21-July-2014: Monday: Visit to the Krishna Temples and Sajjangarh, Udaipur.
After enjoying a rejuvenating four days at Club Mahindra Fort Kumbhalgarh we checked out from our cozy tent at 8.30 am. It took some time to settle our bills, by which time our cabbie Rajkumar arrived and was waiting for us. We wanted to visit the Krishna temples at Kankroli and Nathdwara, then go to Sajjangarh (Monsoon Palace) on a hilltop near Udaipur before checking in to the Club Mahindra Udaipur resort.
Rajkumar took us via Kelwara and Rajsamand to Kankroli. The road was not very good and passed through many typical Rajasthani villages, and a lot of marble mines as we approached closer to Rajsamand.
We reached the Dwarkadheesh Temple at around 10.30 am. This temple is located at Kankroli, on the banks of the Rajsamand Lake in Rajasthan. It is about 15 km north of the Shrinathji temple of Nathdwara on National Highway No.8.
Entrance to the Dwarkadheesh Temple, Kankroli.
When I reached in Ahmadabad on 20th December,2013, I had many doubts about Guajarati, their food, their culture..their language (kemcho, suche) & so many things. Coming from Delhi, famed for its cosmopolitan food platter right from ‘Paratha’ and ‘Butter Naan’ for breakfast to ‘paneer tikka’, ‘Kadhi Chawal’, ‘Rajma Chawal’ and ‘butter chicken’ for lunch; wholesome ‘poha’ for an evening snack to a nice plate of Pulao or Paratha and Mutton or chicken for dinner. Naturally as a first visitor my mind occupied by their food & their gesture.
Visited to my friend’s house but in my inner though seemed to more curious about “karnavati” the old name of Ahmadabad. The city was founded by King Karandev 1 in the 11th century and originally called “Karnavati”. The Hindu kingdom of Karnavati retained its importance until 1411 when Sultan Ahmed Shah conquered Gujarat and the city was renamed Ahmadabad after him. The city of Ahmedabad went on expanding in every direction by the addition of new areas on the sides of the river, with well laid out beautiful buildings, lakes, temples and mosques.
The station was neat & clean. All the way to home my mind captured the picture of the place with hungry eyes. The old city & new city is connected by bridge on Sabarmati River. Both the city is very clean & there is not too much traffic as compare to Delhi.
16-July-2104: Wednesday: Mysore-Ajmer Express.
The Mysore-Ajmer Express (Train no.16210) departed from Pune Junction at 6.50 pm. Both of us had been allotted upper berths even though I had booked 60 days in advance. However we managed to get one lower berth after exchanging with a co-passenger, and we were happy to have a pair of side upper and side lower berths. The train goes via Kalyan, Vasai Road, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Abu Road and Falna. We had our dinner of packed sandwiches and climbed into our berths at 9.30 pm to grab our forty winks.
17-July-2104: Thursday: Arrive in Falna at 2.30 pm. Drive to Club Mahindra Kumbhalgarh.
We had breakfast of dhokla curry, kachoris, and chilly pakoras bought at Ahmedabad station, washed down with a bottle of chilled Amul kesar flavoured milk. Around noon we also had some aloo parathas and veg pulao served up by the pantry car in the train. The train arrived at Falna at 2.30 pm, an hour late. I had pre-booked a cab through ‘Rajasthan Taxiwale’, and Rajkumar, our cabbie, called us while we were in the train and told us that he was waiting for us with his Tata Indigo since 1pm.
Rajkumar took us to Kumbhalgarh via Sadri and Ranakpur. We did not halt at Ranakpur and carried on towards Kumbhalgarh. The drive was very scenic, specially after Ranakpur as we were passing through the wildlife sanctuary. There were a lot of curious langur monkeys peering at us from the roadside as we passed them.
Langur monkey peering at us near Ranakpur
Sonamarg on the bank of river Sindh
“Hello, good evening! Hotel X-land……. Yes sir! Yes, yes, rooms are available……..We have a tariff of Rs.7500/- for double bed with one extra adult……..We offer you a special discount of 20%”.
Oops! I do not fit in that range. So I called hotel Y-heights and then Z-resorts. But all were in the same price range. I wondered; quiet a high price for a place like Sonamarg! Now I had only one phone number left. The last hope was still alive! Thank God! This number did not disappoint me, at least tariff-wise. It was Hotel Sunshine at Sonamarg.
My exams were approaching and before that, a free Sunday. I consulted my father regarding a one day trip to any nearest tourist spot to refresh myself for the upcoming exams. I live in Indore and we have loads of places to visit, but I had my own list, out of which and I chose Kalakund. Though it isn’t a tourist spot but I’ve heard about it being a great natural scenic spot and that led to this decision, another reason was the old meter gauge awesome rail route up to there. I love trains. We had decided to visit Kalakund and went up to a railway station called Rajendra Nagar Railway. So I loaded my bag up with camera, notepad, pen etc. and departed for Kalakund. This railway line passes through the mid of Indore city and is often referred to as local trains.
After the completion of Indore-Fatehabad gauge conversion this the next target for the railway to complete. Few minutes after departure from Rajendra nagar we halted on the next station called Rau. A crossing of another train was held post which we continued our journey. Although, trains have been minimised on this route but there is always a problem of crossing as there is only one line. The trains stop at every station and a crossing is held. Next station was Haranya Kheri. Next station was Mhow. It is the the next major station after Indore junction. Mhow is long form of “Military headquarters of war”. It was renamed as Dr. Ambedkar Nagar but still is popular as Mhow. It is a loco shed for the meter gauge locomotive YDM 4. YDM 4 is the widely used locomotive for meter gauge.
Mesmerising waterfall at patalpani