Although, we had an option to travel from Ganganagar to Bikaner straight via highway 15, but we decided to go off-road, more through remote path, along the Pakistan border areas. Roads in most of Rajasthan are smooth paved, and long stretched, with mostly one-way traffic width especially in out-of-the-way areas. We made many stops on our way talking to people, who were out grazing cattle, or to pick “Tuma” fruit as part of their seasonal harvest.
Tuma, is a fruit/vegetable that grows largely in dry landscapes. The fruit looks like it is a small “travel sized” cantaloupe, that’s what we thought until I got off to pick one of these off of the vines spread in the entire field. Just a few moments of getting to these yellow sparking fruits, to picking it off the vines, and returning back to the car, got me thorned up from head to toe, it took me hours to get rid of many of thorns that were stuck to my clothes. We later found out from farmers that Tuma is actually a vegetable that is used to feed animals and exported to many other parts of the world to be used for medicines and cosmetics etc. Do not taste it thinking they are mini-water melons, I say lolz.
We did not see any houses for miles, and there were people working in the fields, we wondered how much of the walk it would take for them to reach their farms or grazing areas. It didn’t however surprise us to see slim people in Rajasthan without an inch of body fat.
Carrying a large load of cotton clothes, and water bottles can be handy if you are planning a trip to Rajasthan. During the remote drive, there are no rest areas, so it is obvious to expect using open fields when nature calls.
At one of our stops, we played with children for some time during the noon hours until the sun was at its cool. The games they usually played were with small pebble stones, rocks, hide and seek, tree climbing, playing monkey-monkey etc. Over the course of our tour, we hardly saw toys in the hands of children especially in remote.
Passing by small villages, you would see a blend of mud-houses, and some brick houses as well. Again, cattle play an enormous part in the lives of Rajasthanis. Life largely depends on dairy products, and milk is offered to guests instead of tea in small villages.
We had started from foothills of Himalayas initially, travelling through Kotakpura to Sri Ganganagar. At this point, there was drastic change in the landscape, vegetation, lifestyles, and weather was getting drier as we moved along.
I will leave this chapter at that, and start off our entry to Bikaner in the next one. Stay tuned . Many fun stories on the way!