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.

A visit to Taragarh Fort, Ajmer

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Hakim requested me to park the car in his locality where a local lad would be taking care of the car. But, it was not easy to believe a total stranger and so I did not heed to his request and parked the car in the official parking lot which was very congested. It required great skill to park and more to retrieve the vehicle. Somehow I did it. After parking the car, we went to see the dargah along with Syed Abdul Hakim. He introduced us to the nearest structure as Karbala built in memory of the Mohammed Ali, who was the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed and who was martyred by the Khalifa. Every year they mourn his killing in the Karbala. It was a settlement of Shia Muslims. According to Hakim, the population of that place was about 5000 for which a separate polling booth is arranged during election time.

From Karbala, Hakim took us to his shop-cum-office, where his relatives were selling the Chadar (Shawl), Flowers and incense sticks etc. and persuaded me into purchasing the items from their family shop. Though his shop was not cheap by any means, we had no option but to purchase from there itself. So, we purchased the items from Hakim and his relatives carefully choosing the items that were being sold at the lowest rates and proceeded towards the dargah. My son, Ruchir looked good when he walked upto the Akbar gate carrying the chadar on his head. After entering the premises, we saw a massive silver sword at the top of a building. Hakim told us that it was Jafarani sword given to the Dargah by Mughal Emperor, Akbar.

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Wildlife Trails- A trip to the Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur

Wildlife Trails- A trip to the Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur

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The main attractions are the peacocks, deers and jackal sightings around the restaurant during night time together with the boisterous cacophony of the ecstatic birds through the day. Imagine how exciting could it be living that close to animals we only witness on wildlife channels and breathing the fresh intoxicating cool breeze in a moonlit night.

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Goaing – from Goa to Delhi

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After the mandatory getting-lost-and-going-round-in-circles-before-finding-the-destination that we seem to do in most new cities, we reach our destination after 2 solid hours of wandering the drowning streets of Ghatkopar in a downpour worthy of …. Mumbai! The thing to note is that more time was spent in negotiating the traffic (read: stuck in traffic) than driving!

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Jaisalmer – Top 10 things to see and do

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Located 18 km away from Jaisalmer, the way to desert Kuldhara village is known as the ghost village. Lying abandoned from the past few centuries, this village has no signs of human life and is also known as one of the haunted places in Rajasthan. A clan of eighty-five villages, Kuldhara was once inhabited by the Paliwal Brahmins, but due to some adverse happenings, the natives evacuated the village within a night. It is also said that while leaving the village, the villagers put a curse on it.

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पुष्कर की यात्रा : कबीरा मन निरमल भया….

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न्दिर से बाहर आ जायो तो ये शहर वही है, जिसका तिलिस्म आपको चुम्बक की तरह से अपनी और आकर्षित करता है | शहर की आबो-हवा मस्त, गलियाँ मस्त, जगह-जगह आवारा घूमती गायें मस्त और सबसे मस्त और फक्कड़ तबियत लिये हैं इस शहर के आम जन और साधू | हर मत, सम्प्रदाय के साधू आपको पुष्कर की गलियों में मिल जायेंगे, हाँ, ये बात अलग है कि असली कौन है और फर्जी कौन इसकी परख आसान नही | मोटे तौर पर सबकी निगाह फिरंगियों पर होती है और फिर फिरंगी भी बड़े मस्त भाव से महीनो इनके साथ ही घूमते रहते हैं, पता नही भारतीय दर्शन के बारे में कितना वो जान पाते होंगे या कितना ये बाबा लोग उन्हें समझा पाते होंगे पर इन्हें देखकर तो पहली नज़र में कुछ यूँ लगता है जैसे गुरु और भक्त दोनों ही भक्ति के किसी ऐसे रस में लींन हैं जिसकी थाह पाना आसान नही, जी हाँ पुष्कर इस के लिए भी जाना जाता है | वैसे, ये बाबा लोग अपने इन फिरंगी भक्तों पर अपना पूरा अधिकार रखते हैं और आपको इन से घुलने-मिलने नही देते |

इस शहर की धार्मिकता, और आध्यात्मिकता के इस बेझोड़ और आलौकिक रस में डूबे-डूबे से आप आगे बढ़तें हैं तो घाट के दूसरी तरफ ही गुरु नानक और गुरु गोबिंद सिंह जी की पुष्कर यात्रा की याद में बना ये शानदार गुरुद्वारा है, पुष्कर में आकर इस गुरूद्वारे के भी दर्शन ! और ऊपर से लंगर का समय ! लगता है ऊपर जरुर कोई मुस्करा कर अपना आशीर्वाद हम पर बरसा रहा है…ज़हे नसीब !!!

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मेरी जैसलमेर यात्रा , यूथ हॉस्टल एसोसिएशन फॅमिली कैम्पिंग

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तनोट से 52 किमी दूर लोंगेवाला जाने का सौभाग्य मिला जिसका सर्वश्रेष्ठ फिल्मांकन “बॉर्डर” सिनेमा में देखा था
ये वही जगह है जहा मात्र 120 सैनिको के पाकिस्तान के 2000 की फ़ौज और 100 से अधिक टैंक को सारी रात रोका और फ़ौज को जैसलमेर तक पहुचने से रोका था,यहाँ उन वीरो का स्मारक भी बना है और जब्त किये पाक टैंक भी…देशभक्ति से दिल भर गया यहाँ आकर…उन वीरो को श्रद्धांजलि अर्पित कर वही साथ मिले लंच पैकेट से लंच कर हम लोग वापस कैंप में लौट आये.

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Road Travel Reminiscences – Delhi to Ajmer via Jaipur

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So, we moved ahead and found the third jewel of this marvelous city, i.e., Hawa Mahal. Standing tall and illuminated, this Mahal had seen off the day of crowded markets and polluted vehicles. The Hawa Mahal told me… “O Traveller! I was built for providing cool air and shelter. My structure was befitting the queens. Pollution is that I am smoking everyday and night, days after days, years after years and generations after generations.” I consoled him in my mind and said “O worthy Palace! Soils made you and soils you would become….The respect you get is the respect you deserve. Stand tall till your strength permits”.

After meeting with the three jewels of this great city, we drove ahead towards the new township. The Janpath of Jaipur leads to the mighty building of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, the seat of power in democracy. It was almost 11 pm and we had to take rest for the journey next day. Still, I stopped in the middle of the Janpath. The building was trying to say something. It told me… “O Travellor! I am the power today. Don’t you agree? Or, dare not disagree.” I smiled in my mind and replied “O worthy building! Come to me after 150 years. I will see you with pride and anoint you with my tears, if your power still remained intact”.

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Chand Baori Abhaneri

Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 2

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This part of the city is flourishing (economically) because most travelers here are from Europe, I mean I met with more euro backpackers rather than travelers from India. So locals have turned their homes as B&B, guest house and those who have big mansions, they have turned them into haveli’s. After realizing this, I must say that I made a big mistake by booking hotel in Kota, rather than staying in a heritage Haveli’s in this part of Bundi.

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Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 1

Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 1

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But leaving the roads apart, when I entered Chand Baori, a WOW just came out from my mouth. I mean Neemrana Stepwell was massive, but this one is like some aliens came to build it. This stepwell is enormous and mind-blowing & now I understand that why a scene of Batman 2008 was filmed here. There is no parallel of such structure in India.

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Golden Triangle – Bharatpur, Jaipur

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Once it came, there was lot of confusion about the number of buses, seats etc. and it ate away lot of precious time. We eventually got seats in the front of the bus. The bus then went around picking up people from RTDC hotels. Anyways, once everyone settled we began the tour. Our guide was an interesting character to be seen apart from the attractions. He wore a listening device in ear, kohl in eyes, safari suit with a hat and broken english. We visited Hawa Mahal but did not stop, then Jantar Mantar, City Palace and then a handicraft store.

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Jovial Jaipur…

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As we came out of the hotel, It started raining but we were prepared for this. We took out our Rain-coats and started our exploration. In the market we bargained with an Auto wala and for Rs 600 he agreed to took us to various places including Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Amer Fort and Chokhi Dhani. First of all we went to check out the famous Hawa Mahal of Jaipur. Hawa Mahal is a palace built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, so named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside.

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