Most tourists who stay at the Devpur Homestay treat Devpur as a base to explore Kutch. So they stay at the beautiful darbargarh for the night and post breakfast, set out to the White Rann, Lakhpat or wherever they want to go to; to come back again at night and discuss the day with all of us.
Very few take time to explore Devpur itself. The concept of rural tourism is slowly gaining momentum in India but it still remains dependent on the alternative tourism operators who carry out these fixed day trips. Very few attempt to travel rural India on their own.
One of the major reasons is simply the lack of infrastructure and awareness. Finding a charming homestay like Devpur’s in another village in India is rare. And those of us who have to fit in the vacation in just a week would probably not want to risk arriving at a village and looking for accommodation with locals.
But another, more sub-conscious reason is that most of us just want to tick places off the list. So why would Lakshmangarh occur on our to-do for Rajasthan or a Devpur for Kutch? Slow travellers, who are more interested in seeping in the culture than covering the must-visits, are a rare breed.
Our decision to stick to small towns and villages during this experiment is proving to be a good one. We have walked the lanes of this beautiful village umpteen times and never get bored of it. Instead of the honking that we were so used to, we just hear greetings. So much so, that our brief trip to Ahmedabad and Jaipur gave us headaches with the sheer amount of noise.
Devpur does not have anything dramatic to offer but the snippets of rural life that we are living are a treat in themselves. We trekked to the nearby check dam the other day and I walk daily to a temple that has a natural spring flowing out to a reservoir. We are regulars at the local dabeli stall here and the Bihari kaka’s dhaba who serve yummy samosas. Climbing the nearby un-named hills and just cooking on our stove using cow dung and wood are those joys that take nothing but time. Life has slowed down and our perceptions have sharpened.