I had the chance to visit Pabu ki Dhani recently, an eco village in the vast Thar Desert in western Rajasthan. The 17 hour long train journey separating Jaisalmer from the Indian capital promises a radical change of scenery. We luckily found ourselves upgraded to second class seats on the train. Train travel in India is always an adventure in itself, guaranteeing surprises and leaving behind strong memories. So when the chance for some additional comfort arises, the rule is simple: never say no!
Our driver was waiting for us at the station. We headed to the desert, a clear and endless horizon stretched out before us. Looking back I recollect Jaisalmer as a yellow city in Rajasthan overlooking the Thar Desert. After an hour, the road led us to the huts of Pabu Ki Dhani. Pabu ki Dhani translates to the ‘village of Pabu’. Pabu is the name of the native villager who co runs this eco village along with his partner, Capucine. Capucine is a French woman who came traveling to the desert 8 years ago, and fell in love with not just the desert, but Pabu. We met Capucine, Pabu, their families and many children and adults from the village.
Pabu Ki Dhani, an oasis of hope in the desert
In the middle of the desert, Capucine and Pabu have bought land on which they have centered their lives. The eco village comprises some dried mud huts made by local techniques which can accommodate travelers looking for authentic experiences. Travelers find themselves involved in the daily lives of this community called Bhil, descendants of the people of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Extremely positive actions emerge from this isolated but hauntingly beautiful village. Desires and determination do not fail to meet the challenges of the desert, traditions and the caste system. Travelers as well as neighbors are welcomed, food and water are served, children are educated, and many other challenges are taken head on by Capucine and Pabu through their association.
Malenbai – An association to Support
Since 2007, this humanitarian association has supported the people of the Thar Desert. Taking its name from the goddess worshiped by the Bhil desert, the association shows its affiliation to the desert and its traditions. The association develops the local economy by helping potters revive their businesses, enrolls children in schools in Jaisalmer, provides medical assistance to the families of shepherds and raises awareness of environmental issues. The association tries to make some sense out of the isolation and uncertainty of desert life.
Pabu Ki Dhani, a place that matters to Shanti Travel
This village an hour from Jaisalmer embodies something for the agency. It embodies passion and iron-like will. It embodies a commitment towards responsible tourism, a framework in the policy of Shanti Travel. The agency offers this homestay to travelers and does not hesitate to financially support the organization.
This place is an experience. A word that means a lot to Shanti Travel and makes sense in a place like Pabu Ki Dhani. Travelers do not go there for the comfort of a 5 star or for a fancy fusion of an Indian chef. People traveling so far are looking for unique and authentic experiences, and emotional moments of life to share with others. They sleep in huts, cook chapatis with Pabu’s sister, and enjoy a camel ride in the desert. This is certainly what I was able to do and feel here and what Shanti Travel’s consultants try to share while organizing tailor-made holidays in North India.
If you want to visit Capucine and Pabu in Rajasthan, contact our experts to design an authentic and novel trip to Rajasthan. http://www.shantitravel.com/en/north-india/the-rajasthan/