The 'Land of the Kings', Rajasthan still retains the glory and richness of those times with its marvelous monuments, colorful traditions and customs. Rajasthan has been a hot pick for tourists from all across the globe. Be it the palaces of Jaipur, the lakes of Udaipur or the desert forts of Jodhpur, each of these places has its own charm that simply adds to enchanting beauty of Rajasthan. A single trip across Rajasthan is not enough to embrace all the captivating beauties it holds. So I took my pick and went on a three day trip to Jodhpur. I took a flight to Jodhpur from Delhi and off I went on one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.
Almost every major city in Rajasthan is called by some name apart from its original name.
For instance Jaisalmer is the golden city, Jaipur the pink city, Udaipur the city of lakes and Jodhpur the sun city. Jodhpur also has one more name to its credit, the blue city since it has all houses and establishments painted blue to give a blue look! That would perhaps be the first thing that you would note about this place, at least I did.
Since I was on a very short trip, I wanted to make the best of it. Before heading for Jodhpur, I had done some research on the internet about the best sight-seeing places around so I knew right away where I had to go.
A little of browsing here and there got me face to face with certain interesting facts about Jodhpur. The traditional craftsmen of Jodhpur are found in abundance in the maze of old lanes focused on the Sardar Bazar and its Clock Tower of 1912. Their creations include lacquer coloured bangles, 'bandhani' patterns on cotton, felt goods, 'jutis' or slippers that have been embroided, carpets and leather water bottles. Countless festivities celebrate the rich past and culture of the princely state. The Marwar Festival held annually is one such splendid bonanza. You count yourself as lucky if you can actually be a part of these festivities. Now, back to my trip.
My first stop was the Umaid Bhavan Palace and as luck would have it, it has been converted to a five star hotel and only a small portion of it is open for public. But whatever be it, this palace is a vision to capture for life.
The architecture of this palace is so astounding that it got me thinking that even without the aid of any modern technology, how magnificently people in the ancient times could conjure such picturesque monuments and build them so that they lived through history. Maybe technology does impair our creativity in some way or the other.
After spending nearly two hours at the palace I was too tired to visit any other place so I decided to call it a day off .I went back to my hotel where I enjoyed a typical Rajasthani meal comprising of Dal Bati and Churma. Trust me when I say this, when you are in Rajasthan you do not want to miss this. The next day was the big day for me as I was visiting the Mehrangarh Fort. Forts have been the one that always impressed me and as a child I often fantasized about building a fort of my own. Childhood fantasies are truly amazing!
The Mehrangarh Fort is built atop a hill. The fort is in the background, and the cenotaphs for the erstwhile kings lies in the front. Mehrangarh fort was built sometime in the 15th century and it stands majestically on a 400 foot hillock kind of structure. Guides are readily available to help you through the place, and there is also the option of audio guide in seven different languages. I took an auto guide as that seemed like a better option to me.
The walls of the fort are as high as 36 meters and you really have to crane your neck high to see that. The fort museum houses an elegant collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes and furniture. It took me around five hours to visit the fort and the cenotaphs. There is so much to see and the beauty of this place is so enthralling that you wish that you could just be here forever.
My final day in Jodhpur and I still was left with Mandore and Osian. The receptionist at the hotel told me that I had to take a pick between the two because of the distance to be travelled but I decided otherwise. It’s not everyday that one gets to visit a place such as Jodhpur. My first stop for the day was Mandore, the ancient capital of Marwar before Jodhpur came up. The Hall of heroes has fifteen figures carved out of the rock on the wall, which represent Hindu deities. Its beautiful gardens with high rock terraces make it a popular picnic spot. The Mahamandir Temple with 84 carved pillars is built around a temple of Lord Shiva. The Balsamand Lake built in 1159 AD is a splendid summer palace which stands by the lakeside surrounded by beautiful gardens. An idyllic spot for excursions. Sadly enough I could not spend much time there because I had one another place to visit before I left the following day.
My final stop for the day was Osian, 58 kms from Jodhpur. An oasis in the desert, situated on the diversion off the main Jodhpur-Bikaner Highway. Once a great religious centre, its ruins today present one of the finest depictions anywhere of how Indian temple architecture evolved between the 8th and 12th centuries. The most outstanding of the 15 beautifully sculptured Jain and Brahmanical temples are the Surya or Sun Temple and the Kali temple, Sachiya Mata Temple and the main Jain temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira. Though by the end of the day I was tired like hell, but the visit to these temples was truly worth the entire rigor.
By the time I was back to the hotel, it was late in the evening and I had an early morning flight to Delhi the next day. Words are not enough to describe what I encountered but one thing that I can say for sure is that this place is so wondrous that the vision of it will remain engraved in your memories eternally.
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