Rajasthan: The Very Essence of India (Part 2)


Veda Reddy, CEO, Planetwildlife


Jaipur – A Peek into History

There’s a lot to see in the Pink City, so called because its old districts were painted pink to welcome Prince Albert in 1876. Our first outing in Jaipur was to the Amber Fort, 11 kms away. The sprawling, sturdy structure exudes elegance with its red sandstone walls and white marble domes glowing in the sun. The interior of the fort has exquisitely carved walls, roofs and terraces, separated by manicured garden mazes. Combining Islamic and Rajput architectural styles, the construction of the fort began in 1592. Once precious jewels decked the inner walls of the palace but they were unfortunately lost in raids. The most beautiful part of the fort is the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). It is said a single ray of light could illuminate the entire hall, because of the clever placement of the tiny mirrors within.

Our next stop was Jaigarh Fort, which is connected to Amer Fort by subterranean passages. Originally built to protect Amer Fort and palace, Jaigarh is architecturally similar to Amer Fort, and offers a panoramic view of the city. It houses the world's largest cannon on wheels, a majestic palace complex and a museum.

Then we made a quick stop at Nahargarh Fort. Located in one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world, the Aravalli Hills, this fort gives a breath-taking view of the scenic surroundings. On our way back to the city, we drove past the serene Jal Mahal lake palace as well. We also visited the City Palace, Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar, all located within walking distance of each other. After all the sightseeing, we walked around in Johaari Bazaar, which truly tested our bargaining skills.

Day trip to Ajmer & Pushkar

We left early in the morning to make a day trip to Ajmer and Pushkar from Jaipur. Our first stop was the Ajmer Dargah Shariff, a famous Sufi shrine that is in urgent need of revival and maintenance! As soon as we reached the place, we were surrounded by hawkers trying to sell us things. Ignoring them, we went in only to find there were no directions leading to the central shrine but luckily a nice person guided us to it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy a moment’s tranquillity here as the crowd hurried us along. We stepped out with a mildly unpleasant feeling that a spiritual site has been transformed into a money making venue. If you intend to visit the Dargah yourself, avoid visiting during namaaz (prayer) time, unless you want to participate. The crowds swell, and you’ll get pushed around pretty roughly.

We then made the 12-km journey from Ajmer to Pushkar across the Aravali Range and around a beautiful lake. The town of Pushkar is walled in on three sides by hills. The legend goes that the lake was created when a lotus fell from Brahma’s hand. The beautiful Brahma temple here is crowded at any time of day, on any day of the year. Smaller than one would expect, the temple has only two shrines – the main Brahma shrine, and an underground shrine for Shiva.

After a long day, we headed back to Jaipur and ended our last day in Rajasthan with a scrumptious meal at Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar in Johaari Bazzar. I recommend the Pyaaz ki Kachori and the Rajasthani Royal Thali here.

Overall my trip to Rajasthan was an exotic and enthralling one. It’s the perfect destination for people who love history, heritage and culture.

Experience the thrill of Rajasthan for yourself on these tours:

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