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.
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.
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
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!
For real-time updates do subscribe via email