In last winter I visited Rajasthan with my family. It was a unofficial official vacation tour. I planned the trip with my team mates and their family. It was a five day trip in desert. We rented an luxury Tempo Traveler which had a bed at the back side.
- Anil with his wife and son
- Nitin with his wife
- Vinit with his wife and son
- Devinder (he was the only single)
- I with my wife and little daughter
We started from Delhi on 24th December 2007 at 10 PM. After a long overnight journey, we reached Bikaner in the morning. Stayed there at hotel Sagar. Next day we headed towards Jaisalmer, the golden city. Stayed two nights at Jaisalmer, enjoyed camel safari in desert and boating in the lake. Then we traveled to Jodhpur, the blue city. Jodhpur is a famous place for shopping. After enjoying one night at Jodhpur, we traveled back to Delhi.
Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner
The architectural masterpiece in red sandstone, the palace was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh (1881-1942 A.D.) in the memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singhji in 1902 AD. The palace has beautiful latticework and filigree work. Sprawling lawns with blooming bougainvillea and dancing peacocks make it to be a not -to-be missed visual treat.
Bikaner royal family still lives in part of the palace. part of the palace has been converted into a luxury hotel and a museum known as Shri Sadul museum which was donated by late his highness Maharaja Dr. Karni Singhji of Bikaner to Maharaja Shri Ganga singhji Trust Bikaner in the year 1972 . Princess Rajyashree Kumari of Bikaner, Chairperson of Trust played a very important role in the establishment of this museum.
Junagarh Palace, Bikaner
Built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh, a general in the army of emperor Akbar, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat and has some beautiful places within.
These places, made in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of country yards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure.
The imposing fort has 986 long wall with 37 bastions and two entrances. It is approached through the Karan Poal which is the main entrance. Among the places of interest are Anop mahal, Ganga niwas and Rang mahal or palace of pleasure. The Anoop Mahal is famous for it’s gold leaf painting. Har Mandir- a majestic chapel where the royal family worshiped there Gods and Goddesses. Chandra Mahal or moon palace has exquisite paintings on the lime plaster walls and Phool Mahal or the Flower palace is decorated with inset mirror work. The gigantic columns , arches and graceful screen grace the palaces. Karan Mahal was built to commemorate a notable victory over the Mughal Aurangzeb.The other important important parts are Durbar Hall, Gaj mandir, Sheesh Mahal or mirror chamber etc.
District JAISALMER is located within a rectangle lying between 26°.4’ –28°.23′ North parallel and 69°.20′-72°.42′ east meridians. It is the largest district of Rajasthan and one of the largest in the country. The breath (East-West) of the district is 270 Kms and the length (North-South) is 186 Kms. On the present map, district Jaisalmer is bounded on the north by Bikaner, on the west & south-west by Indian boarder, on the south by Barmer and Jodhpur, and on the east by Jodhpur and Bikaner Districts. The length of international boarder attached to District JAISALMER is 471 Kms.
Located in the desert of the Thar (meaning adobe of the dead), it is the second oldest Fort of Rajasthan. Built by the Rajput ruler Jaisala, it was the main focus of a number of battles between the Bhattis, the Mughals of Delhi and the Rathores of Jodhpur. Constructed by Raja Jaisal, who was searching for a new capital as the earlier one Lodurva was too vulnerable to invasions, he built the fort and the city surrounding it, thus fulfilling Lord Krishna’s prophecy in the Mahabharata The uniqueness of the fort lies in the fact that the craftsmen used were mainly Muslims to craft the SONAR QUILA – Rising from the sand!
We stayed in the Cottage of Tane Singh. His wife was a Finland national. In the night, we had a camp fire. Tane Singh had called a group of folk dancers. There were playing their strange traditional music instruments. The folk dance presented by two young girls was very impressive. This was the unforgettable event of my life. My wife had great time talking to a chinease girl, Yuan and an Aussi girl, Tina.
The highlight of our whole trip was the Camel safari. We were staying in a cottage. From there we started to the Safari at 6:00 AM. There were five camels for five family. I consider Devinder as a family of single. The camels were fun to ride. After travelling around one hour in desert, we finally reached at the top of a sand mountain. We had a one and half hour break there. The sun was rising. Those masters of those camels had carried our breakfast with them. We enjoyed tea made up of camel milk and buscuits along with Rajasthani namkeen. There was sand all around. Then we drove our camels back to cottage.
Boating in Gadsisar Lake
Gadsisar is a scenic rainwater lake of Jaisalmer It was built in 1156. A beautiful arched gateway decorates the lake. It is surrounded by ghats, temples, cenotaphs and gardens. Gadsisar Lake is an ideal picnic spot and is famous for boating. It is also home to a numerous species of birds.
We rented three paddeled boats as Nitin and his wife denied boating for some traditional issues and Devinder shared the boat with my family. We were racing in the Lake and kids were enjoying.
Jodhpur “The Sun City” was founded by Rao Jodha, a chief of the Rathore clan, in 1459. It is named after him only. It was previously known as Marwar. Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan. It is divided into two parts – the old city and the new city. The old city is separated by a 10 km long wall surrounding it. Also it has eight Gates leading out of it. The new city is outside the walled city.
Jodhpur is a very popular tourist destination. The landscape is scenic and mesmerizing. Jodhpur city has many beautiful palaces and forts such as Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhavan Palace and Rai ka Bag Palace.
Situated on a steep hill, Mehrangarh fort is one of the largest forts in India. The beauty and the grandeur of numerous palaces in the fort narrates a saga of hard sandstones yielding to the chisels of skilled Jodhpuri sculptures. Mehrangarh Fort, spreading over 5 km on a perpendicular hill and looking down 125 meters, presents a majestic view on city horizon.
Shopping at National Handloom Mall
We spent around two hours shopping in the largest mall of Jodhput – The National Handloom Mall. This mall is famous for Rajasthan handloom items. It had everything from Rajasthani music CDs to books to fine arts to leather work.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
The romantic looking Umaid Bhawan Palace was actually built with the purpose of giving employment to the people of Jodhpur during a long drawn famine. The royal family of Jodhpur still lives in a part of the palace.Another part of the palace houses a well-maintained museum, displaying an amazing array of items belonging to the Maharaja and the royal family – weapons, antiques & fascinating clocks, crockery and trophies
From Jodhpur we drived back to Delhi.