All about Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan

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The Mughal connection is attributed to the relationship of Sawai Madho Singh, the ruler of Bhangarh in 16th Century with Raja Mansingh I, who was a general in Akbar’s army. These two chieftains were brother. Their father Bhagwant Singh was the ruler of Amber. This Mughal association is believed to be continued till the death of Aurangjeb. When the Mughal empire weakened, Bhangarh was attacked by Jaishingh II in 1720 AD. Later, a famine broke out in 1783 AD, which forced the inhabitants to abandon the city. However, history apart, the fort premises had the reputation of the haunted place till recent years. And, such reputation became the main reason for the tourist to flow in that sleepy village.

At the first sight, it seemed that the ruins of the fort and residential buildings were scattered all over the place, which makes it difficult to see the important places without any guide. Realising the same, the Archaeological Survey of India had put a reasonably good guide map there. I tried to decipher that map, but could not succeed in the first attempt. I started feeling that such maps could be used only after one visited all over the place and returned to the map only to understand what was what. Anyway, with the help of subsequent attempts at the map, we proceeded towards what was once the jewellery market.

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On the road, from Old Pushkar to Bhangarh, Rajasthan

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Approximately 10 kilometers before the Jaipur City, we had to take a turn towards the NH 11 C through Gopalpura Bypass. The journey from Pushkar to Gopalpura Bypass was so far good and pleasant. But, I was desperate to have a cup of tea. Suddenly, I saw a tea-shop, where tea was being prepared on the log-wood-stove. An old lady owner of the shop was preparing tea. I could not resist myself and stopped the car to have a cup of tea prepared on the flames of log-wood. I felt as if I were in rural Rajasthan. Sipping that tea from a disposable cup was a different experience altogether. Such tea-shops are a rare luxury these days. But, while standing there, I was also surprised to see the attire of that lady-owner of the eta shop. She was wearing the thick silver bangles, silver necklace and the silver nose-ring. Either she must be quite rich in her community or wearing such ornaments by a married lady must be a tradition here.

The tea had the desired effect on me. With the renewed energy, we came to the Toll plaza of the Jaipur-Agra Expressway. One of the Aravalli hills had been cut for makingthe way through a tunnel. Being a Sunday afternoon there was no rush there. My wife, however, pointed out that it was the same tunnel which was depicted as the most-accident prone area in the Amir Khan’s “SatyamevJayte” programme on the road safety. Anyway, we crossed that tunnel without any difficulty and proceeded ahead and continued to our third leg of the journey.

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All About Pushkar, Rajasthan

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Subsequently, we walked upto the “Top tea stall” in Pushkar. We just had poha before and now needed a cup of hot tea. So, we sat down on the bench there for some time till we sipped the best tea of the city. The top tea in the Pushkar market was served on disposable cups. The tray was a luxury given to the families. Otherwise, you pick up your cup from the stall itself. We had settled down on the bench and were admiring the market. The market was gradually opening to a pleasant morning. The rush was also gradually increasing. People from all walks of life were coming to pay a visit to the temple of Lord Brahma.
Many foreigners, who had stayed long, had taken motorcycles to roam around the city and its outskirts. Enfield Bullet was a general favourite. In the hippy style, these foreigners were driving their bikes on the road as if the road belonged to them. Suddenly, a Rajasthani Milkman came to the Tea stall. He was a tall, lean and handsome man in his fifties wearing Kurta and Dhoti and leather Jutis. His turban was of the same type that was worn by herdsmen which we had seen on the highways. The golden ear-rings and Silver bracelet on his wrist were indicating his economic status. His confident gait and the personality were reflecting his social status that he must be commanding in his community. He sat silently and sipped his tea. After finishing his tea, he got up, paid the amount and left. I could neither click his picture nor hear his rags to riches story. But the picture of the brass containers, used for carrying milk, on the delivery-motorcycle was telling the story of his financial success.

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Anasagar Lake, Ajmer, Rajasthan

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It was getting dark and it was time to visit the dargah of “Garib Nawaj”, for which the city of Ajmer was famous. We left the car at the municipal parking itself and took a horse-carriage. The coachman helped Tulika and Ruchir to sit at the back of the carriage and I sat with him in the front. The distance from the Anasagar Lake to the Delhi Gate was about 2 kilometers and so I started chatting with the coachman. He introduced himself as a trainer of horses, who in his free time drove the horse carriage in the lanes of Ajmer. He had trained horses for racing, city tours and for working in the oil-mills. He informed me about the difference of syllabus for training of horses for performing different works. His stories opened a new subject of discussion. All of us must have seen different animals performing different tasks in the society. The question was how those animals learn the task and did not commit errors. The coachman, in his matter-of-fact voice, told, “Sir, the way different teachers teach you different subjects in school, there are different teachers who teach different behaviours to animals. In the world of trainers of animals, one who can teach different subjects to animals is very sought after. In the case of Horses, the trainer who teaches them the nuances of racing gets paid handsomely.”

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Soni Ji ki Nasiyan, Ajmer, Rajasthan

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On the second floor, we reached to a beautifully designed corridor. However, the corridor was made dirty due to misuse and by people, who try to immortalize themselves by writing something on the heritage monuments. But from the windows in the corridor, one could see the very beautiful craftsmanship of the Ayodhya nagri and the incidents of the life of Rishabhdev. The entire hall is full of beautiful models of different aspects of the life and teaching of Rishabhdev. The story is about establishing the Ayodhya nagri in Jambudweepa by Lord Indra, when all other worlds were destroyed. In this Ayodhya nagri, Rishabhdev was born.
The Jains literature tells us about the 16 auspicious dreams seen by the mother of Rishabhdev, before the birth of her most exalted son. His birth was very auspicious to his parents and people at large. His abhishek ceremony was held at the Sumeru Mountain. The Gods showered flowers and Kuber showered many riches during the Abhishek ceremony of Rishabhdev.

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Exploring Akbari Fort and Government Museum, Ajmer, Rajasthan

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The first thing that caught my attention was a red-coloured window situated above the front gate of the fort. The moment I saw this window, a historic event of 1615 AD came to my mind. I was trying to visualize the scene when Mr. Thomas Roe, the ambassador of East India Company, was standing on the very place on the ground where I was standing. Mughal sultanate was at the peak of their rule and the East India Company had sent their emissary to seek permission to do business in the Mughal territory in the then princely India. The difference in their status was so huge that the emperor Jahangir gave Mr. Roe an audience from that window above and read out the firman which permitted the East India Company to do business in India. Ironically, in next 230 years, the same company went on to dislodge the Mughals and to establish the British Raj in India. That thought made me cold. I just stood there thinking about the present day permissions being granted to foreign based establishments to do business in our country. I shuddered to think about the possibilities of another foreign domination, if Indian democracy disintegrates in future.

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