A Travellerspoint blog

47 ~ So many Caucasian (white) tourists : Pushkar

Pandas are local Hindu “priests” who could be pushy


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Pushkar is right on the edge of the desert and is only 11kms from Ajmer but separated from it by Nag Pahar, the snake mountain. This traveller friendly town clings to the side of the small Pushkar Lake with its many bathing ghats and temples. For Hindus, Puhskar is a very important pilgrimage centre and you’ll see plenty of Sadhus (individuals on a spiritual search).

Eventually arrived at Ananta Spa Resort which was further out of Pushkar than what Ashok had thought. Yes, it was a new modern resort and also a RCI time share complex as well.

http://www.anantahotels.com/pushkar-hotels/pushkar.php

A quick check in and after the last few nights at heritage hotels with at times their huge rooms, this really modern hotel room was while small but sufficient for just me. What a contrast.

Reception said it would be 200 rupees / NZ$4.20 / US$2.80 for a tuk tuk to bring me back from Pushkar.

Time was marching on and I only had this afternoon to spend in Pushkar itself. So, it was 2.30pm / 14:30 and agreed with Ashok to meet me outside the Skih Temple later that night at 8pm / 20:00. That would give me enough time to see Pushkar, witness hopefully a neat orange sunset over the lake, then find a restaurant for dinner.

After a quick orientation of town, I was dropped off by the fairgrounds where the annual camel fair is held in late November.

So I walked back to the Sikh temple on the other side of the shopping streets just to get my bearings and timing of how long it would take to walk.

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Milk

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Pushkar boasts temples, though few are as ancient as you might expect at such an important pilgrimage site.

Then back to the Brahma Temple and putting my camera bag into a locked cupboard for 50 rupees / NZ$1 / US$0.70 followed the hordes in.

Brahma Temple is Pushkar no 1 attraction and is said to be one of the few temples in the world dedicated to the Hindu deity. It’s marked by a red spire and over the entrance gateway is the hans or goose symbol of Brahma, who is said to have personally chosen Pushkar as its site.

One thing stood out was that besides the hordes of domestic local Indian tourists, there were so many Caucasian (white) tourists compared to all of the previous cities that I had been in.

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A few camels were there for the tourists.

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Having read about the various scams, I was certainly on my guard when I walked down to the Brahma Ghat. Yes, I was approached several times and it gave me an uneasy feeling.

Pushkar has 52 Bathing Ghats (bathing places).

There are also a number of beliefs associated with each of these ghats. The water of these ghats is believed to have great healing powers. For instance, Kapil Vyapi Kund helps in curing leprosy, Roop Tirth enhances beauty and charm, Mrikand Muni Kund is believed to grant wisdom, Naga Kund helps in fertility etc.

https://www.indianholiday.com/tourist-attraction/pushkar/lakes-in-pushkar/bathing-ghats-in-pushkar.html

With time on my hand before the sun was due to go down, I walked the road that circled the lake and entered Jodhpur Ghat on the far side. Even here I was reminded by a local “panda” when also approached to be given a blessing which was declined that no photos were allowed down on the ghat.

Pandas are local Hindu “priests” who could be pushy as sometimes they act as local guardians to holy shrines and lakes.

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View from above Jodhpur Ghat

Further around the lake just sat above the Mahadev Ghat, enjoyed the warmth of the concrete seat that had collected its sun’s ray during the day and watched the sun set on the far side. By 5.40pm / 17:40 the golden orange sun ball had dropped below the far hill and the sky started to turn to its layers of dark blue to the fading orange.

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Next door was Varah Ghat and soon sounds of the chants began to fill the atmosphere by a small group of devotees who had gathered to perform the evening aarti. Soon I could see and then smell the fragrance of the incense sticks and roses drifting across. From numerous temples surrounding the lake, the sound of ringing bells comes in chorus. The whole ambience really felt divine and can easily transport you to a different world. It would be great and totally different experience when the place is full. So different to the evening aarti that I saw at Varanasi on my last trip.

https://bruceontour.travellerspoint.com/87/

https://bruceontour.travellerspoint.com/90/

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With many restaurants on the roof top to choose from, it was up to Laura’s Cafe and yes, they had a few customers (ref my experience in Udaipur).

Dinner = Ai Quattro Formagi (pizza) - tomato sauce, 4 cheese – combinations of blue, mozzarella cheese and cheese that are local such as parmigiano 400 rupees / NZ$8.10 / US$5.60.

https://www.facebook.com/Lauras-Cafe-149418958486887/

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View from the restuarant

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Nearing 8pm / 20:00 it was back to the Sikh temple for my pick up by Ashok and journey back to the Ananta Spa Resort.

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Milk

A night time shoot of the resort and found out that their buffet dinner was 1,250 rupees NZ$25.30 / US$17.40 plus taxes! My Ai Quattro Formagi pizza was fine.

Here are photos of the Ananta Spa Resort taken the next day morning with the corresponding night view.

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Posted by bruceontour 03:06 Archived in India Tagged pushkar Comments (0)

46 ~ “Wall to wall” crowd : Deogarh to Pushkar

Day 12 : Now you see me ... now you can't


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Breakfast then another foggy misty day was waiting us as we drove out of Deogarh towards Pushkar. Not many people were up yet. Besides the odd cattle, the shops and streets were kind of deserted.

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Rubbish was being collected. The truck goes around with music blaring just like a "Mr Whippy" ice cream van and out came the householders with their rubbish.

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Rubbish truck

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School children being taken to school.

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Now you see me ... now you can't

Got to Ajmer at 1pm / 13:00 and first stop was the Soniji Ki Nasiya Jain Temple. Not being Jain, we were not allowed into the temple itself but next door was something that I had not expected.

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Ajmer is a green oasis on the shore of Ana Sagar Lake, hemmed in by barren hills.

Historically, It was founded in 7th century by Ajaipal Chauhan. He named it Ajaimeru the ‘invincible hill’. The Persian saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti who came with Muhammad Ghori from Persia in 1192 settled here. Thus, the place where he was buried is today known as the Dargah Sharif. Construction of the shrine was completed by Humayun and the gates were added by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Later Shahjehan constructed a mosque of white marble, it has 11 arches and a Persian inscription running the full length of the building.

The Dargah Sharif is Ajmer’s main attraction, the most sacred of all Muslim places of pilgrimage in India.

So, it was out of the car and with the “wall to wall” crowd, walked along the streets plus knowing that no camera was allowed inside. Nothing was in my pockets. Took nothing except my i phone.

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Next asked Ashok to stop just below a lookout to see back over the lake and Ajmer itself, then onto Pushkar.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:08 Archived in India Tagged ajmer jain_temple soniji_ki_nasiya dargah_sharif Comments (0)

45 ~ Deogarh Mahal hotel

Labyrinth of passageways - so easy to get lost or certainly mis-orientated here


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The heritage Deogarh Mahal hotel was built in 1670 A.D. The Mahal stands at a height of 2,100 ft / 650 metres above sea level with its bold battlements, domed turrets and balconies offering a commanding view of the surrounding Aravali Mountains and its rugged rock-strewn countryside dotted by a number of lakes.

https://www.deogarhmahal.com/

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My room was near the top. The hotel had a labyrinth of passageways. It is so easy to get lost or certainly mis-orientated here.

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Spent some time wandering the roof terraces with its many different levels looking down at Deogarh below. One could so far into the distance plus no pollution or haze at all.

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Told where on the hotel roof it was best to capture the sunset. By now the shadows over the buildings below were lengthening.

Sun finally dropped at 5.45pm / 17:45 below the hills in the horizon. I stayed there for another 30 minutes watching the colours change.

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Go pro time lapse video of the sun setting in just 14 secs.

Hardly anybody were in this hotel tonight. Some attended the complementary 6.30pm / 18:30 dance performance before the hotel dinner service started at 7.30pm / 19:30.

This is a Rajasthani folk dance only performed by professionals called Bhawai.

Bhawai is a folk dance with swaying and twirling movements that is performed by women from certain tribes from the state of Rajasthan. This folk dance is one of the state’s most exciting dance performances as it involves tricky balancing acts, right from balancing seven to nine brass pots on the head to balancing oneself (along with the pots) on narrow and unstable objects like a glass bottle, brass plate or the edge of a sword. The brass pots can and are often substituted by an even greater number of earthen pots.

Bhawai is also one of the most colorful performances of the state as the women wear bright colored ghaghra cholis and dupattas. The men from these communities offer the music to this dance, using string and percussion instruments. Bhavai dance is often misinterpreted from ‘Bhavai’ which is a folk theatre form of Gujarat.

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Dinner = Lal Maas - smoked boneless lamb preparation simmered in rich tomato gravy 550 rupees / NZ$11.10 / US$7.70.
Jeera rice 220 rupees / NZ$4.60 / US$3.10.
Garlic naan 110 rupees / NZ$2.30 / US$1.60.
Kingfisher lager 230 rupees / NZ$4.80 / US$3.20.
Plus GST and a tip came to 1,400 rupees / NZ$28.30 / US$19.50.

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Posted by bruceontour 03:52 Archived in India Tagged deogarh Comments (0)

44 ~ Deogarh "walkabout"

Wanted me to see his baby goat


View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Leaving the hotel at 3pm / 15:00, spent the next nearly 2 hours walking the streets.

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First towards the lake where this guy who couldn’t speak any English wanted me to see his baby goat and also showed me where he lived.

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A shop keeper called me in and we had a discussion about what I thought of India ….

He mentioned – corruption, politics, illiteracy, poverty and pollution being his concerns.

His friend was a barber. Cost 30 rupees / NZ$0.60 / US$0.40 for a cut. He could make anywhere between 500 and 1,000 rupees / NZ$10.40 – 20.80 / US$7 - $14 a day.

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Water chestnut which is a popular street fruit called as “Singhara”. When peeled, it is white in colour from inside. Can be eaten as it is, boiled or roasted over coal served with salt and chilli.

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Back towards the main road.

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After watching him for a while, he gave me a jalebi. A street food sweet, jalebi is found across India and even Iran. Deep fried flour batter, then soaked in sugar syrup. It can be served both cold or warm in a circular shape, similar to pretzels. Hot jalebi can be enjoyed with hot milk (cup) or cold and can be by itself or with Rabri, an Indian condensed milk dessert.

Yes, it was very sweet. I offered to pay but no. Again, something that I had enjoyed in Mumbai.

https://bruceontour.travellerspoint.com/51/

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Past this car being sold.

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This family group stopped me and wanted their photo taken which of course I obliged.

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Also given fresh sweet peas to eat.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:05 Archived in India Tagged deogarh Comments (0)

43 ~ Udaipur to Deogarh

Village built on a hill


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Got back to the hotel early (11.30am / 11:30) so off we left for Deogarh.

More marble and granite and through a tunnel.

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Forty minutes later did a side detour to see Sas Bahu Temples at Kailashpur, the modern name for Eklingji. Ten minutes was all that I needed here.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Nearby at Nagda, and worth seeing too, are the ancient 10th century Saas Bahu temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temples are covered in intricate sculptures.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/interesting-places-near-udaipur-1539757

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Passing Kelashpuri village was unusual in that it was built on a hill unlike all the previous small villages that I had passed which were on the flat.

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Arrived in Deogarh just after 2pm / 14:00 and check-in at the heritage Deogarh Mahal hotel.

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Posted by bruceontour 23:56 Archived in India Tagged deogarh Comments (0)

42 ~ Miniature painting : Udaipur

Day 11 : What was a true and fair price?


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Because I didn’t have to leave the hotel till noon to travel through to Deogarh which was only 2 hours away, I had the morning free. With check out at 10am / 10:00 it was breakfast, pack, bag into storage and I had more than 3 hours to see a bit more of Udaipur.

Back along the now familiar 8 minute walk to Ambapole (bridge) which crosses the Rang Sagar (lake), through one of the city gates, turned right this time and went into part of the city that I had not been into before.

Passing a group of ladies having their photo taken, I was called over to be part of it. Why me? It turned out that they were parents of a pre-school at an end of year event.

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Yesterday, while looking for Raas Leela restaurant, I saw with this miniature painting of the 3 key Rajasthan cities that I would see on this trip:
Jaisalmer - Golden City with the Camel being a Symbol of Love and Sonar Fort.
Jaipur - my next stop. Pink City with its Elephant and Symbol of Good Luck and Hawa Mahal.
Udaipur - White City with the Horse being Symbol of Power and Jag Mandir (Lake Palace).

The guy said it was 1,600 rupees / NZ$33.30 / US$22.50. Told him to put it aside as I will think about it overnight. I saw a similar one later that day in amongst the touristy shops for 700 rupees / NZ$14.60 / US$9.80 and again for 1,000 rupees NZ$20.80 / US$14, so what was a true and fair price?

Wandering one of the back streets well away from the busy tourist route, I saw it again and speaking with the artist who painted it, “bargained” it for 1,100 rupees / NZ$22.90 / US$15.40. Here I was saying that I wasn’t going to buy any souvenirs on this trip. Plus knowing if I got it framed back home it would cost me much more than the miniature painting itself.

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Crossing over the pedestrian Daiji Bridge back to the Gangaur Ghat and in the morning sun sat with some locals watching this couple getting their photo taken.

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Hari Ghat from Gangaur Ghat

Then using a different route back around the eastern side of Swaroop Sagar (lake) passing horses being shod, builders at work plus this guy having his morning workout or was it a wash in the lake?

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The lake was near flat with the reflections.

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Crossing a bridge and on the other side was Swaroop Sagar (lake) where the guy delivering milk was having a break. Don’t know why he stopped in the middle of the bridge.

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Further along the road it came out to Fateh Sagar (lake). In the middle was Nehru Island Park with boats circling the lake no doubt with more local Indian tourists on board.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:58 Archived in India Tagged udaipur Comments (0)

41 ~ Keep turning right - Self guided walkabout : Udaipur

Didn’t come to India to "relax" in a hotel


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Was told that was it for the organized part of seeing Udaipur so back to the hotel to relax. This got to me as I didn’t come to India to "relax" in a hotel. Despite telling Sunil my local guide at the outset that I had wanted to see the local veggie market. Told that I would have to take a tuk tuk myself and given very vague directions.

Plus, I asked him for a suggestion for a local restaurant and again his directions was non-existent.

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Sunil

It was 12.30pm / 12:30 when I was dropped only a block further from the hotel towards town being told that the car could not go any further. All I would say that this was incorrect …

So off I walked back towards the old town.

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By asking around, found Raas Leela. It was next to The Leela Palace. It was certainly nowhere near I had thought it was.

Armed with my map crossing the Daiji Bridge / Chand Pole Puliya Silawatwari Pedestrian Bridge, I went towards the Clock Tower. Got there at 2pm / 14:00.

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It was then a case of follow my nose and thoroughly enjoyed what I came across in the next couple of hours.

Down Hathipod Rd with shops on either side.

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The one in black is called "Kala (black) Jamun" and the bright orange one is "Gulab (Rose) Jamun".

It is like a doughnut dessert, but it’s made up of milk solids called Khova / Khoya which is kneaded into a soft but stiff dough, rolled into balls and then deep fried in ghee (clarified butter). As soon as they are fried, they are drowned into Sugar Syrup which is flavoured with Cardamom (elaichi) and Saffron (kesar).

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At the bottom Hathipole is a popular market for shopping of traditional handicraft items, traditional Rajasthani clothing and shoes, and antique articles.

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A local got talking with me and I brought a fresh juice.

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Seeing many Muslims walking out of a side road, decided to see where they were coming from. (Rasoolpura Masjid)

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“Gajar halwa" also known as Carrot Halwa made out of grated carrots which is sautéed and cooked in clarified butter with milk and then dried fruits such as roasted cashews, raisins, almonds and saffron is added onto it. Eaten specially in winters. I was to have some later in Jodhpur.

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Gajar halwa

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CHECK 25-3

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As long as I keep on turning right I can’t be wrong in finding my way out of this maze of narrow roads and alleyways. Sure enough, I came out directly opposite Jagdish Mandir (Shree Jagdish Temple). It was now 4.20pm / 16:20 so the last 2.5 hours was great with the diverse “street photography”.

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Gangaur Ghat

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Time to head down to Gangaur Ghat with the flying rats - pigeons.

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Along to cross back on Daiji Bridge to see Gangaur Ghat from Hari Ghat on the other side. This pedestrian only bridge while gives walkers respite from the crazy traffic in Udaipur, though not from the cows, dogs, beggars and busking musicians.

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Gangaur Ghat from Hari Ghat

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Back to the same point overlooking Lake Pichola as last night for sunset.

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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City Palace

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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City Palace

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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City Palace

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Met a couple of fellow photographers. Asked Kaushik to join me for dinner at Raas Leela right on the lake edge with Taj Lake Palace all lit up in the background.

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Dinner = Non-vegetarian platter - chef’s choice of four non-vegetable starters 450 rupees / NZ$9.10 / US$6.30.
Dal bati churma = traditional Rajasthani dish served with lentils 450 rupees / NZ$9.10 / US$6.30.
Maki ki roti = indian bread made with yellow corn flour cooked on a griddle 75 rupees / NZ$1.50 / US$1.
Plus GST and a tip came to 1,200 rupees / NZ$25 / US$16.90.

https://www.raasleela.in/

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Walking back to the hotel came across this rather noisy wedding procession.

The groom is on the horse with sehra - made out of flowers - white and red roses.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:34 Archived in India Tagged sunset udaipur lake_pichola Comments (0)

40 ~ Fountains galore - Sahelion ki Bari : Udaipur

Garden of maidens


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Off to Sahelion ki Bari reaching there at midday.

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Fountains galore.

The garden of maidens was built by Maharana Sangram Singh in the mid-18th century.

https://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens/sahelion-ki-bari

http://www.udaipur.org.uk/gardens/saheliyon-ki-bari.html

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Posted by bruceontour 00:54 Archived in India Tagged udaipur sahelion_ki_bari Comments (0)

39 ~ Cruise around Lake Pichola : Udaipur

No, it was “sit on the right-hand side”


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Down to the Promenade to board for the hour long cruise around Lake Pichola. Somehow, I had in my mind “sit on the left-hand side of the boat” ... No, it was “sit on the right-hand side” as it goes around the lake anti-clockwise. I should have realised this from watching the boats last night!

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Jag Mandir

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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Gangaur Ghat

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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City Palace

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A stop at Jag Mandir / Magar Ghat was included. Only needed 25 minutes here and that was enough to wander around.

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Back aboard, life jackets on for the short distance back to the pier.

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Jag Mandir

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City Palace

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Off to the next stop - Sahelion ki Bari

Posted by bruceontour 00:14 Archived in India Tagged udaipur lake_picola Comments (0)

38 ~ City Palace : Udaipur

Day 10 : Finding arches to frame the photos


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Then the short walk up to City Palace.

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A fusion of Medieval European and Chinese architecture, “City Palace” which was built by Maharaja Udai Singh. This marble monument is situated on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola. Numerous balconies, towers and cupolas of the palace provide a marvelous view of the lake and the city below.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Romantic Udaipur is known as the city of palaces and lakes. It was founded in 1559 by Mewar ruler Maharana Udai Singh II, and the kingdom's capital was later relocated there from Chittorgarh after Mughal invasion. At the heart of it, bordering Lake Pichola, is the City Palace Complex. Notably, it's still partially occupied by the Mewar royal family today. They've done a commendable job of developing it into a tourist destination that intimately presents the history of the Maharanas of Mewar. The "jewel in the crown" (pardon the pun) is the City Palace Museum.

The museum comprises both the Mardana Mahal (King's Palace) and Zenana Mahal (Queen's Palace), which make up the City Palace. Constructed over four and a half centuries, it's the oldest and largest part of the City Palace Complex. The architecture is the main highlight, along with the priceless private royal galleries, artwork, and photographs.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-palaces-and-forts-in-india-1539345

The City Palace Museum is the jewel in the crown of the Udaipur City Palace Complex. It is here that you can immerse yourself in the history of the Maharanas of Mewar, and really get a feel for their culture and how royalty lived. The sprawling museum is actually a series of palaces, including the Mardana Mahal (palace for the royal men) and Zenana Mahal (palace for the royal women).

Construction on the City Palace started in 1559, making it the oldest part of the City Palace Complex. The various rulers continued the work over four and a half centuries, in a number of phases, giving rise to the Mughal and British influences in the palace architecture.

In 1969, the City Palace was opened to the public as the City Palace Museum. This was done out of necessity, in order to generate income and maintain the building after India became a democracy, and royal rulers had to give up their states and fend for themselves. The Museum is now overseen by the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation. The annual World Living Heritage Festival, which takes place at the City Place, is also an initiative of this foundation to preserve Indian heritage and culture.

The current custodian of the House of Mewar, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, hasn't merely been content with restoring the City Palace to its former glory. Ongoing projects are underway to develop it into a world class museum.

Once such project is the exhibition of priceless royal family photographs. The interior of the Museum is also adorned with priceless artwork, which documents royal history before Udaipur got its first camera in 1857. A collection of personal portraits of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar is on display as well. Recently, the world's first silver museum and gallery of royal musical instruments were added.

Being the largest part of the Udaipur City Palace Complex, the City Palace Museum stretches 33 meters high, 333 meters long, and 90 meters wide. Exploring the museum is like negotiating your way through a maze. There's a good reason for this. It was designed to hinder enemy attack.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/udaipur-city-palace-museum-1539587

Again, it was the views from City Palace plus the patterns and colours through the widows that really interested me. Plus finding arches to frame the photos.

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Jag Mandir

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island)

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It took a very quick hour to follow the stairs up and down the parts that were open to the public. Part are a couple of hotels and it is also still used as a residence.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:40 Archived in India Tagged udaipur city_palace Comments (0)

37 ~ Jagdish Mandir (Shree Jagdish Temple) : Udaipur

32 marble steps


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Left at 9am / 09:00 taking a tuk tuk with Sunil, my local guide, on the start of the city tour.

I only needed 10 minutes to see Jagdish Mandir (Shree Jagdish Temple). Don’t know why some people spend 30 minutes here.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

This imposing white Hindu temple, with intricate architecture and carvings, is an unmissable landmark in the Lal Ghat area near the entrance to the City Palace. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651 and houses a black stone idol of Lord Jagannath (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). The highlight here is the evocative aarti (worship ceremony) every sunrise and sunset.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/udaipur-attractions-and-tourist-sites-1539755

Covering the exterior and the plinth are base relief of alligators, elephants, horsemen and celestial musicians rising in rows. It is the largest temple in Udaipur.

Jagdish Temple raised on a tall terrace and was completed in 1651. It attaches a double-storey Mandapa (hall) to a double-storey saandhara (with a covered ambulatory) sanctum. The mandapa has another storey tucked within its pyramidal samavarna (bellroof) while the hollow clustered spire over the sanctum contains two more, nonfunctional stories. To reach the main shrine, one must climb 32 marble steps, intercepted by a Brass image of Garuda in the end, being the mount (vahana) of God Vishnu. Shri Jagdish Temple is the most beautiful example of Hindu Iconography, consisting of three stories of hand carved stone, with a steeple nearly 79 feet high.

Four smaller shrines, dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Surya, Goddess Shaktiand, Lord Shiva form a circle around the main shrine, housing the idol of Lord Vishnu. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagdish_Temple,_Udaipur

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Posted by bruceontour 00:36 Archived in India Tagged udaipur jagdish_temple jagdish_mandir shree_jagdish_temple Comments (0)

36 ~ Udaipur means just 1 thing! James Bond & Octopussy

Find a place for dinner with customers


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What does Udaipur mean to me? One thing! James Bond and Octopussy, the 1983 film with Roger Moore as Bond. My memory is especially of Garden of Taj Lake Palace (also known as Jag Niwas island) with the scene when disguised as a crocodile, Bond swims up to the 'floating palace', populated only by attractive women, and the lair of Octopussy, whom he suspects to be involved with the smuggling of a Fabergé egg.

After eventually finding the 3 star The Lavitra hotel and check in, it was already 4.30pm / 16:30.

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The Lavitra

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I had wanted to see sunset and having just general directions managed to find my way down the narrow alleyways by the lake down to Ambrai Ghat overlooking Lake Picola. No time to pull out my notes and map and research where to eat tonight. All I know is to find a roof top restaurant.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Udaipur has many vantage points for photography but arguably the best one is Ambrai Ghat, especially at sunset. It's located directly opposite the City Palace and also fronts the Lake Palace hotel, so you have an unsurpassed view of both as their lights are turned on. To get to there, head to the Hanuman Ghat area and keep walking along the road that runs parallel to Lake Pichola as far as you can, past the Amet Haveli hotel and Ambrai restaurant. Do be aware that Ambrai Ghat is a popular local hangout for couples. (Of course, locals know the most romantic spot with the best views in the city!)

https://www.tripsavvy.com/udaipur-attractions-and-tourist-sites-1539755

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Rang Sagar (lake)

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He is selling chana jor garam, which is made of flattened chick peas which is smashed into a disc when wet, sundried or roasted (ideally) and spiced with masalas, sold as a very popular street food. Every child from India would have this as their go to snack if they love spicy food.

Chana jor garam is normally roasted with charcoal pot which just sits on the pile of chanas. As per your order, he will mix and toss it in a paper for you with onion, green chillies, lemon juice, chat masala, black salt and coriander leaves.

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Garden of Taj Lake Palace ~ also known as Jag Niwas island

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Come 5.30pm / 17:30 the sun was about to drop below the distant horizon … By 5.45pm / 15:45 it had all but disappeared.

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Then in the fading light a wander around orientating myself.

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My gut feeling was to say find a place for dinner with customers but in this case I didn’t. Saw Bridge Corner Restaurant and I climbed the stairs, saw nobody and said to myself, well the food would come quickly …. was tired, ordered and waited and waited … told 5 more minutes … but after another 15 minutes left having said a few choice words to the staff who some certainly did understand English. Lesson ... “Follow one’s gut feeling and eat at places with customers!”

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Around the corner at the edge of Rang Sagar (lake) was another restaurant Aapno Darbar with groups of young customers there so ordered my dinner = Amritsari Fish 240 rupees / NZ$4.90 / US$3.40.
Kingfisher lager 220 rupees / NZ$4.50 / US$3.10.

https://www.facebook.com/aapnodarbar/

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By the time I got back to The Lavitra, I was still hungry so enjoyed Gatte Ka Saag - garm flour dumplings cooked in traditional yoghurt based gravy 300 rupees / NZ$6.10 / US$4.20.
Jeera Rice 300 rupees / NZ$6.10 / US$4.20.
Garlic naan 80 rupees / NZ$1.60 / US$1.10.
Plus GST came to 714 rupees / NZ$14.90 / US$10.

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Perhaps I should have gone straight back to the hotel first for dinner? No! It had no atmosphere.

A long and at times frustrating day had finally come to an end.

Posted by bruceontour 02:33 Archived in India Tagged sunset udaipur lake_picola ambrai_ghat Comments (0)

35 ~ Ranakpur Temples

Day 9 : “Selfie, selfie” the call went out


View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

After breakfast was the drive through to Udaipur.

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Pass a celebration of some sort so it was a short stop. Being the only non-local, I stood out like a sore thumb as the procession pass. “Selfie, selfie” the call went out. Again I was asked by the locals to have their photo taken with them. Why me?

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Not too sure what this procession is for. But the guy on the horse looks like that he may be a politician or related to a party celebrating the win after polls. The badge he carries are commonly used for special occasions such as political procession from a specific party.

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Three hours after leaving Luni, reached Ranakpur Temples. Non-Jains can enter the temple from 12 noon / 12:00 to 5pm / 17:00 so there was no point in leaving Luni really early today. Mornings are reserved for prayers.

Renowned for marvellously carved “Ranakpur Jain temples” in amber stone is one of the five holy places of the Jain community. These temples were created in the 15th century AD during the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall. The central Chaumukha or four faced temple is dedicated to the venerated Tirthankara Rishabhji. Open on all four sides, it enshrines the four faced image of Adinath.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Jain temples are known to be the most elaborate in India, and the temple complex at Ranakpur is absolutely astonishing. Dedicated to the first Tirthankar (savior and spiritual teacher) who founded Jainism, it's the country's biggest and most important Jain temple complex. The main temple, Chaumukha Mandir, is made out of white marble and was built in the 15th century. It has sprawling over 48,000 feet 29 halls, 80 domes, and 1,444 engraved pillars! Allow about an hour to see the temple complex. Conservative dress is required for both men and women (legs and shoulders covered). Leather items (including belts), shoes, food, and cigarettes are not permitted inside. Women who are menstruating are considered to be unclean and shouldn't go in either.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/interesting-places-near-udaipur-1539757

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"I can see what you are doing ..."

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Spent just over an hour here. Actually, it was the smaller temple outside without the tourists that caught my eye. I suppose that it was the bright sun as well that helped casting shadows on the columns.

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A short way along the windy mountain like road, so unlike the previous days of flat desert, it was time for Ashok’s lunch break at Casa En Ranakpur.

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Leaving at 2.30pm / 14:30, it was just after 4pm / 16:00 when we drove into Udaipur.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:29 Archived in India Tagged ranakpur jain_temple Comments (0)

34 ~ Love my new name : Luni

Felt very different to Khejarla

Now 3pm / 15:00 and time to leave as we had to get to Luni and my overnight stay at Fort Chanwa, another heritage hotel.

While Luni is located only 32 km / 20 miles away from Jodhpur, it took an hour to reach here getting through Jodhpur’s traffic.

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Not much of the rest of the afternoon left with free time to explore this little village on my own but off I went and for the next hour took my usual “street photos”.

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Walked the small village with shops effectively lining just 2 streets forming a crossroad.

It felt very different to Khejarla.

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Again saw many barber shops.

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The guy towards the end just outside the hotel was willing to pose for me then went and got out his padgi (headwear) to put on. Yes, he was really proud. Hate to think how often that he is asked for a photo.

Inside a couple were getting professional photos taken for their forthcoming wedding. See the drone.

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Dinner = Paneer Tikka Masala – chargrilled paneer in the famous butter chicken gravy 350 rupees / NZ$7.10 / US$4.90.
Rice 150 rupees / NZ$3 / US$2.10.
Plus GST and a tip came to 595 rupees / NZ$12 / US$8.30.

Love my new name.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:00 Archived in India Tagged luni Comments (0)

33 ~ Beware of the "landmines" : Jodhpur's Blue Houses

“Do you want to see some local textile ... ?"

Downwards and on exiting one of the tall city gates found myself in amongst the blue houses that I had wanted to see. One had to be really careful of the “landmines” (cattle poo).

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Sea shells probably from nearby Gujarat.

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Not all houses were painted blue.

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The jeweller was custom designing a piece for the lady.

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It took a leisurely hour to walk down till the bustling streets with the shops. Passing through how the locals live without the tourists will be another memory.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Unlike the crowded clock tower area, the blue part of Jodhpur behind the fort, known as Navchokiya, is refreshingly quiet and devoid of tourists. Don't miss spending some time leisurely strolling along its streets. It's also possible to go on a guided walking tour of the area to learn more about it. You can even stay amid the blue houses: Some of the top options in the area are Singhvi's Haveli, Jewel Palace Haveli, Rani Mahal, and Jaswant Bhawan Homestay.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-attractions-in-jodhpur-1539658

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Stopped for some street food.

Gajar – halwa being carrot and milk – sweet.

Gajar ka halwa (Hindi: गाजर का हलवा), also known as gajorer halua, Gajrela, Gajar Pak, and Carrot halwa is a carrot-based sweet dessert pudding. It is made by placing grated carrots in a pot containing a specific amount of water, milk and sugar and then cooking while stirring regularly. It is often served with a garnish of almonds and pistachios. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gajar_ka_halwa

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Again … “Do you want to see some local textile and the difference between local and what is sold in the overseas designer shops?” Of course and I made it clear that I am not buying ... You can finish this. I was allowed to take photos of what is made for the local market but not the pieces for the overseas name stores. Then the “Do you want to buy?”

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Rasins

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Rusk or Toasts made out of wheat flour or semolina enjoyed with a cuppa tea or milk.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:22 Archived in India Tagged jodhpur blue_city Comments (0)

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