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India: Tordi

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After a comparative lie-in and more leisurely breakfast at the hotel caf, we hopped onto our cosy minibus destined for Tordi; a rural village in Rajasthan. The journey took approx. 5 hours and we stopped twice, once for the supermarket for snacks (and in our case, delicious ayurvvedic cough syrup) and again at more of a truck stop for the wash room (which was more of a building site).

After a bumpy ride we arrived at our accommodation; Tordi Palace. A beautiful big old 'heritage' hotel with sprawling grounds and gardens. We were taken through the palace building and around the back to a courtyard where some other buildings stood - including our quarters. Our room had a lovely old double wooden door with the original shutter behind it that closed with a long bolt and padlock. To our surprise and delight, there was a massive king size bed in the room too (as well as a single in the corner) meaning we could finally have a good spoon! In the trip thus far, we've been given twin rooms (owing to the fact we're two women), which was fine at first but then we missed each other a bit. Bearing in mind PDAs are completely off the cards so we are never touching. We were starting to feel like 'best friends', which is exactly what we told any locals that asked. I must say though, the heterosexual couples often had it worse than we did. On a few occasions Lauren and I felt comfortable to hold hands, mainly because in India it's normal to see same-sex 'couples' holding hands as a sign of friendship. However if either of the other two straight couples held hands, or had a peck or cuddle, they were often met with glaring looks and disapproving stares. The reality is that it probably wouldn't cross people's minds that Lauren and I, two women, could be in an actual relationship. So in some ways, we 'got away with it'. But yes, the king size bed at Tordi was a nice reprieve.

The room really was gorgeous; traditional lattice windows with shutters and 15 foot high ceilings. The rolling power-cuts didn't mind us that much; we still managed to charge our bag full of devices. It just got a little tricky at night time when we needed a wee. Anyway, we were served some lunch on the rooftop, a traditional local dish; dal-baati-churma, basically a lentil-based mild curry (more like a gravy), home-made bread balls and a crumbly sweet pudding made of ground wheat and a whole lot of sugar and ghee. It was incredibly simple but by far our favourite dish thus far. We had a rest for the remainder of the day as we were still feeling under the weather. Some of the others played a game of cricket with the hotel staff and other tour groups.

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After a few hours of rest, Raj took us around some of the local farms where we saw an array of birds (including a baby owl) and crops such as gourd, cauliflower, squash and mustard. We also saw an 800 year old step-well where we found a snake's old skin.

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Wandering through the fields and seeing young men and women carrying heavy loads and driving tractors was a real insight into how hard life is for those in Tordi, and made me wonder whether any of the ingredients in one of our dinners back home has come from an underpaid farmer in Rajasthan. We then jeep'd to the village itself where we got a small glimpse into Tordi resident's lives. As expected their homes were modest, open blocks but practical and well-functioning. Some ladies talked about how hard they worked and how they spent a lot of their time cooking and cleaning (with a baby permanently attached to them). We were waved at by the children and at one point thought we were almost charged by a bull.

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We then travelled to the sand dunes and climbed up to watch the sunset and drink tea, beer and eat biscuits (how very English!). Lauren almost had an aneurysm trying to climb up the dunes as a result of her chesty cold (and COUGH lack of fitness COUGH). On our way back to Tordi palace we stopped at a high point to take some pictures and absorb the picturesque landscape - blue sky aplenty.

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Back at the hotel we ventured up to the rooftop where music was playing and a makeshift bar had been opened. I tried some Indian fennel liqueur (much like Ouzo) which predictably blew my head off and made me very drunk very quickly. Then the cards came out and all inhibitions were lost. After a few games of 'horse race' (a drinking game Michael introduced to us) we were all doing our best Bollywood moves under the stars. I, while mimicking one of the Bollywood moves we'd learned, spectacularly fell backwards onto the concrete floor. Amazingly I managed to not injure myself and sprang back up again. As you can imagine the drunken fall was the comedy event of the trip and Lauren even managed to capture it on her SJ Cam (video below). Not long after my face-planting, Lauren and I threw in the towel and called it a night. Probably for the best.

The next morning we had breakfast on the infamous rooftop. We then went on our orientation walk round the local town in Tordi, where we were met by lots of cute and enthusiastic children, one of whom (who clearly didn't like wearing trousers) relentlessly asked for 'foto foto' all because he wanted to see himself on the screen. We bought some notepads, pens and socks and brought them to a local school to hand out. On the way to the school we were treated to a lesson in Indian pottery by a local man still managing to get by making lassi cups, bowls and piggy banks, all by hand and with no electricity. A few of us tried our hand at moulding the clay - my heavy handed-ness didn't lend itself well to the craft.
See below video of said children enamoured by seeing themselves on camera;

That was it for Tordi and we were soon on our way to Pushkar - 150 km away.

Posted by advensha 00:34 Archived in India Tagged india backpacking backpackers tordi g_adventures indian_crafts tordi_village indian_pottery ancient_step_well

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