Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days!

Tripoto
11th Jan 2014
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 1/60 by Anand Dass
Jaisalmer Fort from the Highway
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 2/60 by Anand Dass
Chhattris around Jaisalmer Lake
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 3/60 by Anand Dass
Jaisalmer
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 4/60 by Anand Dass
Jaisalmer- it actually glows!
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 5/60 by Anand Dass
Patwon ki Haveli, Jaisalmer
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 6/60 by Anand Dass
Patwon ki Haveli, Jaisalmer
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 7/60 by Anand Dass
Patwon ki Haveli, Jaisalmer
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 8/60 by Anand Dass
Patwon ki Haveli, Jaisalmer
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 9/60 by Anand Dass
Inside Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 10/60 by Anand Dass
Inside Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 11/60 by Anand Dass
A view of the city from Patwon ki Haveli
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 12/60 by Anand Dass
Jain Temple, Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 13/60 by Anand Dass
King's Chamber, Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 14/60 by Anand Dass
Jain Temple, Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 15/60 by Anand Dass
Queen's Chamber, Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 16/60 by Anand Dass
On my way to Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 17/60 by Anand Dass
Jaisalmer Fort, as it is!
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 18/60 by Anand Dass
A view from the Fort
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My last caption of Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 20/60 by Anand Dass
Manvar Desert Camp- Lunch in the lobby
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 21/60 by Anand Dass
Entrance to Manvar Desert Camp
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Rajasthani Food at the camping Resort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 23/60 by Anand Dass
The Cultural Performance at Manvar
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Riding over sand dunes on Rattu!
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 25/60 by Anand Dass
Enjoying the evening at Manvar
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 26/60 by Anand Dass
The Cultural Performance at Manvar
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 27/60 by Anand Dass
Had to have that picturesque pose in Thar Des
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 28/60 by Anand Dass
Quite an amusing camel!
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The sun had set on the desert sand!
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 30/60 by Anand Dass
My camel ride and his master
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 31/60 by Anand Dass
On the Desert Jeep Safari
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Nil gai and Antelopes, Thar desert
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 33/60 by Anand Dass
My tent at Manvar Desert Camp & Resort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 34/60 by Anand Dass
Bathing like the Royalty, Manvar
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 35/60 by Anand Dass
Traditional Rajasthani Sweets- Ghevar!
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 36/60 by Anand Dass
Rising with the sun at Manvar
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 37/60 by Anand Dass
Manvar Desert Camp & Resort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 38/60 by Anand Dass
Peacock ready to take its flight, Jeep Safari
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 39/60 by Anand Dass
Jodhpur
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 40/60 by Anand Dass
Inside Jodhpur Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 41/60 by Anand Dass
Inside Jodhpur Fort
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A view of the city from Jodhpur Fort
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 43/60 by Anand Dass
Inside Jodhpur Fort
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A view of the Fort from my room, Jodhpur
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On my way to Udaipur!
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Udaipur
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 47/60 by Anand Dass
Overlooking Lake Pichola, Udaipur
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A vista of Udaipur
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On the boat ride on Lake Pichola
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 50/60 by Anand Dass
Heritage Havelis & Udaipur Fort from Lake Pic
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On the boat ride on Lake Pichola
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 52/60 by Anand Dass
Heritage Havelis & Udaipur Fort from Lake Pic
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 53/60 by Anand Dass
Heritage Havelis & Udaipur Fort from Lake Pic
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 54/60 by Anand Dass
Light & Sound Show, Bagor ki Haveli
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 55/60 by Anand Dass
Bagor ki Haveli
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 56/60 by Anand Dass
Women dancing with swords, Bagor ki Haveli
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 57/60 by Anand Dass
Traditional rajasthani Folk Dance, Bagor ki H
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 58/60 by Anand Dass
Trident Udaipur
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 59/60 by Anand Dass
Breakfast morning at Trident Udaipur
Photo of Rajasthan: 5 cities in 5 days! 60/60 by Anand Dass
The Lobby and Entrance, Trident Udaipur

8 years since I left India yet I never felt I was away from home in any sort of way. Until now. For it was on this trip, though a short one, that I actually saw all that I had missed; all that was connected to my roots; all that encircled my culture. So, when I landed in Delhi, my sole focus was to get my passport renewed within my one week’s stay and return as fast as possible to my adorable newborn son. What I hadn’t realized was how ignorant I had been towards my own culture in the engrossed pursuits of achieving my dream. I realized how my home country had changed way beyond what I had ever expected on my return.

You see, Indian culture is undoubtedly the most vibrant and extraordinary in the world. Its history enchants you and the enigmas and mysteries of its glorious past engages all- whether a traveler or a native.

So, with much enthusiasm I decided to explore my own country with whatever little time I had amidst the passport renewal appointments. Staying in Delhi with my relatives, I decided to start my quest with Rajasthan. The plan was made overnight, bookings done online and the next morning we filled our fuel tanks and started on a journey to Jaipur. However, my family had to return to Delhi the very next day (because of a busy week ahead). I took that night bus to Bikaner. With half a day of sightseeing (because there isn't much to see there) I headed off (on quite an uncomfortable RSTC bus) to Jaisalmer. Oh, that place truly stands for being called the Golden City! Legends have it that Rajasthan used to be a sea. The water dried up and the vegetation and wildlife died (and with the passage of time got fossilized). Hence, cut from this special fossil stone is a cup, drinking from which seems to be very healthy. Myths also say how adding milk to it can turn to curd overnight. And it’s here that I got to see the true beauty of the Thar desert.

This picturesque exuberance just continued as I experienced the two-day camping retreat at Manvar Resorts. However, in comparison to those last 3 days, Jodhpur didn’t have much to offer. So after a day’s stay I left for Udaipur, which came with an aura and vibrancy, a much awaited experience of what true Rajasthan was. Yet, this exciting journey came to an end as I took my flight back to Delhi, from where I was soon on my way back home.

But I’d definitely mention here the lessons this trip taught me:

  1. While this was a perfect itinerary my cousin chalked out, yet for the cities I visited, there is NOTHING more to see than half a day’s worth of sightseeing in each city
  2. Bikaner, Jodhpur was a waste of time in comparison to the awe I was in while visiting the other destinations.
  3. A private named heritage hotels are a scam. Never book them on any popular website based on their outer pictures. The photos are misleading.
  4. If you are on a tight schedule do not rely on public transport. Hire a cab since RSTC buses are infrequent.
    1. If I were to redo the itinerary, I’d do Delhi => Jaipur: (1 day) => Jaisalmer: (2 days) => Jaisalmer Desert Camp (1 day) => Udaipur: (2 days)
  5. Go to Rajasthan for ITS FOOD!! (I just couldn’t get enough of it!)
  6. Go to Rajasthan for its music (it’s beautiful in every way!!)
  7. NO ONE IN RAJASTHAN KNOWS HOW TO GIVE DIRECTIONS

We reached Jaipur by Lunch time and first headed towards Amber Fort. Though the actual royal enclosure looks much more fascinating and huge, we had to make-do with the colossal fortification of Amber. It was beautiful and the panoramic shots from the jharokas (or windows) was something beyond the description in words. However, the much spoken about Belgium-glass and mirror studded hall called Sheesh Mahal was definitely the highlight, making the Amber Fort a must see! Next, obviously, was the world-famous Hawa Mahal, which surprises its visitors with the exquisiteness of 953 windows. But, what is undoubtedly the entertaining fact is the ever-increasing number of queens and royal chambers, each of these architectural marvels boast about! And then came what each Indian should be so proud about- the wonders of 11th century science and technology. While this short stay was worth it, I couldn’t wait for my next stop, at Bikaner.

Photo of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Anand Dass

After a very uncomfortable overnight bus journey, I finally reached Bikaner, only to find that even half a day of sight seeing was a little too much! But Bikaner was definitely a foodie’s paradise, with its mouth watering savouries and sweets! Post lunch, I was already on my way to Jaisalmer.

Photo of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India by Anand Dass

With the grandeur of Jaipur still lingering in my expectations, I wanted to experience Rajajsthani culture and life beyond what I found in Bikaner. However, I reached the city only after the sun had set and so I headed to my over night resort, only to realize that Hotel Thar Vilas was a heritage property 15km from the city (pun intended!) So I decided, hopefully, to explore at daybreak the next morning. Post a heavy breakfast, I headed towards Lake Jaisalmer. One of the locals told me how it used to be a place where people stayed when the fort was closed, alongside the embankments, which was now squatted by generations. Next was a magnificent golden, sandy structure, known as Patwon ki Haveli. Legends have it that opium and spice traders travelling via the Silk Routes stopped over here and made a fortune. And, what’s even better is to see the only living fort that’s situated here in Jaisalmer. Presently, around 5,000 locals inhabit the fort walls. The Jain temple, a renowned structure within the fortification was made by some rich Jain traders on the silk route. Locals told me how they loaned money to the king, and in exchange, the king allowed them to build the temple within the fort. Another interesting fact that I got to know was about a 500-year-old Stupa with the base made of fossil stones. This place, standing true to its definition, is truly the Golden City, and worth a stay of at least 2 days!

Photo of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Anand Dass

The cab ride to the Manvar Desert Camp and Resort from Jaisalmer was a short one. Post a delicious and sumptuous welcome lunch of Rajasthani delicacies (including the famous Daal Baati Choorma and Lal Maas), I was lead to my uber-luxurious tent. And, while I cannot describe it enough, the pictures speak for itself. Next in the 2-day itinerary was a jeep safari over the sand dunes of the Thar desert. The sand and sun never looked better! We also had a stopover at a local blacksmith's house, where he made Chillum and showed us how to smoke this local cigar. The jeep safari continued into the shifting dunes and we were surprised by the sneak-peaks of the wildlife, such as the Nil Gai and sprawling feathery companion in the Peacocks, along with the thrilling dune roller coaster ride. And the antelopes hopped beside us! The sky never looked so clear and beautiful. Finally, before my return to the camp, I took an interesting camel ride on the camel named Rattu. The evening brought a splendid cultural performance on a stage set between the tented camp. The hues of the desert sunset just added more dramatic effect to the amazing enjoyable evening.

Photo of Manvar Resort And Camp Jodhpur, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Anand Dass

From the desert camp, I took a cab, and within 3 hours, reached Jodhpur. My stay was booked at Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli. While the view from outside and the night-lit fort from the room was good, the overall night’s stay was a disappointment, especially in light of the previous destinations. However, the preceding afternoon, I took my backpack and left to do a little sightseeing. The Jodhpur Fort was worth a sight, but besides the blue and the doors, Jodhpur is known for its shopping arcades. The locals and their markets are an impressive display! The Clock Tower shopping area lets loose the Shopaholic in me, with the crafty juttis (typical Rajasthani footwear), the savouries specially namkeen, and the lip-smacking sweets at Misirilal Clock Tower halwai, where I gorged on my lunch- Rabri, Firni, Ghevvar and Malai Lassi. I left on the morning AC Volvo bus at 6.30 for Udaipur.

Photo of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Anand Dass

Reaching at 11.30, I had the entire day to myself for sightseeing. The city palace was worth the spectacle because of its enigmatic myths and legendary history. The locals spoke of such legends regarding the erstwhile rulers- Rana Pratap and Chetak and the Suryavanshi Descendants tracing back their lineage to stories from the Mahabharata. However, without a doubt, going to Lake Pichola was the best part of Udaipur. The view is truly epic and so was the boat ride. And finally, the visit to Bagor ki Haveli brought me to the most traditional cultural performance along with the historic light and sound show I have ever enjoyed. If you’ve to experience true Rajasthan, it’s definitely here! And finally I retreated to my royal stay at Trident Udaipur. The next morning my flight took me back to Delhi.

Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Anand Dass

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