

Athithi Devo Bhava : The awesome hospitality of Rajasthan

Rajasthan is a beautiful state, it is the largest state in India in terms of land size. Colorful Rajasthan has many tourist attraction, old forts converted into luxurious hotels. But Sri Ganga Nagar in the northwestern part of Rajasthan does not have as many tourist attractions as the other parts of the state.

Land preparation before sowing the Kharif crops : Raisinghnagar, Rajasthan

Land preparation before sowing the Kharif crops : Raisinghnagar, Rajasthan

Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) searching for food in the post harvest dry field

Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) searching for food in the post harvest dry field

Lunchbox hanging from a tree

More than the forts and the landscapes, its the  people  of Rajasthan who are  even more wonderful and well cultured. If I have to pick up one single thing, the most amazing thing about Rajasthan is the hospitality offered by the people towards one and all. There is no discrimination, all guests are truly treated as royals.

I have known about the amazing hospitality of Rajasthan, having stuffed myself with sumptuous meals and snacks at my best friends place. There were time when I would have no place left in my stomach but still I would have to eat some more.

It would be hard to forget the meal that we had at a farmer’s place. It was a hot summer afternoon and we were out in the field since early morning, miles out of the city limits and into the deep Rural areas. If not for the hospitality of the farmer family, we would have worked empty stomach the whole day, till we could get back to our hotel in the city for Dinner.

Taste of India - wonderful culture of hospitality in Rajasthan : Roti (indian bread), stir-fried spicy Okra, home made curd and Churma (coarsely ground wheat crushed and cooked with ghee and sugar)

Taste of India – wonderful culture of hospitality in Rajasthan : Roti (indian bread), stir-fried spicy Okra, home made curd and Churma (coarsely ground wheat crushed and cooked with ghee and sugar)

Lack of development in the recent years is evident in the poor infrastructure, the mood of the people is to throw out the inefficient ruling Congress government in the state. Ex Chief Minister Ms Vasundhara Raje  of BJP is all set to return back in power. As per the local currently she seems to be cruising towards a big victory in the next election, which are scheduled later in the year.

Although the state shares a long border with Gujarat, the similarities end there as far as infrastructure development is concerned. Lack of governance is visible everywhere, people talk about corruption spreading its tentacles far, wide and too deep into the system.

Its is the largest state of India, the population is hard working and educated, in terms of geography the state falls in strategically critical area. There is abundance of natural resources, what is lacking in terms natural rain-fall, is more than made up by the network of canals across the state. All the ingredients are there to take the state and its people to greater heights, what is needed is effective leadership.

Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan - Beautiful House but lack of Amenities : Need proper road and sewage system...

Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan – Beautiful House but lack of Amenities : Need proper road and sewage system…

Sri Ganganagar is a border district of Rajasthan which share borders with Indian states of Punjab and Haryana as well as with neighboring country Pakistan.

Hindumalkot, Rajasthan : India-Pakistan Border - Both sides of the fence look similar but the differences are in hearts and minds of the people

Hindumalkot, Rajasthan : India-Pakistan Border – Both sides of the fence look similar but the differences are in hearts and minds of the people

Thar Desert is one of the key geographical feature of Rajasthan. And then there is the Aravalli Range, which runs through the state from southwest to northeast, almost from one end to the other. About three-fifths of Rajasthan lies northwest of the Aravallis, leaving two-fifths on the east and south direction. The Aravalli Range does not intercept the moisture-giving southwest monsoon winds off the Arabian Sea, as it lies in a direction parallel to that of the coming monsoon winds, leaving the northwestern region in a rain shadow. The Thar Desert is thinly populated; the town of Bikaner is the largest city in the desert. The Northwestern thorn scrub forests lie in a band around the Thar Desert, between the desert and the Aravallis. This region receives less than 400 mm of rain in an average year. Temperatures can exceed 45 °C in the summer months and drop below freezing in the winter. The northwestern portion of Rajasthan is generally sandy and dry. Most of this region is covered by the Thar Desert which extends into adjoining portions of Pakistan.

Desert : Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan

Desert : Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan

Desert : Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan

Desert : Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan

It is rightly called the Punjab of Rajasthan because of a couple of reasons, first and foremost being the highest contributing district in terms of agriculture produce, all thanks to the visionary Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner  (October 3, 1880 – 2 February 1943).

Sir Ganga Singh, Maharaja of Bikaner

Sir Ganga Singh, Maharaja of Bikaner

He is widely remembered as a modern reformist visionary, and he was also the only ‘non-White’ member of the British Imperial War Cabinet during World War I.  In the war, he commanded the Bikaner Camel Corps which served in France, Egypt and Palestine  Maharaja Ganga Singh bought 89 KM long Gang Canal from Sutlej River, in 1927, from Punjab to Sri Ganga Nagar, turning this dry desert area into the breadbasket of  Rajasthan.

Green wave in the desert - vision of Maharaja Ganga Singh : Hanumangarh, Rajasthan

Green wave in the desert – vision of Maharaja Ganga Singh : Hanumangarh, Rajasthan

Green Desert : Hanumangarh, Rajasthan

Green Desert : Hanumangarh, Rajasthan

Fruit Garden in the Desert - Sri Ganganagar - Vision of Maharaja Ganga Singh

Fruit Garden in the Desert – Sri Ganganagar – Vision of Maharaja Ganga Singh

Maharaja Ganga Singh also invited hard-working farmers from Punjab to start the agriculture in the area, which has resulted in a large population of Punjabi speaking population here.

Don't miss it if you are in SriGangaNagar, Rajasthan... wonderful Punjabi food...

Don’t miss it if you are in SriGangaNagar, Rajasthan… wonderful Punjabi food…

 

2 thoughts on “Athithi Devo Bhava : The awesome hospitality of Rajasthan

  1. I agree that the hospitality of the people in Rajasthan is outstanding! I stayed with several locals on my way around the state and had an amazing experience at every one. They all told me, “Guests are like God,” and they really treated me like they believed it.

    Thanks for the info about the Thar desert as well. I loved Bikaner!

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