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

To get a perspective, there were multiple reasons of doing a family road trip:

  • Having denied my 10 year old twins an opportunity to go on excursion with their school
  • After so many road trips in US, I was etching to go on another
  • Give insight onto Indian history to the young ones

Planning

I started planning for the trip a couple of months before and decided on Rajasthan since it had all the aspects that we wanted from a trip. The best preparation was to read few blogs on ghumakkar and identify the places etc. After some research and my childhood memories I decided on visiting Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Mount Abu, Ajmer, Jaipur. All of us – me, my wife (Teena) and our 10 year old twins were very excited to begin this journey and just couldn’t wait.

I scouted various sites for hotels and attractions at all these places and tripadvisor.in was one of the good sites apart from our very own ghumakkar J. Day wise planning was done using google maps so as to break down the journey into near equal parts. After many discussions and disagreements with Teena I somehow managed to convince her with the following itinerary (with approx. distance):

  • Day 1 600 km: Delhi – Chittorgarh, site seeing and stay at Chittorgarh
  • Day 2 300 km: Chittorgarh – Mount Abu, site seeing and stay at Mount Abu
  • Day 3 200 km: Mount Abu – Udaipur, site seeing and stay at Udaipur
  • Day 4 400 km: Udaipur – Ajmer – Jaipur, site seeing at Udaipur and Ajmer
  • Day 5 280 km: Jaipur – Delhi, site seeing in Jaipur

We did not book any hotels except for Chittorgarh, for others we decided on few options. We also wanted the trip to be flexible and decide on run-time (excuse the IT jargon!). We realized that first day would be hectic and we would need to start very early in the morning from Delhi.

We prepared a list of items we need to carry like sunglasses, caps, song collections, chargers for various gadgets et al.

Day 1: Delhi – Chittorgarh, 25th March 2014

Packing done! Fuel topped! Excitement denied sound sleep; thereafter we were all buckled up in our Swift Dzire and ready to roar at 3:15 am from Patparganj, Delhi. The initial journey was cool with few hiccups on Ring road blocked for metro constructions. We hit the Jaipur highway and there we were hit with hordes of trucks, bad roads, diversions etc. Somehow the conditions improved once we were near to Jaipur. And once we hit the Ajmer expressway, my! my!! It was smooth as butter. We hit out first stop at Highway King around 8 am on the Ajmer expressway half-way to our destination. We spent good 30 minutes and had our breakfast, clicked few pictures and moved ahead.

1A

Break for Breakfast near Jaipur

Good roads helped us to maintain momentum and we expected to reach Chittorgarh around 12:30pm.

1B

On Jaipur-Ajmer Expressway, one of the best!

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. With no other options we took the detour and we were in for further disappointment as the detour was a 40 km drive across a single lane road fit enough for a car! Anyway on the positive side the drive was around small hills without much traffic. The road lead us to a non-descript village Bijaynagar (Bong name in Rajasthan! J). We were back on NH 79A on the way to Chittorgarh. Later I realized that we continued towards NH 116A when we should have taken NH79A from Kisangarh and this mistake cost us additional hour of driving on a long day!

Finally we reached Chittorgarh around 1:30 pm and checked into RTDC Panna (having checked the reviews on tripadvisor.in). The hotel was bit below our expectations but clean so we checked in and freshened up. Quickly looked on net to find a good restaurant nearby – Hotel Meera and had sumptuous mughlai food. It was surprising to note that with over 600km and 10 hours of driving none of us really felt tired. The hotel manager offered us services of a guide for Chittorgarh fort for a fee and we lapped it up!

Historically Chittorgarh with 1300 years of history has a very important place in Mewar’s history as it bore the brunt of many attacks by Mughal forces and Jauhar’s committed by the women folk. We were looking forward to grasping this history by the help of our guide.

We met up with our guide – Manish at the fort. The entry tickets were dirt cheap, Rs. 5 per person and Rs. 20 for car. In Rajasthan most forts and places have number of points and you move or drive to each of them 1-by-1. Our first stop was Kumbha and Meera Bai temple. It is of note to see that Meera bai was one lady who has made her presence felt with her bhakti so much that she is revered with Lord Krishna.

1C

Kumba Temple, Chittorgarh

The next stop was Victory Tower or Vijay Stambh, Kirthi Stambh and finally the main palace. There are around 80 water tanks of varying sizes. It amazes us as to how so much water is available on a hill top? As per Manish these tanks also supply water to the Chittor town below.

1D

Pose n poise, Vijay Stambh nee Victory Tower

We were also taken to RTDC handicraft shops which were selling saris made from Custard apple and rajai’s for relieving body pains.

The view of Chittor town from palace ruins with sun setting over the horizon was breathtaking.

1E

View of Chittorgarh town from the fort

We wrapped up the tour with the sound and light show which was very informative and reaffirmed the history of this great place. There are separate charges for this show (Adults – 75, Children – 40).

1F

Chittorgarh Fort, Sound & Light show

While we came downhill back to the sleepy town it was dinner time. Found out a great place named Café Mocha with good cappuccino and fast food for kids (strongly recommended). We tried dal baffle at a famous but common man shop but found it tough to get through.

1G

Local Rajasthani cuisine – Dal Balfle!

And that’s how we called it a day. One city completed, it was time to move on to our next destination.

17 Comments

  • Anupam Chakraborty says:

    Welcome aboard Nitin.

    Excitement denied sound sleep yes it happens with me too with every trip to follow.

    Chittorgarh Fort is the largest fort in India. I feel some more Photos would have made it more attractive.

    Come soon with the continuing part.

  • MUNESH MISHRA says:

    Hi Mr. Nitin Welcome aboard.

    Very interesting post of well-planned trip to Royal Cities of Rajasthan.

    Your post refreshed memories of my last years family trip to Udaipur.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. More stories awaited.

    • Nitin says:

      Thanks Munish. It did refresh my memories as well.. as a young kid I visited these places and they had left a lasting impression on me! More coming…..

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Welcome Nitin,
    Excellent travelogue, liked your way of mentioning the tiny details. Rolled on the route hence, could easily get connected with your detailing. Keep writing to re-live your journeys, besides instigating fellows with latent thoughts.
    Never mind, an inadvertent diversion generally compensate with better prospects on such road-trips.
    Echoing Anupam, more snaps expected. Eager to hear read the series.

    Keep travelling
    Ajay

    • Nitin says:

      Thanks Ajay. This is all encouragement I need to travel more and write more :)
      I agree with your wise assessment, even though we took a detour but the drive was beautiful and definitely worth it. Th only setback was that it delayed our arrival in Chittorgarh.

  • Welcome Nitin to Ghumakkar as a writer. Very nice and detailed post along with pictures.

  • silentsoul says:

    Welcome to Ghumakkar family.. with a brilliant story.

  • Lalit K says:

    Well written, almost gives a feeling that you are right there experiencing it yourself. Looking forward to the next set.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    And it finished too soon. hehe.

    Welcome aboard Nitin. Finally you are here, brilliant.

    If you could start at 03.15 AM then it says a lot about you, reaching Chittor by lunch time even after that detour is pretty awesome. More details of the fort would have added to the log. Details about Panna hotel, Mocha place , timings are all very very useful information. I have been to many Sound-n-Light shows but the one at Chittor seems most impressive to me, the show is matching to the grandeur of Chittor.

    Bane rahein. :-)

    • Nitin says:

      Thanks for this platform Nandan. I had always admired your posts since Legato days and wanted to write on ghumakkar since a long time but but inertia never left me :)

      There is always a challenge to find good eateries in small towns, zomato does not work, wikipedia helps but has 5-star recommendations so Mocha place was a good find.

      I agree with your observation sound-n-light show was just amazing! Infact the guide we had, did the show!

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Nitin,

    Welcome Aboard!

    I still cant believe you made it to Chittorgarh by 130pm. There is so much to see in Rajasthan besides the popular locations. It could take a lifetime and I havent even started!

    Enjoyed the post and looking forward to reading more travelogues!

  • KT says:

    The ancient city is definitely rich in history and heritage. The tales are full of valor of the great people who ruled the city. The coverage of roadtrip and the city is marvelous with perfectly complementing pictures.

    I Remember historic stories from my visit to the fort city. Here is a snapshot of my visit – http://bit.ly/Chittor

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