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.

The Magnificent Deeg Fort & Palace

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Deeg is a small town as close as 30 km from Bharatpur however, with good connectivity with Delhi & Agra. Its pre-historic presence is inscribed in the Skanda Purana as Dirghapura. Also important because of it lies within the range of 32 km Parikrama path starting from Goverdhan in Mathura.

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Udaipur – Single Day tour of close-by attractions

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Eklingji Temple: After visiting the Srinathji Temple, last on the bus itinerary schedule was Eklingji Temple (Lord Shiva). The Eklingji temple is situated on the way to Udaipur from Nathdwara and just 20 km away from Udaipur. Temple is surrounded by high walls. At the entrance of the main temple there is a beautifully sculpted huge Nandi. The temple complex has 108 temples built with sandstone and marble.

Inside the main temple bhajans were sung by devotees. It makes the devotional environment. The temple is well maintained and very few tourists are there. The main thing about this temple is the absence of priests. Devotees have to perform Puja themselves and offer flowers to Eklingji (beautiful lotus and rose flowers available at the entrance gate). Many guards are standing in the temple complex. They are appointed by the temple management to protect the idols and guide the visitors. Not all the temples are opened for visitors. (Photography inside the temple is strictly prohibited by Temple Management). Please check the images on Google.

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Road Journeys – Mount Abu to Chittorgarh “The Biggest Fort”

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Abu Road to Chottorgarh is 260 km on excellent tar and may take almost 4 to 5 hours in no haste & less traffic. At or around 12 noon we entered the town by rolling further 2-3 km on a link road connecting the city with the bye-pass. We decided to take a guide so that we may not waste time in road enquiries and also venture the fort area with ease. Soon we found one reasonably at Rs. 250/- and entered the Fort through one of the seven legendary POL (gates) Each gate has a distinct name and relevance, just to quote the names without digging into history, they are the Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Jorla Pol, Ganesh Pol, Laxman Pol and Ram Pol. If I remember, we entered through the Ganesh Pol as there was an Idol of Ganesha at the entry.

Soon after, we discovered that the fort is much larger and magnificent than it actually appears from distant. Situated at a high hillock fortifying the entire hill with high solid rock boundary, it is spread covering close to 3 km2. The Fort was constructed by the Mauryans in the 7th century AD however, mythological beliefs claim, it was constructed by Bhima of Mahabharata. The fort boasts to be the palatial abode of many famous warriors such as Gora, Badal, Rana Kumbha, Maharana Pratap, Jaimal, Patta, etc. for many years before it was captured by the Mughals.

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My Udaipur Diary – 8 must visit local places

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City Palace has several gates (in local language known as “Pols”). The entry to the Palace is from the Hati Pol (Elephant gate). The Bari Pol brings you to the Tripolia gate. Main ticket office is near to it. You can also hire a guide or take the audio tour for getting familiar with the events and historic happenings of this beautiful monument.

The main part of the City Palace is now preserved as a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artifacts. After entering the Pol the armory museum is situated there, exhibits a huge collection of old war weapons. The rooms and the halls of the palace are decorated with mirrors, tiles and paintings. The Palace has large collection of royal paintings, jewelry, crockery, photographs and beautiful silver “Shadi ka Mandap” covered with glass wall. The palace has an old history which has many kings and rulers and there details, photographs and belongings can be seen in the different areas and rooms of the palace. The new small museums of silver, sculptures and music instrument were great.

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Road Journeys – Mount Abu: “An oasis in the Desert”

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Evening is extremely lively in Mt. Abu, unlike other hills, the Mall road here remains crowded till late in the evening, say upto 10 – 11 pm at least. One of the safest hill station, less colder due to lower altitude and superb law and order, I was always pleased to see the care free atmosphere there. Diwali being just passed, the decorative lightings of the shops and hotels were still shimmering, adding extra charm to the already charming place. The vibrant stalls, mostly laden with Gujrati & Rajasthani stuffs are bound to lure your better half. Rows of ice-cream shops, pastries, cookies and crushed ice-balls (Golas) in different flavor are the trade mark of Mt. Abu.

Activities around Nakki Lake are however, stalled at 8 pm for security reasons. The surrounding is expanding with growing popularity and increasing inflow since I have last visited the place in 1998 and again in 2008.

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Road trip to Rajasthan: Chittorgarh-Mount Abu-Haldighati-Udaipur (Part 2)

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Guru Shikhar is the highest point in Mount Abu and Rajasthan and is about 18 km from Mount Abu town. Mount Abu is on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat and from Guru Shikhar one can view both Rajasthan and Gujarat. After the 18 km drive, there are steps to the top (something like Vaishno Devi) with shops on both the sides. There was a 360 degree view from the top and a small temple.

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Road trip to Rajasthan: Delhi – Chittorgarh (Part 1)

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Somewhere around Ajmer our GPS asked us to take a left turn on an elevated road and we dismissed it to continue ahead. We stopped about 25 km ahead from that point for petrol and enquired about directions to Chittorgarh. To our dismay, we had missed the turn and this mistake could cost us over an hour.

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Getting lost in Sambhar Lake

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On the way back, we drove the entire distance over lake only. Trying to absorb more of that dry-dusty frame. We also learned that ‘Jodha Akbar’ was shot here and apparently they created the entire war set here. Another movie, this time of junior Bacchan was shot in the main town. We dropped the Sambhar Salts gentleman back after thanking him for all his help and started back.

As we were driving back, I was thinking that how long the lake would remain like that. Probably 50 years down the line, this story would look like a legend. May be the area would get habituated, the land would be reclaimed to build SEZs and factories or may be the new Jaipur Airport. Who can imagine a 230 sq KM dry lake which is open for driving. You tell that to your grandkid and he would laugh it off. Go and look at it before it vanishes.

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One Day Adventure Trip Around Delhi: Zipping at Neemrana

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We had Ankit, Avinash and Sumaila joining us from Munerka. So at around 7 we had crossed the Gurgaon toll and were on our way to Neemrana. We halted at Haldiram’s which is around 60 km from the Gurgaon toll bridge but that 60 km had taken a lot out of us as the highway really sucked. There are lot of flyovers under construction, a huge truck line follows you everywhere and the dust and heat will always be there to do a creamy facial. By the time we reached Haldiram’s my grey shirt’s collar had turned black. In that sweaty mood and dirty face we were just looking for some good food but Haldiram’s had more to offer. The moment we entered the door we saw girls from the fairy tales walking around carrying chole bhature in their hands, smiling, chatting, luring us more and more towards them. We controlled our emotions and started looking for a nice seat, preferably closer to, you know what, but the whole ground floor was full and we had to occupy the first floor, yes and then we enjoyed the TOP VIEW. We had our stomachs overflowing when we came out of the door but a lot of them had left their hearts inside, even I had fallen in love with 6-7 girls in that very hour. Rest of the journey was no different, the same dust, the same trucks as if they also had breakfast with us. We were able to reach Neemrana by 10 and the fort by 10 30. As soon as you enter the Neemrana, just opposite to the Japanese colony is an underpass below the flyover from which you have to take a right turn. Any local guy can help you out with the way and also there are sign boards available. Parking is free at the hotel and a vintage Rolls Royce Phantom is always parked caged inside a glass chamber. By this time my top half of the grey t-shirt had turned black, our faces almost unrecognisable and our our eyes amused at each other.

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