India, Rural Treasures

Discoveries International

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Rajasthan is a land of traditions, history and inheritance. Even with an almost impossible density in the cities, today 70 percent of India's population still live in rural areas comprising 40 percent of Indian households without electricity and 75% without running water. In the Aravali mountains about 55 kilometers from Udaipur, the Ranakpur Valley opens up from steep mountainous terrain to reveal the largest Jain temple in India, a 15th century marble masterpiece with 1400 intricately carved pillars exemplifying a stellar tribute to ancient architecture and artisans.

The Udaipur Kumbhalgarh Fort affords outstanding views of the dusty plains of Marwar. Often referred to as the Great Wall Of India because of its 20 feet thick encircling outer wall which winds over the hills for 36 kilometers punctuated by seven gateways. It's the second longest wall in the world after China's Great Wall. On the opposite side of the mountain fortress of Kumbhalgarh...the village of Ghanerao, a small community which grew up around 15th century Ghanerao Royal Castle which is strategically located at the entrance of one of the few passes in the Aravalis that connects the two major cities of Jodhpur and Udaipur. Here and in the surrounding fields, an intimate look at rural life, tribal nomads, primitive farming and schools.

A visit to Rajasthani village of Narlai, bustling with activity, that time has seemed to bypass. A personal tour of Dhamli is off the beaten track in the Marwar region. Thakur Inder Singh, a descendant of the landed aristocracy that owned this and many other villages and land during feudal times, has opened his family's ancestral fort to guests so that others can appreciate the real lifestyle of villagers around Jodhpur. Ranthambore National Park, the hunting ground of the Jaipur Maharajas up until the 1970's is now a national park and tiger preserve. It's famous for viewing Diurnal tigers and is one of the best places in the world to see these majestic predators in the wild in addition to Indian gazelle,Sambar deer, Nilgai, owls, Spotted deer, Indian Wild Boar, Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles and many other wild animals.

(Discoveries India 3 DVD/Blu-ray collection includes 5% discount: The Golden Triangle, Land of the Maharajas, Rural Treasures)