Monday, March 31, 2014

Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jodhpur

22 December 2013

Situated on the outskirts of Jodhpur city, Umaid Bhavan was one of the last Palaces built in India. It was completed in 1943!! Part of it is converted to a star hotel and the remaining area consists of (erstwhile) Royal family residence and museum. With little guess work, one can easily conclude that commoners like us will end up seeing the museum.

The building looks grand from outside. The museum did not impress much considering that we were in Mehrangarh fort few hours ago!!

Peep into the hotel area and you will see many Mercs, BMW’s and Audi’s parked. ‘Poor people’ do stay in hotel as I saw few Honda Civic and similar cars (Do not get serious!!)

Forget about hotel visitors and have a look at some of the vintage cars owned by Royal family. A small but nice collection.

A restaurant at the entrance servers some snacks. It is a nice place to relax and have some drinks and food.

The place is little far from the town and hence it is advisable to hire an auto to reach this place.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jaswant thada, Jodhpur

22 December 2013

From the top of Mehrangarh fort, one can see a beautiful marble structure standing majestically opposite to a small lake. That is Jaswant Thada, a memorial for Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. It is relatively new structure built in 1899.

The building looks far from the fort but it is within a km from the entrance of the fort. One can easily walk this distance.

Inside the cenotaph
The monument is built from thin and highly polished marble which emit a glow when sun falls on its surface thus magnifying its beauty. From outside, it looks more like a Temple than a cenotaph. This is also a cremation ground of Jodhpur rulers.

In front of the cenotaph is a beautiful garden with heavily carved gazebos.

A simple, clean and a nice place to visit in Jodhpur.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur

22 December 2013

Mehrangarh fort dominates the landscape of Jodhpur. Built in 15th century by Rao Jodha, the Rathore ruler of Jodhpur, it is one of the biggest forts in Rajasthan.

We were undecided whether to hire a guide or not. Without a guide, it is difficult to understand the details of the fort. But a guide would also mean that we have little freedom in movement as he does not want to waste time. The problem was solved by Audio guide. It would give us the flexibility and freedom to move. Another advantage is that it would keep my daughter engaged. Else, kids give a touch time in historical monuments as they easily get bored.

Audio guide has two slots for headphone. So, one can be used by two people. It also has a speaker. In a nutshell, it was a good decision to get an audio guide as the quality was also good.

Series of seven gates provide entry to the fort. In one of the gates you can still see the scars of Cannon balls.

In the final gate before entering the main complex, sati marks can be seen who immolated themselves in 1843 on the funnel pyre of their husband and the king Maharaja Man Singh.

Main complex contains several chambers important of them being Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesha Mahal Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana. It also houses a museum.

Sheesha Mahal is the hall of mirrors.

Phool Mahal was a private chamber of pleasure.

Here is the Hukka guy.

My daughter happily listening to the audio guide. She preferred to hear from speaker.

Moti Mahal, a chamber most likely for queens.

The top of the Palace provides a bird eye view of Jodhpur. Jodhpur is called as blue city. But blue building are only concentrated near Mehrangarh fort.

After these palaces, continue further to see the canons places on top area of the fort. This is a huge area which is almost flat. Nice view of Jodhpur city can be seen.

At the end of the fort is Chamunda Mataji Temple. This has a sad history. Around 250 people were killed in a stampede in 2008 on the first day of Navarathri.

The fort has two restaurants. One at the entrance of the fort serves snacks and light refreshments. The other one near the palace is a fully fledged but an expensive restaurant. We preferred the one at the entrance.

Along with entry tickets, one can also buy a lift ticket that allows you to take the elevator to the top of the fort.  I purchased a single journey ticket from the top of the fort to the entrance but never used it!!

Saturday, March 01, 2014

AG waterfall

12 January 2013

Another trek with Udupi friends. This time I decided to join them at the destination as it was more convenient for me.
Walk on the Jeep track

Funnel web

Most of us knew the starting point of the falls. Cross the forest department gate and continue on a Jeep track. But we did a mistake of asking a person who misguided us to go further on the highway. After travelling for 6-7 km we realized our mistake and returned back to the same point!!

The walk on the Jeep track was pleasant. We were a big group of about 20 people and were split into 3-4 groups based on their speed of walking. The continuous climb hastened the splitting process!!

After about 75 minutes of climbing we reached a point of diversion. Being in the “front gang”, we decided to wait for everyone to join to avoid any confusion in the route. We rested for a good amount of time before everyone arrived.

We had climbed about a thousand feet from start point but it was time to lose the altitude we gained!! Hence started the steep and continuous descent. After about half an hour we were in front of the waterfall. It was one of the easiest treks I had done!!

Descending into the valley

I had doubts about the amount of water during that season but the waterfall did not disappoint me. A very decent amount of water indeed.

A small pool had formed at the base of the waterfall. Most of us jumped into water. Good swimmers crossed the pool to beach the base while non swimmers and swimming pool swimmers like me confined to the periphery of the pool!!

After cooling down in the water, it was time to take some photographs. Tried various things in different angles to capture the beauty.

After lunch and little amount of rest we decided to head back. A surprise awaited us just before our exit. Rainbow formed at the base of the falls. What a spectacle!!

A short and a nice trek to a beautiful place!!