This is one of several immaculately kept villages of the Bishnoi community, a Hindu caste that takes its name from the 29 edicts its members agree to follow. In 1520, during a 20-year drought, the saint Jamboji came to the Bishnois to ease their troubles by finding new water sources for them and creating natural springs. Jamboji made a pact with the Bishnois that if they accepted his commandments, they would never experience a water shortage again. The next year, the drought ended. The Bishnois, who have faithfully kept to the teachings of Jamboji for almost 500 years, are one of Jodhpur's most distinct scheduled castes. Part of their pact was to respect the land and treat animals like their family—very protective of their environment, they look harshly on anyone who appears to hurt their sacred deer and antelope populations. Notable around here are the rare migratory birds, such as the godavan and sara cranes, that pass through the area. The Bishnois are extremely outgoing and hospitable—they
will invite you into their home for a cup of chai or amala, a mixture of opium and water traditionally reserved for special occasions and lazy days. Remember to bring your camera—you might just see a barasingha or blackbuck at dusk. Note that the area is difficult to navigate, as there are no real landmarks, so ask at your hotel or reputable travel agent for transportation arrangements and make sure you come with a tour guide. We recommend local brothers Dhanraj and Deepak. They will take you by jeep for an early-morning round of these villages and some handicraft villages (where one can buy crafts) and organize a village lunch for about Rs. 750 per head. If you have a shortage of time they will tailor a suitable outing.