January 2017 was a great month for me. An amazing start to the year. Never mind if all the other months till now have been highly uneventful. I really wish these other months would take some kind of inspiration from January. Anyway, why am I rattling on about the first month? Well, firstly, because two of my poems were published in two anthologies and second, I went to Rajasthan to attend my bestie’s wedding!
As a person who had hardly travelled beyond Mumbai without parents, the idea of going to Rajasthan sounded, hand on heart, quite exotic. I was as jumpy and excited as a pupper going for a walk. For a week-long vacation, I packed two suitcases to the brim. And since the main motive was the wedding, all the necessary, and some quite unnecessary, wedding-related paraphernalia had to be hauled along. I was warned time and again by the would-be bride to carry enough warm clothes since it would be too cold in Rajasthan. And being the over-confident Mumbaikar (where I live doesn’t come under Mumbai, but whatever. Let me feel proud for a while. Okay?) I did not take her seriously. Bro, I catch Andheri local during peak hours. We brave human tsunamis man. Cold weather ki baat karti hai. Huh! Although I did carry woolen gloves, socks and an over-sized ancient winter coat, because parents.
Two friends and I boarded the Ranakpur Express from Borivali at 3.40 pm. As the train crossed Maharashtra, I felt the drop in temperature. By the time we reached our station, Sirohi Road, the next day at 5.30 in the morning, I thanked God for parents. ‘Cause it was freezing cold! 15o celsius to be very precise. Here’s the picture of us all swaddled up.
The village where the wedding was to take place was nearly 30 minutes drive away. We arrived at the bride’s house, numb and shivering. As soon as we entered, we were handed piping hot cups of tea that felt like manna to our shivering bodies and dry throats.
On the day of our arrival, was the haldi function. There was no smearing each others’ faces with haldi; just a short pooja, applying haldi to the bride’s hands and feet and of course, lots of photos. See how radiant the bride looks!
Next day was the Bandoli function in which the bride sits fully dolled-up atop a horse and the guests dance to loud songs as the procession moves from the house of an elder relative to the temple.
The main wedding function took place in the house of the bride itself. Here’s the beautiful couple after the ceremony.
With all the wedding festivities completed and a idle day left on our hand, we friends decided to stroll around the village. Sarneshwarji, we noticed, was a quaint little village with population hardly exceeding 1000 and had the Siranwa hill as its backdrop. The village is home to a huge number of monkeys and peacocks. Sarneshwarji boasts of a beautifully carved Sarneshwarji Mahadev Temple. With two huge exquisitely carved elephants flanking on either side of the entrance, the temple is an architectural marvel.
There’s a lake in front of the temple where the pilgrims take holy baths. The lake had dried up during the time when we visited. On the opposite side of the temple there are the umbrellas or chhatris, in local language.
Although it is uncertain, but most people are of the opinion that each umbrella was constructed in memory of each member of the royal family that had passed away.
If you happen to be around Mount Abu and have plenty of time on your hand, then do give this serene little place a visit.