When the heat gets too much, move to a zone that could be even hotter! Well I don't know what prompted my impulsive decision but we set off for a weekend, Surendran and myself and two friends to Rajasthan!! Devigarh was the destination that took our fancy and so we piled into in our Fabia Skoda; music blaring and munching chips and homemade sandwiches like there was no tomorrow!!!
The Devigarh fort takes your breath away with its towering presence encased within the quiet serenity of the Aravali mountain range. Like a miniature painting coming alive, I almost believed that if I squinted my eyes a little bit, the romping deer and stalking tigers would catch my gaze.
The hospitality at the resort places you into the realm of the royal and the regal; and as you sit in the hava mahal on cushions or in a hall with flickering candles and a table decorated with rose petals dining on sumptuous delicacies specially prepared to titillate your palate, you could quite easily slip back a few centuries without batting an eyelid.
I normally wear an innovation which is a cross between two traditions: the South Indian dhavini (or half sari as it is known colloquially), and the Gujarati chaniya choli. So as I drifted about in the evenings with my odhani fluttering from my shoulder, I think I could have easily convinced myself I was a queen from some bygone era taking her nocturnal stroll!
As we swam in the swimming pool with the backdrop of the fort and the view of the mountain range in the horizon, I could well understand the true magic of our history and the grandeur that we read about from those days.
The ideals of secularity and the harmony of the Delwara village is something that is a great sense of pride to those who live tucked in the shadow of the Devigarh fort. They point out that the Mosque, the Hindu temple and the Jain temple all stand clustered together, and never has ill will or violence been felt till date. But in the same breath they speak of the poverty that engulfs them, and their tired eyes bear testimony to this fact.
The cleanliness and order of this beautiful place, the warmth and generosity of all those who welcomed us to Devigarh, and the masti between the four of us made a spontaneous trip an amazing experience. I feel grateful that there are people like Mrs. Poddar who care to invest and create a business module that brings back a heritage to a nation. Our country has much of it's heritage just decaying from neglect. Here is a wonderful lesson for our government to learn in relation to preservation, restoration and tourism going hand in hand. Any takers?