Driving on petrol is a pain and it ruins your ghumakkarness. Therefore I bought a new diesel IKON on this Dhanteras. On the day I brought the car to home, I started thinking of driving to somewhere far, at least a journey more than 500 kms.
In the search of weekend getaways from Delhi, I searched ghumakkar but couldn’t find any reference for Ajmer and Pushkar. I was planning to visit Pushkar during its world known cattle fair and finally started for Pushkar and Ajmer on Friday 23th October 2009 night at 1:15 AM. We thought to reach Pushkar by 7-8 early mornings. I planned to complete the journey in three patches, Delhi – Behror, Behror – Jaipur bypass, Jaipur bypass – Pushkar.
Delhi – Behror was a breeze, and it took me only 2 hours to complete this ~130 Kms stretch. I stopped at RTDC Midway Motel Behror for a cup of coffee and that took us 30 minutes to start again.
Behror – Jaipur bypass was a good stretch, except the experience of heavy truck’s traffic. You also have to keep an eye from where the road branches to Jaipur city and Ajmer (or to Mumbai via Ahmadabad). This diversion is about 20 Kms ahead of Jaipur city, and the moment you take left for Ajmer, you will certainly notice the road is quite wide ( 6 -8 lanes) and less traffic as Jaipur city traffic will not be there on this road anymore. As per my plan, I completed my second stretch here itself, and the total length of this stretch is about 120 Kms.
Jaipur bypass – Pushkar stretch starts from the GVK expressway. It is definitely a best road I have ever driven on. I started on this road by paying a toll tax for this complete 70 Kms expressway. Please note if you are heading till the end of this expressway, please keep your first toll gate receipt, as you will not have pay that again. After this expressway a double lane road without divider starts from Kishangarh till Pushkar. The complete stretch is about 170 Kms and we finally reached there by 8:00 AM.
I am a big fan of state run tourism corporation’s hotels, therefore decided to stay in Hotel Sarovar, one of the good hotels in this small pilgrim city. It is an old, facility less hotel, but is it very spacious and clean, which all we needed.
Pushkar seems no different from Mathura and Vrindavan in most of the aspects, narrow roads, too much crowded, everyone is Brahmin and city guide, and over and above, it costs you some money to enter into the city, just like Vrindavan, a municipality tax. The only known Brahma temple in India is here in Pushkar. It is said that Lord Brahma was on his way to search for a suitable place to perform a ‘Yagna’ (a fire sacrifice) while contemplating, a lotus fell from his hand on the earth and water sprouted from that place. One of them was Pushkar where Lord Brahma performed “Yagna”.
Every year thousands of devotees come here to take a holy dip into the holy Sarovar during Kartik Purnima (October-November) every year. I think cattle fair is also related with this event. Surprisingly I did not see water in the Sarovar because of the cleaning of the Sarovar at that time.
Cattle fair was awesome. I had never seen so many cattle being traded at single place. However I feel it would be good if you visit this fair during second weekend, as that time is more happening and most of the cultural activities take place during second weekend only. I have heard people talking about the drought impact on this fair this year. May be due to recession also :(
Next day we started for Ajmer. It was hardly 20 Kms from Pushkar we reached there in 30 mins. Visiting Dargah Sharif was my long time wish. After visiting Dargah I must say, everyone who has a belief and faith in Sufism must come here at least once in the life. Dargah Shariff of Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti is equally popular in Muslims and Hindus community.
Parking here is a challenge and one has to be with the vehicle only. Also, you have to be careful about your belongings in Dargah.
We finished from Ajmer by 11:30 AM. We had plenty enough time to reach back to Delhi, so my cabin mates started demanding more. My wife and I have been to Chokhi Dhani many times before but other mates were new. I thought of taking them to Jaipur for some historical monuments and dinner at Choki Dhani.
We reached Jaipur by 1:30 PM. After having nice lunch, we could manage to spend some time shopping for some good Jaipuria quilts. We managed to have a quick look of City palace, which didn’t excite me much, except the royal silver kalash which has its name in the Guinness book.
Experience at Chokhi Dhani was better than expected. Our friends were happy to see this village like setup. Although the idea behind this recreation is commercial activities, but I feel one can have a better look of Rajasthan without visiting countryside, just because of this place.
My son was very excited here as he found plenty enough place to play around. We were happy to see him happy and others who came here first time, were excited seeing village like atmosphere, be it balloon shooting, camel ride, elephant ride, small village shops or regional dances. Everything was perfect. I thing Chokhi Dhani management is being perfect day by day. I remember my first visit here was about 5 years back, and comparing to that time, it has certainly improved.
Finally we had a good dinner there, a traditional Rajasthani food, in desi style. Started from Jaipur to Delhi at around 9 PM and reached here, home by 1:30 AM, including 30 mins break at Midway, Behror.