Dancing Peacock at Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

What was the deal with Rajasthan Kings’ fixation of enjoying balcony view? In Rajasthan, every hill has a fort sitting on it. Just like in Mandu, MP where there was a competition of erecting forts and palaces on this limited real estate of a plateau; in Rajasthan there probably was a wild scramble to grab hill points to build forts from where the kings could enjoy unhindered view of the plains below. Or maybe the Forest Ministry auctioned off the hill tops and unsurprisingly the kings outbid everyone else. The lesser mortals were left to fend themselves against the wrath of marauding armies in the plains below while the kings above took their time shutting off their palace gates.

And if it was not a hilltop, then it was sitting on the top balconies of Hawa Mahal shooting breeze and looking down at the street action below. But the seat had to be on the top!

Take a Walk along the Wall Walkways


Nahargarh Fort is perched on a hill overlooking the city of Jaipur. Best time to go there is early in the morning. It is a pleasant half hour drive from downtown city. There is a lush forest on both sides of the winding road. Drive slow to take in the greenery and sounds of the forest. People can be seen jogging and cycling. Birds chirp and peacocks give out their shrill cries when they see you approaching.

The Rang De Basanti Baoli

Before hitting the actual fort make a left, park your vehicle and walk to the baoli area. The area gained popularity when Rang De Basanti was shot here. In the movie, the actors stood backwards on the edge of the baoli, downing beers and trying not to fall back into the water thirty feet below. As a tribute to the beer downing protagonists of the movie, people come here for beer sessions. Broken bottle shards and other general trash are a rich testimony to Indian tradition of taking good care of our past. I have seen this story repeated everywhere – Daulatabad Fort, Jhansi Fort or Mandu. Just like the animals in the wild, we also mark our territories by urinating and scratching names on walls and as a bonus we also leave behind every conceivable type of debris. Don’t try what Aamir Khan did in the movie. The film unit probably filled the baoli with fresh water. The water is putrid and filled with tossed bottles.

The Sprawling Jaipur City from the Fort Ramparts

The rampart walls just beyond the baoli are in good shape but wonderfully defaced. There is a walkway along the walls. And just beyond the parapet is the balcony like view. The entire city of Jaipur lies sprawled on your feet. Just sit on the walls, gaze at the city below, take in the fresh monsoon air and not think about the impending office trip.

The Freshly Whitewashed Fort Quarters

Now, you can drive to the Fort gate. The Fort is surprisingly well maintained. The walls have been freshly whitewashed in yellow. There was gully cricket match going on in the courtyard. We were early for the terrace top cafeteria to be opened. I am sure an evening sitting on the terrace enjoying the shimmering city lights below would be as incredible.

The Wonderfully Defaced Fort Walls

Gully Cricket in Fort Courtyard

Coming to the peacock connection, something equally incredible happened on the way down. I wanted to catch a peacock dancing in the wild with its plume unfurled in all its regal glory on a perfect monsoon morning. So far, I found the peacocks quite shy. Initially I was just trying to shoot a peacock with feathers. The moment they saw me, they would scamper away. I gave up after chasing them several times and getting scratched by the thorny desert bushes. And this is when we were driving back that we sighted this peacock strut its stuff. This time I was literally in a ditch hoping the peacock would not see me. It was truly spectacular. I think a dancing peacock is one of the most beautiful sights. When nature provides you with such a moment it is difficult to decide whether you just want to watch spellbound or catch the spectacle on the camera. I tried doing both.

Dance Baby Dance

The dance has a method to it. The steps are quite elaborate: the blue-green plumage is unfurled revealing the feathered eyes, the peacock circles the spot, a vibration goes up and down the feathers, the feathers catch the light to appear iridescent and shimmering, while the air fills up with this incredible vibrant show of energy, colours and sound.

Apparently, the dancing worked as a fawning peahen approached the peacock soon after, happy that it was courting so much attention. I have new respect for the wildlife photographers who sit in the bushes fighting mosquitoes and aching necks for that one perfect shot.

All in all, the visit was a great couple of hours before getting back to real life.

Getting There: Naharagarh Fort is about 10 kms from downtown city. Come for the morning fresh air or dinner on the terrace.

20 Comments

  • Beautiful pictures Nirdesh and small but sweet post . keep it up.

  • Praveen Wadhwa says:

    Nice and unique post. Yes indeed people are very keen to deface just anything in India.

    • Nirdesh says:

      Thanks Praveen,

      Yes it breaks my heart everytime I see litter, walls defaced, walls crumbling.

      I dont know how many sites, gateways, walls we have lost in these last few years.

      Nirdesh

  • Hi Nirdesh …. .must say you have very original and refreshing style… very good post…about the forts… and a beautiful picture of our national bird…
    the defaced wall is a good capture, pray we will stop doing the same…
    thanks

    • Nirdesh says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for the appreciation. Yes the peacock was acting pricey!

      Littering and defacing our monuments is very Indian trait. I dont think we will give that up that easy!

      Regards,

      Nirdesh

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Well narrated and the dancing peacock in semi-wild was a great catch. Peacocks are in general not a human-shy animal. I have seen them in their full glory amid habitats as varies as “STP-Okhla” to GNoida Expressway.

    You are a fort man. You must also explore Maharashtra, I read in their sarkaari MTDC magazine that Maharashtra has most number of forts and I guess unlike Royal Rajasthan where a good number of them have been converted into posh hotels, Maharashtra may be lagging behind which is good for us Ghumakkars.

    • Nirdesh says:

      Hi Nandan,

      Thanks!

      In my experience, peacocks just run away seeing me!

      Yes, I have been visiting forts in Maharashtra. Of all the places, forts here are in pathetic condition – Sinhagad Fort in Pune, Daulatabad Fort, Ahmednagar Fort. They are likely to disappear in few years. I have no idea what the local ASI cirlce is doing?

      Nirdesh

  • Gita says:

    Nirdesh,
    Very nice with lovely pics.
    Pity that the Bewda Gang has made its omnipresence felt here too!

    • Nirdesh says:

      Thanks, Gita!

      But I was awestruck by your photos in your Bangalore post.

      Dont matter whether you are bewda or sober, we love to litter!

      Nirdesh

  • Virag Sharma says:

    Nice Post …. this is my fav. New Year Destination with friends :)

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    very well narrated !

    Have been to Amer & Jaigarh fort but near visited Nahargarh . May be next time.

  • Dear Nirdesh,

    First of all, I like your name. Any story behind this rather unusual name? (Unusual in the sense that we don’t come across this name easily! ).

    Secondly, I kept staring at the baoli picture. Who were the people in those days who constructed such elaborate and huge structures? We don’t have any ponds, baoli these days. Even those which were inherited by our generation are being levelled with the ground and colonisors are selling these ‘plots of land’ !!! On one hand, we talk of rain water harvesting and on the other, we want all ponds, lakes to go so that we may sell more and more land to people! What a cynical generation we are !

    I keep guessing the reasons why we don’t have civic sense. Didn’t our parents educate us well? Or, didn’t we learn such things in our schools? Is it because we neither have proper education nor we ever hear of exemplary punishment to those who litter here and there? I think the blame should go to all the three sectors ! If one person is caring while other is not, it must be because of the difference in our upbringing / formal and informal education which we received.

    Whatever, thank you very much for sharing this post.

    Sushant Singhal

    • Nirdesh says:

      Dear Sushant,

      Thanks for reading and appreciating the post.

      My father, who is no more, gave me this name. Yes, it is an uncommon name. But if you watch Doordarshan news, you will hear my name in almost every sentence! Seems like politicians love giving Nirdesh (directions, instructions). Whether they follow them up into real action is all too well known to us!

      I feel the same about the drying up of all water bodies. There are no regulations that make it compulsory for all new societies/buildings/towers to rain harvest water as much as they withdraw from illegal borings. Nobody cares about the environment. They want to just make money today. There are various govt departments responsible for ground water. I have no idea what they do.

      We should learn from our monument architects for making such elaborate water harvesting systems. Of course, like you said, most of them are covered with dirt or levelled up. The water retention techniques at Chitradurga Fort are to be seen to be believed. In Aurangabad, Maharashtra, today people get water in their taps once in four days. Shortage of water was the reason why Tughlaq shifted back his capital from Daulatabad to Delhi. It has been 800 years and people have still not learned anything.

      About littering and defacing our monuments, the lesser said the better. I dont think we will change education or no education, we are the most uncultured people across the globe. And then we pride ourselves on our culture and traditions.

      Thanks, again!

      Sorry for being a cynic in these matters.

      Regards,

      Nirdesh

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Hi Nirdesh,

    Thoroughly entertaining post written in your inimitable, sardonic style. The reason why royals choose to live at the top is that they like to have a bird’s eye view of their domain (it is great for the ego to feel like the lord of all that the eye can see). However, the primary reason is more pragmatic; it is militarily preferable to occupy vantage positions. The world over, forts are located atop hills. As far as vandalism is concerned, deterrent fines/jail terms are the only way to prevent such “creative artists” from showing off their “skills”. The graffiti shows that the criminals are literate, but have failed to receive an education.

    • Nirdesh says:

      Hi DL,

      You have a way with words and the way you paraphrase, that is unbelievable.

      Yes, you are right. Most Indians though literate on record are essentially uneducated.

      Regards,

      Nirdesh

  • Nahargarh is my favorite spot in whole of Jaipur, visited many times. View of Jaipur city is amazing from there. Brilliant post with beautiful pictures.

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