Sipping on a drink and cozying up next to a bonfire, while listening to the greatest songs of the yesteryear under the night sky in the middle of a desert in Jaisalmer – sounds surreal doesn’t it? This was just one of the highlights at the recently concluded experiential Reth Festival in Jaisalmer. Here are five things you missed out on. By Amitha Ameen
1. Golden Fort Tour with Royal Family
Spending half a day exploring the golden fort and its hidden gems with a member of the royal family. Bet you haven’t had a better guide! Listening to wonderful tales of the past and present straight from the horse’s mouth (read: royal family member) is a different experience altogether.
2. Craft Market and Art Exhibit
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Reth is an infusion of cultural heritage and contemporary art and media. A 4 night/3 day festival filled with creative learning, interactions with local artisans and contemporary artists, explorations of unexplored parts of Jaisalmer and a celebration through music. Sign up for reth experience. Visit reth.co.in for more details. . . . #instajaisalmer #jaisalmerdiaries #jaisalmer #rajasthantourism #artandculture #artisans #localartisans #blockprinting #handblockprinted #creativesouls #artworkshop #explorewithreth #rethfestival #coloursofindia #moodyindia
Learning the best of local art and craft from the talented artists at the multiple workshops that were organised at Reth Festival. Some of our favourites included Mughal miniature paintings, Pokhran pottery and portrait drawing. Names like Vikram Joshi (block printing) textile technologist, artist Karl Knapp, Master Mughal Miniature artist Ajay Sharma and cinematographer Viraj Singh were some of the well-known names from whom you would learn a skill or two.
3. Sunset Sufi at the Dunes
Catching the glorious, much-talked-about golden sunset at the dunes is an unforgettable moment. Experiencing a magical evening at the dunes of Jaislamer while listening to live musical performances from maestros like Champe Khan and the melodious Manganiyars, who take you on a musical journey with their folk music and poems.
4. Staying in a Heritage Haveli
Who wouldn’t want to stay in a haveli (a traditional townhouse) amongst members of the Royal family of Jaisalmer? The beautiful Narayan Niwas Palace and the timeless Nachana Haveli, situated in the heart of Jaisalmer is owned and run by the Nachana family who are descendants of Maharwal Jaisal. Exciting stuff, right? Marvellous architecture, age-old artefacts and having stood the test of time, the haveli is a great place to stay in while visiting Jaisalmer.
5. Indulging in delicious royal spreads
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Laal Maas. A traditional hunters’ dish from Rajasthan, and favoured amongst royalty. The original dish calls for game, slow cooked in a mix of whole spices, ghee, chilli and yogurt. The meat was protected by its marinade and transported from place to place by the traveller. We take kid goat, tenderise it with raw papaya, then the marinade and slow cook on the bone. We then smoke it with coconut charcoal, to give the flavour reminiscent of fireside eating in the Indian desert, only here in Brixton…
Of course, no trip, festival or plan is complete without some good food. The organisers of Reth Festival wooed guests with delectable fares that featured traditional Laal Maas, a spicy meat curry, daal baati churma (lentil and hard wheat balls served with a sweet dish and ghee) and so many other drool-worthy dishes that gives one a glimpse into the local cuisine.
The curators behind Reth brought together like-minded individuals from all age groups and enabled them to enjoy an immersive experience rich in heritage, culture and traditional arts while providing local artisans a platform to showcase their talents. An intimate experience, Reth Festival in Jasialmer, is a festival you should bookmark, so you don’t miss out on it next year.