The color filled state of Rajasthan is truly an amazing tourist destination. The mish mash of the famous Thar Desert, Sand Dunes and the camels on one side and the regal palaces, the majestic forts, the tranquil lakes and the national parks on the other bring to you a collage like no other Indian state.
Known the world over for its 3 Cs of Culture, Color and Cuisine, Rajasthan is an ancient land which has gradually embraced modernity with open arms as is evident in cities like Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur.
But modernity has its banes as well and the most to suffer has been the agriculture sector. The indiscriminate and haphazard used of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides have not only contaminated the soil but also the produces which in turn has given rise to a plethora of diseases among people. This has led to an awakening in the society about the advantages of having things that once our grandparents called food, which we now call organic food.
Rajasthan is fast becoming an Organic Destination courtesy this awakening. Many stores like the Banyan Roots in Udaipur which only sell organic food have opened up all across the state. Resorts and Cafes like Café Anokhi in Jaipur that only serve Organic Food are steadily becoming the favorite haunts of the young and the old alike.
The organic trail that I intent to follow in this article starts from the Lake City of Udaipur in South Rajasthan and culminates on reaching the Blue City of Jodhpurin West Rajasthan.
Located at a distance of about 90kms from Udaipur towards Jodhpur, is the famous temple town of Ranakpur, the home to the world renowned white marble Jain temple. People flock to the temple with religious fervor and to admire the exquisite marble carving that adorn the walls of the temple. Truly a magic in white, the temples boast of an architectural prowess, par excellence. The place is also becoming a favorite with the traveler on account of the annual cultural extravaganza “The Ranakpur Festival” which is held within the precincts of the temple every year.
6 kms from the Temple of Ranakpur as you move towards Sadri enroute to Jodhpur lies the quaint organic resort of Naval Bagh. Owned by a prosperous Rajput landlord Mr Surendra Singh, this 12 roomed Rawla (traditional Rajput chieftain’s house) is surrounded by lush fields on which a variety of vegetables and fruits are grown, all organically.
Fukuoka once famously said “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” and here in a day’s stay at the Naval Bagh, one can indulge in many activities that makes one realize the fact that “organic” is so much more than just being a politically (and socially) correct word in today’s world.
At Naval Bagh, you get a first- hand account of a wide range of organic farm activities depending on the time of your visit, starting right from mulching, detoxicating the land and increasing its fertility through use of farm manure, sowing of non BT seeds to harvesting of the crop.
The farm has ample herd of cattle and if you start your day early, then you would definitely encounter cows and buffaloes being milked by the farm hands for their fresh milk. Since, Naval Bagh is situated in the vicinity of the Kumbhalgarh National Park, early mornings and the evenings are the time when you can find a variety of birds in and around the farm.
Adjoining Naval Bagh are villages inhabited by the Rabari community. The people from this community are experts in goat and camel rearing. You can interact with them and learn more about their way of living besides enjoying a camel ride or two.
Farm fresh vegetables and fruits, all grown organically, along with milk and preparations made of Paneer (cottage cheese) is what you can enjoy while at the farm. Hot, pure and local dishes like Daal Bati, Makki and Bajara Roti and various lentil dishes are served for you to enjoy a simple healthy meal in a serene setting. You can even see the food being prepared in the traditional kitchens and if willing could even give a helping hand in preparing the food.
After sunset, you can probably listen to a few of the villagers singing traditional Rajasthani folk songs or in the absence of anything better, the symphony that insects in the quite wilderness perform could act as a great mind soother. It actually is a time to reflect on what we, in the modern urban world, are losing out in our mad materialistic rush.
The onward journey to the Blue City of Jodhpur, the next day would be of a person relaxed, refreshed and invigorated; a person who must be envying the life his grandparents must have once lived.