Day 2: Osian village, shopping and Balsamand Lake
This was our second day in Jodhpur and we decided to start it the religious way. Off we went to sachiya mata’s temple in osian village who is our “kuldevi”(mother goddess). The place is 60 kms away from Jodhpur and the roads are good for a pleasant drive. We hired a cab and went to the temple which was luckily empty. While there were too many stairs to be climbed to reach the temple, the stairs had beautifully carved arches to make the ascent exciting. The temple is an old classic and is damn peaceful. No photography allowed inside. Sachiya mata, also referred to as Oshiyaji is the mother goddess of people from many regions of the country. (mostly is known to be origin of oswal jains) This place is frequented by foreigners too due to its architectural bliss. Food and stay options are there but limited so plan your travel accordingly.
Alternate plan : post visiting the temple you could also plan to stay back in the desert camps of osian village. They offer events like camel safari, folk dance, bonfire at night, jeep safari. We didn’t opt for it since we didn’t have that much time.
How could a trip in Rajasthan end without shopping. Once back to Jodhpur from the temple, we visited the nai sadak near clock tower and sardar market for some authentic Rajasthani shopping. The place looked like some mela due to its vibrance and so many hues.. Bandhej sarees and dresses along with traditional jootis had flooded the markets. A bit of bargain can make u buy awesome stuff.. I usually quoted 200-300 less than the offered price. A good experience.
Our evening was spent at Balsamand lake. We were also staying at the Balsamand lake palace. People could come only for bird watching and picnicking to the lake. Our evening was very well spent given the windy breeze, the stroll of the gardens and the beautiful view. Its not necessary to stay at the hotel you could come just for dinner as well at their garden area.
Balsamand Lake Palace
We stayed in Welcome heritage Balsamand Lake palace. Since we booked well in advance and probably for their off season, we got a bumper discount. It was the summer palace of the royal family and is now owned by members of royal family. The palace turned hotel is simply humongous in area. It has got lush green gardens with the trees and plants tagged with their names. There is also a facility of baggi to do the tour of the palace but we found it very expensive at 800 bucks for 30 minutes. There are more than 20 horses in the hotel and the staff helps visit the superbly maintained stable area. The highlight of the place is the variety of birds (we saw around 10 different species) and sooooooo many peacocks (the place is said to have 200 of them) . Since we visited in monsoon, we could see one peacock every 200 metres we walked. They were seen and heard everywhere: on the trees, at the main gate, near the lake, dancing gracefully in the garden.. The view was delightful, colorful and wonderful.. Staff was very friendly, rooms clean and spacious, breakfast delicious and varied, toiletries (of kama aturveda ) great!! We stayed in garden view rooms (all such rooms) offered similar view. Cottages with lake view were expensive and apt for families. Atmosphere around the lake in mornings and evenings is damn pleasant. It looks like the palace is built on waters of the lake and the view is simply superb.. There are huge farms where vegetation is grown depending on the season and we were able to see healthy big lemons around us on the trees and the ripe ones fallen on the ground. The only drawback about the place is that they don’t have many entertainment options other than swimming pool and cycling. Given the huge area to their benefit, It is recommended that they introduce indoor games like table tennis, carrom board, foos ball, snooker etc and outdoor games like badminton, volleyball, a small play area for kids with swings and slides to make this hotel just beyond perfect.. All in all, thumps up and kudos to Welcome heritage!!!