Rajasthan – the only state in India that presents the charms of desert to us. Famous for its royal heritage, Rajathan’s Royal families have ruled this part for several years before India’s independence. We had a trip planned to a very different part of this state. Though it is known for its desert covered lands, the south western and north eastern region is a different terrain altogether. The magnificent Aravalli ranges are spread over this region giving an unusual experience of this desert land.
Well, our trip did not cover entirely these beautiful hills, but through our journey over a few places we got to experience the splendor of nature here. Even though this region is not as dry as the desert, but there is experience extreme weather conditions in some pockets. It gets unbearably hot during summers and equally freezing during winters. We made this trip in the first week of July, which was perfect in terms of timing. With the onset of the south west monsoons, we could enjoy the beauty of the place in all its royal glory.
Mount Abu – spellbinding beauty nestled atop the hills
This was our first stop of the trip, and a pretty famous hill station in this region. We reached there from Mumbai via train, and had checked into a hotel on Abu road, at the foothill of the city. Later we realized that this is not entirely a recommended option, because you can get much better options on top of the hill at equally reasonable prices and enjoy amazing views as well. There are about 5 or 6 very good spots on the hill, and you can cover them all in one day almost
- Guru Shikar – this is the highest point in Mount Abu, and it is more than 5000ft above sea level. The way to the top is almost covering the entire hill. The journey has some amazing views amidst the misty clouds throughout.
- Dilwara temple – this was the next place on our itinerary. It is a marvelous temple made sometime around in the 11th century. It is made entirely in marble with intricate hand carvings all over. The place is such a peaceful beauty and the amazing craftsmanship fills you with awe. Photography is not allowed inside this temple. But that is no regret, because we got to see another such beautiful marble marvel later in our trip where we clicked a lot of pictures.
- Nakki Lake – this is your typical tourist spot, surrounded by lot of eateries and shops where you can buy local trinkets and souvenirs. Of course you could do boating on the lake, but an interesting addition to that was the water ball or the water walking ball. I dint get to try it for lack of time but that would have been fun.
As we wound up our day in Mount Abu, we boarded the bus to our next destination, Udaipur. Udaipur is almost 6 hours by road from Mount Abu. We had planned to stay for two days in Udaipur; explore some nearby places around on Day 1 and roam around in Udaipur on Day 2, as we had head to Kota from Udaipur.
Udaipur –royally enthralled
Famously known as the city of lakes, this charming city still retains the old world charm of the times during the Kings, visible in the splendid palaces and forts. The culture and heritage that is unique to Rajasthan can be found in abundance in every part of the city. We had planned to spend two days, but effectively we got to see Udaipur only for one day as we covered a few nearby places the other day. But there was no regrets because of the wonder that we got to see in these places.
Ranakpur –marvel in marble
‘Raunak’ in Hindi means beauty; although the name of the place is not derived from this word, it can so befittingly be called as the land of beauty. We were lucky to add this place on our itinerary on the last moment as we discovered this place merely by accident while in random conversation with a stranger in Mount Abu. A quaint town nestled amidst the mountain, it is famous for the Jain temples. The architecture is strikingly similar to those in Dilwara, but the temples here are much bigger and majestic. They allowed photography inside most part of the temples except in the sanctum sanctorum. The pictures below speak for the beauty and marvel themselves, need I say more.
Kumbalgarh –captivating fortress
This is one of the lesser known wonders in India. It is definitely a must see for anyone visiting Rajasthan for the grandeur of the spectacle that beholds the eye. Spread over more than 30km, the wall of this fort is the second largest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. The view from the top of the fort is splendid and covers the entire length. One can walk on this wall up to a certain distance; however we were exhausted after the walk to the top of the fort already. In the evening the whole fort is lit up in lights and you can also enjoy the laser show there.
The last day of our itinerary was spent roaming in Udaipur and loads of shopping. We managed to see couple of places in the limited time available.
Chetak smarak – memories relived
This place is basically a museum of one the greatest and most famous king, Maharana Pratap, who ruled this region. It is located near to the Fatehsagar lake. Within the same compound you can visit the museum and also see the statue of ‘Chetak- the famous horse of king Maharana Pratap’. Historical tales about the valour of the kings in the battles and more about his famous horse are aplenty in the museum.
City palace – royal tour
Udaipur is famously known as the city of lakes, but it can aptly be called as the city of palaces. The biggest of them all is the City Palace, which is the main palace where the royal family of the city still lives. Some portion of the palace is open for public viewing where every aspect of the royal family and history is on display. The paintings on the history and lineage of the royal family, the artifacts used by the noble families, beautiful windows with colored glasses; we were truly overwhelmed by the magnificence of the tour inside. The typical architecture in which the entire palace is constructed is also a beauty to enjoy.
Rajasthan has several more beautiful cities to explore, once you get a taste of its beauty and culture you will definitely want more of it.