“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” Let me tell you, great travel pals can enhance your experience tenfold and put the icing on the cake for your best vacation ever. That’s what I felt during all our trips till now. We are just ‘perfectly fit’ for one another in spite of our own preferences. For these six days, not just travelling together we were an extended family with lots caring and love for each other.
The day we reached Udaipur, we took a small break, had biriyani in lunch then went to Saheliyon-ki-Bari (Courtyard of the Maidens). It’s a beautiful garden but too much crowded. This patterned garden used to be the popular relaxing spot of the royal ladies. The pavilion opposite the entrance houses a small children's science center. For some touristy fun, you can dress up in traditional Rajasthani garb and have your picture snapped by a local photographer.
Our kids went to the science museum, I was roaming leisurely and taking pictures, noticed one old man sat down in corner took out his small note book. As I was curious on his doing I moved towards him and realized he was doing a lovely pencil sketch of the marble fountain. I could view some of his incredible sketches when the papers were flipping.
He was so attentive in his work, he least bothered who was watching him. Kudos to the man for his beautiful art work.
The weather was cloudy, windy and sometimes it’s showering in Udaipur; we went to Sajjan Garh, also known as the Monsoon Palace. Situated on top of the highest hill peak near Udaipur, the palace is clearly visible from most parts of the city.
As we approached the fortress the view from the up was simply breathtaking, beautiful dense forest on the sides and a picturesque view of lakes and mountain range seemingly extending as far as the eye can see, leaves you overwhelmed. As I said that day it was raining in Udaipur we missed the dusk. This sky touching piece of architectural excellence looks glorious at the time of sunset.
The Great Wall of India - Kumbhalgarh Fort
Kumbhalgarh is a beautiful, massive and almost invincible fortress. Built by Rana Kumbha in 15th century, its unique location and its grandeur makes it a must visit place in that part of Rajasthan. Rana Kumbha built about 32 forts during his reign, of which Kumbhalgarh is the largest and most elaborate. Thirteen mountain peaks of the Aravali range protect this unconquerable fortress. It's zigzagging 15 kilometers long wall is thick and broad enough for eight horses to ride abreast. This wall is second longest only to the 'Great Wall of China'. Our guide updated us that Kumbhalgarh fort is one of the most inaccessible fortifications ever built by humans. No wonder, this fort is called ʻThe Mountain Fortress,ʼ having the natural advantage of the Aravali ranges surrounding it. This fort was captured only once, that too when the Mughal emperor Akbar sabotaged with its water supply by poisoning. Residents of the fort faced acute shortage of water and succumbed to the attacks. It is also said that 3 flower plucking ladies were kidnapped who revealed the secret path to fort, through which the Mughals entered.
“Mewar’s Maharana Pratap , Maharashtra’s Shivaji Maharaj and Bengal’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose three great souls who stood firm to their refusal to submit their dignity and honor in front of Mughals and British.”
Chittor had already gone into the hands of Mughals in the time of Maharaja Udai Singh in 1568 A.D. All other Rajput princes had submitted to the Mughal Emperor Akbar but Maharana Partap who was a brave, courageous and self-respecting prince did not lose his head and heart and took an oath to fight the Mughal king till the fall of Chittor, not to sleep on a bed, not to keep his moustache and to have his food on leaves only.
Rana Pratap Memorial
In one incident that caused him extreme pain, his children's meal - bread made from grass - was stolen by a dog. It is said that this cut into Maharana Pratap's heart deeply. He began to have doubts about his resolute refusal to submit to the Mughals. Perhaps in one of these moments of self-doubt - something each and every human being goes through.
Udaipur palace gives a glimpse of the glorious past of the kingdom including the brave heart Maharana Pratap. The Maharana memorial comprises a life-sized bronze statue of Maharana Pratap and his loyal and favorite horse, Chetak. It is believed that Chetak was a faithful horse. He was extremely protective towards Maharana Pratap and stood by his master till his last breath. Chetak was killed in the battle of Haldighati.
The tour around the entire complex was about 2 hours but it is well worth it for the beautiful architecture, gardens, palace design and paintings you see in the palace.
As it is the main tourist attraction in Udaipur we found the palace was crowded with both domestic and international tourists. Also a part is rented for marriage ceremony purpose so all decoration work was going on.
Our stay :
Royal rugged yet secure tents, in Bundi and Ranthambore. As if I am a Queen, on a pleasure trip. It was a first time experience staying in tents. And two heritage nights was in Udaipur. Once a royal palace of Finance minister of Raja, turned as hotel now, the first heritage hotel in that area. We could peep from our windows and talk with other rooms, just as we would have done in an Haveli.
Winding up with a small note:
It's been a week that our tour ended and it's still hard to find the words to express how energizing trip we had. So, things demand to be said: this tour was awesome.
So many good moments, our late night addas, all funny chatting probably made this tour even more special. Much love to our small kiddos Bhatti, Pink strawberry, Sugercube, Gullu, Tinni rani, Rupu and Bubu bhaiyya.
It's always beautiful to see friends when we are out on the road, but even more beautiful to make new ones.
As all say....
But I say "The best is yet to come" :D
Just a few words:
- Folk toys
- Tie and dye saris and dupattas
- Hand painted fabrics
- Silver jewelry
- Pichwais (themed wall hangings)
- Miniature paintings (Rajput style)