Thanks to the blocked holidays in December, my family and I decided to travel to Rajasthan for all the diversities it has. The blue print was to travel to main cities of Rajasthan excluding the Udaipur as it is the second Abu(all Amdawadis will get that)
The journey started from Ahmedabad, we left early in the morning for our first destination Barmer.
As Dad and I are not so brilliant long distance drivers, we planned the whole trip in breaks. Max 400 km at a stretch was the target.
So, we left for Barmer early in the morning 5 am. Barmer is a peaceful place wherein one can sit and relax. We had booked the Rishab Club and Resort. A wonderful place to stay.
- BARMER, RAJASTHAN
As there are very few places to see in Barmer, we first visited the Kiradu Temple. The temples are of 6th and 8th centuries with traces of the Gupta period found in the Shiva temple
- JAISALMER, RAJASTHAN:
Jaisalmer is not so far from Barmer. Just 2-3 hrs journey and you are there, near to the Thar Desert.
The way to Jaisalmer was very beautiful as the journey was full of windmills. On the way we visited the Wood Fossil Park. Not so great ofcourse, I personally did not like that.
Jaisalmer stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Jaisalmer is named after Maharawal Jaisal Singh, a Rajput king who founded the city in 1156 AD."Jaisalmer" means "the Hill Fort of Jaisal". Jaisalmer is sometimes called the "Golden City of India" because the yellow sand and the yellow sandstone used in every architecture of the city gives a yellowish-golden tinge to the city and its surrounding area.
We first visited the Jaisalmer Fort. The road to the fort is really steep and long if you park your vehicle in the parking so we hired a guide and a rickshaw which eased our efforts to reach the fort. The fort is pretty small and astonishingly it just got completed in half an hour. After it all the love for sunset started growing and we rushed to the sunset point, a little late to reach there, we viewed it from the road itself.
Then we headed towards the Divine Nelalohita Resort in Sam Sand Dunes which was approx., 40 kms away from the city. I must comment, the roads are really commendable. I have never enjoyed driving to this level. The after sunset scenes were beautiful. The sky hues, cloud designs and the empty land was the best thing to happen.
The resort was pretty good as it offered good breakfast, dinner, folk show, heater and awesome night safari. Yes, night desert safari. The hotel owner insisted that you should not miss the night safari. After dinner around 9pm we headed for the safari. And I swear, the safari was damn awesome. The night desert was so calm and cold. The December winds whirled around and we were enjoying the same. The moonlight over the desert and camel ride was Sone pe Suhaaga. The safari person took us to the shack where we were served tea and we had a bonfire too. After the chai and the camel ride, and photo shoots we departed early to the resort.The next day, early in the morning we went for Sunrise. We went to a place near to the resort, and dis not even notice it was the entrance to Sam Sand Dunes. We hired a camel cart for the sunrise , wherein the person also took us to the place nearby wherein certain shooting scenes of Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Border. The sunrise was beautiful. After this, we went to the most famous temple in Jailsamer, Tanot Temple. Its 125 kms , long journey abt 2-3 hrs due to the single lane roads, but worth visiting. The vibes there are different. Then we headed towards Longewala, nearly 80 kms away but yeah, there is a direct connecting route to Jaisalmer too. Longewala was a war museum wherein the Indo Pak war of 1971 is showcased. There are tankers, jeeps, the sand roofs and audio visuals for the same.
On return journey, we visited the Bada Bagh. Bada Bagh is the place for all the photographers and models. Beautiful what locals say “chatri” for the ghummat style architecture. The Bada Bagh is actually the temple for all kings who ruled the place.
The next day, for the last desert safari, we went for the sunrise. Ya we had a camel ride too :p
Then to the Ghadisar Lake, beautiful lake with a small island like in the middle.
- JODHPUR, RAJASTHAN
Then, we headed to Jodhpur. A 4 hr journey from Jaisalmer, with good roads and a lot of goats coming in the mid of the way, we reached Jodhpur. We visited the fort first, the Meherangarh Fort. The fort is not at all small. Its huge, its steep, its giant. Amazing thing is it has a chargeable lift too. Meherangarh has lots and lots of royal acquisitions in the museum. It took about an hr and a half for the fort to complete. Then ofcourse we had the sunset time.
The city is known as the "Sun City" for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all the year round. It is also referred to as the "Blue City" due to the vivid blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort.
Then we headed to Kalinga hotel, best budget hotel in Jodhpur. Okay, the truth is the google map showed the narrow lane road wherein we were moving only Bhagwan Bharose. The local people were looking as we were terrorists, but finally when we completed the lane, it was a relief as if we thought this was never ending and we wont be able to even reverse the car.
The next day, after the awesome breakfast we went to the Umaid Bhavan Palace. The Palace was built, between 1928 and 1943, for H.H. Maharaja Umaid Singh ji, Grand Father of our present Maharaja, who had benevolently commissioned a new palace in 1923 to replace Mehrangarh Fort as the symbol of a new Jodhpur and to give employment to the people of Marwar during the period's great droughts and famines.The view of the palace itself puts you in a WOWW situation. There is a small museum inside it wherein the best segment was of the royal crockery and royal clocks.
- AJMER AND PUSHKAR, RAJASTHAN
After Umaid Bhawan, we left for Ajmer which is 4 hrs journey from Jodhpur. We headed towards the Ajmer Shariff Dargaah. It’s the most well known dargaah in Islam. Then we went to Pushkar, where we had a booking in Hotel Rajshree.
In the morning, we went to watch sunrise on the banks of Pushkar Lake, after which we had Pooja and visit to the Brahma temple. We had to rush as we had to reach Sawai Madhopur by evening.
We went to World Trade Park in Jaipur, as local people suggested to go by the Jaipur highway. As it was new year, the World Trade park was decorated very well
It was a long journey where we reached Tiger Machan Resort by 8 pm. The resort was amazing. There were tents standing on a platform and the wooden washroom and bedroom were beautiful. At night, there was a folk show in the resort. The next day we had booked the safari in the early morning. Unluckily we got the 8th route where we did not find the tiger. But, the safari was awesome. Very good experience.
After breakfast, we went to Ranthambore Fort. One can reach the fort in car but yes, on weekends the parking is very difficult and as it has hilly single lane roads, it is advisable that one parks car before. The fort is too big and tiring. There are hundreds of temples once you reach the fort top. The fort is 2nd in India. The Ganesh Temple is very famous.
Then we left for Chittorgarh.
Yes, google maps again sent us to a short cut wherein my car went into the gutter lines. We reached Rnb 1589.
Next day we went for the Chittod Fort, India’s no.1 fort.
Chittorgarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. It is a World Heritage Site. The fort, popularly known as Chittor, was the capital of Mewar and is today situated in Chittorgarh. It was initially ruled by Guhilot and later by Sisodias, the Suryavanshi clans of Chattari Rajputs, from the 7th century, until it was finally abandoned in 1568 after the siege by Emperor Akbar in 1567. The fort was sacked three times between the 15th and 16th centuries; in 1303 Allauddin Khilji defeated Rana Ratan Singh, in 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat defeated Bikramjeet Singh and in 1567 Akbar defeated Maharana Udai Singh II who left the fort and founded Udaipur. Each time the men fought bravely rushing out of the fort walls charging the enemy but lost every time. Following these defeats, Jauhar was committed thrice by more than 13,000 ladies and children of the Rajput heroes who laid their lives in battles at Chittorgarh Fort, first led by Rani Padmini wife of Rana Rattan Singh who was killed in the battle in 1303, and later by Rani Karnavati in 1537 AD
Padmini's Palace or Rani Padmini's Palace is a white building and a three storied structure (a 19th-century reconstruction of the original). It is located in the southern part of the fort. Chhatris (pavilions) crown the palace roofs and a water moat surrounds the palace. This style of palace became the forerunner of other palaces built in the state with the concept of Jal Mahal (palace surrounded by water). It is at this Palace where Alauddin was permitted to glimpse the mirror image of Rani Padmini, wife of Maharana Rattan Singh. It is widely believed that this glimpse of Padmini's beauty besotted him and convinced him to destroy Chittor in order to possess her.