Published on February 23, 2014
padhaaro.com http://www.padhaaro.com/blog/rustic-rajasthan/ The Rustic Rajasthan Renuka Manghwani Radiant…. Amazing… Josh… Awesome… Scintillating… Thrilling… Heroic… Astonishing… Natural… That’s a gist of the COLORFUL Rajasthan – a vibrant state where tradition & history blend with contemporary lifestyles!!! (quite literally.. what with Jodhpur being the Blue City.. Jaisalmer being the Golden City.. Jaipur being the Pink city and Bikaner the Red City) Rajasthan - the land of Kings… brave warriors… camels… bandhini… fascinating forts and palaces…romance, wars and tragedy!
Our first destination was Jodhpur – as boring & ordinarily as this place may sound, in reality it certainly is not so! The Mehrangarh Fort perched on a rocky ridge is spectacular! The intricate Carvings made with Golden and Red Sand Stone and brilliance of this Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur | Image Credits: Vishnu Shiv Kapoor architectural heritage will amaze every visitor. On the way down from the fort is Jaswant Thada – the graceful marble cenotaph of Maharaj Jaswant Singh. The much hyped 340 roomed Umaid Bhavan Palace – which houses Maharaja Umaid Singh, partially is a museum and about 90% is now converted to a Taj Heritage hotel (which now is too pricey after Liz Hurley & Arun Nayar tied the knot there) is the kinda place I’d like to live in Before we knew it was time to bid farewell to Jodhpur but not before we enjoyed a roof top dinner at Pal Haveli (our hotel in Jodhpur) at 4 degrees.Next morning we left for Jaisalmer, which is a beautiful 4hrs 30mins drive. Must mention that Rajasthan has remarkable roads, with amazing views of peacocks and deer’s all through our drive. Jaisalmer – the golden city – with its hostile terrain ( ‘guldan phathar’- as our driver wud say ;)) and brilliant deserts – houses some amazing havelis which is a treat for the eye. The intricate designs, carvings are breathtaking and it’s difficult to stop admiring these architectural marvels.
The Gadisar Lake built in the 14th century has small temples & shrines around it, making us wonder if we had reached Banaras by any chance! The Jaisalmer Fort , the only Fort which is actually a town in itself, Gadisar Lake Image Credits: Ramnath Bhat houses more than 5000 people, houses, shops, 1000 year old Jain temples. The quaint & narrow lanes offer a spectacular collection of stuff to shop. Jaisalmer thrives mainly on tourism! It is amazing how everyone there speaks accented English and a variety of foreign languages – Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese… no formal education, just picked up the language from tourists! We chatted up a 8 year old girl, dressed in the rajasthani attire, selling trinkets and she cud speak English, French & Italian.. amazing!!!! Memory cards, camera roles, CD’s etc are sold like ‘chana- mungfali’ on the streets here. The entire city has adapted itself completely just for the foreign tourists (to an extent that we felt like aliens there, as at times the locals gave us the ‘ you bilady Indians’ looks.. lol) About 50 km from Jaisalmer are the Sand Dune Camps, where we had a camel ride (on Hrithik & Rocket- yeah those were their names!) The sunset on the dunes was breathtaking!!! The bumpy journey was made interesting with
the yackity ‘chatur’ Charlie’s – the camelwalas… extremely streetsmart!!! As the ball of fire submerged, the golden sands changed it colors from gold to orange to yellow to brown. This was followed by a Rajasthani Welcome at the Tent Camp, a few hrs of traditional singing, dancing around the campfire and the authentic rajasthani meal. Rajasthani food is typically made with few ingredients that are available in the region, as the region has Jaisalmer Sand Dunes Camp Image Credits: Avinash Rupani been inclined to the war-like lifestyle of the medieval times. Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred, more out of necessity than choice – gatte ke sabji, dal bhatti churma, ker sangri, pyaaz kachori, mirchi pakode, dal khichdi. Bikaner- the ‘Camel Country’ which houses the only Camel Research and Breeding farm in Asia and the largest one in the World – also tasted the Camel Milk. We actually got to see the stud “Mr Bikaner” in person… Talk, Dark and handsome!!!! Well pampered for being the best amongst a few hundreds of Camels…yeah.. a Camel… we clicked pics with ‘Mr Bikaner’ (lucky girls.. ;)) Visited Laxmi Nivas Lalgarh Palace – a masterpiece in red sandstone is a fusion of the Moghul, Rajput & European architecture, the exteriors contrasting with the oriental interiors – an amazing collection of well maintained paintings, hunting trophies and sprawling lawns. A visit to the magnificent Junagarh Fort, Prachina Museum, Jain Temple and finally to the ‘Borld Phamous’ Karni Mata Temple which has been featured in Discovery Channel. This temple is a really interesting one – it houses about 20,000 mice!!! All in ONE temple…. people live, eat, drink in the temple WITH the mice crawling all over them while they sleep, eat the same food as the mice do and yet.. till date.. no-one has ever fallen ill, nor has the temple been hit by plague. Not a single mouse is spotted outside this temple and if a ‘local’ mouse does enter the temple, it is killed! Fascinating seeing the mice strolling around.. taking a walk in their garden … while people moving around the temple just did not seem to blink an eyelid. The last lap was to Jaipur – seemed like another crowded city with the malls and works – until we saw the magnificent monuments- Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal and a huge collection of buggies, axes, knifes, deadly weapons, pistols, jewellery, ivory collections, exotic ceilings. The Amber Fort itself (pronounced as Amer) – was the capital of Rajasthan before the Maharaj shifted the capital to Jaipur a few centuries ago – is a
fascinating blend of the Hindu & Muslim architecture, made is red sandstone & white marble… a fusion of expressive paintings, precious stones, mirrored walls, marble sculptures. Late in the evening we went to Choki Dhani – an ethnic village resort – which showcased the culture of Rajasthan in one single canvas… puppet shows, elephant/ camel rides, folk dances, kothris, mehndi, authentic food, bangles etc. Ended the trip with a rushed 2 hours of shopping (how can 3 women go on a holiday and NOT shop!!!) Shri Karni Mata Temple | Image Credits: Koen
Amer Fort in Jaipur
Poolside at Shahpura House in Jaipur
Choki Dhani in Jaipur
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