January 2014. It’d only been a few days since I returned to my urbane existence having spent Christmas chilling in Coorg and ringing in the New Year’s in Goa and I had begun to feel the uneasiness creep in on me. The uneasiness that demands knowing what’s the next destination for the tourist-turned-traveller-now-resembling-wanderer. And thus it began. Scouring over endless number of websites, travel blogs/tweets while urging traveller friend(s) for some recommendations. And that’s how I decided that Kutch would be my destination.
You know, I’ve really thought about what’s the most appropriate answer to the question, “So how do you decide where you’re going to travel next?” and those lines above are my first and last (weak) attempt at it. The uneasiness creeping up on me part is true though. But NO, no I don’t and can’t plan my next destination (i.e. no scouring over anything ever happens). And honestly I don’t know how I decide.
It just happens.
May be it’s because I travel because I love traveling and nothing else. The destination is only an added bonus.
Although I will admit that this time around I was slightly more angst-ridden than I’ve ever been. I had set sights on heading to Vizag (Visakhapatnam) – the east coast of the country; a side I’d yet to begin exploring. However the political scenario wasn’t encouraging enough. Neither was this solo traveller feeling extra brave. Tickets cancelled, I spent a few days agonizing over the ‘where’, when through some sort of Divine Intervention the idea of exploring Kutch popped to the fore. Train tickets were booked again even before stay options had been explored.
Here was an exploration that was to hit a roadblock. An experiential stay option at a crafts village in Kutch was identified. Contact was established via email stating expressly the desire to find a haven for the days being proposed. But darn my luck they were booked; all thanks to Holi extending that weekend for fellow revellers. Thankfully a second option (of my liking) existed. Yet again contact was established and the due process repeated itself. However this time Lady Luck smiled upon me.
Devpur homestay has been an amazing experience and here’s why.
It’s a haveli/family fort of the Thakores of Devpur (Kutch). The Devpur family offers their four well-appointed rooms for a traditional Kutchi Homestay of their fort Darbargadh.
I’d read that off from their website and a couple of others. But the reviews on TripAdvisor sealed the deal for me. I’d seldom come across travellers/tourists rave about their experiences at three or five star hotels -- so these took me completely by surpise.
And I was more than mighty pleased with myself because right from my first interaction with my host, Mr. Jadeja enquiring about the availability, to answering my never ending questions related to planning a tourist’s itinerary on a traveller’s budget to checking in on me every other time I’d step out to the warmth extended by the entire family ensuring I experienced no discomfort whatsoever, I felt absolutely blessed. The food was divinely sumptuous. The room modest extremely well maintained and regularly cleaned.
But I think if there’s one image about this homestay that will forever be etched in my pea-sized cranium, it’ll be this modest stack of books that greeted me the moment I stepped foot into my room.
I’ve never found a more appropriate instance to use the phrase – ‘my joy knew no bounds’ – until I’d cast my eyes on those books!
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