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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jodhpur - August 2013

In June I made a trip to BRT.

The monsoon had already started and I was wondering about areas in India that would be favorable for bird photography during this time. The push came form Dr. Sudhir Oswal! He suggested we go over to Jodhpur for a cultural treat and attend the "CHAANDNI CONCERTS" IN RAO JODHA DESERT ROCK PARK on the 21 Evening.

“The Chaandni Concerts held on the Full Moon night of every month at the Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, adjoining the Mehrangarh Fort, feature the amazing minstrels from the Thar desert- the Manganiars. Manganiars are hereditary minstrels who keep alive a medieval oral tradition deep inside the Thar desert. They sing for patrons on occasions like marriages or the birth of a child, and also for religious festivals. Manganiar music is believed to have travelled into eastern Europe and northern Africa centuries ago and to have nourished the music which emerged as Flamenco in Spain. With a highly evolved voice culture and a rich repertoire of songs, Manganiar music is regarded as India’s standout tradition of folk music.”

So the plan was finalized. Pratap Singh would come over from Dehradhun, Dr. Sudhir Oswal from New Delhi, my family and myself would fly down from Bangalore. We would all meet at Jodhpur and with the help of Govind Sagar Bhardwaj IFS, explore Rajasthan for a couple of weeks!

1. 21st, 22nd and 26th August : Jodhpur (3 Nights)
2. 23rd to 26th August : Desert National Park (3 nights)
3. 27th and 28th August : Sonkhaliya Grasslands, Ajmer (2 Nights)
4. 29th August to 2nd September - Tal Chhapar (4 nights)
5. 2nd September - Tal Chhapar to Jaipur ( Evening flight to Bangalore )

Everything worked according to plan except that Dr. Oswal had to drop out due to family emergencies…

AFRI Guest House at Jodhpur

On the 21st of August, my son, wife and myself landed in Jodhpur a bit after noon and checked into the AFRI guest house nestled in a fine green campus. Pratap Singh joined us in the evening and the four of us headed across to “Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park” for a wonderful couple of hours of original Manganiar music!

Later we went over to this famous place called “Gypsy Restaurant” and had the finest “Thali” ever! The food just kept coming and the service was right at the top! A very satisfying experience for all of us indeed.

Next morning (22nd August) we went “Sight Seeing”and got a good feel of Jodhpur. Fine city! Late afternoon we met with Pranjal Saikia, Sangeetha his wife and Kulesh Boruah. Pranjal and Kulesh work for Oil India and are currently placed at Jodhpur. Keen birders, they are originally from Assam and Yes, I met them through INW! They led us to this large waterbody a bit outside the city with plenty of birdlife. Photography was tough though…

After a couple of hours of good birding it was party time! Pranjal and Kulesh led us to this wonderful place, aptly called “On the Rocks”! and hosted a fine dinner for all of us! Very many thanks guys! Truly enjoyed the evening…

Next morning (23rd August) we drive to the Desert National Park! See you there...

Vijay Cavale
August 2013