Chokhi Dhani Sonipat : Little Rajasthan near Delhi

From where to start… a silly question always strike in my mind, whenever I get done with my tremendous trip & try to pen down something, especially when I try to write something about my travel, its experiences etc. How could I express how it felt then? Should I follow a story telling method or write a simple experience note? Or should I go for some other modern method. Naah… !!!!

But whatever method I adopt (you are critic for my write-ups), I always try to be informative rather than more of my enjoyment. So that my readers, fellow traveler can plan their trip accordingly. It doesn’t mean if I like something may be the same feeling for others and vice versa…

Let’s visit my favorite place with my eyes……

Chokhi Dhani, the Rajasthani ethnic village resort —every ghumakkar must be familiar with the name. First established in Jaipur, marks a respected name in the Indian tourist’s list and after successful establishment in Jaipur, it has been further replicated in many cities of India and recent establishment is Chokhi Dhani Sonipat, just a 40 KM away from the Delhi border (Mukarba Chowk). It is being branded as being near to Delhi-NCR with promises to make a memorable evening with their loved ones. I like to call it a tiny picnic land because you will get time to enjoy only 5 hours (6PM to 11PM).

We were planning to go to Chokhi Dhani Jaipur for the last one year, with our growing kid in mind (now our every travel is decided based on our kid), but not able to plan a trip due to lots of issues. One of our friends told us that a new Chokhi Dhani had come up on NH1, so we could plan for a weekend picnic. Till that day, the picnic had not materialized, but we decided to give a visit to this place. After planning for some time and choosing a weekend, the rain washed out our first plan and we decided that we would visit the next weekend…. Finally the day came on 17th Aug, 2013, after waiting a lot.

Took the road direction and telephone no. of Chokhi Dhani reception, we started our journey early because you never know how much time it will take to grapple with this Urban ghost called Delhi traffic up to Mukarba Chowk.  Just after filling up the tank, a beautiful rain shower and we just prayed to the God, please don’t give this shower now, you are not supposed to do this with us today again, but after coming out from Noida, there was no rain in Delhi. So we were very happy and rode towards Mukarba… as usual we got stuck in various jams and the 35 KM stretch to Mukarba Chowk took more than one and half hours, but we reached Chokhi Dhani within one hour from Mukarba Chowk. We were a little bit confused about the location, so we called them for the exact location, they told us that just cross Murthal over bridge and half a KM, on left side itself you find us. It was very easy to locate because it is located right by the roadside.

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It was 6 ‘o’ clock in the evening when we reached. So we took 2 tickets of Rs. 450/- & 1 tickets of Rs. 250/- (Rs.450 per adult and Rs.250 for kids, free entry for small kids). Interesting part is that every entry ticket includes the amenities of the visiting the indoor setup, a traditional Rajasthani dinner, Bajra ki roti with garlic chutney in a traditional home, a Mehendi/henna that they would apply on  hands of girls & ladies, apart from that all the cultural activities inside the premises. Now we were waiting for opening the gate. The 1st attraction about the place is the decoration of the reception area. Well designed, the artistic taste was eminent, with all the antiques that our parents used when they were young like shutter door TV, big radio, vessels, butter churner etc. just decorated as a museum.

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There was another open restaurant and an imported goods shop adjoining the premises. So, if you reach before time, you can enjoy some food there and shop for some goodies. A nice collection (replica of reputed brands) available in the shop, so we enjoyed window shopping & spent some time.

At 6 pm sharp and we entered Chokhi Dhani, the ethnic designed Rajasthani village. As we entered, all of them were dressed in traditional Rajasthani attire (Dhoti, Kurta and Pagri). They gave us a warm welcome with Namaste – “Raam Raam Saa/ Sethani Saa, padharo mharey des” translating to “Hello sir/madam, welcome to my land”.

After we entered the village, we enjoyed the welcome drink (Jal-jeera) and moved ahead. Near the welcome drink stall, there was a giant Brass bell,  that you can hit on with a big wooden hammer.

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We enjoyed the same and came forward to a little stall, where they sold Gol-Gappa and Pakora (these were not included in the ticket and charge Rs.20 per plate), we enjoyed Gol-Goppa and boiled Bhutta (Rs.30 per bhutta/corn)… with a little stomach filled we started our journey of enjoyment.

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Watching the traditional Rajasthani dance, puppet show, drum show with a little boy dance on beat etc,  we reached the point where there were some games that we had played at fairs when we were kids like bursting balloons with guns, arrow with bow etc.

After all this enjoyment, we headed for camel riding, bullock cart riding and they charge Rs.20 for each, Kids were free to enjoy without any cost. There was also a giant wheel that we did not get on to, but people enjoyed the same like in fair. People were shouting & enjoying.

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Enjoyments felt like never ending, but we felt a bit hungry and had reached the end of facilities. At the end of the village there was a traditional home setup where a family was staying. The Rajasthani lady cooked baajra ki roties for guest on a big tawa and served with Ghee, garlic chutney and jaggery.

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We relished the Bajra ki roti in a traditional village way and went back to the dining hall, because the clock hit 8 PM and our time for dinner was 8.15. So when we reached in the diner hall, again we had got a warm welcome in Rajathani style “raam room sa/shethani sa”…. As we sat down, they started serving us a traditional rejuvenating thali meal in the typical plate made of leaves… 1,2,3,4.. The items kept coming. We were served somewhere around 20 dishes- famous ones including daal baati, Jaipuri Kadi, Gatta jodhpuri, Malpua, khichri, Bajra ka roti, makke ki roti etc.

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The taste was really authentic, an unlimited thali, which was not for us, as we had enough and can’t take so much food in one go. Anyway that was my story, but guys you can enjoy in your way, lots of masti in  this traditional adventure place.

Finally our picnic ended with dinner and we didn’t have much energy to enjoy more after a heavy Thali…. So we decided to head back, becausewith the  Delhi traffic one never knows.

The good thing about the place: Lots of fun you can enjoy, traditional Rajathani dance and show, music, etc. and most importantly the warm welcome & hospitality by everyone there. They were cheerful,  joyful while serving and nothing felt like fake or made up, for which, people don’t hesitate to give tips to them.

The bad thing about the place: This set up is just 4 months old (on the time of our visit), so a lot of construction was going on. It may take another year to complete all work. Food may be as not good as compared to Chokhi Dhani Jaipur. Though it won’t be fair to compare, because that is well established with lots of years of experience, this is just 4 months old. It will also give you a Jaipur experience within Delhi-NCR. And finally you can enjoy a lot in 4-5 hours on your weekend with your family and friends.

14 Comments

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Hello Anjan!,
    A very authentic tale of an ethnic replica. The write-up is flawless with supportive pictures. Jaipur Chokhi Dhani is over crowded now and started serving the meal in buffet too, thus spoiling the authenticity and charm. It sounds like Sonepat is a better option. Minute details are note-worthy for 1st time visitors. Thanks for sharing.

    Keep travelling
    Ajay

  • SilentSoul says:

    interesting read about a new place near Delhi.

  • Anupam Chakraborty says:

    Ram Ram Sa Anjan

    It looks like a pretty place with the flavour of Rajasthan. I hope the construction is completed by now, since you have visited in Aug.2013. Nice description of your visit. I hope this is a good getaway place for Delhi and nearby places.

    • Anjan says:

      Ram Ram Sa Anupam,
      Thanks for your lovely comment. Hope construction completed…. they are plane with resort, so that construction will may not….

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thank you Anjan for introducing us with this new place. Seems like a good evening getaway, with kids or a small group. Some of the stuff like shutter TV, Big radio, Butter Churner are something which we have seen/used in our early life :)

    I had a query around staying options and I can see that in your response to Anupam. Thanks again.

  • Ram Ram Sa Anupam,
    Thanks for your lovely comment. Hope construction completed. they are plane with resort, so that construction will may not.

    by SHEKHAR PATEL

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Ok folks, so I was there with a car full of people and here is my report.

    It is further to Sonepat, in Ganaur and it would take in excess of 90 minutes from Central Delhi. Approach is good and the place is right on the highway. Entry charges are INR 500 per person.

    Once inside, it didn’t seem as big as the one in Jaipur and it has the regular fair of Magician, Kalbelia Dance, Tight rope walk, Heena stalls, Palmistry/Astrology, Pottery, a small wooden-fire-Bajra roti point and so on. I did my bit at most of the places and my overall experience is ‘mixed’. The large jhoola is pretty dangerous with little or no safety means employed, Bajra roti was good, Kalbelia was worse since it is really hard to do it on Bhangra beats (may be the real drummer was away) and other affairs are usual. Not very impressive so far.

    But then you go to Chokhi Dhani to gorge on authentic Rajasthani cuisines, from Ker-Sangri to Gatta-Curry to Mal-puas to Khichdi. I have been to Jaipur CD a number of times so when I saw local Ganaur boys faking ‘Ram Ram Sa…’, the accent/nuance was hard to not miss. Food was overall OK.

    May be, this place is right in backyard or may be this place is still new (I checked and in June 2014 they complete one year) but I drove back asking for lot more. Hope this is useful.

  • Bhawna says:

    going to chokhi dhani sonipat this independence day evening for family outing. Felt duped. They admitted 6-7 thousand ppl instead of the six seven hundred capacity. No place to sit , had to wait for an hour in line for a snack which also they were doling out in limited quantity. And came back without the dinner we had paid five hundred rupees per person for as it was impossible to quash oneself in line to get it. Horrible

  • indresh says:

    Hi Guys,

    I am planning to take my family on next weekend to this CD sonipat place. Can someone help me whether its a good decision to go there or not. Also, would like to know which time is best to visit there i.e. morning 10am to 2pm or 5pm to 9pm in evening.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Hi Indresh – If it is not a busy weekend then the place is quite OK. If you are making a whole lot effort to reach there then you may want to think again. Since it is winters, I would choose morning time so as to get some good Sun.

  • anjan das says:

    Hi Indresh,

    There are no morning time at Chokhi dhani -Sonepat… in winter , timing is 5 to 11 PM. As a winter weekend, there may not be so rush, but fog may effect your journey. you can enjoy and take food from 7PM onwards. take early diner and back early :) .

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