Mud and clay handicraft hub: Thikarda, Rajasthan
Thikarda is a tiny village of potters located about eight kilometres from the artisan town of Bundi in Eastern Rajasthan. Thikarda is a relatively unknown village which from the outside has nothing to catch the eye of a tourist, but plenty on offer for a traveller.
There are multiple ways to reach Thikarda, the best way is by hiring a tuk-tuk from Bundi. The roads leading to the village are excellent with plenty of greenery and small shrubs spread across the barren desert land which make the ride very scenic. The other options are to hire a bike or a cycle from either Kota or Bundi.
On reaching the village of Thikarda, the first thing travellers will notice is plenty of pots stacked up at every nook and corner of the village, a few broken ones can also be spotted at first glance. Children will flock to you the minute they spot a tourist and will ask for a photo or a chocolate.
Once in the village, plenty of locals will come up and greet you and offer to teach the art of pot making or try to sell some of their pots or other earthen art. Thikarda is well known for handicrafts made out of mud and clay which are then sold across the country.
The best way to explore the village is on foot , since this is the only way to get a real feel of the place. Thikarda has numerous tiny lanes which justifies the need to wander through this village on foot.
The houses in the village are made up of mud and bricks with traditional glass work on the doors of every house. The houses still have dung flooring and it’s a common sight to see the elders from the village redoing their house flooring with dung.
Each and every house in the village has a veranda with bamboo fencing where the earthen pots are made and a kiln to bake the pots. The pots are then dried outside in the blazing sun and are then stored in a dark room in the house for a brief period without any exposure to the sun light. After this they are sold in the market.
The women of Thikarda are generally the pot makers and take up to a week to prepare each hand-made piece. The pots are given a desired shape on the potter’s wheel, after which they are sun dried and lastly patted with a hammer for a smooth surface. If one has time on hand and wishes to learn the art of pot making, the villagers happily oblige to teach their guests a few tricks at a cost that can be negotiated upon.
Unlike most other parts of the state, women of this village are friendly and open to conversation with travellers. The women of Thikarda are generally the pot makers and take up to a week to prepare each hand made piece. The pots are given a desired shape on the potter’s wheel, after which they are sun dried and lastly patted with a hammer for a smooth surface.
Thikarda is located in close proximity to the jungle adjoining the famous Sawai Madhopur forest of Rathambore fame. Due to this proximity, the villagers often spot tigers roaming freely in the surroundings and hence it is always advisable to keep a watch while visiting this village especially post sundown.
The best time to visit the village is post the monsoon season between October and December when the surroundings are covered with lush green forest along with a stream flowing nearby. The winter months between January and March are also considerably favourable time to visit the village when the temperature is pleasant.
Accommodation and food options in Thikarda are virtually zero with no guest houses or hotels. The best option for travellers is to do a day trip from the town of Bundi. Thikarda has a couple of make shift Rajasthani style restaurants which have a bamboo frame and serve only chai and biscuits.
Thikarda is a must visit place for anyone looking to explore the offbeat parts of eastern Rajasthan. A couple of hours is more than enough to experience the natural beauty and hospitality of this lesser known village.
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