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.

Road Journeys – Udaipur to Daman (UT)

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Locals suggested visiting the Jampore Beach in the morning for the oblivious tangible apprehensions of countering unreasonable clashes with drunken-brawls. Being sensible, when with your family is I feel is an intelligent act though, the macho mind always resists fearing such instances. I suppressed my macho-ness and preferred to visit the beaches next morning and utilized the evening in walking along the bustling market place counting the wine shops which were more than 39 within 2 km, later stopped doing it and entered into one of the eateries. Every small or big food joint is equipped with a bar too besides those shops I referred. A bottle of KF strong costs Rs. 60/- in shops and Rs. 100/- to 140/- in bars depending upon the size and shape of the furnishings inside. We were in one of the best hence had to pay the maximum. Every table had a countable number of bottles in different colors and shapes with families enjoying wining with dining in loud atmosphere. The liberal city has no age bar supposedly for serving alcohol because a group of very young stags sitting beside our table were so intoxicated that two of them fell down a couple of times while making way to the loo.

Jampore beach is a nice and cool place and worth visiting. A row of hutments on the shore blocking the sight of sea serves liquors, sizzlers and sea food mostly comprised of small sized prawns and pomfrets. You need to make way to the beach only through those shops which have small openings on their back, fronts are sea facing. Plastic chairs specially designed for a leisure seating, half immersed in the sand are arranged in sequence in front of the shops. Early morning, we found a number of tourists mostly with families enjoying their drinks leisurely on the beach side budget-resorts. Fresh catch of prawns lured us to give a try and we ordered a plate containing 8 pieces at Rs. 150/-. The prawns were definitely fresh but cooking in too much of spices spoiled its natural flavour. We therefore, again ordered a plate without spices and the later was better. The sea was calm with a far stretched beach along the timid water which was creeping gradually closer in natural course. On the way back we were amused to see a decorative piece in one the government office premise and couldn’t resist from putting the image here.

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Road journeys – Delhi to Udaipur-the Lake City

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Enjoying the splendid landscapes we reached Baewar by 1.30 pm on our first major stop for refreshment and lunch. I was so energetic till then that my wife didn’t ask me why we are heading towards Udaipur and not Chittorgarh for the break journey. Filled the tank of the car alongwith our tummy, we were again lost in the nostalgic picturesque landscape full of greenery, on an average speed of 100 kmph with ease due to good tar and less traffic. Our first visiting place was Rajsamand Lake which soon appeared with an awesome view of a natural wild lake on the left side of the road. Rajsamand Lake is an artificial lake created in the 17th century by Rana Raj Singh of Mewar. We stopped and hurriedly captured the view both in our eyes and in the camera. Surprisingly, none other was available to enjoy the serene virgin beauty of the so natural place in wilderness. A clear water in the lake, yet uninterrupted by artificiality, was a soothing sight. A rusted board mentioning victory of Maharana Pratap over Akbar’s huge army in 1582, fought there was boasting its historical importance. We stayed a few minutes clicking photographs and watching the silence in the tranquility, glooming hearted was back to our seats. It was sad to see that a place of so rich history, so beautiful is so unattended.

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आमेर दुर्ग : चल खुसरो घर आपने….

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राजस्थान पर्यटन विभाग की तरफ से यहाँ आपको सपेरे, शहनाई वादक और सारंगी वादक बजाने वाले, कई लोक कलाकार अपनी कला का प्रदर्शन करते भी मिल जायेंगे, हालांकि पहली नज़र में आपको ऐसा लग सकता है, कि यह सब पर्यटकों के मनोरंजन और उन्हें आकर्षित करने के लिये है, और इस से राजस्थान की संस्कृति झलकती है, लेकिन यदि आप जरा गौर से सोचें तो आपको इसके पीछे की सोच और मानसिकता पर हैरानी ही होगी | मेरी अपनी समझ से, इस सबका कुल मनोरथ यहाँ आने वाले उन यूरोपियन पर्यटकों के दिलों में बसी हिन्दुस्तान की उस छवि को पुख्ता भर करने से ज्यादा और कुछ नही है, जिसके वशीभूत वो आज भी हिन्दुस्तान को सपेरों, जादूगरों और मदारियों का देश ही समझते हैं, उनकी इन मान्यतायों और पूर्वाग्रहों को सच साबित करने के लिये ही, ऐसे कलाकार यहाँ बैठाये जाते हैं, जिनके साथ आप फोटो खिचँवा कर जब वापिस अपने देश पहुँचते हैं तो वहाँ के समाज को ऐसे चित्र दिखा कर साबित कर सकते हैं कि वास्तव में ही भारत आज भी उस दौर में ही है, जैसा कभी हमारे पूर्वज छोड़ कर आये थे ! इन सबके अलावा, इस दुर्ग में ही अलग-अलग दिशायों में खुलने वाले प्रवेश द्वारों में से त्रिपोलिया दरवाज़ा सबसे ज्यादा प्रसिद्ध है, क्यूंकि यहाँ से तीन जगहों के लिये रास्ता निकलता है, जिनमे से एक रास्ता आमेर शहर की तरफ भी है |

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अज़मेर : अकथ कहानी प्रेम की…

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ऐसे ही एक सूफी दरवेश हुए हज़रत मोईनुद्दीन चिश्ती, जिनका जन्म 12वीं सदी का माना जाता है. वो पूर्वी ईरान से अजमेर में आकर बसे | अज़मेर, जयपुर से करीब 135 किमी दूर, एक पुराने इतिहास का शहर… ऐसा माना जाता है कि राजा अजयमेरु ने 7वीं शताब्दी में इस शहर का निर्माण करवाया था, अरावली की पर्वत माला में स्थित ये शहर सदियों से अपनी संस्कृति के लिए जाना जाता रहा, और 12वीं शताब्दी तक आते-आते इसका नाम अजमेरू से होता हुया अजमेर हो गया |

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उदयपुर – झीलों तथा महलों का शहर……..

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इस श्रंखला की पिछली पोस्ट में मैने आपलोगों को नाथद्वारा स्थित भगवान श्रीनाथ जी की गौशाला, लाल बाग तथा एकलिंग जी के बारे में बताया था उम्मीद है पोस्ट आप सभी को पसंद आई होगी। एकलिंग स्वामी जी के दर्शन करने, मन्दिर में स्थित अन्य छोटे मंदिरों के दर्शन करने तथा कुछ समय मंदिर में बिताने के बाद हम लोग मंदिर के सामने रोड़ से ही एक जीप में सवार होकर उदयपुर की ओर चल पड़े।

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A trip to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

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The Keoladeo National Park or Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India is a famous avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the summer season. Over 230 species of birds are known to have made theNational Park their home. It is also a major tourist centre with scores ofornithologists arriving here in the hibernal season. It was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971. It is also a declared World Heritage Site.[2]

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Indolent weekend in the Charismatic Chokhi Dhani

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How can a Jaipur trip be concluded without some shopping? We grabbed a local cab (can be booked from the resort reception only) and requested him to get to a single good place where most of the things are available. Unlike many of the Indian tourist places, drivers and guides in Rajasthan are still unbiased and reliable. He took us to a factory outlet, where they produce staff at the two levels of basement and have three floors of retail and wholesale shop. Got a good bargain of various stuff there. Some of the materials are also available in the resort itself, but as you can imagine those are unreasonably costly and very small collections as compared to the outside outlets.

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चोखी-ढाणी, पुलिया और राम-राम सा का देस: जयपुर

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बात जब सड़क की हो रही है तो ट्रेफ्फिक और पुलिस की भी कर लें, यूँ लगता है जैसे जयपुर का सारा पुलिस अमला केवल परिवहन की व्यवस्था के लिए ही जिम्मेदार हो ! और ऐसे में यदि आपकी गाडी की नम्बर-प्लेट हरियाणा की है तो सावधान रहिये ! सीट-बेल्ट, मोबाइल पर बात करना, रेड लाइट पार कर जाना… भले ही आपके आस-पास से राजस्थान की अनेक गाड़ियाँ निकल जाएँ पर रोका केवल आपको ही जाएगा ! जयपुर में ऐसे बहुत से खट्टे-मीठे अनुभव हुए और कई बार तो ना चाहते हुए कुछ समझौते भी करने पड़े, एक तो पराया शहर, ऊपर से गाड़ी किसी और की… अपना शहर हो तो झेल भी लें पर यहाँ… समय की भी बंदिश है, परिवार भी साथ है, और इस कमज़ोर नस को हमारे भाई लोग भी बखूबी पहचानते हैं… एक बार तो थक हार कर एक हवलदार से तंज़ भी करना पड़ा, यूँ तो कहते हो ‘पधारो म्हारे देस’ और जब कोई सचमुच पधार ही जाये तो सारे मिलकर उसे लूटने में ही लग जाते हो…. बहरहाल ये बातें तो देश के हर हिस्से में हर किसी के साथ घटती ही रहती हैं, तो आइये अब आगे बढ़ते हैं…

चलिए ऐसा करते हैं, ज़रा शुरू से शुरुआत करते हैं, सोमेश एक छोटे भाई के अलावा एक बेहतरीन मेहमान नवाज़ भी निकला और साफ़ कह दिया कि बिना नाश्ते के नही जाना, दो-दो भाभियाँ हैं मिलकर बना लेंगी बाकी दिन भर आप जो मर्जी खाते रहना और फिर उसने हमे एक कागज़ पर घूमने की जगहों के अलावा उन सभी मशहूर जगहों और खान-पान के ठिकानों का पता भी दे दिया जो जयपुर में अपनी विशिष्टता रखते हैं ! इनमे से सबसे बेहतरीन था ‘स्टेचू सर्कल’ पर रात को क़ाफ़ी पीते हुये ‘हैंग आउट’ करना, जिसे आप जयपुर का मिनी इंडिया-गेट भी कह सकते हैं | सवाई जय सिंह का बुत लगा यह चौक स्थानीय तथा पर्यटकों के लिये एक प्रमुख आकर्षण का केंद्र है |

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भगवान एकलिंग जी दर्शन

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लालबाग, श्रीनाथ जी मंदिर ट्रस्ट के द्वारा बनवाया एक सुन्दर उद्यान है जहां कई तरह के फ़ुलों के पौधे, बच्चों के लिये झुले तथा मनोरंजन के अन्य साधन हैं, यानी सुकुन के कुछ पल बिताने के लिये इस उद्यान में सब कुछ है और छायाचित्रकारी के लिये तो यह उद्यान अति उत्तम है। जब हम यहां पहुंचे तो उस समय यहां हमारे अलावा और कोइ नहीं था, क्योंकि यह बाग दोपहर के बाद ही खुलता है। इस उद्यान में जी भर कर फोटोग्राफी करने के बाद हम अपने ऑटो में सवार होकर अपने अगले पड़ाव यानी गौशाला की ओर बढे।

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The Spell of Bundi – Exploring Heritage

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It has a big entrance and you land up into a courtyard flanked on all sides by large, tall halls with stairs going up to the next level. You catch a breath to take a good view of overall topology and head towards the stairs. The initial bat-poo-smell is familiar but gradually the stench begins to get the better of you. The palace has seen good times and that is apparent from those murals (and more when we would visit Chitrashala), persian glass-ware and all things which are signature of forts. The jharokhas (Bay windows?) give an impressive view of the town and the Baoli. In December, the haze was thic but I would guess that in a better weather the view would take you few ages behind. The old, stunted-appearing, town almost feels like a scene from the film ‘Rudaali’. We walked around, with the help of a local guide/care-taker who patiently opened the locked doors so that we could appreciate the once-royal palace. The overgrowing stench, bad upkeep was now winning so I got into a conversation with the caretaker. He told me that the place is undergoing a litigation. There is a very thin layer of support staff to take care of the place but all they try to do is to keep the hooligans off and wait for well-meaning travellers. I didn’t want to make it more difficult for the caretaker and wished him luck and we proceed to 2nd floor/3rd level. Large rooms, supported with crafted pillars and brackets. The usual Torans (welcoming motif at the entrance) with elephants proudly protruding their long trunks.

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