Once we reached Jaipur, our first visit was to Chokhi Dhani – a village resort known to give you an ethnic Rajasthani experience. This was one place I had always wanted to come to so I was all excited and geared up to enjoy myself thoroughly. I was pleasantly surprised to see the rush, given the fact that we were visiting during off season. The rush really made me wonder how many visitors did the place receives during peak season when tourists come in large numbers? Infact when my brother visited this place last time in March(which is towards the end of peak season), the visitors number went up quiet a lot giving hosts a tough time.
Anyways what we experienced at Chokhi Dhani was completely unforgettable. Right from the time we entered, we felt that this was one trip we could not have missed out. The entry charges were pretty reasonable with Rs 400 per head which also included our open air dinner. There was another option which costed Rs 600 per head and we could have enjoyed our dinner in an AC restaurant. However to get the real feel of a village, we opted for the the first one.
As we entered inside, we saw a recreation of a village. There were mud houses built all around with lanterns providing the much needed illumination. There were small things that were adding to the charm of this created village. There was a champi area where males were enjoying head massage. Then there was a stall that had hugely attractive colourful traditional Rajasthani attires. You can wear these attires over your clothes and a get a pic clicked as as we did. I wore a red lehanga with very heavy jewelleries while my brother and father got their pics clicked in a turban.
A little ahead was an area where girls were dancing to traditional folk songs. A number of guests joined in to shake their body to the foot tapping beats and this created a beautiful view. We sat at the charpais placed all around to enjoy the dance and song and spent quiet a good amount of time before moving further. Infact at every corner, we noticed these artists entertaining people.
More entertainment was in store with camel and elephant ride, mehndi stall where girls could get their hands painted with heena, forecast teller, chana zor garam wala and a number of other such things. We bought a ticket for an elephant ride but going by the crowd, we knew it would take sometime before our turn came. So we decided to go for our dinner first and then enjoy the ride. You have a time given to you for your dinner and an announcement is made when it comes. No names are announced, only the time is and if you have been allotted that time, you need to move towards the dinner area.
Dinner at Chokhi Dhani was the highlight of our visit (and for anyone who visit this village resort). We were made to sit under open sky at seats that were just a little above the ground. In India these are known as peedha. The table is a rectangular, longer and a little higher version of this peedha which itself is square. On this table, we were served our lavish dinner which began with different item being filled up in five bowls – gutta curry, kadhi pakora, sarson ka saag, aaloo ki subzi and, dal. This was followed by a variety of other items like bajre ki roti, genhu ki roti, makke ki roti, sweet khichadi, malpua, churma, dal bati, rice and finally papad. Not forget chaach, chutneys and quiet a few items whose name I donot know.
The items came one after the other and I can surely say that no one can completely finish all that is served. What was more attractive was the way in which the items were being served. No matter how much you say you didn’t want anything else, the hosts would not listen. “How can you come so far and not enjoy a traditional hospitality and Rajasthani food?” was what they asked whenever anyone said no to any item. The hospitality was really commendable and their conversation in between made the dinner memorable.
Post our dinner, we took our elephant ride and came out of the resort. We were quiet happy with such a beautiful beginning of our trip. The evening was well spent and quiet enjoyable. With paan in our mouth, we sat in our car and drove down back to our hotel.
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