The Aravalli Mountains in South Rajasthan are up to 1,800 metres high. The hilly landscape is ideal for beautiful hikes. As people live everywhere, you can meet some of them. Interactive trekking, so to speak. We travelled from Dungarpur to a place called Padwa. A family welcomed us there, where the husband often works as a trekking guide. However, he couldn’t make it that day, so his uncle stepped in. He was a very good substitute. He had chosen a route of about 7 kilometres. First a short stretch of road and then we continued on narrow and wide paths. It was February, so most of the trees had little or no foliage.
The sky was at its best.
But the fields were still green and the grain was not quite ready for harvest. Some people were busy with their animals. There were cows, goats and a few sheep.
We visited a family from the Meena ethnic group. What is striking about them is that they build their houses some distance apart and visit each other all the time.
The Meena ethnic group is mainly found in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. They declare their origin from the Hindu god Vishnu, the “preserver”. The Meena used to rule in areas of present-day Rajasthan. However, these all passed over to the conquerors (Moghuls and Rajputs). The Meena have a rich oral history. They were perceived by others as “evil persons” and accused of theft and violence. The British even categorised them as a “criminal tribe”. This only came to an end in 1952. From ruler to this stigmatisation – a path that many Adivasis in India follow.
There were a lot of people at home with this family. I did ask around, but I got completely confused about who was married to whom and which children belonged to which people. There was also a very old grandad. His wife is 15 years younger than him – quite normal for those times. They have 4 boys and 6 girls and many, many grandchildren. The brothers built their houses elsewhere and away from each other. But everything was still within walking distance.
We were also able to go inside the house. The goats lived in one room. The play doll was also striking.
Then we hiked on and on. We saw goat-shepherds.
And when we thought it would be nice to take a break, our guide suggested one and conjured up some snacks from his rucksack.
Then we went a little further. There was a beautiful panoramic view from the top.
There is no spectacular landscape, but dry hills and lovely people definitely have their charm. Our starting point, Padwa, is of course not mentioned on the tourist map. But that’s exactly the beauty of it.
We really liked it!