Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Exploring Rajasthan ๐Ÿซ

India is undoubtedly one of the most #incredible places on earth. Not just the mountains, the oceans and the jungles but the history of this country, the cultural diversity, the traditions, religions, everything is so enthralling about this country. Every state, every city, every corner, every street is trying to tell you a story, listen carefully.

Hello, Family!!

Hope you all have been good ๐Ÿ˜Š

Today’s blog features our recent trip to the colorful state of Rajasthan, the land of Kings. Rajasthan is the largest state of India and majorly contributes to heritage, art, and tourism.

Like always, it was a last minute plan. By the time we finished our work and reached back home, it was already 9:40. While eating dinner, we discussed and finalized that we would go and explore some parts of Rajasthan this time. Packed our stuff in less than 20 minutes, reached the bus stop by 11:15 and boarded a bus from Ahmedabad, Gujarat to Jodhpur. The bus dropped us at Kalputra, Jodhpur at 8 a.m. in the morning. Since we hadn’t made any prior bookings, we took an auto and started looking for a good budget hotel. There are plenty of options, so finding a nice place to stay would not be a struggle. By 11 we were already heading towards Mehrangarh Fort which is one of the largest forts of India, built in 1459 by Rao Jodha.

It’s an alluring historical structure with intricate carvings, also has a museum stocked with palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes, and furniture. Within the fort are some beautifully crafted and very well maintained palaces such as Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesha Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana. From the top of the fort, you can see the entire Blue city. A breathtaking painting in shades of blue. We can go on and on praising how brilliantly the fort is built, but we urge you to go and see that by yourself.

Right behind the fort, there is a lane that leads towards the clock tower. There is a huge market where you can shop souvenirs, fine varieties of spices, handicrafts, embroidered fabrics, traditional jewelry, and antiques. You can also check out other local markets such as Mochi Bazar famous for Jodhpuri juttis and mojaris. AND don’t forget to try the Pyaas (Onion) Kachori and Malai Lassi available almost everywhere in the city.

Just a Kilometer away from the fort is another monument worth visiting, Jaswant Thada. It is a cenotaph built by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur in 1899 in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. You can watch the sunset and enjoy some peaceful time by the lake.

Woke up early the next day, checked out from the hotel by 9:30 and left the luggage there. Quickly moved towards the Umaid Bhawan, probably the world’s largest private residence which is open for public visit. The massive palace is not only famous for its architecture but also for the history of its construction. In the 1920s, a saint cursed that a drought will follow the Rathore Dynasty. For almost 3 years Jodhpur faced a severe drought and famine condition. The people of jodhpur sought help from the then king Umaid Singh. That’s when the king decided to build a splendid palace so that he can provide employment to the people. A part of the Palace is the residence of the royal family, another part is managed by Taj hotels and the remaining part is a museum which exhibits a stuffed Leopard, a symbolic flag, quirky clocks, classic cars and amazing pieces of art. We could not spend a long time at the Bhawan because we had to leave for Jaisalmer.

It is very easy to commute between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer as there are a lot of buses available throughout the day and the journey is of 6-6:30 hours. We reached Jaisalmer at 8:30 and started looking for a hotel.

Fortunately, we stopped at a stall outside the fort to eat momos, when we found out that there are a lot of hotels and homestay options inside the fort. How COOL is that!!! We were so excited with the thought of staying inside the fort that without wasting another minute, we went inside and found a cozy and clean room at a very reasonable rate. Tired, we decided to take a nap and when we woke up it was 12:30 a.m. , someone probably played around with the clock. Our stomachs were making all kind of funny noises, but it looked like the entire fort is deeply asleep. That is when Shiva cafe came to our rescue. The owner and the staff there are so warm and kind. They cooked us fresh dinner and shared some interesting facts and stories about the city and the fort. The best part about traveling is meeting such people and enjoying such conversations.

A little exhausted yet super delighted, for the best part of the trip was yet to come. The sunrise from the fort was one of the most wonderful we had ever seen. The fort shimmered as the sun came up. Around 5000 people live inside the fort, where most of them have converted their homes into a hotel/homestay, cafes, and restaurants, others sell the local handicraft, antiques, and the camel leather products.

Spent some time traversing the fort, ate lunch and we were off to the Thar dessert. There are some wonderful places on the way to the dessert. The first stop was the beautifully crafted, Bada bagh which contains a set of royal cenotaphs.

Next was a village, Kuldhara which was abandoned some 300 years ago. There are a few stories going around about this place and some
claim that they have witnessed paranormal activities and hence gradually this place started gathering tourist attraction.

Next was Amar Sagar, which is a Jain temple. The picturesque route from the fort to the sand dunes had hundreds of windmills standing on both sides and the sheep were often seen roaming around, chewing grass.

Reached at our destination at around 4, hopped on a camel ๐Ÿซ and enjoyed the bumpy ride like a little kid, when suddenly the giant orange ball caught our sight ๐ŸŒ…. Oh-My-God!!!! Such a MAGNIFICENT view it was to see the sun going down in the dunes. The only regret- couldn’t capture the sunset. We reached the campsite and were served with garma garam pakoras and chai.

In less than an hour, the dessert was lit up and soon we could see the moon coming out. We could not believe our luck, it was the supermoon day ๐ŸŒš !!! We have seen some amazing sunrises and sunsets over the past few years but it was probably the first time that we got to observe a moonrise. Awestruck, we sat there for hours admiring the moon. We were 6 travelers and 4 caretakers. Nobody else could be sighted for as far as we could see. The dinner was cooked on a hearth and tasted delicious. No electricity, no water supply, no modern amenities yet these people managed everything so easily. A long walk in the dunes, deep conversations under the moonlight, couldn’t ask for anything more. Later,we sat around the fire, connected with others over travel stories and sang some classic songs. The stars, the moon, the silence, the feeling of being one with nature, everything was so overwhelming, it took away all the exhaustion and kept us up for long. The sun rays pierced through our blankets and forced us to open our eyes, not that we are complaining. Another beautiful morning of our lives! Once we had our tea and breakfast, it was time to bid goodbye to the dunes. One of the most difficult things to do is leave behind a place which literally swamped our hearts with happiness.

If you are still struggling with your Christmas๐ŸŒฒ ๐ŸŽ… and new year plans and want an offbeat peaceful location to celebrate, think no more Jaisalmer is the place for you. New year’s eve with your loved ones, in the dunes = the perfect set up ever!! Hope you guys enjoyed this post and do share your travel stories and pictures with us.

Loads of love,
Peppy Chics โค๏ธ