Lakes, Forts and Palaces - beautiful Rajasthan


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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jaipur
March 7th 2019
Published: August 12th 2019
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The Rajasthan trip was not a sudden plan but after lot of inquiry and web search on places and hotels. We took off on a bright September 2018 afternoon to Jaipur directly from Chennai. Jaipur also called as the Pink city is with many palaces and forts. There is a pink wall in the heart of the city around the market place and covering the old city hence the name pink city.

The first day was just a local sight seeing and visit to the city palace, Hawa Mahal, Amber fort, Jal Mahal , Albert Hall and the Abhaneri step well.

The summer heat was still strong and the tourists have started flowing in to Rajasthan, Its a favorite destination to many Indians as well as to over seas tourists.The first batch of tourists were already in.

We headed to the The City Palace, Jaipur after the usual entry tickets. This was built at the same time as the city of Jaipur, by Maharaja Sawai Jai SinghII, who moved his court to Jaipur from Amber, in 1727. Jaipur is the present-day capital of the state of Rajasthan, until 1949 the City Palace was the ceremonial and official seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The Palace was also the point of religious and cultural events, and continues to be the home of the Jaipur royal family , the palace complex has many buildings, courtyards, galleries, restaurants, and offices of the Museum Trust. It was indeed warm and we managed it with lots of water and butter milk in between.The Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust looks after the Museum. Currently, there are approximately 3,000 paintings housed in the Museum. Its sprawling complex is stunning. It has been converted into a museum that houses the exclusive handicraft products of Rajasthan, quite pricey !

Some snaps holding the ship of the desert the camel. It was looking pale and weak. Was wondering if they are being fed properly.

I could not miss to click the giant silver vessels .There are two huge silver vessels of 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) height and each with capacity of 4000 litres and weighing 340 kilograms on display here. They were made from 14,000 melted silver coins without soldering. They hold the Guinness world record as the world's largest sterling silver vessels. My mobile was piled up with photos and I clicked maximum shots to edit later and select the best !

These vessels were specially made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II to carry the water of the Ganges to drink on his trip to England in 1901 (for Edward VII's coronation). Hence, the vessels are named as Gangajalis. So much health conscious he was ! Those days may be the purest form of water available.

We had to break for lunch at a highway restaurant typical of serving tourists, busy and hectic activity. We all liked the food as we are used to the Rotis and dishes of north India. Somehow I feel you end up eating more during travel as may be you exert yourself more and feel more hungry !!

Next was the road trip to Chand Baori the step well at Abhaneri Village around 100 kms from Jaipur and not to be missed stop. It’s the most photogenic step well of India and he oldest surviving well. We were mesmerized when looking at this 13 story step well, what amazing symmetry and alignment. A big group had just landed from Russia and Korea. When you stand next to this 13 storey deep step well with symmetric triangular steps leading to the water at the bottom, you cannot but be awe struck. Being a desert region its one of the best water management technique around 1300 years ago. Older than Chola temples ! Huge tourist attraction and I found tourists from all over the world here. There was a small Shiva a temple close to the site and it was a beautiful spot.I spent more time looking at the deep well till the image was embedded in my memory.!Amer Fort is a fort located in Amer, Rajasthan, India. It is Located high on a hill, it is the main tourist attraction in Jaipur. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly known as the Amer Palace. Its also called Amber place , due to the colour ?

The Fort is known for its artistic style elements. With its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Amer Palace. It was indeed scorching and we managed by wearing caps and goggles. Summer was yet to end as such.

It has a lot of Mughal architecture influence and fully constructed of red sandstone and marble, palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-e-Aam, or "Hall of Public Audience", the Diwan-e-Khas, or "Hall of Private Audience", the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. This reminds me of Red fort of Delhi which has similar names for the different levels. Natural air conditioning those days, just imagine the plan and technique.

Evening trip was to the Jal Mahal the palace built on a lake...It was built in the year 1799. This historical palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. The Man Sagar Lake was formed by constructing a dam between the two hills by Sawai Man Singh. It was amazing to see this in the night. It is five storey and during floods four floors are under water. The depth is 15 ft and area is around 300 acres.

UDAIPUR

City palace, Sajjangarh place, Lake pichola, Jal Mahal, Fateh sagar, Kumbalgarh fort, Ranakpur.

Pushkar, Ajmer.

The hotel gave a wonderful view of the Lake Pichola with the magnificent Taj lake palace hotel in the middle.

Around 80 kms frm Udaipur is the most amazing place I would say is the Kumbalgarh fort which literally made me wonder how this was built so many years ago. The massive rocks carried to such heights and winding ramparts of the fort running all along the fort for several kilo meters. It has a world record of longest wall of 38 kilometers around the fort claimed to be second longest next to Great wall of China.

Rest my photos will speak of the grandeur of this magnificent fort.

Kumbhalgarh fort is a Mewar fortress on the westerly range of Aravalli Hills,. It is one of the World Heritage Site included in Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Built during the course of the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Occupied until the late 19th century, the fort is now open to the public and is spectacularly lit for a few minutes each evening.

Initially looking up we were hesitant to climb in the hot sun but I made up my mind, me and my daughter convinced m wife we better do it and so we were off. It was a lovely climb to the top. It’s one of the largest hill fort complexes in the world.

It was a sigh of relief when we reached the top most point with a fantastic view of the Aravall hills and the winding wall of the fort like a giant snake. The width of the wall is wide enough to ride 8 horses together!

Out next location was he famous Ranakpur Jain temple which was around 1 hour travel from the fort.

Ranakpur is a village located in Desuri tehsil near Sadri town in the Pali district of Rajasthan in western India. Ranakpur is easily accessed by road from Udaipur.Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple, said to be the most spectacular of the Jain temples. There is also a small Sun temple which is managed by the Udaipur royal family trust. The marble cravings were were like paper cut and extremely precision cut. It took several years to build with a army of sculptors numbering over 6000.

The temple at is dedicated to Tirthankara Adinatha. Local legend has it that Dharma Shah, a local Jain businessperson, started construction of the temple in the 15th century following a divine vision. The temple honors Adinath, the first Tirthankar of the present half-cycle (Avasarpiṇī) according to Jain cosmology. The town of Ranakpur and the temple are named after the provincial ruler monarch, Rana Kumbha who supported the construction of the temple.

Well within the city is the Lake Pichola, Its is an artificial fresh water lake, created in the year 1362 AD, named after the nearby Picholi village. It is one of the several contiguous lakes, and developed over the last few centuries in and around the famous Udaipur city. The view was lovely from the roof top of our hotel and in the evening it was all the more beautiful. The lakes around Udaipur were primarily created by building dams to meet the drinking water and irrigation needs of the city and its neighborhood. Two islands, Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir are located within Pichola Lake, and have been developed with several palaces to provide views of the lake.

The day's plan was over and we were indeed very tired and exhausted, had early dinner and hit the sack. So tired that opened my eyes only at 7 in the morning !

Today's plan was to visit the Pushkar and also Ajmer the sacred place for Muslims but people of all religion visit this place.

Pushkar: is a town in the Ajmer district about 150 kilometres southwest of Jaipur It is a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Sikhs. Pushkar has many temples. Most of the temples and ghats in Pushkar are from the 18th century and later, because many temples were destroyed during Muslim conquests in the area. Subsequently, the destroyed temples were rebuilt. The most famous among Pushkar temples is the Brahma built during the 14th century CE. It is considered a sacred city by the Hindus particularly in Shaktism. Consuming meat and eggs are forbidden in the city. Pushkar is located on the shore of Pushkar lake.

Pushkar is famous for its annual fair (Pushkar Camel Fair) featuring a trading fete of cattle, horses and camels. It is held over seven days in autumn marking Kartika Purnima according to the Hindu calender (Month of Karthik - October or November). It attracts nearly 400,000 people every year both domestic and overseas tourists don’t miss this place if they plan for Rajasthan.

Pushkar in Sanskrit means "blue lotus" flower. Pushkar is in centre-east part of Rajasthan, on the western side of Aravalli mountains. near some of the oldest geological structures in India. Microliths near Khera and Kaderi suggest the region was settled in ancient times.

Ajmer--Mohinuddin Chisti was a 13th century Sufi mystic saint and philosopher. Born in Sistan (modern day Iran), he travelled across South Asia, eventually settling in Ajmer (modern day, Rajasthan, India), where he died in 1236. As local as well as national rulers began to come and pray, the structure was expanded. In 1332, the sultan of Delhi (Tugluq dynasty) Mohammed Bin Tugluq )constructed a Dargah (a commemoration structure constructed around the tomb of Muslim saints, where people from all religions come to pray) and it grew in popularity and size over the years.The structure was subsequently expanded by a number of rulers including many saint. It was crowded and though we were initially hesitant on the crowd I wanted to make it having traveled so far from Chennai.

Akbar and his queen used to come here by foot on pilgrimage from Agra every year in observance of a vow where he prayed for a son. The large pillars called "Kose ('Mile') Minar", erected at intervals of two miles (3 km) along the entire way between Agra and Ajmer mark the places where the royal pilgrims halted every day. It has been estimated that around 150,000 pilgrims visit the site. We could see some and few were in dilapidated condition.

The further plan was to head to the Mt Abu. the only hill station in Rajasthan. We stayed in Palanpur Palace hotel. Its a palace converted to a hotel. Huge rooms, high ceiling and old antique furniture all gave a superb atmosphere out here. Only worry was we were the only guests in the 30 room hotel. Initially it was a bit scary and since only one night we managed. We were the first set of tourists. When we checked out next day a big group was just arriving.

This is a small hill station with a lake named Nakki lake and the famous Dilwara Jain temple . This is much older than the Ranakpur Jain temple. Marvellous marble carvings were mesmerizing. We went around took lot of snaps and were awe struck seeing the carvings. It took 13 years to finish this with over 4000 sculptors as per temple history.

Although Jains built many beautiful temples at other places in Rajasthan, Dilwara temples are believed to be the most beautiful example of architectural perfection.The ornamental detail spreading over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars, and panels is simply marvelous.

These were the Jain temples built by Vimal Shah and Vastupala was the designer. The Jain ministers of Dholka between the 11th and 13th centuries AD and are famous for marble use and intricate marble carvings. There were lot of tourists lined up to enter the temple and as such many were there inside. The local guide was very much after us but we avoided him as he was already with over 25 tourists and just wanted us to join.

We next headed to the Guru Shikar the top most point of the Aravalli range of this region of Arbuda mountains.

Guru Shikar : Guru Shikhar, a peak in the Arbuda Mountains of Rajasthan, is the highest point of the Aravalli Range. It rises to an elevation of 1,722 metres. It is 15 km from Mount Abu and a road from there leads almost to the top of the mountain. This has the Dattatreya swamy cave. A strenuous climb of the winding steps and finally we made it to the summit. It was a breath-taking view from the top and refreshing as well. It was late evening and we wanted to go back to the hotel very much in day light. After a 20 minute walking around the temple we started the descend.

Since we had time on way back made a quick visit to the famous Ambaji temple at Gujarat / Rajasthan border. This is the principal shrine of a goddess who has been worshiped since the pre-Vedic period. She is often referred to as Arasuri Amba, named for the location of the temple in the Arasur hills, near the source of the Saraswati river at the south-western end of the Aravali mountain range.

We now headed to Jaipur on the last leg of our trip. One day stay at Jaipur and next day flight to Chennai our starting point. It was a superb trip, full of exciting places and lovely locales.

Bye till the next blog.

Cheers,

Ramz


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12th August 2019

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