imageAt 11:00 we gather in the lobby , identify our bags and board the bus to leave Jaipur. Not far into our journey we stop at an ATM. Lots of queuing before we are rich again! Security is lower here than elsewhere as the guard is asleep! Within a minute we have stopped again. Surprise, surprise! We are stopping at our guide Shailendra’s sister’s house. We are welcomed with rum and tea and nibbles. After about an hour, a bottle of rum for the road is collected and off we go through the suburbs of Jaipur. Eventually we get to the main freeway, three lanes each way and tolled. The journey to Sawarda is mainly along highway, but there are frequent roadworks and diversions. After some time we exit down a narrow country road and we finally reach Sawarda around 2:15. We are greeted with a drink and soon room keys are handed out. Our hotel is a renovated fort, owned by Shailendra’s brother-in-law. We are in room 109. It’s comfortable but from a bygone era in decor. We head up a number of flights of stairs to reach the dining area which is on the top level. We have a ‘snacky’ lunch of rice, veggie curries and Indian bread. We are then free to take a rest until 4:30 which is good as it is quite hot. At that time we gather and Shailendra gives us a few do’s and don’t instructions before we take a walk around the village. The locals are friendly. Many of the children are keen to be photographed. Along the we way we visit a couple of homes and businesses. The town is very clean overall. After awhile the kids become loud and a bit of a pest. We continue through the town and at the edge we come to a Sikh temple. We hear about it’s origins and current workings then tour inside. At the end we come to an orchard where we go to an upstairs area for masala tea as the sun sets. Our journey back is on a tractor cart, a bumpy but fun ride. We have time to shower before drinks and dinner upstairs. Two young local musicians are playing drums, the local accordion and one of them sings. It is really good. Dinner is buffet style again. There is rice, breads, chicken and a couple of veggie curries. The spinach and cheese one is lovely. Afterwards there is rice pudding for dessert. We adjourn to the balcony area again for music, dancing, looking at Salindra’s wedding album and the highlight – a fireworks display! An amazing night!

Sawarda fort converted into a heritage hotel.
Sawarda fort converted into a heritage hotel.

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