MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one

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Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

I hardly imagined that travelling to Rajasthan would be so exhilarating and such an awe-inspiring trip. Well I had been thinking of travelling to an unknown destination for quite some time and then stumbled upon the idea of exploring Rajasthan over the course of 6 to 7 days (Thanks to those inundated commercials of Rajasthan tourism on my devices that I came across from time to time that worked subconsciously). Conveniently, I had a college friend who was living in Udaipur and he cordially agreed to travel with me across Rajasthan.

Arrival [Monday]

On 7th of Jan, I flew from Mumbai at 5:20 p.m and landed on Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur at 6:45. The moment I stepped outside the premises of the airport , I didn't fathom that it would be so chilly in Rajasthan. It was 15 degree celsius. (In fact, I don't know why but during my entire trip I was in disbelief that it could be so cold in Rajasthan). Udaipur, aka the city of lakes, was probably the chilliest.

Day 1

[Monday]- Old City, Jagannath Temple, Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake- 07/01/2019

After settling down at my friend's room, we went on his bike to visit the old city in Udaipur around 9:30 pm.

As I reached the old city, traversing the narrow lanes with the bustling market, I was mesmerized by the rustic charm, and the soothing vibe that the place offered. As we both were hungry we went to a rooftop restaurant called 'Natural View' along the shore of lake Pichola. The view from the top along with the cool breeze was so pleasing and it just made me laid-back at the cushy sofa imbibing that atmosphere. Dinner by the lake side was blissful.

Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Prateek

View of lake Pichola

Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Prateek

We then headed to the nearby revered Jagannath temple. The architecture and the intricate carvings on the walls of the temple inside out were brilliantly done. We took the blessings of the lord along with cherishing the bhajan being sung by a group of locals. It was quite groovy.

After spending some time there, we rode to the Fateh Sagar Lake around 11 p.m to have a steaming Kulhad coffee with some chocolate sauce (coffee in a Kulhad, who would have imagined). It was quite good and satisfying. There are a lot of food stalls along side the lake and plethora of options to eat. After admiring the view of the lake while sipping on that hot coffee, we returned to the room to get a good night sleep.

Day 2

[Tuesday]- Fateh Sagar Lake, Sajjangarh Fort, Old City, Dal Bati, Lake Badi- 08/01/2019

As my trip was an extempore one, I had nothing yet planned but it was important to chart out a plan for our travel. Withing next 40-45 minutes, I chalked out our itinerary for the week.

This is what the schedule looked like

Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Prateek

As my friend had some urgent work for an hour and half in the morning, we decided to meet at Fateh Sagar Lake around 10:45 to 11 a.m. Around 10:30 a.m, I hopped onto an auto near the residence area and reached the lake around 11.

Fateh Sagar Lake

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

My friend and I met there, had some Kulhad coffee (I made it a point to have this whenever I am here for those chilly mornings for two reasons. Firstly, to relish the satisfying serene morning vibe at the lake and secondly, obviously the Kulhad coffee), admired the vast inescapable view.

Kulhad Coffee

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

We then headed towards Sajjangarh fort which was built on a hill top. After the steep turns and curves we reached the fort. One can only fathom in awe as to how such a magnanimous palatial residence was built at such a height so far back in 1884 with absence of technological advancements.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek
Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek
Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

The view from the peripherals of the fort provided a breathtaking panoramic view of Udaipur and its lakes.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek
Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

After some exploration, we descended back towards the old city. Upon arrival we wandered here and there in the narrowed lanes of the old city, sat along the shores of Lake Pichola ruminating. With only a bowl of Maggi in our breakfast, we were famished and wanted to have a local cuisine. What better lunch to have than the iconic Dal Bati. It was done and we reached at a local restaurant called Krishna Dal Bati Restro around 3:30 p.m. The decision to have thali was spot on and we gorged on those Dal Bati like crazy.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

The ghee laden dish was an absolute ripper. After having our lunch we were not able to move for few minutes, we were so full. However we regained our senses and moved ahead towards Lake Badi. It took us approximately half an hour to reach the lake. Visiting lake Badi was again a sensational feeling.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

We climbed towards a nearby hilltop, repleted with sharp pointed elongated rocks, to have an extensive view. Observing the calm voluminous body of water from the top was amazing.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

An agglomeration of massive rocks resting amidst the lake resembled a gigantic crocodile. We then clicked some photos and returned to our humble abode.

Resembling a gigantic crocodile amidst the lake

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

After reaching the residence, we had some light dinner and packed our bags as we had a bus at 9:15 p.m to Jaisalmer. We reached the Sevashram boarding point 10 minutes before the schedule and, after a good long wait of 35-40 minutes we boarded our bus en route Jaisalmer.

Day 3

[Wednesday]- Jaisalmer aka The Golden City, Thar Desert Safari, Overnight stay in the desert- 09/01/2019

We arrived in Jaisalmer around 7:30-8 in the morning. (Note: I had already inquired about a hostel accommodation named Swan Hostel through the Hostelworld app where you can find rooms at a very cheap price either in dormitory/sharing or personal category. From the moment you get down at the bus stop and board an auto, the auto drivers will try to persuade you with various offers to get you a tour of the city and accommodation facilities). I have to admit the place which intrigued me the most with its rustic rural charm was Jaisalmer.

View of the Jaisalmer Fort from the terrace

Photo of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Prateek

The traditional attire of the rural men and women reminded me of those in the commercials, dressed up in their traditional Rajasthani attire. It looked as an entirely different civilization untouched by the other world. Almost all the residential, small commercial buildings as well as their heritage sites were yellow in color (courtesy the abundant yellow sandstone) with very few exceptions.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

Local homes in Jaisalmer

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

Travelling from the bus stop towards the hostel, Jaisalmer had a stark appearance of a primordial city with its authentic conventional Rajasthani culture closely knitted among the local inhabitants. I had talked to the manager earlier and he told that we'll get an accommodation upon arrival. I must say Swan hostel's hospitality was beyond my expectations. The staff was courteous. He showed us a room for our stay. We were asked to put our luggage in the waiting room and have breakfast in their terrace restaurant meanwhile they prepare a room. The restaurant had a decent setup and also had mattresses in the corner with low rising table. The view from the open terrace of the restaurant was scintillating as the entire city appeared to be dipped in gold courtesy the abundant yellow sandstone architectures with the humongous Jaisalmer fort in the center with small city buildings crowded around it.

The restaurant served decent breakfast. Sipping on hot cups of tea amidst the chilly wind along we sat on the mattresses cherishing the view of the city for sometime. After an hour or so we went down to the reception desk to get our key to the room. However, on discussing our itinerary with the manager on what all we can do in Jaisalmer, he advised us to go for a desert safari organized by the hostel itself for which we will have to leave around 2'o clock in the afternoon on the same day. So the deal was that we will pay Rs 1600 each for the safari (Safari included experiencing the Thar desert, an overnight halt in the desert, dinner, drinks, breakfast next morning and return to the hostel) and he will also provide us a room to get freshen up and rest (a transient type accommodation) up-till tomorrow until the departure of our train to Ajmer. We got freshened up and a rested for a little while. Around 1:30 p.m we decided to have some local Rajasthani thali for lunch before leaving for safari, so we walked by the nearby streets towards a restaurant in the local bazaar where the manager advised us to have a budgeted sumptuous thali.

Local Street market

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

The lunch was more than fulfilling and we cherished it. After having lunch and exploring the local bazaar we went back to the hostel to get our stuffs and waited there for our jeep which would take us to the Thar desert. Apart from us there were 5 fellow travelers (all boys) who accompanied us on the same trip. One from our hostel and 4 others have come on their bikes from Mumbai. (My friend was thoroughly disappointed with no girls accompanying us. I too shared some of his despondency).

Desert Safari

Around 2:30 p.m we were en route Thar desert. The drive took us approximately one hour to reach.

En route Thar desert

Photo of Thar Desert, Rajasthan by Prateek

A troop of camel herders along with their camels were waiting for us. We embarked on our camels to be taken to a spot which was some 8 to 10 kms away. Our ride towards the sand dunes started. The ride though bumpy was quite entertaining.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

The vast expansion of the barren land conjuring into an enormous range of ubiquitous sand dunes is something amazing to experience. It took us around 40 to 45 minutes to reach the spot.

Arriving at the Sand dunes

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

The herders got all the rations required until next morning. They were decent and quite welcoming. After settling down, me and my friend walked extensively on the sand dunes. Walking barefoot and feeling the chill dunes underneath was so satisfying.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek
Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

Food being prepared by the herders

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

The enormity of the desert just gets you and you feel so insignificant at the same time. Everywhere it looked the same. The evening proceeded, the herders were engaged in preparing dinner for us, I sat on the cot relaxing and conversing with the fellow travelers. The night set in, it got more chillier and it was pitch black all around. The campfire was lit up.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

We were served chilled beer. We drank, talked, laughed. We were then served a decent dinner commendable by the standards of a desert and it was fulfilling. After dinner we sat around the campfire, listening to some music, humming in the midst of a pitch black desert. Around 11 p.m we retired to our beds set on the ground. Sleeping under the sky in the desert was surreal and an experience, overwhelming. Post midnight it became more dreadful as it was getting so chilly. Damn it!! No quilt and blanket was enough for me. How the hell do I get away with that dew descending on my face. I slept however.

Day 4

[Thursday]- Thar Desert, Jaisalmer, Patwon Ki Haveli, Jaisalmer Fort, Local Bazaar- 10/01/2019

The horror intensified when my bowels were unsettling around 4'o clock in the morning and yes I took a shit in the desert far away from our spot immersed in my embarrassment. Yes I carried bottles of water. But then I was at peace. The morning settled in. The twilight emanated. It was one of the most serene, calm beautiful mornings I have experienced. I took a morning walk along the dunes relishing the vibe.

Photo of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Prateek
Photo of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Prateek

After sometime we had some toast, eggs and bananas in breakfast. In an hour, we started to head back to the spot from where our jeep would take us back to the hostel. We both reached the hostel around 10:30 a.m, bid goodbye to our fellow travelers and went to our room to freshen up and relax for sometime. After getting a good rest, we decided to visit the heritage sites. Our first visit was to Patwon Ki Haveli which was built in a narrow lane, the largest haveli in Jaisalmer. This heritage site is sure to take you by surprise by its sophistication, unprecedented astute craftsman ship. You can stare at the intricate details of the architecture for hours. It is basically a cluster of 5 small havelis.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

Patwon ki Haveli

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek
Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

Our next stop was Jaisalmer Fort. We had lunch in way to the fort at our hostel's restaurant. Post lunch, we traversed through the narrow lanes of the clustered local market bustling with locals and travelers leading us to the Jaisalmer Fort. This fort is huge, humongous fortified with imposing sandstone walls. It is a city in itself which accommodates a large number of residents with a gamut of small markets, temples, havelis, museums, cafes, jewellery shops etc.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

On the entrance, we came across an old man playing the tune of Padharo Maro Desh on his Ravanahatha (a local musical instrument of Rajasthan). It was so soulful.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

The entire stretch of the city can be seen from the fort. There are abundant rooms, decorated windows, archways and countless lanes enough to get lost.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek
Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

After an hour or so exploring the fort we headed back to our place. We checked out of our room, put our luggage in the waiting room and went to chill on the terrace of our hostel. After few hours we again went to the local market in the night. Had some masala milk, some panipuris, observed the nightlife of the market and then returned to our hostel.

View of the fort during night time

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

We had a train to Ajmer from Jaisalmer at 1'o clock in the morning. Around 11:15 p.m we left for the station. The hostel guy was generous enough to arrange an auto for us since it was difficult to fetch an auto at that point in night. We boarded the train to Ajmer at 1 a.m.

Day 5

[Friday]- Ajmer, Pushkar, Pushkar Lake, Brahma Temple, Maharana Pratap Statue, Udaipur- 11/01/2019

The train arrived at the Ajmer junction around 10:45 a.m. Our plan was to visit Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Pushkar and then return to Udaipur in the evening. I had a local guy who was a member of the priest clan at Dargah. He had made arrangements for us to visit the shrine. We hopped on his scooter and reached the dargah through heavily clustered lanes without much delay. The shrine, as per the beliefs, command much significance for the miracles or mannat. We entered via the back gate struggling through the multitude. I purchased a 'chadar' and a tokri of rose petals to be offered at the shrine. The guy guided me properly towards the shrine while showing humongous vessels in which people offer donations as per their worth (mainly rations). Then I proceeded to offer chadar at the shrine, the priest recited some verses and after seeking the blessings, we exited the shrine. I was able to witness all sorts of people at Dargah, from rich to poor all at one place united by faith and hope to have their prayers get answered.

Entry gate at Dargah

Photo of Ajmer, Rajasthan, India by Prateek

We exited the premises and continued our journey to Pushkar. We hired a local taxi to take us from Ajmer to Pushkar and back. We thoroughly enjoyed the scenic beauty and the cool breeze along our way to Pushkar.

View of the Ajmer city from the Pushkar road

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

Pushkar Road

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

We reached in thirty minutes. We walked a few meters towards the lake from where the taxi stopped to arrive at the sacred Pushkar lake which is a prominent pilgrimage site for the Hindus. We descended from the steps towards the lake. We dipped our feet in the water which was very cold but believe me it was so relaxing amidst all that bhaag -daud.

Holy Pushkar Lake

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Prateek

Although a dip in the holy lake is believed to cleanse the sins and cure skin diseases, we preferred to set that idea aside and just cherish the serene vibe of the Pushkar lake. You can also offer some cattle food, sprouts on sale to the cows and grains to the flock of pigeons that are on the premises of the lake. Walking around the lake for sometime we exited from there (in that process I accidentally got my toe banged against a stone lying unattended on the floor, the blood gushed out) to roam in the precincts of Pushkar lake. There are multiple temples around the lake precincts. We being hungry at the same time had some delicious lassi and a decent thali to refuel ourselves. We then took blessings from the Brahma temple and headed back. While returning, we stumbled across a huge statue of Maharana Pratap erected some 2 years ago standing tall as a symbol of valor and indomitable spirit. The tales of this legend are legendary. The entire city of Ajmer can be seen from the Pushkar road where we were stood.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

We then descended back towards the city bus stand. Unfortunately A/C buses were not available until 8 p.m and it would be very late to reach Udaipur. I was infuriated at the driver as he ensured us that buses are frequent from the stand but they were not. I didn't book it either depending on his conviction. Luckily, I was able to book a 5 p.m bus from Ajmer to Udaipur. We then headed to Ajmer. Around 5:30 p.m, we boarded the bus for Udaipur. We arrived Udaipur at 1'o clock in the morning and dozed off as soon as we reached the room.

Day 6

[Saturday]- Udaipur, Fateh Sagar lake, Uri movie, City Palace, Lake Pichola- 12/01/2019

We began our day early with having breakfast and Kulhad coffee at the Fateh Sagar Lake. We then rode around the lake for sometime relishing the breeze and serenity. We then went to have the famous Pandit Ji Ki Lemon Tea, a quite popular tea joint near Saheliyon ki Bari. We also had a brief walk around in Saheliyon ki Bari situated on the banks of Fateh Sagar lake, a famous garden and a popular tourist spot. It was built by Maharaja Sangram Singh as a royal retreat for the royal ladies to spend time in leisure. I thought to myself 'Rajaon ka desh hain to shauq bhi bade hi honge'. Upon returning to the room, we got ready as we had tickets booked for Uri movie at a nearby PVR theater. With our josh high we exited the theater around 2:30 p.m and went for lunch. The biryani we had was pathetic. Anyhow, we headed towards the City Palace. The architecture of the palace boasted of grandeur and eloquence galore. Just wowww!!! It belongs to the Mewar royal family. Several kings have ruled over during the phase of its construction.

The City palace

Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Prateek
Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Prateek

With the security check-in, we entered to ascend the steep stairs and reached Badi Mahal. The sophistication can be seen with delicate mirror work, silver work, murals, paintings. The tales of the valor of Maharana Pratap inspires you. It was difficult to believe that his armor weighed 80 kgs. The palace consists plethora of zigzag corridors leading from one location to a completely new location, quadrangles with beautiful carvings, balconies. It was pretty confusing to navigate our way out.

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

View of Udaipur city from the balcony

Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek
Photo of MY TRIP TO RAJASTHAN: An impromptu one by Prateek

The view of lake Pichola from the balcony was pleasing. Upon exiting we roamed around the premises to discover the palace further, spent some time along the sides of lake Pichola. We then went to Rainbow restaurant near lake Pichola and stayed until sunset. After that we stayed in the old city roaming here and there before finally heading for home.

Day 7

[Sunday]- Departure day- 13/01/2019

As usual I repeated my ritual to visit Fateh Sagar Lake early morning for breakfast and Kulhad coffee. Stayed there for a while imbibing the calm atmosphere. Then headed towards home to pack my bags for my flight at 2:55 p.m. My friend was generous enough to drop me off to airport which was pretty far from his room. I thanked him for his hospitality and accompanying me on my trip and bid good bye to him. Cherishing all the pleasant experiences and memories of Rajasthan, I took off.

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