Historical

A trip to Mewar – Kumbhalgarh and Ranakpur

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The drive looked like very good till I encountered a steep slope drrive as in hills. Though I had driven the car a few times in hilly area but God knows what happened I just lost the confidence here when I saw that it was down and down and down. Oh God what to do now. I was trembling with fear and had put my car on to first gear . My wife and Bhakti just motivated me to carry on slowwly and remember our sojourn in the hills. I saw  Mahindra scorpio coming uphill. I just stopped him and asked him about how long it would continue like this. It was about 5 kms like this, according to him. and the situation became hilarious when he also asked how it would be like this uphill .

hahahahhaha……….. Any way the ordeal became less and plain road was there .  We were passing through  the forest area now and after a few minutes we entered the temple complex. So serene was the atmosphere there and about 30-35 vehicles parked inside the complex. Main reason that I found for heavy rush was that people from Jaina community revered the place and comee there just as they have Dilwara temples at Mount Abu. So a mixed crowd of foreigners and Indians there. And there stood the vast sprawling temple structure in white marble, so clean and so serene and so pious.

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A trip to Mewar – Karni Mandir, Ekling Ji and Sukhadia circle

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It was about 3 p.m that we exited from ahar museum and decided to go to Ekling ji which is situated on Udaipur-Ajmer highway before the historical Nathdwara town. When I was on my way to Ekling Ji just after 7-8 kms it resembled as Iwas driving in some hilly state(hills on one side and deep gorges on other side was the scenic view. So it was now only 2nd and 3rd gear for me. Frankly I didn’t expect such a terrain in Rajasthan. We as a unit were awed by the beauty this stte was offering. When we reached EKLING JI, the temple was closed and it was full one hour foe the gates to open. We paid our obescience from outside only and vrooom back to Udaipur. I would like to mention here that the temle is under maharan mewar trust and security guards posted there also bore badges of mewar security. Historically it is said that Bappa Rawal, founder of Mewarkingdom got blessings at this place only from god Ekling Ji to esrtablish the mewar empire.

SUKHADIA CIRCLE
It was fourth day in Udaipur and now it looke like this was my own city. I  felt so attachment with this city.Clean roads, sensible traffic sense, good ambience and culturally strong, this city had just cast its spell on us. I don,t know which route I took but that route took us straight to Sukhadia circle which looked like a min picnic cum entertainment spot. More than me, Bhakti and Pavani were happy on reaching there. The spot which excited Bhakti and me was a large common place with about 30 shops under one roof filled with street food and fodies we are though I try to control this urge(plz insert 20). And the square (Sukhadia circle) was in form of a very small lake (gol-gol) with small boats in the shape of ducks in it(that excited little daughter, Pavani). I think the place got its name from Mohan Lal Sukhadia Ji, if I am right or someone kindly correct me.Agenda at Sukhadia circle:

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Come walk on me

Walking The Royal Mile

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Each floor had a different theme of illusions. I liked the floor with 3D illusions the best. There were a lot of interactive illusions as well. And the best part? They encouraged you to touch everything! The Mirror Maze was also fun. My mom kept walking into the mirrors, and I finally had to go in and help her get out.

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The Spell of Bundi, Rajasthan : Reaching Bundi

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Hence, our first stop was at at ‘Salim Paper’ at Sanganer. From what we had learnt, this would be a cottage industry like place where one could see paper making and block printing. So we reached after going circles in the village, and ultimately realising that the place was right at the beginning. If you tell them that you are from ‘Arya Niwas’, they take you through a guided tour of ‘Paper Making’. This was our first visit to a ‘Paper Making’ factory and it was an extremely educative experience. The place was large, expansive and had sections where different jobs took place. The lady took us through the entire process with a lot of patience. The first step is to make the pulp by mashing waste cloth-cuttings that they procure from all the factories around. So essentially the raw material was waste organics being recycled and that was heartening to know. The cloth is shredded to very tiny pieces that are kept submerged in water for a few days. After that the whole cloth-water solution is rolled over and over again to form a thick pulp. This pulp is then further rolled to form a smoother paste. Color and condiments like rose/marigold petals, leaves are added now. Then the paste is spread on metal sheets and left to dry in the sun. Each sheet individually! Hence the paper is born. The dried paper sheet is taken off the metal based and pressed through machines. And thereafter, different actions are taken to make use of this paper. So we saw techniques of cutting, printing, pasting and finishing.

To give the viewers an experience to take home, and of course as a model for this tour fee, they also have a small shop/display counter. The only way we could have reciprocated the gesture was to buy some stuff so we bought quite a lot. Most of that was exciting and relatable as we were purchasing exactly what we saw being made right then. All of it was for European and American markets and were indeed of supreme quality. So we made a good collection of fancy paper bags, craft kits, various kinds of papers etc. that my daughter is waiting to rob off her mother for her school projects.

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Konark – The Heritage of Mankind

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On the three sides of Temple three forms of Sun god idols are placed. The southern side GOD called “Mitra” described as the rising Sun. It is 8’3” in height. The western side GOD is called “PUNSAN” and described as mid day Sun, it is 9’6” in height. The northern side GOD is called “ Haritasva” described as setting sun, it 3.58 meters in height which is approximately above 10’.

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Roaming around in the Castle

Scotland – Touring Edinburgh Castle

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We were told that the Queen was coming to Edinburgh the next day, and the Palace was being spruced up. Since this was our last day in Edinburgh, we would be missing that (not that she was inviting us to tea or anything like that). We would, at best, have got to see her motorcade.

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Ride to Rajasthan (Pune to Mount Abu) – Udaipur Sightseeing and ride to Abu

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To our surprises, our machines would not reach even 80 kmph ….

The First Goof-up
We stopped on the highway, and all of us looked at each other with pale faces … “My bike is not reaching 80 at full throttle … said Ayush. I seconded him and said…I am also not able to go above 80 with full throttle … we turned to the pulsars and they had the same problem …. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!

We realized that the workshops we had visited have shown all their Engineering on our bikes and probably changed the tuning of the bikes.

Now what to do at 8:30 am on the highway !!! Our savior was Ayush … the man and the machine aka Sabu !!! we parked the bikes on the highway and took out the toolkits … and we started to check the idling and the tuning … for the people who understand the bike basics … the tuning which normally should be 3-4 rounds in Royal Enfield and 5-7 rounds in Pulsar was way off the mark … and the idling was also changed. That’s why the Petrol oil ratio going into the engine was not good and hence the bikes not picking speed and acceleration was very poor.

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Shimla – Kufri – Jakhu Temple and Back Journey

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Early morning at around 6 o’ clock, when rest of the family members were still asleep, I attended to daily routine and then decided (as usual) to wander and acquint myself a bit with the geography of Shimla. The first important thing I discovered was the fact that you didn’t need to go through the Victory tunnel to reach other side of the town. The tunnel is for automobiles only (but you won’t get fined if you do venture into it). Even if you walk towards the Bus Stand, you would find lanes at your left side with very stiff heights to scale, which promise to leave you at other side of the hill i.e. Mall Road side. However, without going to the Mall Road side, I walked roughly 1 km. in the opposite direction of the railway station and discovered that I had reached Bus Stand. Well, I was as happy at my discovery as Vasco-de-gama must have been after discovering Bharat Varsh aka India! Regarding it enough achievement for the time being, I made a U-turn and arrived at the hotel. Since I didn’t find any group of pahadi girls singing as I often see in Hindi movies, I had to hum a song myself and that too without any tabla or dholak (no it was not Abida Parveen this time but someone else which I don’t remember! ) First rays of the Sun peeped into the room and blessed us with very exhilerating and invigorating feeling. Technically, these were not first rays of the Sun because when the Sun ascended high enough in the sky to defeat the hills and throw its rays directly into our room, our watch was already showing 8 a.m.

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The Seige & Tragedy of Lucknow’s Residency – A History Lesson

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As you enter the main gate of Residency, the din of Lucknow city recedes until just the distant hum of traffic remains. It is a quite green oasis in the middle of cacophany that Lucknow is today. The pervading hush makes it hard to believe that this eerily quite place was witness to one of the bloodiest fights of Indian Mutiny of 1857. This is nature’s way of soothing the Residency with eternal balm and tranquility to anesthetize the tumultous past. The dewy green grass absorbs the shock of looking at the cannon scarred red brick walls. Most of the buildings are heavily damaged with few having roofs.

Barring the green grass, it seems that the siege ended just yesterday. The shattered walls carry the echoes of tragedy, doom, valour, disease and gore. Walk the grounds and you are immediately transported to those turbulent days. Residency is a sprawling compound with neat manicured gardens. Signs indicate the names of various buildings. During the rains, the green moss covering the red brick broken walls lends an exquisite charm to the place. Spend some time in the museum. The church’s cemetry has the graves of about 2000 people including Lawrence. Visit Nawab Saadat Ali Khan’s Tomb. Stay back for the light and sound show in the evening.

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Puri – Lord Jagannath’s land

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In the evening we came out of the Hotel to explore Puri Market and Swargdwar. As regards to Puri Beach I have always seen in television that sand art is generally performed at Puri Beach so I was looking at the beach if I can found any sand art. Unfortunately we did not get to see any sand art on Puri beach. We were walking on the beach and there I saw a board “National Sand Art Festival”. We were so excited and quickly took tickets (Rs 20/- for each person and Rs 15/- for camera).We entered inside and got to see some beautiful art works.

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Nathdwara-Bagaur Haveli-Return from Udaipur

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उदयपुर अपनी जिन झीलों के कारण विश्व प्रसिद्ध है उनमें फतेह सागर झील भी एक है। अगर आप सोच रहे होंगे कि फतेह सागर झील का निर्माण महाराणा फतेह सिंह ने किया होगा तो आप सरासर गलत हैं। इस कृत्रिम झील का निर्माण 1678 में महाराणा जय सिंह ने किया था। पर बाद में महाराणा फतेह सिंह ने इसका विस्तार किया और यह झील उनके नाम को समर्पित हो गई। उदयपुर के उत्तर-पश्चिम में और पिछोला झील के उत्तर में स्थित यह झील जयसमंद झील के बाद दूसरी कृत्रिम झील है जिसका निर्माण निश्चय ही उदयपुर को रेगिस्तानों के लिये प्रसिद्ध राजस्थान को सूखे से बचाने के लिये किया गया होगा। ढाई किमी लंबी, डेढ़ किमी चौड़ी और साढ़े ग्यारह मीटर तक गहराई वाली इस झील के मध्य में स्थित तीन टापुओं में से सबसे बड़े टापू पर नेहरू पार्क है। इस पार्क में जाने के लिये नाव का सहारा लिया जाता है। इन झील को पानी तीन मार्गों से मिलता है और एक मार्ग का उपयोग मानसून के दिनों में पानी की अधिकता से निपटने के लिये किया जाता है ताकि झील में से फालतू पानी को निकाला जा सके।

दूसरे वाले टापू पर सुन्दर सुन्दर से पानी के फव्वारे लगाये गये हैं और तीसरे टापू पर नक्षत्रशाला (solar observatory) है। हम लोग सिर्फ नेहरू पार्क तक ही सीमित रहे जिसमें नाव की आकार का एक रेस्टोरेंट भी बनाया गया है। लोग बताते हैं कि वहां पर एक चिड़ियाघर भी है, जिसकी अब मुझे याद नहीं है। हो सकता है उस समय वह न रहा हो या उसमें जानवर न होकर सिर्फ चिड़िया ही हों !

नेहरू पार्क से आप चाहें तो बोटिंग के मजे ले सकते हैं। वहां पर बहुत तेज़ भागने वाले हॉण्डा वाटर स्कूटर भी थे जिस पर जाट देवता जैसे पराक्रमी घुमक्कड़ झील की परिक्रमा कर रहे थे। वैसे यदि आप उस स्कूटर की सवारी करना नहीं जानते तो भी कोई दिक्कत नहीं है। उनका आपरेटर आपको ड्राइविंग सीट पर बैठा कर खुद सारे कंट्रोल अपने हाथ में ले लेता है। आप यदि स्टीयरिंग भी ठीक से नहीं पकड़ सकते तो मेरी तरह से आप भी इन सब झंझटों से दूर ही रहें।

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The Devdar Prayers

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Down to earth from heaven, our vehicle proceeded through roads making inroads into sea of deodars. Crossing the valleys and forests our next stop was the famous Khajjiar. This is a relatively small Himalyan meadow and a shallow lake surrounded by mighty pines and devdars all around. One of the most favoured tourist stop was but a bit of disappointment. The meadow was dull and lake looked like a pit of stagnated water with lot of rubbish thrown around. And to add to it, there were stalls selling anything from popcorn to buddhee ke baal on the meadow itself. May be it would be more enchanting when it is monsoon green or winter white. Here again a temple awaited us namely KhajjiNag. A typical Himachali temple in wood and sloping roof has a black stone idol of the Nag devta. Nag worship is quite common in this part of Himalaya with Khajji nag, BhagsuNag and many more.
Again travelling down in setting sun and through darkening valleys we finally reached Chamba, located on the banks of river Ravi. Chamba is a part of settlement between 2 mighty Himalayan ranges Dhauladhar in the south and Pir Panjal in the North. Chamba got its name from Champavati, daughter of Shailavarma. The town was founded in 10’Th or 11’Th century. The name of the king is written differently in many places, Sahilvarma, Shalivahan and Shailverma. Chamba looked like a cheerful town with packed shops of fabric, chappals, mithais and chaat. Not to forget the roadside sellers with radishes and oranges and berries. This temple town is home to some of the exquisite stone architecture blended with intricate wood carvings.

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