A tiny village that barely even makes the map or for that matter has visibility on Google, Luni’s claim to fame in my book is the fact that they savour every celebration by consuming opium. Located about five and a half hours from Jodhpur city, Luni or as my friends prefer to call it ‘Looney’ came on my radar on my visit to Fort Chanwa—a palatial hotel property Madonna stayed at during her visit to India. The hotel arranged for a ‘village safari’, designed for people to interact with the locals and get an up, close and personal view of rural life in India.
Fort Chanwa Luni
Although it seemed like a commercial touristy proposition, I took it up as I was curious about the Bishnoi culture. Besides, I feel privileged to know the local Marwari language. It allows me to instantly connect with the locals; often getting to know them better than other visitors would. Our first stop was a charpoy maker’s home. He briefly demonstrated his skill of knitting colourful threads together to create a vibrant charpoy, before sharing with us the intriguing tradition of opium consumption.
A wood and brass device used to dilute the opium before consumption. And he also knits!
He brought out an opium pod and a complicated contraption, and then went to explain the process. The idea is to consume a tiny amount by diluting it using the contraption. It is then distributed among village folk on various occasions and celebrations. I was offered a sip, which I was happy to sample. It tasted like mildly flavoured water.
While we went on to visit a few more huts, it was the opium tasting that remained a highlight of this trip. I guess sometimes it’s a blessing not to be able to find a destination on the map.
(refer to this one for Jodhpur)
Fort Chanwa Luni
VPO: Luni, Dist. Jodhpur,
For more information, log on to www.fortchanwa.com
NEXT: Day 6 - Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai