29th Oct After breakfast, visit Raisar village [20 Kms one way] to see camel wool shawl and rugs work done by Meghwal family. Packed lunch will be arranged on direct payment basis. Afternoon, visit Miniature Art School, to get an insight into miniature paintings followed by visiting the old city to see silver jewellery making. Stay overnight at Hotel in Bikaner.
First thing this morning was to google Raisar and what a pleasant surprise, I’ve not been confronted with the usual wikapedia entry!
Here is the charming first entry on google, from Raisarcamp.
‘Raisar Camp is an innovative adventure in boundless ocean of velvety sand of Rajasthan. Discover majestically either on camel or on camel cart. It is a perfect setup between sand dunes in Raisar village, near Bikaner. you will find us eagerly waiting to give you a wonderful journey through desert.
You reach the camp from the hotel through the sandy tracks, enroute untamed countryside, visiting one of the remotest village. You cant turn your eyes away from spectacles of distant sand dunes shining brightly in the sun light. You will see occasional passer by’s with turbans bigger than their head, meticulously plaited. There is a varied store of wild life in this area; Antelope, Fox, Jackal, Rabbit, Blue Bull, Desert Cat, Chameleon, Monitor Lizard, Mongoose, Hedgehog, Squirrel etc.
You can witness village houses, herds of cattles, colorful dresses, the life style of villagers living without basic amenities of urban culture.’
So, we aren’t staying at the camp – just a morning’s visit but I’m hoping for a camel ride. Sitting so high on the back of such a beast experiencing the motion is wonderful. Time almost stands still as all one can do is go at the pace of the animal, one slow foot in front of another, that is unless the creature decides to go for a gallop and then it’s hang on of dear life!
What does wikipedia say about Meghwal?
‘In the countryside of Rajasthan, many of the people of this community still reside in small hamlets of round, mud-brick huts painted on the outside with colourful geometric designs and decorated with detailed mirror inlays. In earlier days the main occupation of the Meghwal community was agricultural labour, weaving, specially Khadi and woodcarving, and these are still the main occupations. The women are famous for their embroidery work and are master wool and cotton weavers.‘
I’m not sure what to expect as ‘Indian embroidery’ often equates to cheap, unskilled mass produced work, I hope this isn’t the case.
The global village is to be found just around the corner to where I live. I long to find original work in the village we’ll be visiting…. not the mass produced sweated labour tat brought from the workshops of Delhi.
After lunch to the Miniature Art School to see the work of Shiv Swami.
Looking forward to ending the day at the silver jewellery makers. I’ll be prepared for the hard sell but I am a sucker for buying a silver souvenir when I’m away. Unfortunately I lost my silver bracelet I bought from Morocco so maybe time to replace it with an Indian one?