We (me and my husband) thought of taking a break of 1-2 weeks from our busy hectic schedule. After evaluating a few options we decided to make a roadtrip to Rajasthan in our Tata Safari. Like a typical road trip we simply planned the route with no advance hotel bookings (of course with a few hotel phone numbers from trip advisor.)
Here is the route that we followed-
Pune – Vadodara – Udaipur – Kumbhalgarh – Ranakpur – Nathdwara – Chittorgarh – Ajmer – Jaipur-Pushkar – Jodhpur – Osian – Pokran – Jaisalmer – Barmer – MountAbu – Ahmedabad- Vadodara – Pune.
Total KM travelled: 3970.
We were five members (me, Abhijeet – my husband, Saee-my 2.5 years old daughter (Saee means friend in my mother tongue – for those who are non-maharashtrians ) and my in-laws), started on 30th June at 6:30 AM from Pune. Our first stop was at Petrol pump at Wakad to fill up fuel tank.
After driving for 2.5 hours, we stopped at FUN-N-FOOD near Versova Bridge for breakfast. Continuing further on our trip we noticed traffic till Surat driving was frustrating as there were so many trucks on the highway and no lane discipline was followed by them. After Surat there was less traffic and the driving experience started improving.
We reached Vadodara by 3 PM. As per our initial plan we were supposed to take halt at Vadodara, but we reached before time and Abhijeet was still enthusiastic to continue driving – never mind Udaipur was still 312 KM ahead.
Reached Udaipur by 9:00 PM, as we had phone numbers of hotels, contacted few of them and got one Hotel Meghdoot, checked in at 9:30 PM. It was total 898 KM drive from our home to Udaipur.
After relaxing…Abhijeet had some chat with hotel manager and asked him to get a guide for us for next day sightseeing in Udaipur.
1st July – After breakfast, we started at 10.00 AM, guide was ready and was waiting for us.
Udaipur city was built by the Maharana Udai Singh, earlier he was in chittor, he came here for hunting and liked this place and he built the city- story behind Udaipur as told by our guide.
First we visited Sajjangarh, built by Maharaja Sajjansingh, on the top of hill. On the way to Sajjangarh saw two peacocks on the roadside…got excited…then guide if we are lucky we could see some animals in the jungle.
Sajjangarh is away from the city – nice and cool place on a relatively higher altitude from the rest of the city. From the top you can see JagMandir palace, fateh sagar palace and taj lake palace… or should I say the whole city view.
Maharaja Sajjansingh used to spend 4 months here during summer with his 15 queens.
Then we visited Oldest Mahadev Temple.
3rd We visited Bapu bazaar, famous bazaar of Udaipur. Udaipur is famous for silver jewellery…we did some shopping.
After shopping we had lassi, which is very famous in the city (don’t remember name of hotel).
4th– We visited Vintage Car Museum…15 cars were at display, nice car collection but not worth the entry fee (You will find almost same collection at Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur)
5th – We visited City palace museum, royal residence too good.
After city palace, we had lunch at Hotel Natraj-famous for gujrati thali and were back to hotel for some rest.
At 5.30 PM, we visited ropeway (we didn’t do it as we were running out of time), lake pichola-boat riding. Then Visited Bagore ki Haveli at 6:45PM, for the dance show named “Darohar” which runs daily from 7 to 8 PM. – If you are one of those who like to sit back and relax after a day’s hectic schedule, this is a “must watch” show. Amongst others there was one folk dancer who was approx 50 yrs old. In her 50s and oh my what energy and dancing skills. Very inspiring.
After dance show we had some clicks at Gangaur ghat then went to gulab garden, Saee and I took a camel ride.
After gulab garden, we were back to hotel and had dinner. Guess what, it rained that night for the first time in Udaipur.
2nd July– We started at 7:40 AM, filled up fuel tank. On the way to Kumbhalgarh we had breakfast famous mirchi wada at some tapri. On the way to Kumbhalgarh we visited Haldighati museum at 9:30 AM. This museum is private, person over there takes you through the museum, describing every piece. There were paintings, models describing the battle of Haldighati between Maharana Pratap and Mughal. After the first section of the museum, we went for second section where they showed us short movie of battle of Haldighati and Chetak- horse of Maharana Pratap. After the movie…he took us to the light and music show which was the second last section of the museum. The last section was shops…where they sell rose water, gulkand prepared by them. Overall nice historical place and one must visit when in Udaipur.
Road to Kumbhalgarh is full of greenery – you will see so many different types of birds. It was hard to believe that we were in Rajasthan….all the way it was like konkan.
We reached Kumbhalgarh by 10.45 AM, 82 km from Udaipur. Kumbhalgarh is birthplace of Maharana Pratap. Built in 15th century by Rana Kumbha, and enlarged through the 19th century. Every evening the fort is lit up for some time, we couldn’t see it as we visited in the morning.
After having lunch at Kumbhalgarh, we left for Ranakpur famous for Jain temple.
Ranakpur jain temple is open for non-jains after 12 noon that is why we had to plan kumbhalgarh first. Beautiful temple with very fine and nice art on marble pillars. Pujari (Priest) at the temple explained us the history of the temple and importance of major drawings/arts/sculptures in the temple.
There is one beautiful carving made out of a single marble rock where there 108 heads of snakes and numerous tails. On one of the pillar there is writing by Akbar, where it wrote that he will never destory any part of this temple. There is a big statue of Mahavir which is built by powder of real pearls…it shines amazing. Pujari told us that there many idols of Mahavir, which are kept underground and are given to those who ask for it for building new Jain temples.
We got late at Ranakpur, so we had to drop our plan for Nathdwara which was on the way to Chittor (165 kms from Ranakpur). On the way to Chittor..it rained again. Reached Chittor at 8 PM…light and music show was going on at the fort. Chittor fort looks really great at night during the show. We stayed at Hotel Vinayak in chittorgarh.
3rd July– Morning at 9.00 AM we visited fort and took guide as the fort is 13 KM long. Beautiful fort, it is the largest fort in India. In fort we visited Vijay Stambha (Victory Tower), Kirti Stambha (Fame Tower),Rana Kumbha palace,Fateh Prakash palace,Gaumukh reservoir, Padmini’s palace, Sun temple, jain temples and museum.
If you observe the sculptures – not a single statue is in good position – some or the other part of each and every statue is destroyed. There is a history behind it as told by our guide “Alladin Khilji when was in Chittor saw Rani Padmani in mirror..while Rani was in her palace Jal Mahal. To obtain her, Khilji called his force and attacked Chittor. So Rani Padmani decided to suicide, a huge pyre was lit and followed by their queen, all the women of Chittor jumped into the flames and deceived the lustful enemy waiting outside. There were around 16,000 women.”
Finally the guide dropped us at shop which is famous for rajai’s, chandan saree. You will find the rajai’s at very low cost compared to Jaipur and Udaipur. We had already done our shopping at Udaipur, we were already at loss.
We left Chittor at 12.45 in the noon for Jaipur and had lunch at hotel on the way.
On the way to Jaipur we visited Ajmer. Ajmer was not in our plan but as we had some time and it was only 27 km off track from Jaipur road so we decided to go there. It is a pilgrimage centre.
As we were entering Jaipur, traffic police caught us for tinted glass of windows and I was not wearing seat belt. He took RC book and asked to collect next morning from their office at Jaipur after paying the fine.
The fact that even everyone on a 2 wheeler (including pillions) were wearing helmets was a good indication that traffic rules are strictly followed in Jaipur. Of all the cities we visited in Rajasthan, Jaipur was the hottest one.
We reached Jaipur at 7.15PM and stayed at Anuraag Villa, nice place to stay.
4th July– Visited Yadgaar building (Local RTO office in Jaipur) collect RC book- Abhijeet had to watch a 10 minutes movie on safe driving- thanks to me – I was the one who was not using the seat belt. After watching the movie and paying a fine of Rs 100 we moved on to our first destination in Jaipur – Hawa mahal.
One good thing about Jaipur is that all tourist attraction points are located on the same street, so you don’t have to go back and forth across the city.
1st spot- Hawa mahal– five-storey “Palace of the Winds”, it is having 953 small windows called Jharokas – from where Queen and her accompanies (Rani) used to see bazaar. Jharokas are common design of windows across all forts, palaces in Rajasthan – It is said that no one was supposed to see the queen’s face. The Jharokas are designed in such a way that the queen could see what’s on the outside but was not visible for people on the other side.
2nd spot-City palace– built by Sawai Jai Singh II. This is relatively a newer palace – not as impressive as the previous forts we had visited.
After city palace we had lunch at Balaji bhojnalay – right opposite to city palace gate on the main road – nice food. Back to hotel, took some much needed rest.
At 4PM we visited Amer fort, on the way to amer fort saw Jal mahal which was not opened for tourists at that time.
Jaigarh fort and Nahargarh fort are on the same route. There are some interesting stories that link Indira Gandhi with these forts – you may want to google about it. At Amer fort we took a guide, who explained every minute details about the fort. What a grand fort this is.
Amer fort is unique in architecture – The fort was build be 2 architects – one expert in Moghal design and other in Hindu design styles.
It has beautiful paintings with natural colors (made from leafy vegetables, fruits, etc) and gold, Sheesh mahal which is called winter palace, used by Maharajas during winter. Sheesh Mahal has a very interesting architectural design. The glass pieces on the wall worked like room heaters in those days – when lamps were lit in the rooms.
Equally interesting is the summer palace which was used by Maharaja during summer – the summer palace is designed in such a way that it works like a natural AC.
As you enter fort you would see meena bazaar – this is similar to Delhi’s Meena bazaar – I could only imagine how lively the whole place would have been in those days. As we went up visited Kali temple, this temple has Ganesha’s idol on its door – a precious piece of art – It is said that it is built from a rare stone. The value of the ganesha idol is so much that there is 24 hours security guard and surveillance camera installed
The fort has a wall running to about 12 KM. There are two gates to the fort Sun gate and Moon gate. In the morning you can have elephant ride thought the sun gate, which is called Elephantastica. We entered through the moon gate as we visited in the evening.
Daily at 7.30 PM music and light show in held at the foot of the fort. The show is spectacular – that describes the history the fort – a one of its kind light and sound show – various parts of the fort are lit at different occasions as the story proceeds. After watching 55 minutes of amazing light show, we were back to hotel by 9:00 pm.
5th July, after having breakfast we visited Jantar Mantar and Albert hall museum. Jantar Mantar is a place that will take you by surprise and make you wonder and appreciate the knowledge of our ancestor. Jantar Mantar has instruments which were used to for various astronomical calculations. The primary purpose of this was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets.
After visiting Albert hall we left for Pushkar at 12 in noon.
Please note that most the entry tickets can be used on 4-5 destinations. Do make a note of this fact.
Reached Pushkar at 2.30PM, Pushkar is the only place on earth where you will find a temple of Lord Bramha. Here is the story that explain why this is the only Bramha temple in the universe. The temple is closed between 1.30 PM to 3.00 PM. Since we reach 30 minutes before 3:00 pm, we visited pushkar lake first and then took darshan of lord bramha.
We left for Jodhpur at 3:30 pm (225 kms from Pushkar) and arrived by 8.15PM. We stayed at Hotel High Pointe, which was in the main city…, recommending you not to take hotels in the city if travelling by your own car.
On 6th July– We started at 9.00 AM and first visited Mehrangarh.
The fort has lift, my in-laws used it, recommending you to not to use it as it goes only one level up, remaining floors you have to walk.
One more attraction in this fort is flying fox (zip line tour)-which was closed that time…my bad luck.
At the entrance there were local people playing instruments and singing folk songs. After entering the fort ahh…again one more beautiful fort… “ Rao Jodhaji Ka Falsa”.
On the thick wall at the second gate the imprints of cannonball can still be seen.
There are seven gates, which include Jayapol (meaning ‘victory’), Fattehpol (also meaning ‘victory’) gate..dont remember name of other pols I mean gates.
The Mehrangarh museum exhibits the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period rooms (Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Takhat Vilas).
After Mehrangarh, we visited Jaswant thada- is a 19th century royal cenotaph built in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The son of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, Maharaja Sardar Singh, in the memory of his father, built the Jaswant Thada.
We had lunch at Pawan Restaurant and then visited Umaid Bhavan Palace.
Umaid Bhavan Palace is one of the world’s largest private residences, built by Maharaja Umedsingh. This is built in Chittar hill and has 347 rooms. It was built by the maharaja for employment during drought conditions. It took 15-20 years with 12000 people to complete this palace.
After Umed Bhavan Palace we were back to hotel had some rest and at 5 PM we visited Mandore garden.
Beautiful garden, there are many temples with no idols, destroyed by the Mughals. There were lots of monkeys in the garden. Also saw peacock on the roof of museum. Mondore garden museum was closed as we reached there by 5.30 PM. Spent some time relaxing in the garden and then visited clock tower, did some shopping and we had dinner at Hotel Priya and were back to hotel.
Next morning we visited Osian…in my next post Roadtrip to Resurgent Rajasthan – II.