Outskirts of Udaipur
The next day we woke up early and decided to go for morning walk. My wife decided to stayed in the hotel and pack the luggage for the day trip. As the hotel was very near to the main bus stand of Udaipur, the roads were crowded with the tourist vehicles. We chat with some locals vendors and they guided to visit nearby tourist spots of Udaipur by bus. We liked there suggestion and enquired from the local tourist operator. He explained the one day bus itinerary which many tourists preferred & booked during their Udaipur trip. The tickets charges are Rs. 200/- per person for deluxe bus. He gave us ticket slip, seat numbers and told us to reach his shop sharp at 9.00 AM. We moved back to hotel.
At 8:00 a.m. we left the hotel room. We selected one restaurant next to tour operator shop to enjoy some local breakfast. We ordered for Pohaa, kachori (matar & pyaz) and jalebi. Here Pohaa preparation was different then us. Taste of Pohaa is little bit like Dhokla and bhujjia and boondi (namkeen) is spread on it. We enjoyed the breakfast and requested shop owner to pack two plates of pohaa for our journey. At 9.15 a.m. bus reached at travel agent shop. Like us many persons boarded the bus for the sight seeing. Bus is operated by some different transporter and booked by travel agents. It’s a 2×2 seater bus and we found it comfortable. After driving for half an hour bus driver stopped the bus at the roadside and offered us to become tour guide but only if everyone agreed for it. We all are agreed with his offer as he was familiar with all the tourist places and can share historical information with us. For this he asked for Rs. 20/- per person, which all passengers given to him. Some of the day trip tourist spots are as follows:
Our first stop at the outskirts of Udaipur is a small temple of Lord Srinathji. To reach there one has to climb a 100 step for the temple. Pictures are not allowed to click here. After praying there bus left for another temple on route. I forgot the name of the temple. I only remembered it was a Hanumanji Mandir & Mata Mandir. Outside the temple our bus driver had shown us one oval shape stone. It is said that stone Maharana Pratap prayed and seek blessings from goddess for winning the battle with Mughals. As per the hindu ritual he has to offer something to Goddess to seek the blessings and at that time he was outskirts of Udaipur and he has nothing to offer. His priest told him to pick one stone as offering to goddess and if he was able to pick it up that means goddess accepted his prayer and he will win the war against Mughals. He lifts the stone and then he left for the war. Many fellow passengers tried their luck. Only two are able to do it. One muscular college boy and me ☺. At first I am not able to pick it but driver guided me to change the angle of it. I tried it and picked it up. My bad luck that when I raised it my daughter forget to click it ☹.
Trying to lift the stone which Maharana Pratap lifted for Puja Offering
Ooty aka (Udhagamandalam) was chosen as venue for annual convention of rail enthusiasts for 2014. Ooty is arguably the most popular hill station in southern India. It is nestled in Nilgiri hills or Blue mountains. It derives its name from eucalyptus trees which grow on these hills. About the reason for these hills to be called “blue” mountains, quoting from wikipedia,
The Nilgiri hills have a history going back a good many centuries. It is not known why they were called the Blue Mountains. Several sources cite the reason as the smoky haze enveloping the area, while other sources say it is because of the kurunji flower, which blooms every twelve years giving the slopes a bluish tinge.
However for rail enthusiasts its main attraction is the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) which is a UNESCO World heritage site.
UNESCO World Heritage plaque
On the 2nd last day of the year 2013, it was pretty cold in Delhi-NCR. I was busy in furnishing my new office till late in the evening. Few phone calls from friends was puzzling me whether to join the 31st Night Booze or escape. The travel bug was however, biting harsh inside chasing to roll on the tar far off. Couldn’t dare however to speak a word at home after spending 20 days, 6000 km only one month back in Gujrat tour.
Late evening at home, my wife was watching TV when on a News Channel it was reported that Tigers from Ranthambhor have been relocated to Sariska. Immediately, I exclaimed, Wow! Shall we go there and try luck? My wife cunningly looked at me and replied a big NO! Next morning with gloomy face, I tried to convince her once again but in vain. At 2 pm my wife called me while I was in office and sanctioned my proposal.
Without wasting a moment I browsed the official site of RTDC & hastily booked our entry permits online. Reached home, packed the baggage and we were on for Alwar by 3 pm. Alwar to Sariska is around 40 km and as decided we took a hotel at Alwar so as to reach Sariska for the evening Safari on 1st January 2014.
I had visited Sariska twice prior to this and those were the disastrous dissatisfaction. Except the thorny bushes and herds of antelopes, the area was least wild, not even worth a feel of the wild. The Pandupol, a shrine deep inside the sanctuary invites local devotees in numbers especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays, thus erasing thoroughly the impression of its being a forest or a wild.
Sariska Time Table
We seriously considered staying one more day and I still think that would have been a good idea as we would have seen Naggar etc on next day but as it wasn’t planned since earlier and hotel charges weren’t same when we wanted to extend it but more than double, so I given up over the idea that thought may be next time.
We had informed the reception that we would be moving out early morning though still it felt strange leaving hotel without informing anyone in person. I mean what if some guest decides to walk out with blanket or towel or anything else? Did we miss some step there or the reception didn’t got the point when we informed in night that we would be moving tomorrow morning?
The last view of snow
The Nineteenth day, we decided to start ascending early morning from Mt. Abu to avoid the non-sense confrontation of driving skills of the local taxi drivers. All of us must have experienced that while driving in the hills, we are more sensible, sober and better negotiator than the local drivers. On the other hand those drivers play foul boastingly, trying to scare the other drivers. Practically, it seems that they do so to de-motivate us so as to hire the taxies otherwise.
Soon we were at Abu Raod and stopped at one of the shacks for a fag and morning tea, it was just 7 am. Since both of us had never visited Chittorgarh hence, we decided to include the destination in our itinerary. We headed on to reach the place early, after which might see if we could make Delhi before too late.
Tunnel on way to Chittorgarh