I was planning a small vacation out from the mad-rush of Delhi life since ages and Rajasthan was the place ever since I wanted to pay a visit. The royals , the palaces , the culture , the heritage and simply the spectacular color of life - the people of Rajasthan !!!
So,this time I decided to head to this paradise in India and three of its most "wanted" divisions - Jaipur , Ajmer and Udaipur .
Here's a small tour of the beautiful paradise on earth Rajasthan and my journey across .
Jaipur - Pink city , all are updated . But this is the "old Jaipur" . Time has it and what locals say that the architect's of the city had no color left except for Pink [ Gulabi - as it's called ] and hence they painted the city Pink . Temples , forts , museums and shopping .Jaipur has it all.
The known places which are a must visit are - City Palace Complex which gives an insight into the imposing and magnificent architecture of the city and also houses the famous Hawa Mahal.
Gardens - The Kanak Vrindavan is an exquisitely land scaped garden with a beautifully carved temple in beige stone.Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh is a garden laid out in Mughal style and it depicts the legends of Radha and Krishna.It consists of tiered multi-level gardens with fountains, watercourses and painted pavilions. Sawai Jai Singh built it for his Sisodia queen from Udaipur. The palace has several galleries, pavilions and beautiful murals depicting scenes from the life of lord Krishna.
Jantar Mantar - Unlike the one back in Delhi , this one is the "baap" of precisions. [ Though I was hardly involved in this..... ] .
Temples - A vital part of the City Palace complex, this Krishna temple has been highly revered by the erstwhile royal family. Sawai Jai Singh installed the image of Govind Devji (an incarnation of lord Krishna) after it was brought from Vrindavan and hence called as Govind Devji Temple.Moti Dungri [ pearl hill ] and Ganesh Temple are also a must visit provided you allocated decent time to Jaipur and have the capacity to climb and move on in the striking winter sun of Jaipur.The Lakshmi - Narayan Temple known as Birla Mandir is situated just below the Moti Dungari.
Forts - As they say , Rajasthan is all about Forts . True . The Jaigarh fort is the most spectacular of the three-hilltop forts that overlook Jaipur. In Mughal times, the Jaipur region was a major weapon-producing centre for the Mughal and Rajput rulers, several of the weapons being on display in the fort's museum. It also houses the giant mounted cannon-the Jai Ban (Jaivan) which is the largest cannon on wheels in the world . A must visit . The second in line is the - Nahargarh Fort is located on the rugged ridge of Aravali Hills and it forms an impressive northern backdrop of Jaipur. It looks most classy when floodlit at night.The third and most coveted is the Amber Fort (pronounced Amer) is situated about 11 kilometres from Jaipur and was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachwahas of Amber, before the capital was shifted to the plains, the present day Jaipur. It houses the famous Shila Devi Temple.
Shopping - The Johari Bazar is a must visit shopping arena lcoated in Old City . Shopping in Jaipur is an experience oof sorts for the fair sex . From lengha choli, ghagra choli, bridal lehnga [ with a genuine price advantage ] to sarees and the whole gamutinterested. Other shopping places are MI Road and stalls at Bari & Choti Chaupurs. The markets are generally closed on Sundays.
of ladies attire . Also, Jaipur is famous for Jaipuri quilts a must buy . In addition , beautiful gems, semi precious stones, kundan and minakari work are also available ,if you are
Chokhi Dhani - A unique theme village and resort . I found out simply ok-ok . But the branding it has done and the position it has created is simply admirable . Charges a hefty entry price of Rs 500/head for a decent meal and inside ambience . Shopping and other stiff is a pay-purchase basis. [ http://www.chokhidhani.com/home.html ]
That's how it's called in a combo . And it's limited to these two places unless you are a Mayo college alumni .Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage centre for the Muslims as well as Hindus. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti . A must visit and very sacred.
Pushkar [ Pilgrim City ] - This is the only existing temple - Pushkar Temple - dedicated to lord Brahma and was constructed in the 14th century.The pious Pushkar Lake is believed to have been created by the falling of a lotus from the hand of Lord Brahma. Divine.
City of Lakes / White City / Venice of the East. Whatever you call - It's simply beautiful . With the lakes on one end and the famous Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh Fort ) on the hill above enhances the beauty of this magnificent city
City Palace Towers over the Pichola Lake are a first start and a must visit to begin your Udaipur experience. Guides are available for all the best places across Rajasthan especially forts and temples and it's an viable option to opt for one since they know the history of the place well and the routes and are a good bet when you're running against time. Govt.approved ones are the best bet on pricing . Crystal Palace - Situated in the Fateh Prakash Palace, it has a breath taking collection of crystals. These were ordered by Maharana Sajjan Singh from F & C Osler England but could not live to see them because of his untimely death. Jag Mandir Palace - This is the other island palace on Lake Pichola The island has some striking carvings including a row of elephants that look like guarding the island. Lake Palace is "the place" to take a stroll around . A Taj managed property ,its superb beauty and enduring charm and its reflection in the middle of the lake is simply awe-striking. Fateh Sagar Lake - The beautiful lake is a boating destination for visitors and the boat ride takes one to the small beautiful park located in the middle of the lake.
Gardens - Sahelion Ki Bari - The 'garden of the maidens' brings to mind the lifestyle of the ladies of the court. The delightful gardens reflect their discreet and impeccable taste.
Maharana Pratap Memorial (Moti Magari) - An impressive bronze statue of Maharana Pratap on his favourite horse Chetak, stands atop the Moti Magri (Pearl Mount) overlooking Fateh Sagar.
Temples - Jagdish Mandir - the temple enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu. There is a brass image of Garuda, the Lord of Birds, and mount of Vishnu .
Eklingji - It is a complex of 108 temples on Udaipur-Nathdwara route. There are hills around and small springs of water. The temples are exquisitely carved out of sandstone and marble and are devoted to Lord Shiva, the family deity of the Mewar rulers.The Maharanas of Mewar, worshipped Shiva as Mahadeva Chaumukhi, the quadriform divinity, represented by a bust with four faces.
Shree Nath Ji- Nathdwara -Means the gateway to the Lord. This great Vaishnavite shrine is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The legend has it that the image of Lord Krishna was being shifted to a safer place from Vrindaban in order to protect it from being desecrated and vandalized by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. When the image reached the spot where the temple exists, the wheels with the axle of the bullock cart carrying the image sank deep into mud. Human efforts failed to move the cart further. The accompanying priest interpreted this as the Lord's indication to be installed at this spot. Accordingly a temple was built here.
The best time to visit Rajsthan is October - March [ Avioding Christmas and holdiays rush ] .
Guides are like honey bees and will stick to you no matter what . Be a smart visitor and mould them around . They need you more than vice-versa.
For staying - RTDC [ Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation ] hotels / resorts / motels are the best bet , incase you have family / relatives /connects to arrange for your stays . Plan and book in advance .
For temples / shrines - Keep your credit cards /cell phones / blackberry's / cam coders etc. at safe places . The best , don't bring / carry them . These places are full of Pickpockets . Carry limited cash .
Locals are a great help - If lost , do not hesitate to ask the locals around for directions / way out . A great help in place.
All the forts / complexes / gardens - have a decent entry fees and separate charges for cameras . Make sure you read the instructions well before buying .
Always keep a local guide book handy in case you miss out on things .
AND THE BEST THING -
Whenever you are planning for a trip , do let me know . I can be of great help for the curious traveler , I am .
There are many things which I have kept safe :) .
Also , you can follow me on twitter - @karansayz ; FB ; and always drop in an email for any queries.
For more pictures of my trip - FB !!