Historic village Tordi Sagar is a breath of fresh air after the bustle of the other cities in India. Here’s how you can soak it up in style…
Tordi Sagar is a small village in India that I visited as part of a group travel tour around India with Intrepid Travel. It was the fourth place we visited as part of the tour after visiting Delhi, Varanasi and Agra and the Taj Mahal, and we were only there for one night. However, it was a very welcome change of pace.
Being in the middle of the countryside, it was so delightfully calm and still. After the hustle and bustle of the previous locations I think everyone in the tour group was a little bit relieved to have a bit of a breather from the constant blare of the tuk tuk drivers’ horns in the cities. It couldn’t have just been me, right?
I really enjoyed being able to relax, breathe in the fresh air, and go at a slightly slower pace for 24 hours. That isn’t to say we did nothing however – there’s actually quite a lot to see in Tordi Sagar.
Here are my picks of the best thing to do in Tordi Sagar…
Where is Tordi Sagar?
Tordi Sagar is small historic village in the north west of India. It’s located around 100km from the city of Jaipur, which is around a two hour drive away.
Where to stay in Tordi Sagar: Tordi Gahr heritage hotel
As soon as we pulled up outside this gorgeous family-run heritage hotel Tordi Gahr I instantly felt at home. It’s effortlessly charming: all turquoise ornate doors, marble flooring and arched windows. Having been crammed in small hotel rooms with barely any windows (in Delhi at least) and certainly no outside space it was lovely to stay somewhere so beautiful.
Our room was just as lovely. It opened out onto a lovely open courtyard on the second floor, where we enjoyed an alfresco dinner and breakfast in the sunshine the following morning. With an en-suite bathroom with stained glass feature, decorative headboards and another lovely marble floor, this certainly felt like one of the more aesthetically pleasing places we stayed over the trip.
It’s a real rural retreat and definitely on the rustic side. As a result, this means that it may not have everything you would usually expect. For example, there was no wi-fi, and I also seem to remember the shower not being particularly warm. However, if you can handle that for one night then I would. It’s a really charming way to live local and spend some time in a small village that’s more off the grid than usual.
What to do in Tordi Sagar
Take a jeep safari across the sand dunes
When I heard that we were taking a jeep safari in Tordi Sagar I was like: errr yes. It was organised as a complimentary option as part of the overall trip to India and I was more than happy to jump in. After a few days of jostling for space in the cities it was lovely to sit and just look out at vast, empty landscapes.
As with these things, it was a little bumpy at times, but that was all part of the fun. I just made sure I held on tight and didn’t think too much about the fact there wasn’t very much to hold anyone in at the back on the jeep if we did happen to go over a big bump! Is it just my brain that works like that?
Explore the beautiful step well
I’d never seen a step well before coming to India, and to be honest I’d never even heard of them. This one in Tordi Sagar was the first one I’d ever laid eyes on… and just wow.
So what is a step well? Well, they’re incredibly beautiful, ornate structures with cascading steps that form weaving decorative patterns across the stone work. There are several step wells located across India, although they are more prevalent in north of the country.
For all their beauty, step wells are also really practical. They enable access to the water in a country that often has to deal with fluctuating water levels. Described by Lonely Planet as an “extravagant piece of public theatre”, they’re the places where locals would wash, gather water, and perform religious rituals. In that way, step walls are very much at the centre of daily life.
I really fell in love with these structures during the trip. We later went to see another step well in Delhi which was arguably even more impressive and to be honest I wish I could have seen more. You can read more about the Agrasen ki Baoli step well in New Delhi in my favourite things to do in Delhi post here.
As a welcome to the world of step well, this one was perfect.
Walk around the surrounding fields
We also had a chance to explore the local fields with our tour guide for the day. He was the son of the owner of the family-run heritage hotel Tordi Gahr, and a font of knowledge.
This was proper farm country, and our guide took us through some of the fields where they were growing wheat and mustard seeds. There were farm animals and local people around. It was just lovely just to soak up the calm and the quiet. Nature is just good for the soul, isn’t it?
Watch the sunset from the sand dunes
One of my favourite things we did over the whole of the trip was watching the sunset in Tordi Sagar. Here comes the cheesy bit. It just felt like one of those moments where we were able to press pause and reflect on what an incredible experience we were having so far. Everything had been such a rush until that point. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t get much better than soaking up the last glint of the of light from a cool sand dune.
Let me tell you, though, it wasn’t all glamour and hashtag sunsets however. Getting there wasn’t quite so lovely! The climb up the sand dunes was so incredibly steep. I had to make about three pitstops just to catch a breath before I reached the top. And this is coming from someone that likes to think of themselves as relatively fit. It really was a struggle, but it was so worth it once we got to the top.
Amazingly, our tour guide has brought masala chai tea and biscuits to enjoy from the top! That really just made the experience – and the climb – even more worth it. I had so much sugar in the tea, and probably about four biscuits, and it was just wonderful. What a fantastic, memorable thing to do.
Explore the local village
Before we left the following morning we went for a wander around the village with Sana as our tour guide. We visited a local school where we were swamped by the local children, and we were able to chat to some of the teachers and kids. I was delighted by how friendly and outgoing all of the children we spoke to were.
Although the children we chatted to were all super smiley and chatty, as soon as they posed for a photo they instantly became really serious. I later learned that it’s what they’ve been taught to do in family photos.
Another thing we had the opportunity to do during the tour of the village was watch a local craftsman at work. Seeing him create pots out of a mound of clay at the pottery wheel was so mesmerising to watch.
We were also able to see some of the local houses where families lived, as well as a toilet block. That led to a lengthy conversation around toilets. A lot of houses in India don’t have toilets. This means that, for privacy reasons, women have to get up before dark to go out in the fields, which is dangerous and leads to assaults.
Sana told us about a film about the subject, which is called Toilet: A Love Story. It’s a Hindi language film about a woman who gets married and moves in with her new husband family. It’s only then she discovers that he doesn’t have a toilet in his home. It’s a light-hearted film where the topic is handled in a humorous way. However, there’s a serious undercurrent, too, because it’s based on a real issue affecting women in India.
If you’d like to visit Tordi Sagar
I mentioned that I visited Tordi Sagar as part of a group travel tour to India that I booked through Intrepid Travel. They run a large number of travel tours in India. However, the one I booked was called the Indian Getaway tour. It starts at Delhi and goes to Varanasi, Agra, Tordi Sagar, Jaipur and back to Dehil, and you travel with an experienced tour guide who looks after all of the logistics throughout.
We did everything from to visiting Amer Fort in Jaipur to walking through the narrow winding streets of Old Delhi to ticking off a bucket list moment at the Taj Mahal! It was an incredible trip and I loved every second of it. If you’d like to find out more, here are a few posts I wrote about the different destinations on the trip….