MESSAGE FROM MAHADHRITI & BHAGYADITYA SINGH CHUNDAWAT
My Father always told us,” You are as good as what the plaque on your gravestone reads”. We have based our lives on this principle.
DEOGARH'S foundation stone was laid in 1670 AD by our ancestor - DWARKA Dasji. The Palace remained the residence of my family till the late 1900s. My grandfather opted to move out to teach at Mayo College, a British-style public school initially designed to educate the young princes. Both my Brother and I went to that school - a family tradition. Our parents insisted on us working on our IQ, EQ and SQ along with health Quotient. While we were at school we were taken to a Guru to practice yoga, meditation and spiritualism as well. We played sports and participated in cultural activities too.
At Devshree we spent time learning the values that were passed down through generations on how an erstwhile family member should come across to the people. Deogarh is a traditional village in Rajasthan(near Udaipur-earlier the state of Mewar). We are expected to dress, behave, and speak in a particular fashion and our elders and family retainers assist us in this exercise. We are expected to adhere to the principles and our behaviour, conduct, disciplined lifestyle are to be in keeping with the values of swaraj (self-rule) as practised by Lord Ram. A practice of self-discipline, hard work, perseverance and the knowledge that he had captivated the hearts of the people and knew public opinion by intuition.
The Dev Shree Trust was formed to continue the work of helping the poor and educating children from the backward sections of society. We have assisted school children with uniforms, books, sweaters and slippers and we have formed a body of Government school teachers to help us with the same. One of our benefactors has helped us with arranging motivational training camps for these teachers. We have also set up state–of–the–art basketball (a popular sport in Deogarh) courts for the village. This has taught us the joy and importance of giving –my Mother always says ”It is in giving that we receive”.
In our Farms too, we introduced drip irrigation and use only solar energy in all our Farms. The idea is to set up model farms. We work with local farmers and share the practices with them.
When we built Devshree, it was with the guidance of our Guru. We engaged local artisans to carve pillars from local stone and the building is built following the Hindu guidelines of Vastu Shastra. The rooms and interiors are designed keeping in mind the needs of the discerning traveller. The experience of the lifestyle, the meals (which have a few traditional dishes incorporated into the menu) and the fact that they are part of the family and included in the festivals and celebrations as per the season, are what sets Dev Shree apart from the other places. Both of us brothers also enjoy being with the guests and their questions and queries help us learn more about our own history.
Today both us brothers are learning the art and science of hospitality and business management. We chose an Indian Institute so the foundation of our training is based on our Indian style. Although we are introduced to all facets of the business –Indian and Western. Even during vacations we work at home and hope we can infuse some new-age ideas and concepts to grow the brand of Dev Shree.
We have grown up treating our guests as friends, learning to cook, serve and take care of their needs since we were children. Each guest is personally received by one of us on arrival. We share our time showing them the rural life, farm activity, social upliftment schemes, rural train experience and cycling to the homes of local Thakurs. In all, we like to showcase our area, its people, flora and fauna to the people who visit us. The idea is to create lasting memories, something unique and something different for each traveller.
During the lockdown we have spent a lot of time with my mother baking cakes, making pickles and other traditional dishes. My mother learned these recipes from her mother while growing up in the tea estates of Eastern India. After marriage, my mother came under the tutelage of her Mother-In-Law and learned how to prepare the local delicacies. We are spending time experimenting and documenting these recipes.