A game of cards every afternoon: At Sonkhaliya

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In a tiny village called Sonkhaliya on the Kota Cross Road, time has its own speed and the folk culture is the only culture. It is famous among bird enthusiasts for sightings of the Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican.

Rajasthan (/ˈrɑːdʒəstæn/; Hindustani pronunciation: [raːdʒəsˈt̪ʰaːn] ( listen)), known as "the land of kings", is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It comprises most of the area of the large, inhospitable Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, which parallels the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with Pakistan to the west. Rajasthan is also bordered by Gujarat to the southwest, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the northeast and Punjab to the north. Rajasthan covers 10.4% of India, an area of 342,239 square kilometres (132,139 sq mi).

In North-West India, a dhani is the smallest conglomeration of huts. All families living in a Dhani are relatives of each other or at least are of the same caste. Most Indian villages are small; nearly 80 percent have fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, according to the census of India 2001. Most are nucleated settlements, while others are more dispersed. It is in villages that India's most basic business—agriculture—takes place.

For a tourist visiting Rajasthan for the first time, it is actually difficult to find a village in the vast stretches of barren land. It is only when a herd of cattle is seen around that the tourist gets an inkling of a village nearby.

Village life in Rajasthan has a rich cultural heritage. Rajasthan has variety of village life depending on topography, history, caste system and traditional festivals like cattle fairs, Haat and religious fairs. The village dwelling unit popularly known as a hut is usually circular in shape. Its simplest hamlets, the most basic form of civilisation with a way of life that has probably remained unchanged since centuries, consist of a collection of huts that are circular, and have thatched roofs. The walls are covered with a plaster of clay, cow dung, and hay, making a termite-free (antiseptic) facade that blends in with the sand of the countryside around it. It is thatched with grass and haysticks. Sometimes clay moulded Kelu are also used. Boundaries for houses and land holdings, called baras, are made of the dry branches of a nettle-like shrub, the long, sharp thorns a deterrent for straying cattle. The huts so made are technically hygienic and give the feeling of air conditioning. In summers they remain cool and in winters it remain warm. If a dhani looks bleak, it is hardly surprising: the resources for building these homes, which are the most eco-friendly living unit, are made with what is available at hand, and in Rajasthan, and particularly so in its western desert regions, this can mean precious little. A village that is even a little larger may have pucca houses, or larger living units, usually belonging to the village Zamindar family. Consisting of courtyards, and a large Nora or cattle enclosure, attached to one side or at the entrance, these are made of a mixture of sun-baked clay bricks covered with a plaster of lime.

Source: Wikipedia

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