“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn't mean to take.”
- Angela N Blount, Once Upon an Ever After
That is the thing about road trips. Maps,routes now a days Google maps but still once in a while you end up on a road not planned. The moment of getting lost starts with confusion, continues further in confusion. Random strangers telling different directions and in the meanwhile Google maps rerouting ;). Sometimes a bit of anger and suddenly there is a burst of laughter leaving happy tears in your eyes. Few seconds of epitome of happiness and sheer joy.
I start my experience with Rajasthan roads which are in really good condition, making it ideal for a road trip. Also there are small towns/places which can visited between two important cities, so it gives you the opportunity to stop for a break as well. We were three people doing a road trip in a car and two of us knew driving, so we took turns at every 3-4 hrs and followed the route as below
25th Dec 2014 - We started from Gurgaon by 11 in the morning due to heavy fog. But as we reached near to the pink city, the fog cleared. The Lunch break happened at the famous Highway King which serves amazing veg food. And by Evenin 4:30 we had reached the pink city. Hotel accommodation was arranged through a friend in a budget hotel. We went to the famous Chowkidhani for dinner. As we were visiting Jaipur in the peak season and on a long weekend there were too many people. The place is extremely commercialized but will give you some moments to enjoy. And the food is worth the visit
26th Dec 2014 - We had an early morning start and the first place we visited was Hawa Mahal then Janta Mantar(which is near by). Then we started for Amer Fort, but courtesy google maps we took a wrong road and took some time to reach the fort. The Fort was too crowded, so we said hello and from the outside and started towards Nahargarh Fort. This fort is again huge and gives full view of the Jaipur city. And it has a restaurant at the edge and overlooks the entire city. We made the most of the situation and grabbed couple of beers and saw the sun setting down.
27th Dec 2014 - Another early morning start, on this date for Chittorgarh with breakfast break at High way king again. It was almost evening by time we reached chittorgarh. We booked a hotel there for night. Next morning we visited a the Humongous Chittorgarh Fort. If one wants to visit the fort in Detail an entire day will fall short. We visited the main portions of the Fort and started for Udaipur by 11. We were in Udaipur by 3:30 or 4 in the noon. We visited the City Palace of Udaipur before hunting for a hotel. As the palace closed by 5:30 or 6. The entry fee is pretty expensive but worth it. We hired a guide who showed us the accessible portions of the palace and entertained us all through. It took some effort to find a room for night stay, as again peak season and long weekend.
28th Dec 2014 - We again had an early morning start. We hired a local auto guy to take use to the Fateh Sagar Lake and Sahelio ki Badi as both of us didn't want to drive. The lake was huge and beautiful. We took a jetty to the garden and restaurant in middle of the lake. Had a sugar shot in name of coffee/tea. Clicked some amazing pictures. From there we went to Shilp Gram,near by the lake. A huge national art/craft fair was happening there. We bought some stuff and were off for the Monsoon palace. Udaipur is a city which is surrounded by arravali ranges on all the sides. Monsoon palace is the at one of the highest peak in the area and gives an amazing view of the entire city. From this place you can see the City palace and the lake as well as the Fateh Sagar Lake. The monsoon palace provides one of the most beautiful sunsets, with the sun turning from bright yellow to orange to red and finally goes down the Arravali range. And don't forget to have dinners on one of the roof top restaurants to get the feel of Indian version of Venice.
30th Dec 2014 -Next day we started for Jaisalmer, and this was the longest stretch of our trip. We mad a stop at the Ranakpur Jain Temple on the way. Beautifully made humungous temple. You are not allowed to take camera's inside early morning. It is permitted after only a certain time. Once you enter the temple, the beauty, intricate sculpture and designs engulf you. You will be left mesmerized and would have forgotten the world out side. The number of pillars and how you stand at any place in the temple you can see atleast one idol of God. The history of temple is worth listening to be one of the priests there. By the time it was evening we had reached Jaisalmer and we had booked our stay in the Jaisalmer fort. This for is not a regular deserted fort, rather people live here. Old houses have been converted into hotels and home stays. And once gets to live in the feel of a typical Rajasthani home. The fort is huge and 3-4 hrs of tour is enough.
31st Dec 2014 - Inside the fort a famous Italian restaurant which servers decent food. And can be tried if you want to give some change to your taste buds. On 31st we started for sand dunes where we had planned to celebrate our new year. The drive to sand dunes was a combination of a Tata Sumo car and Camel:). On our way we stopped at couple of villages and adjoining water resources. We got to interact with the people living there and also got to see how the cattle was kept and taken care of. The camel ride was amazing experience and we luckily carried couple of beer cans, which went pretty well with the ride ;). Once we reached the dunes the scene was capturing. The sand was so fine that it entered every corner of our clothes and shoes :P. Tents were set up and food preparations started. The bunch of people who drove us to the dunes, prepared the food. Sang local rajasthani songs. As the sun set, suddenly the temperature dropped and bonfire was in put on to keep us warm and cozy. The new year was different, talking & singing and the clock struck 12. We had a surprise in store, the tour had sent fireworks. To see the desert light up under the fire works was an out of the world experience.
01st Jan 2015 - The next morning felt as if though the night has covered the sand in the blanket of fog. Morning of the first day of year so captivating and memorable, will last through the year. Even when I type remembering the scenery, I travel back and find myself standing there in middle of nowhere. After a delicious and healthy breakfast we headed back to the fort. And by noon we started for Jodhpur. The distance is not much and we were in Jodhpur on by 7:30. This city is comparatively better planned to other cities of Rajasthan and is a business hub. We checked in a Hotel and roamed and around had some good food and dozed off. A recommended stay at dessert boys inside the Jaislmer fort. Very nice and welcoming people. No: 9571600944
02nd Jan 2015 - This days agenda was to visit Jodhpur palace and Mehrangarh fort. Quick breakfast and we were one of the first people to enter the Jodhpur palace. The place is kept well but only a small portion is open for tourist and the rest is operated as Taj Hotel. The kings collection of clocks is worth seeing. Huge paintings in the main room are amazing. The tour of this place can be done in an hour. We then went forward for Mehrangarh fort. This is undoubtedly the most well kept fort in Rajasthan and magnanimous. The fort displays a variety of antics and one gets engrossed and looses track of time. Nonetheless, this fort will leave an impact on you. By noon we had started our journey back to Jaipur. And me and my friend kept taking turns to drive and by night 12 we were in Gurgaon :)
We covered 2258 Kms in 9 days. And every second of the journey was worth it. And one is sure about it when the journey ends, tiredness is not even close. All you can think about is all the moments spend. The smiles shared and help offered. This trip has been a wonderful amalgamation of human creativity and nature.
Special Thanks to people of Rajasthan who are so warm and welcoming.
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