"Bahut garmi hai" is what I was told by everyone who got to know that I would be travelling to Rajasthan in the month of April. Season of course matters when one travels to any of the destination, yet I feel that when one has an opportunity to travel and see the unseen, one must get out of comfort zone and leisure and look at the things differently. I got to see Rajasthan and its unique parts very differently. India is a unique country with variety of flavors. Each state here is a country in itself with great food choice, to dressing, to language and nature is magical in India where each state has some variety of places. So our Rajasthan has desert area, historical forts, and lakes and also has a hill station.
I have been to several parts of Rajasthan and this time I was travelling to the famous hill station of Rajasthan, Mt. Abu and the city of lakes, Udaipur. This journey started from Delhi for me via train, yet the real road journey started from Ajmer.
The National Highway is so very well maintained that the drive becomes superfluous and amazing. All I needed was a road trip with my loved one's and the weather, aah! That just got right with the coolness in our minds.
This road trip from Ajmer to Mt. Abu and from Mt. Abu to Udaipur and then back to Ajmer was smooth enough. The road leads through tunnels and the way entering a tunnel use to create curiosity and excitement during childhood, so does it creates now. Just that now I have got camera to capture its beauty. Have a look -
The first view of the unique looking rock cut mountain gives the surety that one's on the right track to Mt. Abu.
I have got some attraction towards trees which are leafless yet stand strong and further attraction towards trees which look dry and happen to have fresh small leaves laded on them, which can be only closely seen. The dry way had its own beauty and these trees welcomed us to the region of the hill station of Rajasthan.
Places to Visit in Mt. Abu-
1 st Spot - Dilwara Jain Temple -The Dilwara temples of India are located about 2½ kilometres from Mount Abu, Rajasthan's only hill station. These Jain temples were built by Vastapul Tejpal, a Jain laymen between the 11th and 13th centuries AD and are world-famous for their stunning use of marble. The five legendary marble temples of Dilwara are a sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains. Some consider them to be one of the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world. The marble temples have an opulent entranceway, the simplicity in architecture reflecting Jain values like honesty and frugality. The temples are in the midst of a range of forested hills. A high wall shrouds the temple complex.
There are five temples in all, each with its own unique identity. Each is named after the small village in which it is located. These are:
Vimal Vasahi, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabha. - This temple carved entirely out of white marble was built in 1031 A.D. by Vimal Shah, a minister of Bhima I, the Chaulukya king of Gujarat. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rishabha. The temple stands in an open courtyard surrounded by a corridor, which has numerous cells containing smaller idols of the tirthankaras. The richly carved corridors, pillars, arches, and 'mandaps' or porticoes of the temple are simply amazing. The ceilings feature engraved designs of lotus-buds, petals, flowers and scenes from Jain mythology. The Navchowki is a collection of nine rectangular ceilings, each one containing beautiful carvings of different designs supported on ornate pillars. The Gudh mandap is a simple hall once you step inside its heavily decorated doorway. Installed here is the idol of Adi Nath or Lord Rishabdev, as he is also known. The mandap is meant for Aarti to the deity Luna Vasahi, dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankara, Neminatha. -This magnificent temple was built in 1230 by two Porwad brothers - Vastupal and Tejpal - both ministers of a Virdhaval, the Vaghela ruler of Gujarat. The Navchowki features some of the most magnificent and delicate marble stone cutting work of the temple. Each of the nine ceilings here seems to exceed the others in beauty and grace. Pithalhar, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar, Rishabha. - This temple was built by Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabad. A massive metal statue of the first tirthankara, Rishabha Dev (Adinath), cast in five metals, is installed in the temple. Parshvanath, dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Parshvanatha. - This temple, dedicated to Lord Parshvanath, was built by Mandlik and his family in 1458-59. It consists of a three storied building, the tallest of all the shrines at Dilwara. On all the four faces of the sanctum on the ground floor are four big mandaps Mahavir Swami, dedicated to the last Jain Tirthankara, Mahavira. - This is a small structure constructed in 1582 and dedicated to Lord Mahavira.being small it is a marvelous temple with carvings on its walls. On the upper walls of the porch there are pictures painted in 1764 by the artists of Sirohi
As interesting part of this temple other than the historical bit is this that the white marbles are always cool to walk on. Rests of the rocks are hot in day light. You may enjoy the walk on the while marbles.
The camera wasn't allowed to be carried inside the premise of the temple, hence there are no pictures that can be shared of this place, except the outer view.
2 nd Spot - Guru Shikhar - If you are fond of long drives in the hills then you may get interested to drive to this place, as it is far from the main city and uphill. Guru Shikhar, a peak in the Arbuda Mountains of Rajasthan, is the highest point of the Aravalli Range. It rises to an elevation of 1,722 metres (5,650 ft). It is 15 km from Mount Abu and a road from there leads almost to the top of the mountain. It is named Guru - Shikhar or 'the peak of the guru' after Dattatreya, an incarnation of Vishnu, and a cave at the summit contains a temple dedicated to him, plus one dedicated his mother, Anasuya, wife of sage Atri nearby.
3 rd Spot- Peace Park Garden - It's a peaceful place, green, serene and colored with flowers. In the scorching heat of April, we were not really interested in visiting this place, hence we saw the park from outside and drove to the next spot.
4 th Spot - Achal Garh Temple - The red flowery way leads to this place called Achal garhTemple. It is 8 km from main Mount Abu. The temple has 365 stairs to climb up. Ahaan..! so if you wanna visit this historical place of God and Goddess, that's a perfect place for you to show up some stamina.
5 th Spot -Adhar Devi - The Adhar Devi Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Durga. It got its name because the legend has it that "Adhar" of the Mataji (Goddess deity) fell here also it was believed that the image of the goddess could be found there hanging in mid air. As well as being a popular tourist destination, the Adhar Devi Temple is also a common destination for many religion pilgrimages.
6 th Spot- Sunset Point- The point from where the vehicle you are travelling in stops has a way of about a km of walk or a horse ride or a pull cart. The interesting part of the ambience of the sun set point was the presence of langoors. The langoors much like humans. The one I clicked in various poses was eating bhutta, and was engrossed in his eating and the other one was busy jumping from one branch to another at the top of the tree.
The sunset point is supposed to be very famous in Mount Abu. During the month of April, in the only hill station of Rajasthan, the heat was extreme and hence the hills caught fire. Because of the fire, there was hardly any visibility of the sunset and yet this is how the sun had set that day. FYI..There is a charge of Rs. 50 per person to enter and walk towards the sunset point. There are options to sit on horse to ride for a km and also there are pull carts available charging Rs. 50 per person. The person serving drags it to the sunset point. Everything in Mt. Abu has been made to create employment and income from tourist. It's good or not, that I leave up to you to decide.
7 th Spot - Nakki Lake
Nakki lake is a famous lake in Mt. Abu primarily for boating purpose. This lake is surrounded by Arravali hills.
We stayed in Hotel Royal Retreat which was in the heart land of Mt. Abu; with very nice services. The evening in Mt Abu was very pleasant. The cool breeze added beauty to the walk of relaxation after months. We drove to market area to explore the local city behavior and we found that unlike any other hill station this city was awake post 11 pm and was serving their best to everyone. Peaceful, musical and relaxing impression it left on our minds. The very next morning we drove to Udaipur meeting these friendly langoors on the way and perfect clicks of Sunset, clicked through the car in speed. ????
, as the name suggests is the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar in the former Rajputana Agency. It was founded in 1553 by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia clan of Rajput, when he shifted his capital from the city of Chittorgarh to Udaipur.
Udaipur is also called City of Lakes and the Venice of East.
It took us about 2 hours to reach Udaipur from Mt. Abu.
The very first place that we visited is the City Palace -
City Palace, Udaipur, is a palace complex. It was built over a period of nearly 400 years, with contributions from several rulers of the Mewar dynasty. Construction began in 1553, started by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia Rajput family as he shifted his capital from the erstwhile Chittor to the new found city of Udaipur. The palace is located on the east bank of Lake Pichola and has several palaces built within its complex.
The City Palace in Udaipur was built in a flamboyant style and is considered the largest of its type in the state of Rajasthan. It was built atop a hill, in a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles, providing a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. Overlooking Lake Pichola, several historic monuments like the Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, Jagdish Temple, Monsoon Palace, and Neemach Mata temple, are all in the vicinity of the palace complex. Nestled within the Aravali mountain range, these landmarks are associated in popular culture with the filming of the 1983 James Bond movie .
Moving around the palace gives you that touch of being in the city of King. It's beautiful and well built. Every corner gives a sight to get captured and framed. The city view from the palace and the lakes are real treats to eye. Check out some in these pictures -
The very next spot was Monsoon Palace -
The Monsoon Palace, also known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, is a hilltop palatial residence in the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan in India, overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake. It is named Sajjangarh after Maharana Sajjan Singh (1874-1884) of the Mewar Dynasty, who built it in 1884. The palace offers a panoramic view of the city's lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside. It was built chiefly to watch the monsoon clouds; hence, appropriately, it is popularly known as Monsoon Palace. It is said that the Maharana built it at the top of the hill to get a view of his ancestral home, Chittaurgarh. Previously owned by the Mewar royal family, it is now under the control of the Forest Department of the Government of Rajasthan and has recently been opened to the public. The palace provides a beautiful view of the sunset.
High in the Aravalli Hills, just outside Udaipur, the Palace is illuminated in the evenings, giving a golden orange glow.
Some shots from clicked from the palace -
There was just one cat in the premise of the palace which was very friendly and cute. While we were resting, It came near us and put her head on the lap. Word less beautiful conversation went on with her for good ten minutes.
On the way back, we decided to take a nap and that helped us to get charged up for the evening sight. We wanted to watch sunset in a unique way through lake, and what we came across was far beautiful than we had imagined. Instead of sitting around famous Fateh sagar and lake Pichola, through the help of locals suggestion we reached Bada saagar. The place is not very famous and is around 5 km away from the main city. It is clean, peaceful and serene. We sat there with our legs dipped in the lake and watched the sun setting behind the mountain range.
Post the sunset view for about an hour we reached Fateh sagar lake to boat around and moved to the famous restaurant named Upre, since 1559 AD. The restaurant is on 2 nd Floor and faces Lake Pichola.
A setting like no other. Overlooking the magnificent City Palace, Lake Palace, the temples, the bathing ghats and embankments. Enjoy your meal gazing across Udaipur's historic skyline.
Upré is located on the terrace of Lake Pichola Hotel with a colossal water frontage.
One can capture the mood with an informal, open-air bar with cabanas and terrace restaurant offering a selection of international and local cuisines, cocktails and wines. Getting a table for dinner was a task and we finally could get it, and must mention that the food is really amazing. Simple dishes prepared in style and traditional way.
The palace and the moon view was a perfect sight to watch and capture the beauty.
The very next day we spent morning at Bagore ki Haveli. Though there were couple of interesting things, yet there was this biggest turban in the world which was the most unique thing to witness. The pagadi created by Shri Avnati lal Chawla of Baroda, Gujrat. This special pagdi represents the style of farmers of three boarding states i.e. Rajasthan, Gujrat and Madhya Pradesh. It is 151 feet long, 11 feet circumference, 30 kg in weight, 30 inches in height and 7 inches in thickness.
Post this we spent some time at Ambrai Ghat and watched pigeons and kids swimming in deep lake water.. the simple joys of living.
Post this visit, the day was a relaxing one at Resort Ananta, Udaipur. As soon as the sun touched its high, we were in the hotel room, dozing off to sleep and get ready to experience great ambiance. The evening took us to swimming pool and the silent walk in the green well maintained area.
The very next day we moved back to Ajmer in just 4 hours. The highway is really super awesome and smooth, traffic free and easy.
Bahut garmi to thi, par Rajasthan ka asli maza us mein hi hai. Rajasthan is always hot and has high temperature during day. Even the month of February makes you feel dry, hence visit Rajasthan whenever you want to. Just that plan your day, so as not to get affected by the heat. The Road trips are best which makes you lead through Tunnel and Rajasthan offers you plenty.
Stay safe, loved, together and keep travelling.