Into the abode of the Aravalli Hills (30th -31st October’16)

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was my first visit to the “The land of the kings”; Rajasthan. Little did I know that many more visits awaited in the future.

We arrived at the pink city early in the morning of 30th October. Took a little bit of rest and then started to explore the Pink City. We booked a cab for the whole day and started off. The first stop being Kanak Ghati. On the way, we could see the Jal Mahal. As the folklores say this was built with an intention by the royal family to spend the summer. The water of the Man Sagar Lake surrounding the Mahal kept it cool and it served the purpose of a summer retreat. Visitors are not allowed to go inside it. It can be seen from a distance. It is said it is a five storied structure with just the uppermost visible to us and the rest being under water.

On reaching Kanak Ghati, we could find that it in the early morning hours, the cleaning and maintenance work was going on. It had beautiful flower beds and ornamental plants. We took some snaps there and then headed towards the Nahargarh Fort. As soon as one enters the fort, one can see the Bawdi where the shooting of one of the famous songs of “Rang De Basanti” took place. The Fort hosts a beautiful palace called the Madhavendra Palace with nine similar rooms of the queens and a room with the king. All rooms are alike and beautiful floral motifs grace the entrance of every room. From the windows of the rooms, the city of Jaipur is visible. In fact, the viewpoint of Nahargarh Fort is at 700 meters above sea level and from here one can get a glimpse of the whole city of Jaipur from the top. The courtyard of the palace has splendid murals and it displays Indo-European style of architecture.

After Nahargarh fort, we headed to visit the Jaigarh Fort. Jaigarh Fort has the world’s largest unused canon called the Jaivana. From Jaigarh fort, one can see the Amber Fort at a distance which was supposedly our next stop.  The point of Jaivana presents a view of the complete fort boundaries running throughout its periphery.

It was almost afternoon by the time we left Jaigarh Fort. The next stop was the Amber Fort (pronounced as Amer Fort). History says it was built by Raja Man Singh-I. It dates back to 1592. But the structure completely defies its age as it has been preserved very carefully.

The palace, Dewan E Aam, Dewan e Khaas, Sheesh Mahal are just marvellous.  The palace has beautiful murals carved on the marbles. The Sheesh Mahal has numerous mirrors inside that create multiple reflections. History says only one candle was sufficient to light up the whole room because of the multiple reflections. The pillars of Sheesh Mahal have flowers that are carved with contrasting colours. The courtyard of the Fort has huge cooking vessels which were used for preparing food for the people residing in the palace.

The view from Amber Fort depicting the prowess of the then emperors

After Amber Fort, we visited the City Palace. On our way, we could see the Hawa Mahal. It is a palatial structure with numerous windows.  City Palace of Jaipur depicts the royal touch of Jaipur in the true sense. It is built over a huge area and with a well-maintained courtroom, Dewan e Aam, Dewan e Khaas. It has a Baggi Khana hosting a collection of palanquins, old carriages and cabs dating back to the colonial era.

After visiting the majestic city palace, we visited the Jantar Mantar. It is at a walkable distance from the city palace. I had seen the replica of the same in Delhi. It hosts all the instruments which were used to trace the position of the sun and the movement of stars. Next, we visited the Swami Laxmi Narayana Temple; also known as the Birla Temple over the patron Mr G.D.Birla. The premises hosted some shops with traditional Rajasthani clothing.  We shopped there for a while.

The dusk was nearing and we returned to the hotel and next day we were to start for Pushkar. We could hear faint sounds of crackers and also could see the shops decorated to mark the victory of good over evil on Diwali. By morning 5 the next day, we reached the bus stop and waited for the bus to Pushkar. On enquiring, we got to know that the bus has been cancelled from Delhi on the occasion of Diwali. We were dismayed on getting this information and had to plan for an alternative. So we boarded the bus to Ajmer. On reaching Ajmer, we could find it had a cloak room where in we put our luggage and started off to the Dargah of Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chisti.We reached the dargah at the perfect time. Perfect because it was not much crowded and so we didn’t have to wait to visit the dargah. People from all faiths visit the Dargah. We stayed there for a while and then returned. We boarded the bus to Pushkar and reached there in an hour. It is just 15 kms from Ajmer. Pushkar is the only place in the world which has a Brahma Temple. The beautiful temple has been painted with shades of orange and blue.

The Pushkar Lake

After visiting the temple, we had the traditional lunch of Rajasthan i.e. the Dal, Baati and Churma. Then we visited the various Ghats which surround the Pushkar Lake. After that, we headed towards the Pushkar Bus Stop. On our way, we visited the Gurudwara. Thus in one day, we had a visit to the sacred places of three different religions. We returned to Ajmer and then boarded the bus to Delhi.

The maiden visit to the royal land opened more avenues for visiting all the major tourist destinations that it hosts.

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