Tag Archives: Rajasthan Tourism

Trupti ko Rajasthan kuch aisa laga – Truptsthan!

जहाँ हवाओं में राजस्थान का संगीत है: माटी बांधे पैजनी, बंगड़ी पहने बादली!

My colleague Trupti Sharma along with her bunch of young, adventurous & enthusiastic friends ringed in New Year in mesmerizing Rajasthan & the choice was in favour of Dessert trek at Jaisalmer.  In over a week – long trip to Jaisalmer, Trupti experienced Rajasthan like never before…

… Trupti ko Rajasthan kuch aisa laga!

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Trupti was gracious enough to share her experiences along with unique photo-essay for travel-knots readers. Enjoy reading it here!!

Phir dekhiye Rajasthan appko bhi kuch aisa lagega!!!

Jaisalmer Trek: The Transition:

  • From 2016 to 2017
  • From one state to another
  • From Camp to Second Home
  • From Strangers to Friends
  • From Friends to Family
  • From Can I do it to I bet you cannot do it

But it was truly:

Challenging | Freezing | Arid | Windy | Quiet | Calm | Noisy | Golden | Royal | Natural | Raw

It was anything but boring…

Camping, Trekking, Climbing, Camel Ride, Boating, Posing, Singing, Folk Dancing; Challenging your physical and mental endurance, we did it all in Rajasthan

Base Camp: Jaisalmer City – Border Home Guard Ground

Higher Camps: Kharara Camp | Sam Sand Dunes | Sudasari Sand Dunes | Bama

When Trupti decided to be part of this trek and started checking on tickets to neighbouring cities of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, which was good three months ahead, I was surprised to note that all tickets to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur or any possible city in Rajasthan were full or super expensive and she had to take Mumbai – Delhi – Jaisalmer route to reach base camp.  Unexpectedly she found Delhi not at all cold and she even enjoyed cold water shower there. From Delhi she embarked on her journey to Jodhpur.  This is the magic of Rajasthani soil…माटी बांधे पैजनी, बंगड़ी पहने बादली!

Thankfully she found Jaisalmer to be super impressive, quite a deal for true – blue Mumbai girl. Trupti found Station very clean and did not shirk it from terming it “One of the best”.

I present here the Trupti’s account of her Jaisalmer trek:

Jaisalmer is the largest district in India in fact even bigger than many Indian States which is also clean and royal in its look and feel.  It is endowed with perfect lighting which provided ample reflection for our pictures. I found everything there to be so grand and royal, even houses are made of hand carved stones which I had never seen before. It was a pleasure ogling at those beautiful stone house which a rarity in Metro we live in.

After this our next destination was “Patvaaon-ki-Haveli” where we found forever welcoming Rajasthani folk-singers, where we found Rajathani folk music spreading like aroma in the air.  We sang and even danced with these Rajasthani folk artists. Moreover, they did not expect much money from us; they thanked us for whatever we gave them. Indeed they were very humble, warm and welcoming.  I would like to mention here that colourful turbans have perpetual charm midst tourists coming here which would cost you not more that Rs. 50.  Before entering “Patvaaon-ki-haveli” don’t forget to gorge on delicious Paani – Puri where law of multiplication applies in full – force. Go on gulping, without counting though.

Now we had to embark on our first higher camp – the Kharara camp, where we came across lot of windmills and trust me windmills are one of the best inventions, just like mountains even they make you and your problems look relatively very small. To give you an idea- to reach top of an industrial windmill one needs to have 60 levels on a Human pyramid or terrace of a 38 storey building.

After walking around 12 Kms, we reached our second higher camp – Sam Sand Dunes, my first experience of sand dunes was quite amazing, nothing short of mesmerizing. It was little crowded since most people travelling to Jaisalmer visit Sam dunes but in a lot of ways it was still untouched. I must admit, evenings are the best part of a trek and you don’t have to walk with super heavy rucksack. Moreover, it is neither very hot nor very cold here. Last but not the least, you get to chill, sing, rest, roam around and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets.

So after all this and more like sand sliding, photo shoot and amateur Dangal, we were all set to march back to our camps. On our way we encountered few folk singers –  two kids and one ‘ol chap – and I am happy we met them as it was so much fun singing and dancing along on Rajasthani folk music for over an hour.  So much so that we broke into an impromptu “Sangeet Ceremony”  of our friends  Unnati & Madhu who are chained to get married in coming few months to their respective groom and bride.

In the second leg of our trek from Sam Sand Dunes, we had to reach Sudasari Desert National Park, which threw biggest challenge as we had to do 10 kms ride on camel and 12 Kms of walking along with crawling and hitch hiking!

I can term Camel ride as good and bad both, but to enjoy camel ride, you need to be in sync your rhythm but how do you keep up to a camel who keeps switching songs?

Moreover, trek to Sudasari is not at all easy. Firstly, it is near impossible to get permissions for trekking groups and even for individuals it takes at least three months of approval process but thanks to YHAI’s goodwill and good work that we (group of 40 people) were not just able to trek in but also got to camp one night.

Sudasari Sand dunes were amazing, so calm still so powerful… trust me deserted deserts are much more beautiful.

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Other major take away from this trip is that I got to know so many people from different parts of India say now I have friends from AP, Gujarat, Jharkhand, TN, Karnataka and parts of Northern India.

Pictures & text courtesy: Trupti Sharma

 

 

Fascinating Rajasthan! Symphony created by Diversity!!

रंगीलो राजस्थान: पधारो म्हारे देस!

An exclusive photo-essay!

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This land is a colourful melange of massive forts, stunning palaces, diverse cultures, delectable cuisines and warm people, set amidst a rugged yet inviting landscape.

Rajasthan is a land that has inspired me and countless others. Come tread on the sands of time. In Rajasthan you will find every hue in Nature’s grand palette – the red sands, the blue of royalty, the pink cities or the amber sunsets. Surrender yourself to the sounds of trinkets or the sounds of the all conquering wind. Sight and sounds that are far removed from any city. Sights and sounds that will transport you into a folk lore.

The contour of Rajasthan is varied and well divided by the Aravalli Range that spreads across the state from the southwest to the northeast. With an unproductive region in the northwest to a comparatively fertile land in the east. Rajasthan’s topography is a potpourri of the sandy deserts and prolific vegetation. It is home to the Great Indian Thar Desert and the Chambal River which is solely responsible for the water supply in the region.

Music, art and dance is woven into every inch of this land  called paradise. You will find it carved in every grain of sand. Here you will find the past, the present and the future. You will find passion. You will find adventure. And you will find yourself.

Irrespective of rich cultural roots, Rajasthan is equally modern and flourishing as any other urban city. The state roads flaunt the most expensive vehicles and at the same time run camel carts, horse drawn tongas and scooter rickshaws. The region is well connected by a network of roads and a steadily improving transport system.

Come, walk into the unforgettable embrace of Rajasthan.

In an attempt to reinvent and celebrate the extraordinary strengths of RAJASTHAN, these projects and events created especially for the larger domain of the people and their inherent traditional and contemporary skills, connecting with similar international interventions showcased in the State, the Chief Minister, Vasundhra Raje, has infused a new, fresh and contemporary energy into the inherited

Topography

When it comes to accommodation, Rajasthan welcomes royal tourists and backpacking travellers equally. Your choices range from luxurious hotels to economical yet comfortable dormitories. The State owned Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation also run a chain of hotels in the major destinations. These tourist bungalows provide reasonably priced accommodation in the form of dormitories, single rooms, air-cooled and air-conditioned rooms.

Courtesy: पधारो म्हारे देस & RajasthanTourism.gov.in

Udaipur: Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal, unsung destination!

I had never come across this place even while researching about Udaipur or while talking to people who had been there. Our Cabbie just stopped at a colourful gate and said “Aap andar jayeeye”. I Questioned: “Which is this place”? He replied: Lok Kala Mandal and continued: you will like it very much. How true he was!

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Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal is a museum of Rajasthani Folk Art which displays rich collection of folk dresses, paintings, pagris, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls and folk musical instruments. Besides there is a section on Tribal Art. The world renowned puppeteers of Udaipur put up shows on regular intervals which we enjoyed very much.

The museum was just awesome, the collection was reflection of Rajasthani Art Forms and student of art/ architecture/ design would just love it. It would provide great learning to these students of Rajasthani Art Forms.

Rajasthan Tourism needs to promote this Centre amidst foreign tourists also who as it love everything about Rajasthan!

The unsung hero of Udaipur should get Hero’s welcome!

Need to say more? Watch it to believe me!

An exclusive Photo-Essay of Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal.

Pics Courtesy: Mukund Rai

Udaipur, Lake Pichola: Calm, Serene & Picturesque

Next morning we set out for our trip to Udaipur’s Lake Pichola…

…what an amazing place it turned out to be!

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No wonder, Rudyard Kipling mentioned this lake in his Letters of Marque (1899), “If the Venetian owned the Pichola Lake, they might say with justice, `see it and die’. The beauty of Lake Pichola attracts people from all over the world. One can undeniably say for Pichola that once, if you see this lake, you would definitely fall in love with it. The mesmerizing beauty of Lake Pichola makes it worth visiting Udaipur. The pristine blue waters of the left a soothing impact on us. I wondered how much stressed lives are we leading in Mumbai.

If Fateh Sagar Lake was vibrant, well-lit, scenic, slightly commercialised, more of a family destination, Lake Pichola was in sharp contrast. It would be any writer’s or poet’s dream destination. Lake Pichola, surrounded by lush green lining, sitting benches, big banyan trees, lofty palaces – Jagmandir Palace and hilly backdrop made ideal setting for a romantic Rajesh Khanna Movie. Sitting there and just watching the lake was an experience in itself. Living in Mumbai makes you accustomed to very fast life, whereas sitting beside the lake Pichola and just watching it, I felt that time had just stopped, but it hadn’t, how I wish it had. Time passed in boating, roaming and chit – chatting and it was time for us to move to new destination.

Let me add here, located in the heart of the city, Pichola Lake is the oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur. In 1362, the beautiful lake was built by Pichhu Banjara during the ruling period of Maharana Lakha. Talking about the dimensions of Pichola Lake, it is extended to 3 miles in length, 2 miles in width and has depth of 30 feet.

Lake Pichola comprises several islands that accompany the calm waters of the lake. The world-renowned Lake Palace is perfectly located on the Jag Island of this tranquil lake. Even the Jag Mandir, another destination of tourists, is located on an island of this lake. Above all, a trip to Pichola Lake would be incomplete with a boat ride. At the time sun-set, a boat ride in this lake is would be wonderful, but we did it in the morning.

The beauty of this lake has not spared anyone to attract towards it. The lake looks more enchanting with its scenic surroundings. Maharana Udai Singh must have been certainly captivated by the charm of this pristine lake with the perfect backdrop of lush green hills as when he founded the city of Udaipur. He also constructed a dam made in stone that falls under the ‘Badipol’ region on the shore of this lake.

Pichola Lake is enveloped by lofty Palaces, temples, bathing ghats and elevated hills on all its sides. In the southern part of this lake, there is a hill that is known as Machhala Magra and one can see glimpse of Eklinggarh Fort from here. The City Palace of Udaipur broadens along the eastern banks of this lake.

Rajasthan Tourism need to promote these two lakes as their prime tourist destination.

Pictures Courtesy: Mukund Rai

 

Rajasthan never ceases to surprise you, so did Udaipur!!

A reluctant trip to Udaipur turned out to be most fascinating one, Read on to know how?

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The trip in April to Rajasthan was not a great idea according to many but my brother –in-law Anurag encouraged me to make it. And I made it!! Anurag who had studied there told me elaborately about the place and sight-seeing spots and we almost followed his itenery. The train journey by Udaipur Superfast from Bandra to Udaipur was pleasant but when I came out of station I was quite fascinated by its architecture and immediately clicked some pictures there. As we have been watching in Rajasthan Tourism Commercials which says: Rajasthan never ceases to Surprise you! It applied to us: Me & My husband Mukund too! Weather was nice especially evenings.

No wonder Udaipur has been inspiration for countless artists, architects and poets for several years. Not only this it has been part of many a romantic Bollywood and Hollywood movies and earned a name for itself: ‘City of Romance’ besides fondly addressed as ‘City of Lakes’. They all conjure up a wonderful and fascinating image and Udaipur is worthy of them all.

Interesting historical note on city of Udaipur:

Maharana Udai Singhji roamed the country side well away from the hub of Mughal activity and eventually came across lake Pichola, the principal being Chand Pole at northwest corner, the Hathi Pol on the north, the Delhi-Gate on North East , the Suraj Pole of the east and Kishan Pole on the south and cradled protectively by the surrounding tree clad Aravali Mountains, a green & pleasant area, with a cooler climate than surrounding lands, abundant water supply, fertile soil and plenty of good hunting. Udai Singh ji founded this as new capital and this is how Udaipur came into being.   

So immediately after reaching hotel which we had booked Online: Kaveri Palace, we set out to famed Fateh Sagar Lake and voila what a place it was. The setting was just awesome: nicely lit, breezy, waves, boat-rides, camel rides, Chaupati like food court and many tourists having gala time there. We took a long stroll on the side and watched beautiful lake closely. It was quite an experience in itself!

Fateh Sagar Lake, situated to the north of Pichola Lake and connected to it by a canal, was originally built by Maharana Jai Singh who had constructed even the more famous Jaisamand Lake. Later when the old embankment of the lake was swept away by heavy rains, the lake was reconstructed in its modern avatar by Maharana Fateh Singh. The foundation stone of the new embankment was laid by the Duke Conaught, Son of Queen Victoria in 1889. How do I know all this? The history is written on its banks as soon as you enter the Fateh Sagar Lake. The lake has been expanded to optimum levels to ensure that Udaipur would always have a substantial supply of water.

The lake, which covers an area of about two square miles when full, has one small island, which has been made by the Government of Rajasthan into a public park which has fountains known as Nehru Garden. Though Nehru Garden is not that well maintained, as I had expected.

While returning from Fateh Sagar Lake we halted at most famous picnic spot: Sukhadia Circle which looked to me situated in the middle of city and named after Chief Minister Shri Mohan Lal Sukhadia. It was a very fascinating picnic spot with its lush – green lawns, water fountain and boating. I found Udaipur people peacefully having great time there. Special lighting all over added to its splendour and beauty. But later I came to know that Sukhadia Circle is located in front of the Railway Training School and this huge circle has been converted into pond. Its diameter is 20 Ft. And it has 42 Ft. High fountain, unique in the country. As I told you above, the pond has green park all around it embedded with beautiful flowers and herbs.  

Our night sojourn completed with a round of Chetak Circle and nice hearty meal in the end.

Watch out this space for more on Udaipur!!!