Village India offers some fascinating cultural insights into this ancient land. Architecture, religion, music and dance, dress codes and jewellery and lifestyle occupations and skills, going back thousands of years— they all provide a window into the seamless fusion of times past and times present.
The land of milk and honey
Punjab, meaning the land of the five rivers, has been the proverbial granary of north India. The Punjabi farmer works his land and shares that bounty with heartfelt warmth and large-hearted camaraderie with joyful vivacity. The Punjabi people work hard, but they also are fun-loving, resilient, enterprising, and full of joie de vivre. All this is richly evident in their music and dance, the generosity of their table, their colourful attire and jewellery and their exuberant martial arts. Time spent at Punjabi farm is just the ticket to discovering all this and more. Village life still follows traditional farming practices, symbiotic relationships with animals, and sustainable living practices. Enjoy the delights of a home-cooked meal with gusto, shake a leg at the village bhangra bash, and unleash your fighting spirit while learning all about gatka, the traditional martial art form.
In the land of the Taj
Having had your fill of the Taj by day and Taj by moonlight, it's well recommended to explore Agra's countryside by the flowing Yamuna, once part of the territories of Mughal rule. This experience will take you back to the roots of the city - the village. The bike tour stops by at a local school en route to the village, where you get an insight into the educational system. At the village itself, you interact with a local family, explore the cultivated fields and farming methods and learn all about the traditional culinary techniques and the local art. The most attractive part of this tour is the charming and unique view of the Taj.
While most of us associate the city of Udaipur in Rajasthan with one of the world's loveliest water palaces as also its royal provenance, there's another side to the picture. The tribal communities of the Aravalli hills in the region are an intrinsic part of the city's cultural richness. These hills are also the ancient stamping grounds of the Bhil community, who mainly reside around Udaipur; also living here are the Garasia community. The hills are renowned for their biodiversity, and there are rivers aplenty. From ancient times the tribal communities in the villages have been conserving and managing the forests based on their tribal customary law. The tour brings you in touch with the Bhil tribal community and other village folks. You will love the insightful experiences of their traditions and culture and their indigenous organic farming methods.
Intrinsic to the Indian experience is how life is lived in the villages. In many ways, much of it is still untouched by the hand of the 21st century, as you will discover in the food habits, farming traditions, religious rituals, the region's folk art and crafts and much else.