Tag Archives: Rajasthan

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!!!

  

Thar Festival Jaisalmer: Melting pot of Culture, Tradition, Music & Folk-dance

My cousin Aarti was here in Mumbai recently for her official visit and was kind enough to visit me for a day. She hails from Jodhpur and is married in Jaipur, so a true blue Rajasthani. Amidst our conversation, she mentioned about Thar Festival of Jaisalmer which is a big attraction amidst tourists especially foreigners. As Rajasthan never ceases to fascinate me, I always look forward to visiting Rajasthan at any given opportunity.

She invited me to come to Jaipur as usual and asked me to come in February, 2016 so that I can visit Jaisalmer also and attend the famed Thar festival too. My curiosity grew and I wanted to know more about Jaisalmer and in particular, Thar Festival. I connected with an old friend of my mine who told me about fascinating sand dunes of Jaisalmer but she had visited the place in December so she could not share much about Thar festival. I imagined in my head that Thar Festival would be somewhat similar to Rann Utsav which I had been to in December of 2013. Good, it was not! Read on to know why Thar festival is different?

On digging deeper I came to know that Thar festival is a mirror to the Rajasthani culture and tradition which is lively with vibrant colours which is a continuous celebration for three days when your soul gets one with the soul of Rajasthan. Here you become one with everything Rajasthani.

It is the grand and famous fort of Jaisalmer which is host to the celebration of the Desert festival, whereas the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation is taking all the responsibilities to organize it successfully. The auspicious Day is Full moon (Purnima) when the event kick starts. If you have dream to witness this grand event which takes place in the beginning of every year in the month of February, this is the time to be in.

During the Desert Festival entire Jaisalmer shrinks in the campus of Jaisalmer fort. Groups of folk dancers in Ghaghra & Dhoti Kurta accompanied with folk singers who are equipped with local musical instruments sing and express the tale of warriors, lovers, kings & queens of Sand city and Rajasthan. There are some other performers like snake charmers, acrobats and puppeteers who amplify the charm of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival, too. Don’t miss to attend the contests to judge the man with the best (Read: Biggest) moustache.

Aarti suggested that we should not miss the Camel riding/racing when the Camel riders try to leave behind their rivals in the competition creating the clouds of sand. Attired in the colourful embellishments these camels look awesome when they run like horses on the festival ground and it creates a truly mesmerizing view.
Every night during the festival in the Thar Desert there are various events where fabulous plays and dances are performed and one doesn’t feel tired and wants the show to go on and on. You can stay at one of those royal camps, where you feel like a maharaja or maharani yourself.

This is the time when you can find a big range of Rajasthani handicrafts, wooden items, fabrics, paintings, jewelleries in the Desert festival ground. You can buy beautiful multicoloured long skirts and odhnis too.

Don’t forget to savour Rajasthani Daal-baati, Churma, Gatte ki Sabji and other more famous dishes along with tea served in the clay pot available in the food stalls. Jaisalmer Desert Festival is totally is a time to live some best moments in your life.

Location: Sam Sand Dunes 42 K.M. from Jaywalker
How to reach: SUV or Camel safari
Timing: In the month of February
Attractions: Cultural showcase
Airport: Jodhpur
Railway Station: Jodhpur

Inputs courtesy: Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation

Here I come Jaisalmer, & Aarti!!!

Great Indian Travel Bazaar returns next year in Jaipur

After a hiatus of one year the well- known inbound tourism mart, the Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) will now return to Jaipur. Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Department of Tourism and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Jaipur.

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As per the MoU, GITB will be organized jointly by FICCI and the tourism department for the next five years beginning 2015 to 2019 to be held in the month of April. Alike the past, it will be actively supported by Union Tourism Ministry, Indian Heritage Hotel Association (IHHA), Hotel & Restaurant Association of Rajasthan (HRAR) and Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators (RATO).

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GITB, which began in 2008, became an increasingly popular B2B inbound tourism mart in the country. A large number of tour operators, travel agents and travel writers were visiting Jaipur for the event. GITB was to the tourism industry what the Jaipur literature festival was for litterateurs.

After the first edition of GITB an MOU was signed between FICCI and the department of tourism for five years. “GITB was a concept suggested by FICCI and the name was jointly registered between the two. The then minister tourism Bina Kak announced at GITB 2013’s inaugural ceremony that the seventh edition of GITB would be organized in Jaipur in 2014 and the dates would be announced in due time. But thereafter the MoU was not renewed by the Gehlot government and the 2014 event had to be cancelled.

“GITB had established itself as the most important travel mart in North India during the six years. It had become especially important for small and standalone hotels of Rajasthan which cannot afford to attend international travel marts. I am glad it is being organized again from next year,” said Randhir Vikram Singh Mandawa, general secretary of Indian Heritage Hotels Association.

Visit Kumbhalgarh Fort, Sanctuary to satiate tourist in you!

Hi friends,

My recently married cousin, Aarti Shrivastava Mathur visited Kumbhalgarh Fort and Sanctuary in Rajasthan and happily shared her pictures of the trip with our blogger community. The place is really awesome, natural, historical with heavy dollops of wild –life adventure. To me it looked like a complete package of all above which can cater to all types of tourists. If you are in Rajasthan, do include Kumbhalgarh in your iterinery. The nearest city to reach Kumbhalgarh is Udaipur in Rajasthan. Her trip aroused enough curiosity in me to dig in details about this fabulous fort and share the detail s with my readers.

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Kumbhalgarh is a Mewar fortress in the Rajsamand District of Rajasthan state in western India. It is an World Heritage Site included in Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Built during the course of the 15th century by Rana Kumbha and enlarged through the 19th century, Kumbhalgarh is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great king and warrior of Mewar. Occupied until the late 19th century, the fort is now open to the public and is spectacularly lit for a few minutes each evening. Kumbalgarh is situated 82 km northwest of Udaipur by road. It is the most important fort in Mewar after Chittaurgarh.

Built on a hilltop 1100 metres above sea level, the fort of Kumbhalgarh has perimeter walls that extend 36 kilometres. The frontal walls are fifteen feet thick. Kumbhalgarh has seven fortified gateways. There are over 360 temples within the fort, 300 ancient Jain and the rest Hindu. From the palace top, it is possible to look tens of kilometers into the Aravalli Range. The sand dunes of the Thar desert can be seen from the fort walls.

According to legend, in 1443, the Maharana of Kumbhalgarh, Rana Kumbha, was initially repeatedly unsuccessful in attempts to build the fort wall. A spiritual preceptor was consulted about the construction problems and advised the ruler that a voluntary human sacrifice would solve whatever was causing the impediment. The spiritual advisor advised building a temple where the head should fall and building the wall and the fort where the rest of his body lay. As can be expected, for some time no one volunteered, but one day, a pilgrim (some versions suggest a soldier, and some, that the spiritual preceptor and the pilgrim were one and the same) volunteered and was ritually decapitated. Today the main gate of the fortress, Hanuman Pol, contains a shrine and a temple to commemorate the great sacrifice.

According to popular folklore, Maharana Kumbha used to burn massive lamps that consumed fifty kilograms of ghee and a hundred kilograms of cotton to provide light for the farmers who worked during the nights in the valley.
Its wall is the second largest wall in Asia.Kumbhalgarh in its present form was developed by, and said to be personally designed by, Rana Kumbha. Rana Kumbha’s kingdom of Mewar stretched from Ranthambore to Gwalior and included large tracts of erstwhile Madhya Pradesh as well as Rajasthan. Out of the 84 forts in his dominion, Rana Kumbha is said to have designed 32 of them, of which Kumbhalgarh is the largest and most elaborate

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Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is in the Rajsamand District of Rajasthan state in western India and surrounds the Kumbhalgarh fortress and covers an area of 578 km2 (223 sq mi). The sanctuary extends across the Aravalli Range, covering parts of Rajsamand, Udaipur, and Pali districts, ranging from 500 to 1,300 metres (1,600 to 4,300 ft) elevation.

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It takes name after the impressive historic fort of Kumbhalgarh, which come into view over the Park. It is 578 km2 (223 sq mi) in area and at an altitude of 500 to 1,300 metres (1,600 to 4,300 ft). It is home to a very large variety of wild life, some of which are highly endangered species. The wild life includes wolf, leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, sambhar, nilgai, chausingha (the four horned antelope), chinkara and hare.

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The bird life at Kumbhalgarh is also gratifying. The normally shy and untrusting grey jungle fowl can be spotted here. Peacocks and Doves can be sighted regularly feeding on grains scattered by the jungle guards. Bird like the red spur owls, Parakeets, golden Oriole, grey Pigeons, Bulbul, Dove and white breasted kingfisher can also be seen near the water holes. Kumbhalgarh’s natural beauty is attracting many tourists and especially for its accessibility from Udaipur, which is 100 km from here. Foot tracking and horse safari organised by local tour operators are proving to be very popular. A typical safari route enters the sanctuary from the Kumbhalgarh Fort and cutting across the sanctuary it reaches Ghanerao, and then borders an old abandoned road. On this road, one can sight Chinkaras, Neelgais, four horned Antelope and many birds.

The nearest city to reach Kumbhalgarh is Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Pretty Pictures Courtesy: SIDDHARTH PUROHIT