Dream comes true...It was one such long-time dream for us to escape in to our own world where we can re discover the real us!!
The plan was to cover Rajasthan in 10 days and visit the BP 609 (later extended by husband’s surprise plans)
So here goes the epic trip, 9 states covering 6055 kms (completely driven by Arvind only), in 11 days (forget the fancy numbers...)
TRAVELLING SOLO IS GREAT BUT TRAVELLING WITH THE RIGHT COMPANINION IS BLISS
When Arvind told me about the possibilities of visiting the border, he was satisfied to see how super exited I am (he knows me, still...) that’s our relationship, not just cosy dinners and parties we also understand each other’s deep passion inside and we cherish it every moment. For Instance when our friends and relatives were not happy with Arvind driving alone the entire trip, I know that’s his passion and I dint had a second thought on it. He knows my crazy carvings for travel right from childhood and luckily he loves it too. And the best part is we were so convinced that our little beasty baby (Ford Figo - Diesel, 2014) can do this alongside.
Dream comes true...It was one such long-time dream for us to escape in to our own world where we can re discover the real us!!
STRAIGHT & THE MOST EXITED STRETCH TILL UDAIPUR
Though we never slept the previous night (excitement!!!), finally we got up and started around 3.45 in the morning of 24th Dec, we drove through Hubali & Dharward where we had our breakfast then passed Belgavi,Satara (lunch ) and reached Lonowala- khandala sunset point around 5pm ( we took the old highway from Pune to get the best views… )It was a good Sunset to start a journey indeed.
Then we resumed our journey and reached the state border at 9.15 in the morning, the only break we took was 100kms before Surat and it lasted for about 3 hours. Literal jumps on seeing the “Welcome to Rajasthan” arch at the state border….
The instance where the hotel owner allowed us to use their kitchen and cook our own breakfast broke our mind myth about the locals, we eventually felt home during our entire trip.
Sailing through the lake city (Udaipur)
Say 10.45 we entered the peaceful lake city, checked in at our hotel, a beautiful 200 years old haveli. First we headed to City Palace, which date backs 400 years without any glimpse of tiredness seen being on road for 30 continues hours.
The entry tickets costed us 100 per person and 250 for camera. We were little disappointed on seeing the crowd as it was Christmas vacation. We consumed nearly 3 hours inside the Palace witnessing the Craftsmanship and the taste of Mewar Kings creating such a marvelous palace. We took a walk to the banks of Lake Pichola from Palace .
Lake Palace is another monument which is built in the middle of Lake Pichola was used by Royal family for recreations, is now converted into hotel. Jag Mandir the other palace built inside Lake Pichola,is only accessible by the boats operated by Palace. We were told that Most of the Bollywood parties are hosted in Jag Mandir & Lake Palace. Although I was expecting another James Bond shoot;)
The lovely Sunset at Lake Pichola was a true treat, did some shopping’s around the Palace and went back to our hotel to get good night sleep.
Day 2 headed early morning to Chittorgarh which is about 120 kms from Udaipur. The Chittorgarh Fort is listed in UNESCO World heritage center and preserved by the Archeological department of India. The fort is majestically built and has 7 welcoming poles. Most of the Palace and fort complex are destroyed in the war and the major attractions within the fort are Padmini Palace, Kirthi Sthamb, Vijay Sthamb, Gomukh Reservoir and Jain Temple.
We took a local guide to understand the throw back history on every spot, it is also believed that it is the most haunted fort as history says around 13,000 Rajput women committed Jauhar (suicide on jumping in to firebase near Vijay Sthamb underneath) after losing their husbands in the war. The history of the fort plays around Beautiful Queen Padmini who was forced to join sultan king when her husband Rana was held by him, she who bravely acted, sent 700 armed soldiers on her pallki and brought her king back. But soon they lost the war with sultan and King Rana was killed.
During our drive back to Udaipur our minds wandered around Padmini and the majestic fort, lunch at Fateh Sagar Lake brought us back to reality. Next hit was Sajjangarh Fort which was built in 1884. Entry cost per person is Rs.100 and car is Rs 200.
It gave a panoramic view of the city's lakes, palaces and surrounding, it is popularly known as Monsoon Palace. It has an internal fountain system inside the palace which still works.
Doing justice to its name, the palace gave us a view which left me in awe!!
A memorable view of sunset in the Aravali Hills, made my day. I had fallen in love with the place, just for its view filled with tranquility. It was very hard for Arvind to pull me out of this place, after all I am so high on mountains.....
Driving down we again reached Fateh Sagar Lake for an adrenaline rush Jet Ski around the lake, it costed me Rs.500 per person and it was one memorable ride.
BLUEY BLUEY JODHPUR
Day 3 early 4 in the morning, it was true damn tough to leave such city behind but hitting the roads to reach the Blue city kept our spirits high. Jodhpur was 325 kms drive from Udaipur and we look the longest route suggested by the map as it was a National Highway ie NH76 and NH 14 which was a wise decision as the roads were awesome with good tunnels we managed to reach the Blue City by 8.30 am.
Funny that Google Maps got us struck in the narrow roads of the Blue city on the way to Meharangarh Fort, No front No turns & No way!! Thanks to the over friendly localities who helped us out, it was actually possible as it was just 8.30 in the morning.
First thing we did at Jodhpur was a ZIP-LINE activity around Meharangarh Fort.
There are totally 6 Zip lines which gives an awesome view of the entire Fort form a Birds view. It will Cost you Rs 1899 per person, book it online for discounts.
It was truly awesome, I liked the view and feel it gave me rather than the adrenaline rush we got, it’s a must try activity in Jodhpur.
The fort was a visual treat and view from the top will give you an entire shower of the Blue city which is so cherish able…..( I have always seen them in movies & badly wanted to personally feel it and yeahhh I did it ) we spent solid 3 hours inside going through and peeking the museums etc…
Right after the fort we drove to Jaswanth Tada a marvellous Marble built Palace,
and the desert rock park which is situated nearby It was truly mind blowing to visualize the marble architecture. There is a trekking activity in Desert Rock Park which is available from the evening.
Parking was a major trouble in city so we reached Clock Tower and parked our car nearby and decided to take an auto Umaid Bhawan Palace , he charged us Rs 200 for a up and down trip along with the waiting. (A fair deal)
It’s around 8 kms away from the clock tower, the palace on an outer view will give you a pinky look, and will offer you the heritage lifestyle of the Royalty. It has a museum, you are only allowed to view a smaller part as the major is acquired by a hotel & the descendants’ of royalty occupies the rest.
A walk inside the steep narrow lanes of blue city holding hand in hand made a romantic evening for us ,back to hotel we escaped into the lovely rooftop, with a majestic view of Meharangarh in one side, Jaswanth Tada and clock tower surrounded and it was the perfect time for a candle light dinner !!!
Late in the night when the crowd is almost settled, the streets and houses of Jodhpur city is a painting never to miss!!!
ANCIENT GOLDEN JAISALMER
DAY 4 we started by 5 am to the golden city, drove through Pokhran. It was a pleasant drive with lazy birds and lots of Wildlife spotting.
War museum was situated on the entry point of Jaisalmer, which has a war collection of tanks & Jeeps.
Goosebumps on entering into the ancient city, we were back to 1200AD by then.It is the most majestic and only living fort in world were more than 4000 families reside inside and has the same gate for both entry & exit. The 2 main communities Rajputs and Brahmins who were associated with the King are the ones residing inside.
The Fort is constructed with the yellow stone which glitters like gold during the day time and all the houses & buildings of the city are mostly built with the same coloured stone which gives an ancient feel.
You can take a comprehensive parking ticket which will cost Rs50 for the attractions of the city.
The canon point from the fort gives a blissful view of entire city and it is flourished with the architectural beauty of Jain Temples and streets are filled with markets which is the major source of income for the people inside the fort.
The King and Queen palace, which is converted into museum and the entry is Rs100 pp, Coming down we drove to the Phatwon ki haveli and Salim Singh ke haveli which is a master piece in architecture,entry is Rs.100 pp.
Gadisagar Lake, an artificial lake create by the king for the people of Jaisalmer and was the only water source for the people. Boating is available and the scenic beauty of the lake is worth the visit.
Then we headed towards Sam dunes, on the way stopped at Kuldhara, a deserted village which has a shocking history behind the disappearance of nearly an entire village of people missing overnight.
We kept driving in the heart of Thar Desert, enroute was a complete oasis. Took a camel ride to the dunes for the sunset.
Diversity is magic, in the evening we enjoyed Rajasthan Cultural music and dance, followed by dinner at our resort.
It was time to explore the dessert in dark; we went on a dune bashing and it was pure fun after which we halted in nowhere on the desert with a camp fire beneath the skies filled with stars.
PATRIOTIC LOVE MISSION ACCOMPLISH
Day 5: All set for the most exited part of our entire trip. Tanot Mata Mandir is 120 kms from the Sam, though we faced no road situation we enjoyed the drive and it is the best stretch in Thar.
We reached the Mandir only by 12 as we stopped almost everywhere on the way.
The temple is maintained by BSF and locals believes that when Pakistan army deployed bombs near Tanot , none exploded by the grace of Tanot Mata. Those unexploded bombs are displayed inside the temple.
Till Tanot you are allowed without any prior permissions, but to reach BP 609 you need to get your permissions done earlier with the BSF headquarters. Without proper permissions civilians are not allowed to visit BP 609.
Tension withheld till the check post BSF gave us a green signal, after completing our paperwork, headed with an excitement towards the Peaceful BP 609!!! Though we were requested not to pull up in the middle by BSF, we couldn’t resist doing so.
That feeling of being inside the limited human access area where the nature is conquered by peace at its best. The 16 Kms of driving in Zero population area with a fascinating view of Mother India’s landscapes satisfied and did justice to the efforts we took.
Reaching BP 609 meant Peace to us, Two BSF heroes who were on duty, welcomed us with a surprised smile. First hero was a south Indian and the other hero is from Jammu. After having briefed about the border and its rules. We took our 30 minutes of our freedom to silence in front of the national fence.
With permission we clicked few pictures and had a very clear view of Pakistan. When I climbed the watch tower I was disappointed seeing no PAK Army person on the other side then our BSF Hero answered the question which made me laugh hard, he causally replied me “Thieves don’t guard themselves, and who the hell is interested going there”!!!
This will be our most valuable moment for lifetime!!!!
After being apologetic for disturbing them on duty we saluted our hero’s and safely started back towards Longewala – the 1971 battle field of Ind-Pak which is 40 kms from Tanot.
At Longewala it was fun seeing the destroyed trucks and tanks of Pak after all I am so patriotic.
After Longewala, we stopped in Ramgarh for lunch, and our second self-cooking experience with a help of lovely Nepali. Believe me guys both hotels failed to charge me a penny, that’s where I understood humanity in middle of nowhere.
Our next long travel from Longewalla to Jaipur which was nearly 700 kms. We drove back to Jaisalmer and then we took SH19 via Pokhran and Nagur to reach Jaipur.
Day 6 It was a welcoming sunrise in the pink city. Our Haveli which was 10 kms outside the City, allowed us to have an early check in. We first reached the Amer Fort and took a guide. One can also prefer the famous Elephant Safari to reach the Fort and will cost you 1200 for two.
The main attractions in the Fort includes Sheesh Mahal, Kali temple, Tunnel connecting Jaigarh Fort and Meera Krishna Temple on the down exit.
There is separate ticket to visit Sheesh Mahal which is Rs 100 PP & it is for the outer glimpse only you will not be allowed inside. It is believed that there are about 365 temples around the fort which is worshiped by royalty on daily basis.
Jaigarh Fort lies 8 kms away from Amer, which was the factory of arms and ammunitions It holds the world largest canon build which was used only once due to its larger firing range (35 kms). The canon foundry is kept open for visitors.
Another five kms away lies the Nahargarh fort which gives a mind blowing view of the entire Jaipur City. Jal Mahal can be viewed from the fort but there is no much of activity in there.
After which we straight headed to Pink City & who would miss some shopping times on Hawa Mahal streets.
Day 7 started with a visit to City Palace, tickets were Rs 100 pp. Apart from the museums a huge display of arms & ammunition collected from the Jaigarh Fort was kept, and it was truly amazing to see such weapons with ancient technologies.
Hawa Mahal is a beautiful red stone built Palace with 953 windows. One has to get inside to feel the air flow felt like air conditioner. When seen from out, the windows are smaller but gives you the entire view of the local streets which was once used by the royal women to witness the daily happenings in the city.
After visiting Hawa Mahal we had the rest of the day to kill on the streets of Pink city. It was so much fun to see pinkish everywhere, and roaming in tripolia and hawa mahal bazars was delightful.
On the New Year eve we checked in to our Haveli, 200 years old re constructed palace were we welcomed the New Year with an ancient touch.
2015 waved bye leaving its life worth memories. Unlike other cities I lived in, Jaipur remained calm and normal even on a New Year Eve, which we liked. It was a quiet, peaceful, no shout, no countdown, no music yet Lovely New Year for us.
Day 8 was an unplanned ride to Mathura. Though I was so excited about my surprise trip, heart felt so heavy leaving Rajasthan behind but we crossed the state border with a satisfaction and a bright smile.
Mathura was a small town which holds the religious Krishna Janma Bhoomi (Birth place of lord Krishna).
The temple security is kept really high that you need to go on a rigorous level of checking points and no cameras, no phones and even car keys not allowed.
Inside the temple its little embarrassing to see Army personals walking with AK47 loaded but the temple is a true feast to your soul, we spent solid three hours enjoying the religious spirit in there.
Unlike Rajasthan, getting good food was hard but we managed to have our dinner at a ok type roadside dhaba.
After reaching our hotel at Mathura Arvind revealed that he is taking me to Taj Mahal!!! Jumps & Jumps!!! This will be my first time ever to Taj Mahal and I had a long desire to admire it right from my childhood so I was highly exited. And the excitement of finally going to Taj Mahal never allowed me to sleep.
We left Mathura around 3.30am and headed towards one of the wonders of world. We drove in Yamuna expressway were we had zero visibility, it was completely foggy and we never expected that, so we had to maintain a speed not more that say 40 to 50 kmph but still we reached eastern gate of the monument by 6.30 am.
It was good to see so many foreigners lined up for the first Sunrise entry whereas the Indian were very few.
And here it goes a lovely white marble mausoleum, in the midst of Fogg, and the best part is only few people were there to witness the Sunrise and that gave us lots of wonderful pictures. Oh yes! Of course he proposed!! (After living with me for 3 years ;))
By the time was 9 in the morning it’s still foggy and couldn’t get a view of Yamuna. Mesmerized by its beauty we stayed there till 10am and I am so much thankful to Arvind for planning this one, just at the perfect day and on the perfect time.
Back home drive was little painful by heart but we kept the enthusiasm high by dancing on roads (yes! We did that), singing madly after all we were not destination oriented and we still have road to explore till home.
We drove through Gwalior – Jhansi to Nagpur, were we took a four hour break and crossed Hyderabad by 11 in the morning then reached Bangalore through Kurnool and ananthapur say around 8.30 in the night at it was the longest stretch of the entire trip covering 2200kms.
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