WORLD is a book and those who do not travel have read only one page. Explore uncertain roads, unknown destinations and diverse cultures with Travel Diaries.

Showing posts with label Rajasthan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rajasthan. Show all posts

The Blue City of Jodhpur...

City of Jodhpur, also known as Blue City has been a travelers delight since times. City of Jodhpur has something which is very unique to Jodhpur only. Mighty Mehrangarh Fort and royal grandeur of Umaid Bhawan Palace has made Jodhpur frequently being listed as most extraordinary places to visit and stay, most recently in 2014 by Lonely Plant. Check Mehrangarh Fort on top of the Hill:


Share:

Akal Wood Fossil Park, Jaisalmer

One of the most sought after heavens for history lovers is "Land of Rajasthan". Every lane of Rajasthan is a testimony to this. People come to this colourful land to cherish the royalties and glorious past of India.

If history is only sought, there is something here which is much older than the history itself. YES, this place has been a testimony to Jurassic age, to be honest pre Jurassic Era. History buff inside me was getting curious as we were approaching "Akal Wood Fossil Park". 

Get ready to take a plunge beyond History. Akal Wood Fossil Park takes you back to the pre Jurassic era, 180 million years back! In this area, once stood a forest 180 millions years ago. Then the area submerged in to the sea and the tree trunks got preserved in the form of fossils. The fossils of trees' trunks are preserved in this park, just like mummies in many parts of the world.

Witness to pre-Jurassic Era
This fossil park is spread in 10 sq. km. and 21-hectares is preserved area for 25 fossilized tree trunks. Fossilized tree trunks are of various sizes with the largest being 13 meters in length and 1.5 meters in width. 

Share:

Kuldhara - Curse of the Exodus

"A COMMUNITY VANISHED OVERNIGHT"

Where people used to celebrate festivals, sit together in the night alongside the bon fire and which was once an oasis in the Thar Desert, is now an abandoned spot. Along with Bhangarh, this place Kuldhara is considered as one of the most haunted and cursed place. But, Why...?

Something had happened one night when all the residents from Kuldhara had abandoned the place; however they left a curse that this place will never be inhabited again. The curse stays till date...


Most of the curiosity is centered on the main village of Kuldhara where the head of Paliwal clan used to live. However, there are 84 more villages around Kuldhara which are also lying abandoned till date.
Haunted lanes

If we take a plunge into the history lanes, all the abandoned places have been flourishing centers in various time zones, some of them were way ahead of then civilizations. This is true for Bhangarh and I believe the same for Kuldhara too. So first investigate the history of Kuldhara: Around 13th century, Paliwal clan migrated from Pali to settle in Kuldhara due to tyranny of the Pali king. Majority of the clan members were believed to have been brahmins, so mention of Paliwals come as Paliwal brahmins most of the times -


  • With their knowledge and enterprising nature they turned Kuldhara (and 84 villages around Kuldhara) into a flourishing place for trade and commerce activities. 
  • The farmers were adept in cultivating crops like wheat in the desert lands. It’s true, they were masters in identifying rock layers underneath the sand which could hold the required quantity of water for cultivation. Such was effluence built into the region that each new family was welcomed with a brick and a gold coin from every other family in the village. Brick was meant to build a house and gold coin to start a livelihood. I have not heard of such levels of prosperity and brotherhood in the history of mankind.

Then the question is why these people deserted this prosperous place. Some legends behind this: 

  1. The prosperity of Kuldhara had become a thorn in the eyes of Mughals/ other invaders. It is said that in the 18th century, a raid from the invaders resulted in the exodus of the  entire community from the Kuldhara area. It is believed that all the water sources and wells got poisoned due to dead animal carcasses, While leaving, a curse was put on the Kuldhara, which stays till date. 

  2. Once a prime minister of the region (Jaisalmer),  Diwan Salim Singh got captivated by a beautiful girl of this community and wanted to marry her.  When his proposal was not approved by the community, he threatened Kuldhara residents with dire consequences. To preserve their dignity and keep honor intact, people from Kuldhara and nearby 84 villages made an exit in one night (around 1825 - 1830). While leaving, a curse was put on the Kuldhara that this place will never see any inhabitation, which stays till date. 

  3. Taxes were increased by the government/ king to such an extent that residents had no option but to leave.

Widely believed and accepted reason is the 2nd one. However when looking at the condition of the houses, it looks highly improbable that this desertion took place only 200 years back. None of the houses have roof or even a part of roof intact. Houses look like they are lying in this state for much more than 2 centuries. Other reason to question this belief is that this was a peaceful exit, and residents took with them only bare necessary stuff and there was no fight. 

This cart got left behind, most probably there were no animals left to drive this.

So structure of the houses should have remained intact, albeit with gradual deterioration with time. One house which is said to be of the head of the tribe has roof intact. Belief and logic do not coincide here, mystery is still unsolved.

Underground tunnels, which no one has dared to explore...
House is being renovated by ASI

I personally feel that something related to reason no. 1 is more appropriate. Generally raiders/ invaders after looting, used to destroy everything, India is a witness to many such raids. Whatever be the reason, the status of Kuldhara as a paranormal activity infested place is intact. Visitors to this place often complaint of uneasiness, touching on shoulders and sudden drop and rise in temperatures.


Around 19 km. from Kuldhara is Khaba fort, which again was abandoned along with the Kuldhara. Now ASI has taken over and converted it into a museum with ancient artifacts on display.

Walking around this fort gives a feeling associated with minimal human activity; however, one can find lot of peacocks around this fort. From top of this fort one can another abandoned village with all the houses in ruins. This village was inhabited by around 80 families and got abandoned along with Kuldhara.


Now Paliwals reside in many parts of the country and doing well, but some of them do not celebrate Rakshabandhan till date. It is believed that Kuldhara was abandoned on the day of Rakshabandhan.


The place is different and not so popular in the tourist circles, only visitors are inquisitive souls like us. Situated at 23 Kms. from Jaisalmer City, one can hire auto rickshaw or taxi to Kuldhara. However, to include Khaba fort in your visit itinerary, better hire a taxi. 


Keep exploring Folks.
Share:

Deeg Palace - the water world

"Jal Mahal (जल महल)", Water palace is a specialised architecture marvel, wherein a structure is constructed in water. India has mastered the art of Water palaces over the centuries. Water palaces found in India are unique and unparalleled.

 

Jal Mahal in Jaipur and Udaipur are acclaimed world wide for their splendid appearance. However we bring to you one more Jal Mahal at Deeg, which is lying hidden in Bharatpur district, despite the fact that it is very close to cities of Mathura and Agra.


Popularly known as "Deeg Palace", this Jal Mahal was constructed by the powerful Jat rulers in 1722 AD. This palace is unique in construction as this is a cluster of small palaces. Situated just 32 Km. to Bharatpur, 36 Km. from Mathura this can be comfortably visited in 2 hours while visiting Mathura/ Agra.

First one to greet you is the largest palace of all, Gopal Bhawan (गोपाल  भवन ), which used to serve as the royal residence of the king. As seen from the entrance -

Share:

From Udaipur, On the trail of Maharana Pratap...

Such is the richness of heritage in Rajasthan that almost every street, every village and every corner has been  an intricate block in the exquisite historical panorama of this country.
Majority of the attacks on India during ancient times originated from the West. It was the exemplary courage and selfless sacrifice of the brave Rajput rulers which had weathered most of these attacks time and again. Rajasthan has played a much significant role in preserving the fabric of Indian tradition and culture.

After the grand Chittorgarh, our excursion took us to "Udaipur", the city of Lakes. As I always say - The best plans should be kept early in your schedule. In line with my philosophy the first on schedule was the "Walk down the history lane which had witnessed the legendary battle of Haldighati, from Udaipur to Nathdwara via Haldighati".

All the good things start with praying to God, just on the outskirts of Udaipur there is a small temple of Lord Krishna. However you have to climb a 100 steps to reach to the temple. After praying we were all set to our first destination, Haldighati Museum.

This is the route which had once witnessed the battle of Haldighati. The excursion around Udaipur has been designed in such a way that one gets to walk the way which was be taken by Maharana Pratap for the battle of Haldighati. The hospitality of the local population is amazing and is worth mentioning. They are always willing to go an extra yard to assist the tourists in order to metamorphose their good experience into an excellent one.

Share:

Udaipur: Isn't Venice - Udaipur of the West..

It was all excitement and counting of days as soon as we planned a trip to Udaipur, one of the most romantic places in India and also popular as “city of lakes”. Every lane of the city is worth falling in love and network of Seven (7) lakes provide an ideal setting for romantic evenings. Established by Maharana Udai Singh in 1553, when he shifted the capital of Mewar from Chittorgarh. Udaipur City is one of best examples of Royality defined from India is one of most visited tourist destinations across the world. 

 

Along with Chittorgarh, Udaipur is a proud constituent of Mewar region. Mewar is the region which has weathered most of the attacks coming from the West to protect India. The folk tales of brave Rajputs and Maharana Pratap can be heard at every street and corner of this city. After history hunting at Chittorgarh, it was the time to discover the Grand Udaipur City.


As all good things shall start by prayers; one auto rickshaw driver advised us to first visit the Manshapurna Karni Mata Temple on the Machla Hills and enjoy the ropeway ride to reach the temple on top of hill. While enjoying the ropeway, one can click some breath-taking views of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Park adjacent to Doodh Talai Lake.



From the ropeway, the distant emerald Lake Pichola was visible and calling us to cherish the legendary boat rides on its blue waters. As soon as we returned from the temple, within no time we were at the boat ride station entry.

In the front of us were visible the noted monuments of Udaipur. The Boat ride will take you closer to Udaivilas and Lake Palace hotels which are situated in the middle of waters. Lake Palace used to serve as royal residence during summers.


All the lakes are interconnected. While enjoying our ride, a beautiful channel of connection of Lake Pichola with Fatehsagar lake.

No doubts all the boats gather at this point to click, this beautiful spot. Now I fully understood, why foreigners prefer to call Udaipur as “Venice of the East”. Venice must be feeling proud on this comparison with Udaipur. Check out Udaipur City from the water side...
Ride turned a full circle and the majestic City Palace, the royal residence of royal family of Udaipur was standing in front of us.

City Palace is complex of 11 palaces, courtyards and gardens and acclaimed globally for its intricate peacock mosaics, something heard only in mythological stories. A good part of City Palace is now turned into a museum. Camera is allowed inside after paying the prescribed entry fees. Take your camera to capture the grandeur from inside...
Also can have a royal meal inside the premises:

Around 200m. from City Palce is the major attraction and much visited Jagannath temple or Jagdish Temple.

It is believed that Lord Jagannath ordered the Maharana to build a temple in Udaipur where the God himself will come to bless this place. This 100 ft. high temple is also an architectural marvel and various mythological stories have been carved on the walls of this temple.

One has to take 32 marble steps to reach the temple. And to welcome the visitors, there stands two huge elephants with its trunk uplifted on either side of the stairs.
These elephants were built 11 stones’ blocks with such a craft that the joints are never visible. Lord Vishnu is called as Lord Jagdish here and is the worshipped deity here.







Located at the north of Lake Pichola is the Fatehsagar lake, which is an artificial lake and one of the most popular tourist hangout destinations in Udaipur.

Surrounded by Aravalli Ranges, the panoramic lake looks like an artists sketch. It is an ideal place to enjoy some quite moments with yourself or some romantic moments with your beloved.
Near to Fatehsagar Lake is the Maharana Pratap Memorial, the life of Maharana has been depicted by paintings. The most prominent being a caricature of Maharana Pratap slicing the Mughal officer along with his horse into 2 pieces with a single blow of his sword. During the battle of Haldighati Mughal officer had challenged Maharana Pratap for a duel fight.

A model of Chittorgarh Fort is also on display, as we were coming from Chittorgarh, we started identifying all the land mark features of the fort once more...



Next in the line was beautiful aura of lush green lawns, gardens, marble art and fountains, the place known as Saheliyon Ki Badi.







Built by Rana Sangram Singh, the place used to serve as the recreation spot for the royal maids. Notable feature here is the white marble umbrella/ chhatri type of fountain at the centre.

Water dripping down in the form of thin sprays from the terrace of the cenotaphs shaped like birds, create a wonderful sight like singing rains. The Saheliyon-ki-Bari opens from 8 AM to 5 PM.

We may have clicked numerous pictures and enjoyed some great food here, but what which can not be expressed fully in the words is the experience and remarkable hospitality of the people. Something is there in the Udaipur weather. For food lovers, Sukhadia Circle is the epitome of satiating the taste buds. Come early and secure a place, else enjoy the fountains while waiting for your turn at the food stalls.

 

Every moment in Udaipur is exploration of amazing history of our motherland and some memorable romantic moments with the soil of this region. Not only Udaipur city history is spread outside of Udaipur too, take some time to follow the trail of Maharana Pratap and the battle of Haldighati


Keep Travelling Guys…

Share:

Royal Traditions of "Chittorgarh"

Fortified citadel, tales of brave Rajputs to whom Pride was more important then their lives and womenfolk who chose to immolate themselves rather than the dishonor at hands of attackers.

Chittorgarh has been at the centre of all the brave tales, Nationalism and chivalry of Rajput Kings is indeed "Pride of India"
(The remains of Rana Kumbha Palace; Jauhar was commited here 3 times)
Share:

On the Road --> Religiously to Kaila Devi

Beauty is in the eyes of the viewer…Experiences of scorching sunlight makes the joy of a pleasant evening unparallel…Many people find beauty everywhere while some keep on complaining and searching for it.

 

One fine day I realized that of late I have been meandering only in the hills, lush green valleys to take pleasure in heavenly breeze and holy river waters. India is a land of diversities: Lush green valleys to barren landsSnow-capped mountains to scorching desertssparkling rivers to oceans…there is everything to everyone.

 

Better late than never, As I always say good travelers never plan in advance. As soon as I decided for the sandy and colorful Rajasthan…my car was ready to explore the colorful Rajasthan all the way to the holy temple of Kaila Devi.

 

Route is simple: Delhi - Mathura (150 km.) - Bharatpur (190 km.) – Mahua (255 km.) - Hindaun (290 km.) -Karauli (322 Km.) – Kaila Devi (345 Km.). Road is in fairly good condition and exquisite charm of Rajasthan will keep you in lively sprits.

The Kaila Devi Temple was constructed in the year 1100 AD and is situated at a distance of 23 km from Karauli town. Thousands of devotees from all over the country and from all communities visit this temple, as this place is considered to be one of the 9 Shakti peeths of Hindu religion.






Beyond Mathura, you have to travel in the company of the real India. India that lives in villages, no swanky apartments, but houses made of mud...






Barren fields, sandy lands to mountains and lush green fields…all in one drive. At times landscapes are simple breathtaking. I captured this panorama with my driving hand and while I was driving. I am an adventurer, but please do not imitate this...
At times you will get the feel of being on a Road Safari. I mean the places where this is no proper road. Check out this road; there in proper surface, however driving is as smooth as any well surfaced road. The red  sand in this region though is very rough in appearance but it gets hardened like a perfect road surface by even a small downpour of water.

Nearest railway station to Kaila Devi is Hindaun. One can take State roadways buses or taxis, which ply at regular timings and fares are pretty reasonable. If you are a driving enthusiast, only 320 Km. separates you from Delhi.

Kaila Devi is located in the Aravalli ranges. Looks like Goddess already knew about my love for hills, check out if you can differentiate between Rishikesh and Kaila Devi:


If you are looking for 5 STAR comforts here, you will be disappointed. The best accommodation you can get here in “Narsi Guest House”. Narsi Guest house is the biggest one here and is reasonably well maintained and to my joys parking too. Well I was very happy for my car...However there is no option of prior advance booking, but do try your luck whenever you go. We were fortunate to get accommodation in the Narsi Guest House.


All the streets lead to the temple of Kaila Devi, however we chose this way. This place dates back to 1100 AD, so you will find a lot of ancient architecture. This structure has not crumpled even an inch for centuries, a benchmark for present day architecture and construction.











Apart from Narsi Guest house, there are also a number of privately owned guest houses which provide bare minimum accommodation. Since this place a limited accommodation, so at times of huge rush of devotees a large number of people sleep in the beautiful courtyard of this temple. This might look a bit odd to us, but no one is complaining…

One of the most venerated fairs of Rajasthan, Kaila devi fair is held here in the month of Chaitra (according to the Hindu calendar), for fifteen days in March or April. It is held in the honor of the deity Kaila Devi (a form of Mahalakshmi, the goddess of wealth and Chamunda, the goddess of death).

 

I was amazed to see some of the devotees covering the distance to the temple in a very peculiar way. They were lying prostrate and marking lines with their hands at that position, then getting up and moving up to the drawn line and again repeating the procedure. Locales told me that this ritual is called 'Kanak-Dandoti' and is observed by staunch devotees. This is the power of faith and devotion by virtue of which these devotees endure hunger, thirst and exhaustion for even 15- 20 kilometers till they reach temple.

 

You can see a large number of saints and pilgrims from all the beliefs and traditions at all times here. One can also observe tribal people performing dances of happiness and singing songs in the praise of the deities lending the gaiety to the environment.

 

Mass prayer to the Goddess is also organized by the temple twice in day at 7:00 AM and 6:30 PM. You have to be the part of these prayers to experience the electrifying atmosphere. Let your soul immerse in the divine spirituality of this place.


Power of faith here is immense; even I went there twice in 2 days to seek blessings of the Goddess. Day or night, rains or scorching sun nothing can dampen the spirits of the devotees. Irrespective of their status everyone is lined up to seek the blessings. During the evening prayer the ambience of the temple is amazingly exuberant with the holy chants, can not be missed.





Don’t forget to visit the temple of Bhairon, located in the courtyard. Also there is a “Lord Hanuman” temple, facing the Kaila Devi shrine. Lord 'Hanuman', is also called 'Languriya' in the local talks.

Trips can not be completed without shopping; this place has a small market. There are a large number of shops selling variety of articles where one can buy souvenirs and memorabilia for this trip. Its advisable to check the prices from 2-3 shops before actually buying. I saw a camel too in this market, where else you can find a camel in the markets…Check out


Since Kaila Devi is located along the banks of Kalisil River, you can also enjoy a quite walk along the river side. Why only walking, sitting one can also take a bath in the black waters of the river and join these devotees..

Black waters...? “Kalisil” stands for “Black layer of Stones”, river bad is made of black stones, due to which the water appears stark black in colour. The view from the riverside is panorama par excellence. Photographers will definitely enjoy this.

Thanks to Goddess Kaila Devi, for the first time in my life I came so close to the peacocks, our National Bird. These birds are much more beautiful than our imagination. You will find a lot of peacocks here, preserved due to local people worshiping Peacocks as sign of good luck. "Life is made of moments, beautiful moments"
Peacock is an endangered bird and is facing severe perils of getting extinct. It was utmost heart breaking to see these birds trying to adjust to the new environment full of garbage, which is the outcome of human activities. We should stop encroaching in its natural habitats, without the vibrant colors of the Peacocks our earth will appear too dull.





Sorry folks, I forgot about the food....but such is this place that you would not feel hungry too often. This I realized when it was the time to have dinner. There are number of local eateries run by the locales. However take care about the hygiene factor. If you can afford walking till “Narsi Guest House”, you can get very reasonably priced and delicious food. Enjoy the charm of having the food served in the plates made out of leaves. And and and...Do not miss the appetizing “LASSI” in the earthen pots called “Kulhad” in local dialect. One earthen pot was almost equal to the dinner. Vow…I had a hefty dinner.

After dinner we set out for a quite walk around the place. Umbrella of the clear blue skies with distinctly visible stars had mesmerized us. In Delhi we hardly get to see more than 5-10 stars.
I got up early in the morning, to have a marvellous view of the Aravali ranges from the terrace of Narsi Guest House.

After one more round of praying and seeking blessings from the Goddess Kaila Devi, we decided to return back to Delhi. The place is magnetic as we found it very difficult to start the return journey.

Return journey was as eventful as we were able to enjoy a few missed out charming landscapes. This was the trip that took me closer to the real India. Despite being the economic powerhouse, there is an India where people has to walk miles to fetch drinking water. Though our highways are getting better day by day and the speed of the cars is increasing rapidly, but we still have to go a long way before we call ourselves a developed India.

Without any doubts, I will come again...Hopefully the next time I will see the much developed India.
To summarize this exciting trip: May the Goddess "Kaila Devi" be benevolent on me to let me continue travelling, exploring different places and living my life the way I want...

Share:

Bhangarh - Trail of 2 Ghosthunters

Bhangarh - The most haunted place on this Earth. Internet is flooded with the stories and legends about Bhangarh, which are too interesting to resist.

I got too much tempted to see this place. All the stories about this place motivated me to the extent that I was expecting to shake hands with the "Ghosts of Bhangarh" and I was looking forward to pull the curtains from the "Mystery of Bhangarh". 

One fine Saturday, we started our adventure at 7:00AM from Delhi to Bhangarh. If it was the indication of the things to come, one of my friends who has confirmed to be a part of Ghost Hunting trip, changed his mind at the last moment, that is only 15 minutes before. Well, this didn't dampen our spirits. Unfazed and Undaunted, we continued our voyage with high spirits.


Though the route was unfamiliar, but as I always say "Good Travellers never plan in advance". We had escaped the traffic of Delhi and were enjoying the cruising on NH-8. Left turn from Shahpura took us into the dominion of Aravallis mountains. Sailing through the gorges and mountainous roads, we were celebrating the drive of our lives. Steep incline and acute descents will be enough to keep a delicate balance between thrill and caution. Do not miss a steep right turn from Thanagaji.


There are no Petrol Pumps after Thanagaji till Bhangarh, so drivers please ensure you do not run out of gasoline. Road after Thanagaji used to be pretty narrow, when I first visited Bhangarh in 2010. However, the Rocky Terrain, mountains, Red Sands and colourful heritage of Rajasthan will set your spirits and enthusiasm rolling for the adventure ahead. This is the road to Bhangarh (Year 2018) -
Share:

Translate...

Badge for Top 10 Indian Travel Bloggers – 2018

Popular Posts