Rajasthan etymology:- Raja: King; Sthan: Place
Last minute cancellation of plans by my friends to Bali prompted me to take up a solo trip to Rajasthan. Rajasthan, as we all know, has been the home to numerous emperors. Even now, when one visits this place, one can fell that aura around, the grandeur, the architecture can still be seen.
Mine was a 5-day trip to Rajasthan during which I had covered only 2 places: Udaipur and Jaipur as I wanted to cover 2 places thoroughly during my 5-day visit.
I was welcomed by a cool breeze the minute I stepped out of the airport. The owner of the home stay that I'd booked was kind enough to pick me up at the airport. I did not do anything that day as it was already a bit late to explore Udaipur. I crashed early so that I could gather all the energy and see the wonderful city of Udaipur in full swing.
Homestay: Chandra Niwas
I had booked an auto for 2 days that would take me around Udaipur. Trust me when I say that the best way to explore Udaipur is in an auto.
My first stop was Lake Pichola. It is one of the most famous lakes in Udaipur.
I then headed to the building adjacent to it which is a memorial built in honour of Maharana Pratap Singh and his horse called the Chetak Smarak.
It is built on a hill and one can see a culmination of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. It provides a panoramic view of the lake city that Udaipur is. The famous Lake Palace, the Jag Mandir and the Jagadish Temple are in the vicinity of the City Palace.
The beautiful mirror work and gem work that adorn the walls provide a standing proof of the skilled artisans that were present during that era.
The sunset point is THE place where one should go if one wants to summarise what Udaipur is all about: lakes, boats, forts, hills. It provides a panoramic view of the entire city.
Day 2 started at 10 a.m with my first stop at Srinathji Temple. It is dedicated to lord Krishna. It is situated in Nathdwara which is around 50 mins drive from Udaipur. It opens at 11 in the morning. There is a separate enclosure for men and women where they wait for the temple doors to open. Once the visiting hours began, there was a huge rush which at one point of time did remind me of the Mumbai local train.
The Nagda Temple is better known as the Saas-Bahu temple. It is basically a Vishnu Temple which is made in 2 structures: one by Saas (Mother-in Law) and the other by Bahu (Daughter-in-Law).
As the name suggests it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Being a Tuesday, there was no rush and my darshan ended in no time.
It is basically a Govt. run establishment that promotes the local artistes from all over Rajasthan-be it handicrafts, folk singers, folk dancers. I was lucky enough to catch a performance as well.
It is also known as the Monsoon Palace which overlooks the Fateh Sagar Lake. It was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh atop the Banswara Hill. From the base of the mountain, there are small buses that take you up to the palace. The journey to the top has some breathtaking views to offer.
Day 3: Travel from Udaipur to Jaipur
I did not do anything that day in Jaipur as by the time I had reached my hotel I was famished and by the time I could satisfy my hunger, I realised that the visiting hours for most of the sightseeing places was over.
I was warned by everyone not to take an auto around Jaipur as they charge a bomb if they get to know that you are a tourist. Hence, Ola to the rescue!
Built in red and pink sandstone, it is basically just a high wall from which the women used to observed the street festivals. The main purpose of the wall was to keep the women veiled.
It is the royal enclosure which houses the famous Diwan-I-Aam and the Diwan-E-Khas and other structures as well.
It is located within the same vicinity of the City Palace. It has the world's largest sundial and is quite aptly named as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Situated at the centre of the lake, it has been a hub of many celeb weddings. But I found it a bit disappointing. Unlike the Jal Mahal at Udaipur, there are no boats that take you close to the Jal Mahal. You have to appreciate the structure from a really far-off distance with probably a pile of garbage and the stench coming from it next to you.
I had been to Choki Dhani in the evening which is nothing more than a village resort.
If you are a foodie then you must definitely try out these places in Jaipur
Tapri (tea house): It is a roof top cafe which serves amazing chai. Copper Chimney: One of the oldest restaurants in Jaipur, it is famous for its Laal maans (mutton) preparation. It is just "finger-lickin-good".