After a four-hour scenic ride from Kumbhalgarh, you might feel as if transported to a world from another time. Life in the village of Chandelao still revolves around the beautiful Chandelao Garh, built in 1744 as a residence for the landowning Rathore family. Though now a hotel, Chandelao Garh still serves as home for Praduman Singh Rathore. He takes great pride both in his role as host to Chandelao’s visitors and in his lineage tracing back 16 generations to the great general of Marwar, Rao Kumpa.
This area of Rajasthan is renowned for its friendly people, its colorful clothing, its customary crafts, its classic way of life. Chandelao is home to about 2,000 villagers, and everything in the village remains authentic thanks to their devotion to their culture. This is the India people go to see but never do. You will experience rural tradition at its best here.
The village of Chandelao is home not only to the Rathore family and 2,000 villagers, but an important entrepreneurial project called Sunder Rang. Here the women of Chandelao create traditional Rajasthani handicraft as a sustainable source of family income.
Strolling around Chandelao by day, expect to see the sights and hear the sounds of a genuine Indian village. Craftsmen work at their trades while children play in the street and animals graze around the mud-brick houses. If you take an early morning walk to the lake, you will see ladies dressed in rainbows of fabric fetching water, gracefully balancing heavy pots atop their heads.
While the day reveals the hubbub of village life, sunset is a magical time… particularly for a photographer in search of perfect lighting and pastoral scenes. An evening breeze cools down grumpy camels after the sun has scorched the desert sand all day. Families gather around the hearth for a hearty dinner. Somewhere in the distance an old man sings. It’s true—you’ll see!
Back at Chandelao Garh, we will be guests in the Rathore family’s ancestral home. Morning yoga and meditation will be amidst the lush gardens accompanied by peacock songs. Meals will be homemade using ancient Rajasthani recipes and fresh local ingredients. Evening will be spent relaxing on the terrace underneath a starry desert sky with traditional tea and biscuits.