I am not sure if two years in a row makes something an annual event, but it would be rather nice to think so. Christmas 2015 at Devshree was all about lovely walks, exploring the fort, lazy lunches, chilling out on charpois after a farm cooked lunch (and discovering the delights of cow s**t bread as we renamed it), sundowners, campfires, chats, Old Monk and fun.
This year, with dad, we did it differently, tailoring the experience to his idea of heaven. We arrived by narrow gauge, steam train, an exceptionally beautiful journey from Phulad to Kamlighat through the ‘wilds’ of Rajasthan, crossing viaducts, a monkey feeding point and meeting fellow locals travellers, all of whom were so excited to meet a foreigner. Dad was perplexed but loved the journey, I got carried away chatting and being photographed with our fellow passengers, one boy who was a very willing and photogenic model. We hung out of the doors and waved at anyone we passed, I pulled dad back inside just before the tunnel, we sampled the chat and enjoyed the scenery.
We arrived in time for sundowners overlooking a lake, teeming with migratory birds and then back to Devshree for our first camp fire of the trip, dad with a beer, me with an old monk, good chat, good music followed by a delicious dinner amidst good company. A very comfortable and cosy night under duvets, as winter began to kick in and then dawned a new day.
Dad was still blown away by the train ride but one of the reasons I wanted to bring him here was their private vintage car collection, he was in heaven. Not only did we visit both the garages but we were driven out to explore the countryside in one of the cars from their vintage collection, a 1947 Dodge. This was a perfect example of tailoring a destination to a persons requirements whilst maintaining the essence of why anyone would want to visit.
What stayed the same as last year? Well, the beautiful location, the fabulous home-styled hospitality, the charming villagers (though I didn’t get dragged into a private house this time, and a rather embarrassing situation!) the best showers in Rajasthan, the evening walks, picturesque spots for sundowners, evening camp fires, Bhavna’s divine campfire-baked mini jacket potatoes ( a special request by me), and my insistence that Christmas cake with Wensleydale cheese IS a delicious combination.
Was was new? The wonderful train experience, the visit to the vintage car collections and being treated to a drive in a couple of the cars, the fabulous new swimming pool (see pic below), the different dinner guests, and a partial agreement that Christmas cake with Wensleydale cheese is a winning combination, though a compromise that adding a slavering of home-made, potent rum butter adds to its delectability.
Sitting on the lawn in the warmth of the afternoon sun, the distant fort reflected in the lake, a typical fat labrador by our feet, a Jack Russel stalking squirrels in the near by trees, a beer in hand and banter under way, dad looked at me and smiled, ‘Its rather nice here.’ he said.