We are delighted to introduce our newest Explorer, Mallyka. Here is her riding adventure, exploring great landscapes, exotic flora and fauna, meeting rare tribes & sharing space with them.
The secret to my survival in this chaotic world: from time to time ride off on a horse and gallop away on unknown terrains which leave me feeling magical. Escape into some remote part of the country and see the world (through whose ears the world is always better seen) hear only sounds of nature & feel the wind in your face while you gallop away into unknown terrains and for this, there is no better mount than the noble Marwari. To explore and experience new lands in this way, to be alive in and part of the country has always held a most magical attraction for me, one that never fails to lift the spirit and charge the senses with the untouched beauty of nature’s work.
Ancestrally I belong to Dundlod, a village in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan famous for its sprawling forts and havelis with their beautifully frescoed paintings. My father Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod has always been passionate about horses and back in 1982 he pioneered the revival of the indigenous Marwari breed. Gradually this made him set out getting the whole world to come to India and experience the Splendours of Rajasthan on horseback. Growing up in Rajasthan as the little girl who had horses in her front yard was both a privilege and a joy and those childhood experiences have taught me a great deal, as well as instilling in me a lust for exploring the unknown.
So when I heard about a breed of horse called Kathiawaris in Gujarat, naturally I wanted to know more. To add to my excitement I then learned that Rann Riders had a stud farm with a mix of Marwari and Kathiawari horses. I was excited to experience a different region, a different terrain, to commune with nature, connect with and be touched by THE WILD.
So I packed my bag and my riding boots, and off I headed to Dasada in the salty marshes of the Little Rann of Kutch. It is a two hours’ drive from Ahmedabad airport.
This is what I Did:
Day 1: From Ahmedabad I drove to Dasada, a small village in Little Rann of Kutch and headed to Rann Riders Resort. Post lunch I headed straight for an evening Horse safari exploring the terrain and enjoyed sightings of Flamingos and Pelicans.
Day 2: In the Morning Horse safari I galloped behind a herd of wild ass and had a glimpse of the desert fox. My Afternoon was relaxed by the poolside and by the evening headed back for a Jeep safari to the saltpans. I interacted with the local Agaria salt workers and enjoyed sharing a meal with them. I really relished the Chulha roti with aloo Ki sabji (Spicy Potato curry) and freshly ground lasan Ki chutney (Garlic chutney) on the* Silpatta.
*Silpatta is a traditional grinding stone (mortar & pestle) that has been used extensively in Indian kitchens.
*Agaria Salt workers are a community which has been living here for centuries, knowing just one means of living, salt producing.
Day 3: I headed to Patan and spent time at the 11th century Step well –Rani-ki-Vav- with beautiful intricate carvings. Afternoon it was fun having a simple home cooked lunch with the weaver’s family. They are responsible for keeping the 12th century weaving tradition alive till date. From Patan I continued to Modera, famous for its 11th century Sun Temple which is an amazing combination of architecture and astrology; hallmark of Indian Temple architecture. I ended my day at the resort enjoying a cultural dance performance by the local Mir Tribe.
*The MIRS of Gujarat are a Muslim Tribal community who are descendants of the Butt tribe in Kashmir valley. They were nomadic and now live in little settlements in the Rann of Kutch. Apart from the evening cultural dance their main means of living is by selling handmade crafts,jewellery, key chains, beads to the tourists. I loved the Mir women’s traditional attire covered with beautiful silver jewelry. I got myself an anklet too.
Rann Riders An Eco friendly resort which gives you an experience of adventure, nature, wildlife and culture as a local. Great Hospitality and a comfortable stay.