Restoration Works volunteer groups are sometimes made up of all strangers, while others are comprised of long-time friends. The New Year’s trip to the Bichli Haveli Project in Udaipur, India, combined the best of both, with volunteers cementing years-long friendships while forging new ones that will last for many years to come. The volunteers had a splendid time working alongside the local crew, getting to know the community and exploring the lovely city of Udaipur, India.

“This has been one of the best projects I’ve worked on. I’ve been on three projects with RWI, and this is maybe my favorite. The building itself is just magnificent. It’s beautiful in every corner.” – Bichli Haveli volunteer

RWI volunteers demolished walls to reveal wonderful rooms, helped the plumber with securing new pipes, and delicately scraped layers of paint, revealing the haveli’s original 140-year-old “gutai” limestone finish.

Some of the newest members to the work crew include a daily mule team to cart away the day’s rubble. Due to the narrow lane in front of the haveli, only mules and a motorcycle or two can reach the entrance.

It’s never “all work and no play” for RWI trip participants. While in Udaipur, the New Year’s group learned to make their favorite Indian dishes at a terrific day-long Indian cooking course. Fierce kite-flying contests with the neighbors atop the haveli roof were a real highlight. And nothing beat a pot of tea/glass of beer while enjoying the best view in town from the guesthouse rooftop.

(photos courtesy of G. Worth and D. Immisch)