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Village in Rajasthan preserves historic temple

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Deteriorating temple in Jolpa prior to restoration plan. Photo: IANS
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By Bhavana Akella

In Rajasthan’s stark desert hinterland, Jolpa, a small village inhabited by a poor farming community, has been the home to a uniquely architectured historic temple for more than 800 years. It was only when their iconic temple began to deteriorate that the Jolpa people came together to value its history.

The temple, located in Jhalawar district, is believed to have been constructed in 1356 A.D. by a satrap of the Gagron kingdom, Chandra Bhan Singh Khichi Chauhan.

The architecture of this temple, where the deity Jalpa Chandra Bhan has been worshipped for centuries, has a very traditional construct. With no mortar or limestone, the structure has interlocked stones on the fulcrum principle – adding to symmetry and beauty.

The place grew popular as not just a religious center but as a hub for cultural activities.

As the temple is left on its own to battle extreme weather conditions for over three decades, deterioration begins, making the villagers desperate to restore it. Their pleas to the local sarpanch, member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and others have proved futile.

Restoration in progress. Photo: IANS
Restoration in progress. Photo: IANS

“The temple stood as a unique element about the village. I called the villagers for a meeting and challenged them that only they can save their temple. That is when this small farming community set its steps to pool in nearly 11 lakh rupees,” Thakur Ranvir Singh, the state convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), told IANS on phone.

All the villagers have been selling their farm products and raising money to preserve the temple, the name of which stood synonymous with the identity of the whole village. With the villagers’ desire to keep the restoration process close to the classical form that it was constructed in, classical craftsmen have been deployed to task.

Singh lamented that in the current “state controlled system where priority is industrialization, there is gross negligence in the upkeep of heritage and identities.”

He added that if history has to be preserved in any corner of the world, “people must become their own custodians and not rely solely upon the governments.”

“There can be no better example of what people’s participation, to restore their village’s personality and pride, can accomplish,” the culture preservation expert said.

The villagers have a new-found enthusiasm about their community and have formed a restoration committee by themselves to undertake the operations, Singh said.

With INTACH’s support extended, the restoration operations in Jolpa are under way and the villagers hope it will soon bring the place back to its classical form. (IANS)

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Exploring the Rajasthani Cuisine

The foodie in you is sure to stumble upon more exotic and unique culinary delights if you set out to explore the place in detail

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Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea).
Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea).

Home to royal palaces, mighty forts and unending deserts, Rajasthan is the land of legends and kings and queens. Rajasthani cuisine is famous all over India for its rich flavours and unique cooking styles. Being an arid state, the traditional cooking style has evolved in such a way that very less water is used in cooking. More oils and spices are used in order to preserve the food for longer times. Also, Rajasthani cuisine uses milk, ghee and butter in large quantities owing to the local production and availability of dairy products. Here are some top dishes which has made the Rajasthani cuisine famous worldwide. All you have to do is contact one of the car rentals in Jaipur for a day of restaurant hopping in the city.

Daal Baati Churma
This is the signature Rajasthani dish which is a combination of baked round bread called Baati, spicy lentil curry or Daal and a lightly sweet crumble known as Churma. It is so simple yet tasty and healthy. The baati is made out of wheat flour, ghee and milk and cooked in a baati cooker or tandoor whereas the daal is made of five different types of lentils. Churma is nothing but crushed baati mixed with sugar or jaggery and flavoured with cardamom.

Gatte ki Sabzi
Gatte is the gram flour balls which are used in the preparation of various dishes. Gatte ki sabzi is an everyday dish made by cooking gram flour balls in a gravy of buttermilk and spices. The sabzi can be relished with rice or roti.

gatte
Gatte ki Sabzi.

Ker Sangri
Ker Sangri is yet another traditional dish of Rajasthan which is a preparation of dried Ker berries with Sangri beans. These berries and beans grow easily in desert conditions, and hence it evolved as a staple food item. Ker Sangri pairs best with roti, daal and rice.

Laal Maas
Rajasthani cuisine is mainly vegetarian. However, the Rajput influence has led to the inclusion of some mouthwatering meat preparations in the cuisine. Traditionally, Laal Maas used to be prepared with deer meat or boar meat. In modern days, the dish is prepared using tender mutton. The spicy red curry is best relished with bajra ki roti. Liberal use of fiery red chillies imparts the unique red colour to the curry.

Mohan Maas
This is yet another mutton dish where well-cooked delicious mutton chunks are dunked in a
rich gravy of milk, cream, spices and nuts.

Rajasthani sweets and snacks.
A man with Rajasthani sweets and snacks.

Snacks
Rajasthani snacks make a great accompaniment to a glass of their special Adraki chai (ginger tea). Kachoris and Samosas are commonly found in every local sweetmeat shop in the city. Kalmi Vada, Bikaneri Bhujia, and Mirchi Vada are some of the other snacks to be tried.

Sweets
Rajasthani cuisine is not complete without mentioning its wide variety of mouth-watering
sweets and desserts. Most of their sweets are rich preparations involving generous usage of
milk, cream, ghee, and sugar. Sweet lovers cannot miss trying out Mava Kachori, Rabri Jilebi, Malpua, Balushahi and Ghevar.

The foodie in you is sure to stumble upon more exotic and unique culinary delights if you set out to explore the place in detail. Jaipur Outstation taxi services are also available for intercity trips within Rajasthan, to make the most out of your Rajasthan food expedition journey.