Rajasthan

The state of Rajasthan is a blend of the traditional and the modern, with somewhere a medieval ambience still lingering on. The heritage monuments and traditional costumes rub shoulders with modern infrastructure and luxuries. Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is known as The Pink City and is a treasure house of palaces, fortresses, monuments, museums, temples and gardens. The lakeside city, Udaipur, set in a valley surrounded by lush hills, is famous as The Venice of the East. Jaisalmer situated in the heart of the Thar Desert, has a massive fort in yellow sandstone while Jodhpur lies at the foot of the soaring Mehrangarh fort. Jodhpur, Chittaurgarh, Bundi, Bikaner and Bharatpur all have a long and colourful history resounding with sagas of valour and heroism.
The Dargah of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, at Ajmer, Brahma Temple at Pushkar and the stunning Jain temples at Ranakpur and Mt. Abu are holy places in Rajasthan.
Rajasthans nature reserves cover a broad spectrum with habitats ranging from the verdant and hilly Mt. Abu to the arid desert wastes of Thar. Some of them are Sariska Tiger Reserve, Desert National Sanctuary, Sambhar Salt Lake, Ranthambhore National Park and Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Rajasthan is well connected on the vast network of Indian railways and connected by well-maintained National Highways to its neighbouring states. The cities of a Jodhpur, Jaipur and Udaipur have airports. The best time to visit Rajasthan is during the winter months from October to March.

Wildlife encounters- Visit to the Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan

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The roads are quite narrow and at some stretches only one vehicle can pass thus it is advisable to be quite vigilant and drive safely. The villagers alongside are quite eager to help all through. Just at the end of one of the forks one can see a narrow road leading to Bhim ki dungari and the other towards Jain nashea. taking the left road ends on the red sandstone gate leading to the majestic Jain temple. The view of the main temple is quite soothing standing tall against the backdrop of the setting sun straining through the dark clouds. Just to the left of the road leading to the Jain temple is the Mughal era structure which is believed to be emperor Akhbar’s place of rest during his long hunting expeditions

Coming back towards the fork leads one to Bhim ki dungari. The story dates back to Mahabharat times when the Pandavas were sent to exile and had to live with hidden identities or “agyaatvaas”. The caves were abodes of the Pandavas then. It is believed Bhim stamped his foot on the ground to bring forth a stream of water to quench the thirst of his brothers and wife.

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A trip to Mewar, Raj – Jaipur Once again

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painting section: Second floor of this magnificent museum consisted of some rare books on display and a series of Raagmala paintings on display.These paintings are based upon different Ragas and Raginis of Indian classical music system. Different types of Raagmala series have been painted in different parts. Pahari style, Deccan style, Rajputana style. Each Raga is personified by a specific color, mood , time of its singing is mentioned on the painting and a story is told about a Nayak and a Nayika. I had read about tese paintings but was seeing these for the first time. I also had the privilege to see the paintings based upon stories from Hitopdesha and Panchtantra.  Just beautiful. Another surprise for me was the the presence of classic book JANGNAMA by Shah Muhammad(original).

Overall we spent about 2 hours in the museum and were tired. The big walls of this museum are adorned by the life like portraits of erstwhile kings of Jaipur state. Now was the time to have some snacks for the evening and visit the famous zoo of Jaipur, if not so big then not too small also. Dear Pavani’s desire was to have a look at the lion and the tiger which was duly fulfilled here.

THE ZOO: The desire was of Pavani was duly fulfilled as the first cage in the zoo was that of Leopard and next to it lay the cage of Tiger (wish double fulfilled).

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Getting the most out of your camera

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इससे पहले कि मैं किस्सा-ए-फोटोग्राफी शुरु करूं, अगर अनुमति-ए-आपकी हो तो पहले एक किस्सा सुनाना चाहूंगा। सुना है कि एक छात्र फोटोग्राफी सीखने के लिये मुंबई के एक प्रख्यात फोटोग्राफर के पास पहुंचा। पांच दिन तक कैमरे के सभी अंग-प्रत्यंगों का परिचय देने के बाद, गुरु ने अपने शिष्य से कहा कि अपने कैमरे में एक फिल्म डालो और निकल पड़ो मुंबई की फोटोग्राफी के लिये ! जो कुछ भी अच्छा लगे, उसकी फोटो खींच लाओ ! रात को थका-हारा शिष्य वापिस आया! फिल्म धुलवाई गई और प्रिंट बनवा कर मेज पर फैला दिये गये। गुरुजी ने शिष्य से पूछा, “बताओ, किस स्थान की फोटो सबसे अच्छी लगीं?” शिष्य ने जवाब दिया, मुझे तो गेट वे ऑफ इंडिया की फोटो सबसे अच्छी लग रही है। गुरुजी ने अगले दिन उस शिष्य को सारी की सारी फोटो गेटवे ऑफ इंडिया की खींचने का आदेश दे दिया। शिष्य ने विभिन्न कोणों से सारे के सारे चित्र गेटवे ऑफ ईंडिया के ही खींच डाले। शाम को फिल्म धुली, प्रिंट बने और फिर गुरुजी ने पूछा, “कौन का फोटो सबसे अच्छा लगा?” तो शिष्य ने बता दिया । गुरुजी ने पुनः एक फिल्म लोड कराई और कहा कि कल जाकर गेटवे ऑफ इंडिया के सारे के सारे फोटो इसी एंगिल के खींच कर लाओ! बेचारा शिष्य पुनः गया और सुबह से शाम तक उसी एंगिल से भिन्न-भिन्न प्रकाश में फोटो खींचता रहा। शाम को पुनः प्रिंट फैलाये गये और गुरुजी ने जब शिष्य से पूछा, “कौन सा फोटो पसन्द आया है?” तो शिष्य ने बता दिया कि मुझे तो सूर्यास्त के समय का यह चित्र सबसे अधिक भा रहा है! गुरुजी ने उसे कहा, “जाओ, तुम्हारी शिक्षा पूर्ण हुई!” तुम्हें photographic subject, various angles और various types of lighting का ज्ञान हो गया है। फोटोग्राफी यहीं से शुरु होती है, अब जीवन भर फोटोग्राफी करते रहो और सीखते रहो!

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Sariska Tiger Reserve and Siliserh Lake in Rajasthan

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So it was decided to do the journey by car as there were lot of things to be done in next 2 days. We all pooled in Rs 2500 / head which is supposed to cover everything. Alto full tank in approx 2200 Rs. Sariska is approx240 kms from Delhi. Packed our woolen clothes and other accessories we started our journey at 6 am on 10th of December 2011. As soon as reached NH8 , we have to face huge traffic of trucks. Now cruising at a speed of 70-80 kms on NH8 we reached Dharuhera, took left from there for state highway of Bhiwadi to Alwar. This SH was great to drive, good smooth road with very less traffic and great views of aravlis.

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A trip to Mewar, Raj – Pushkar and Jaipur

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A small and picterusque town famous for one and onky temple of Brahma Ji, the town is also famous for the foreigners coming to the time to learn Yoga and instrumental music in the streets of Pushkar and numerous cafes adorning the streets. I can vouch for only temple perhaps my main motive was that only so I did,nt bother to look out for the guests from abroad or cafes. After inquiring my way to the temple of Brahma Ji, I straight away drove in that direction until I reached the place where Ghats were located. I thought may be temple is located in the centre of the sarovar there. So we all went towards the Ghat area and the thing that I  wanted to avoid at all costs followed us , hounding by various priests(pandas to have one or other form of puja for salvation of soul. As a person I m dead against these things as it seems to me more as an economic activity of these priests, nothing more(my personal opinion). Many persons were involved there in one or other ceremonies per their beliefs. But I did,nt want to listen to these priests about all this. One priest said “Unless you take bath in these Ghats and perform a puja your visit to Brahma temple would be incomplete” Why so? I just asked myself. After enquiring again about the temple from a family , we came to know that it was just on the next end of the street. I just pulled my family members from there hearing this. While walking towards the temple, in one corner , there was a small shop(PANDIT JI KI LASSI). Iski story baad mein bataoonga.

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A trip to Mewar, Rajasthan – Ajmer Sharif

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The hotel owner had warned me beforehand that Ajmer was a congested place and rightly so I also observed that. As usual we had no bookings and were in search of a decent budget hotel with parking facility. Mistakenly I asked a man about the way to Railwat Station as our experience has told us that such places could be found near Railway stations and Bus Stands. This time I was wrong and what I encountered was a very congested area full of crowd near Railway Station. My car was in chaos now with cycles and rickshaws all over it. It seemed to me very difficult to me to come out of it but anyhow came out of it nd just drove to a wide road about 1 km before the Railway Station. HOTEL NAGPAL was the sign board that attracted me. I  just parked my car and asked for the 3-bed room and parking facility. The hotel had both the facilities and I checked in. Tariff at that moment was Rs. 800/. Time was about 8.15 P.M and we were very confused whether to go for Dargah Ziyarat at that time or early morning. My wife suggested to go for  walk up to the Dargah of Khwaza Moinuddin Chishti  and try our luck at that time only.

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A trip to Mewar – Chittorgarh

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Though I had visited the city a long time ago, I had only fade memories of the massive fort considered once upon a  time to be impregnable.Chittor seemed to me as not so clean town and unplanned in a haphazard way, quite contrast to Udaipur. After entering the town I had to ask the way to the fort from passerbys quite a few time. At last we reached the fort , entered the complex and stopped my car at ticket counter. My first enquiry was whether we can roam about in the fort in car or we had to go on foot. The answer relieved me Yeah it was in car.hahahaha……First monument that we came face to face inside the complex was that of Kumbha’s palace.

This was the place of erstwhile Maharanas of Mewar before Udaipur was founded due to paucity of water in this area, it is said. The palace consisted of underground cellars where Rani Padmini is said to have performed Jauhar Pratha. Roaming in this massive monument gave me a nostalgic feel and I  also thought about the flimsiness of life

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A trip to Mewar – Nathdwara and Ekling Ji

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But I could not take this decision till we reached the main entrance point of the temple. There was no queue at all. Worst fear of temple being closed down for that day was coming true and  I  just told that boy to take the money and arrange for the Darshan. His answer was money afterwards , firstly Darshan of the Lord . He ordered us( yeah, order) to deposit our camera and mobiles at the counter  quickly. I deposited the belongings quickly and he just took us along with him  to a sideways entrance leading to the Garbha Griha( exact location of installation of beautiful statue of Lord Shrinath Ji. Oh God, now we were in front of the Lord and just as we paid our respect, purohit of that place put down the curtains and closed that door also. What shall you say now? sheer luck, convincing power of the boy or my gut feeling. Can,t say? But overall feeling as that we were extremely lucky as we had planned to go to Udaipur and not stay there overnight. The boy asked then the amount for parshad. I thought and said O.K bring the parshad for Rs. 21. His answer surprised me that the minimum amount to be spent on parshad was Rs. 101 . Well fine , the option before us was to have the big famous Ladoo for parshad or big Rotis. We wanted him to bring Ladoo finally.It was single Ladoo and prepared from different raw material than normal Ladoos are prepared.

Now we were in the Bazaar bustling with activity. Another feature that we noted was the selling of Bhog laga hua parshad in form of fruit pieces for Rs. 10/ paper plate. We took that also and

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A trip to Mewar – Haldighati

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How one could forget  the deep loyalty of Chetak towards its master when in todays time loyalty is missing amongst the human beings. We were also thrilled to find so many peacocks in that area. It was just beautiful. I had never dreamt of visiting the famous Haldi Ghati battlefield site that also along with my closest kith and kin and that also driving my own car. After a few minutes we were on highway and from there Nathdwara town was about 4 km towards left. The beautiful evening was soon on the verge of merging with the queen of night as it was winters though the time was just about 5.20 p.m. Mausam khushgawar tha,door ghar baar tha , main apni car mein sawar tha aur kuchh hi doori par Srinath ji ka dwar tha. And the song playing in my mind at that time was yaara sili sili birha ki raat ka jalna from the movie Lekin. Lekin kyu….. pata nahin.

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Ride to Rajasthan (Pune to Mt Abu) – Abu to Vadodra (almost) return

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Sharath was riding at around 100 kmph and hit this Donkey head on …!!!!

We were wondering and thanking God that he didn’t fall off his bike and control it to stop it. It would have been a terrible accident, but in this he completely damaged the Fender of the bike. For non Bikers, Fender is the front portion you see in some bikes, pictorial representation will help !!! ☺

The fender was completely damaged and it was not possible to ride the bike with the damaged fender, it needs to be replaced or broken completely otherwise it was restricting the handle movement.
We were happy that Sharath got saved, and the donkey was alive ☺, but now we have a bigger problem in hand. We are in the middle of no-where with 1 man not feeling well, and 1 bike damaged.

While we were trying to break off the damaged fender so that that bike may be taken to the nearest mechanic, Ayush was getting bad to worse … he was completely dehydrated and fell flat on the Highway … 12:00 noon … around 38-40 degrees … no-one around and Ayush Lying on the road … the others breaking the fender so that the bike can to taken to the nearest mechanic … !!!

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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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