Rajasthan Leg I, Mewar

Rajasthan majorly had two dynasties, Mewad and Marwar. Mewad dynasty ruled the region around southern Rajasthan while Marwar towards the north-west Rajasthan.

Since the day, I brought my Bumblebee ( thunderbird 500x ) from Bengaluru, I wanted to go on a bike trip to Rajasthan. What's so special about it, right? Only a Few crazy riders like me could understand the joy of travelling on our bikes. I knew I had to travel solo. Hence, I hesitated a bit about this trip. As they said “You wouldn’t know something until you would try It” and with that thought, I made all the bookings. That too, just two days before the beginning of the trip. Also, the time of the booking was 4 AM 😛. I was always a fan of rooftop restaurants which was why I booked hotels with the best rooftop views at all the Destinations.

Day I : The Longest Journey of the Trip [580 kms : Valsad to Udaipur]

I was very nervous about this trip. Especially, ride from Valsad to Udaipur which was 580 kilometres long. That too, on one of the busiest national highways of India, NH 48. I started early to avoid riding post-sunset. It took me about 4 hours and 30 mins to reach Vadodara which was the most challenging route of the day. The rest of the ride was pleasant with great country sites of North Gujarat.

One with Bumble Bee @ NH 48!

On the way, I visited Shamlaji temple. Temple was closed when I reached there. It would be opening in another half an hour. So, I took delayed lunch. Post lunch, I went inside the temple for the “Darshan”. The temple had detailed carvings on its walls and roof. Also, the place felt very peaceful. Hence, I spent a bit more time there.

Very famous Lord Krishna temple, Shyamlaji Temple!

Interesting fact: This was the same Shamlaji temple mentioned in many “GARBA” of Navratri festival.

Udaipur was just 130 kilometres with great roads and very little traffic. When I was studying in 6th-7th grade, I read a lot about the Aravalli mountain ranges in my geography class. And, Here I was, Riding in these mountains. It was nostalgic!

At around 5 PM, After riding 580 km, I reached Kankarwa Haveli, my stay in Udaipur. I was completely exhausted and directly went for a warm water bath. Later, I went to the restaurant which was on the roof of my Haveli. As soon as I reached there, I was amazed by the view of Lake Pichola. Woooow! It waaaassss incredibleeee… I grabbed a corner table, ordered tea, some snacks and enjoyed my first of many sunsets of this trip. The view at night was even better. Mainly, due to the lights of surrounding restaurants.

Lighting evening @ Pichala Lake

At night, I went for a small walk around Lake Pichola. During which I realized the beauty of Udaipur. I was glad that I had one more evening left here and one more chance to see that magical sunset.

Day II : Explore Udaipur

This was the only day when I would be meeting someone I knew on this solo trip, An office friend from Udaipur. What’s a better way of exploring the city than with someone who lives there.

Who wouldn't wake up early for view like this?

We started our day by visiting Fateh Sagar lake in the morning. It was huge and not as populated as Pichola. The lake was peaceful, mostly due to the early morning. Due to Work From home situations, I hadn't met anyone from the office in the past 6 months. Hence, Meeting an office colleague on a trip and talking about office stuff over Tea-kachori was fun.

From there, we went to Badi lake, The only natural lake apart from Lake Pichola. Another huge lake but it was not at all populated like others. It was a bit far from the city and probably the reason for lesser tourists. That’s why it was clean and peaceful. We sat on a large stone at the bank of the lake. It was a really beautiful location, a huge lake surrounded by green tiny hills. We had spent at least an hour there. Then came a couple with their crew for a pre-wedding photoshoot and we had to leave the stage for them. My friend suggested visiting a nearby cafe named Hallucination Cafe for the Brunch. The place was simple with a Mountain View. Light music, tasty food and the Mountain View, What else would I need for Brunch.

Peaceful Badi lake

In the Afternoon, I went to Udaipur City palace which was just 500 meters from my place. The entry ticket for an adult was 300 Rs and guide charges were 300 Rs. One thing I learnt on this trip was, Always visit a historical place with a guide. You would enjoy it more if you would know interesting facts and stories associated with it. Also, you might learn a thing or two from your visit. Shouldn't it be one of the purposes of the travel?

I am very rookie when it comes to visiting any historical sites. Despite this, It took me around 2 hours to visit the entire fort.

Udaipur City Palace.

The palace was constructed over 400 years by various kings of the Mewar dynasty. But the first construction was taken place in 1553 by Maharaja Udai Singh II.

The Udaipur City Palace

Interesting facts about Udaipur City fort
1. The City palace had the statue of goddess Lakshmi in sitting posture at the entrance. What was its significance? Sitting posture would help stabilize money in the house. While Standing posture of goddess Lakshmi would keep the rotation of money. hence, people keep it in their offices. Interesting, isn’t it?
Ganesh statue @ the Entrance!

2. Elephant fights were a famous sport back in the time. Here, Both the elephants would stand at the opposite side of the wall and pull each other with their trunks. The one whose leg touched the wall first would be declared as the loser.

Elephants Fights Sport!

3. I entered the fort from the King's palace. It also contained the oldest courtyard which was built in the 15th century. The exit was from the Queen’s palace. During this, I had visited various museums and beautiful Courtyards. The museum which I loved had the sward and Armor of Maharana Pratap. The Armour would cover the worrier’s body up to his knees. And the length of Maharana Pratap's Armor was 6.75 Ft. Which Meant his height must be above 7 ft. Aren't you surprised?

4. In Queen’s palace, there were Zarokhas [ covered windows ] instead of windows. Back in those days, the king wouldn’t show the face of his Queen to other men. Which was why there were Zarokhas.

One of the many Beautiful Court Yards of Palace!

5. The palace was built around the hill. So, when I reached the top of the palace, I was surprised to see huge trees.

Trust me, I was standing on the top floor of this Palace!

6. Kings of the Mewar dynasty were Surya Vanshis. They would start their day by praying to the Sun God. There was a huge golden sun inside the palace for the king to worship when the sun won't be visible. Especially, in the monsoon. There was a small golden Sun built for the common people of Udaipur for the same purpose.

Man made sun statue for King of mewar Dynasty to worship.

Fun fact :
1. If you are interested to marry at this historical palace, you can. There is one toll-free number from where you will get all the pieces of information 😛

2. In every city of Rajasthan, the current King and their Royal families live in the city palace. Even in Udaipur City palace, the predecessor of Maharana Udai Singh II is living. And, that part of the palace is restricted for the Tourists.

Incredible Gangaur Ghat!

While going on my way to Gangaur Ghat, I visited Jagadish temple and Bagore ki haveli. Gangaur Ghat reminded me of the Ganga ghat. Except, This was on the bank of Pichola lake. But in terms of vibes, it was giving the similar one. A Rajasthani folk artist was playing Ravanhattha at the ghat. Interestingly, they learnt it from their Ancestors. You must have heard a saying - “most beautiful things in this world are free”. It could be applied here. As the live Rajasthani folk music, the Gangaur ghat’s vibe and an incredible view of Lake Pichola, All were free. Which had cumulatively created a lovely atmosphere.

Ravanhatta @ Gangaur Ghat

Playing the guitar had helped me value the artists who could play any sort of live music or instrument. Which was why I enjoyed the Gangaur ghat even more. I would request all of you to value the artists: “Whenever you would see an artist performing in public, just admire their art by clapping and tipping if you could! It meant a lot to them 😊”

My Haveli was a few 100 meters from the Gangaur Ghat. It was time for sunset. So, I walked back to my Haveli, picked up the tripod and went straight to the Roof. I ordered a tea & sandwich. Also, set up my camera on a tripod to capture a time-lapse video of a sunset. I am crazy about photography. Especially, time-lapse of sunsets, sunrises or cloudy weather. I grabbed a corner table and resumed the last book of Shiva Trilogy from chapter 4. This book wasn't completed on the 9th day when I returned home 😛. Not sure how many more trips would it need to complete it 😉

Sunset in Aravallis @ Lake Pichola

At night, I met my friend and we went for dinner on the opposite side of the lake. The main reason was to see Udaipur city palace at night. Trust me, all those efforts were worth it!
At the End of This day, All my nervousness was gone. I was sure that the trip would be, As in HIMYM Barney said: "Wait for it ..... LEGENDARY!"

Udaipur City palace @ Night. That's where we had our Dinner!

Udaipur at Different Time of the Day

“~Staying at Ancient Havelis around Pichola Lake and Witnessing sunset in the Aravallis from Rooftop Restaurants~”
Day III : Glorious Chittorgarh

Trip to Mewar would be incomplete without visiting the Chittorgarh Fort. Many iconic historical events took place at this fort such as Jauhar, Battle of Jaymal-Fatta against countless Maan Singh’s Army. Also, the Bollywood connection with this Fort - The very famous sunset scene of the movie “Yeh Jawani hai Deewani”.

Breakfast @ Kankarwa Haveli, Udaipur

Chittorgarh was just 120 km from Udaipur, mere 2 hours ride. Hence, I wasn’t in any hurry. After completing the breakfast, I left for Chittorgarh. The only available hotel near Chittorgarh fort was Chittorgarh Fort Haveli. Another hotel with amazing panoramic views on this trip. From Its terrace, I could see the entire Chittorgarh city & most buildings of Chittorgarh Fort.

The fort had a circumference of 13 kilometres. Fort was divided into three parts. First came the houses of common people living in Fort from ancient times. Then came various palaces and temples built by various kings of the Mewar dynasty. The last part was the dense forest where wildlife animals used to live back in those days. which was the hunting field for the Kings. Despite, major parts of the fort being demolished by Allaudin Khilji and king Bahadurshah, the ruins of the Fort were still speaking out loud the glorious era of the Mewar dynasty.

Picture @ One of the checklist Location - Gaumukh Kund, Chittorgarh Fort

We began with a visit to the Mirabai temple and the lord shiva’s temple. Architecture wise, it was giving me a glimpse of the SOMNATH Temple of Gujarat and the KONARK temple of Orissa. Next came a bunch of historical places such as the Gaumukh Kund, the Vijaystambh - one of the two towers in the Fort and the place of Jauhar. You would find stories behind it in the next section but If you googled Chittorgarh Fort, most of the photos would show you Gaumukh Kund. It was on my checklist, too! I spent a good amount of time here and learned all the stories associated with this place from my guide. Next, I went to the palace of Maharaja Ratan Singh and the Summer Palace of Rani Padmavati. Also, On our way, we visited the Havelis of Jaymal and Fatta.

Queen's Summer Palace @ Chittorgarh Fort

After this came dense forest which was the furthermost point of the Fort. From there, I moved towards the starting point. On the way, I had visited the original entrance of the Fort. From there, I saw a huge plain land which was the Battle Field where Ratan Singh and Allaudin Khilji fought. Next to it was a Buddhist temple and the smaller of two towers of this Fort. it had 5 stories in it and was Mainly used to track down the enemy movements. After this, I reached the houses of common people whose ancestors were living in the Chittorgarh fort from the time of Maharana Ratan Singh. On the entire fort, I saw countless trees of Shitafal and they tasted way better than the one I had so far in my life.

entrance_chittorgarh buddhish_stambh
At the actual gate of Chittorgarh Fort

Time for shopping. Only one shop was there which was selling Blanket, Saree, Bengals etc. The shop was run by the Maharaja of Udaipur and money earned by them would be used in charity work.

Some interesting things they told me about various items
* Blankets: It could cure Blood pressure problems as well as any kind of body pain. one needed to use it for 45 days and any kind of body pain would go away.
* Sarees: You needed to wash these sarees once in Fitkari and it would generate the odour of rose petals forever. As I didn’t have much knowledge of the design and all, I called my mum and showed her these sarees. she loved them. I bought one for her. Indeed, the odour stays forever. Interestingly, you could return a used saree or a torn one in future and your 50% money would be reimbursed. How about this deal?
Few Interesting Facts about Fort :
1. It had two towers. Amongst, Vijaystambh was the tallest one [ 9 stories ]. The king built it to celebrate the victory over Bahadurshah, A king of Ahmedabad.

Vijaystambh @ Chittorgarh Fort
2. They dug holes and found the rocks to build the palaces and the temples. These holes were used as water reservoirs. There were 84 such Kunds. They were designed in such a way that water from all these Kunds would come to Gaumukh Kund where Queens used to take bath. The region wouldn’t expect much rain, despite that, water would be coming from Gaumukh 365 days a year.

3. The stones found in this region were special. They were producing hit when outside weather was cold and producing cold when the outside temperature rises.
Iconic Historical Events :
1. Three Jauhar took place in Chittorgarh
* In the 13th Century, as soon as Ratan Singh lost, 16000 women including Rani Padmavati, took bath in Gaumukh Kund, prayed to Lord Shiva and jumped into the burning Well.
* In the 15th Century, when Bahdurshah attacked the Chittorgarh and conquered it, around 13000 women did Jauhar.
* Last Jauhar happened In 1568, When Akbar attacked Chittorgarh.

There was Well instead of Tree. All the Jauher took place in it...

2. When Maan Singh attacked Chittorgarh, Maharana Udai Singh II left the Fort with his family. And, given the responsibility of it to his two of the finest soldiers Jaymal Rathore and Fateh Singh Sisodia famously known as Jaymal-Fatta. They fought fearlessly against the Maan Singh’s army of thousands and killed many of them. And, When they were beheaded, their body kept on fighting. Insane right? Akbar was impressed by their bravery. And to honour them, He built their statues at his fort in Delhi. He also said, “I would conquer not only India but the entire world if I get an Army of soldiers like Jaymal-Fatta!”

3. Mirabai stories: When Mirabai’s younger brother in law tried to kill her by sending Cobra in the flowers. Lord Krishna turned cobra into the flowers when Mira bai picked it up. Similarly, instead of water, they sent poison for Mira bai to drink. But that poison was turned into the elixir [ Amrit ]. Fascinating stories, weren’t they?

The Mirabai Temple @ Chittorgarh Fort

Declaimer: You need to have a good guide to get a feeling of this Fort. Also, don’t be in hurry.

4. If you were aware of the movie rani Padmavat, There was a famous movie scene where Alauddin Khilji visited Maharaja Ratan Singh’s palace to see the face of the Rani Padmavati. Maharaja Ratan Singh showed him her reflection on Silverplate and when Khilji turned to see directly, He couldn't see her. If you would visit this with the guide, he would recreate this moment for you. But you have to be Allaudin Khilji during the experiment 😛

Khilji searching padmavati 😛

It was time for sunset. The main reason why I had visited this fort. I requested my guide - “भैया मुझे वही लोकेशन पर ले चलो जहां नैना और बनी बैठे थे।” Wow! I couldn’t believe I am watching the sunset from the exact location where this happened Naina to Bunny: “जीतना भी ट्राई करो, कुछ ना कुछ तो छुटेगा हाय। इस लिए यही, इस पल का मजा लेते हैं।”. I am more of a Bunny in real life, a travel freak. That’s why I was crazy about the Chittorgarh Fort, this incredible evening and this special sunset.

~Life Goal~

The Sunset Naina & Bunny witnessed 😉

“~Definitely, I will visit Chittorgarh when I will find my Naina to recreate that Sunset scene from YJHD @ Chittorgarh~”
Day IV : Transition from Mewar to Marwar via undefeated Kumbhalgarh Fort.

According to the itinerary, I would be travelling to Jodhpur via NH and no major site seeing. But My mom told me if I could, I should visit Kumbhalgarh Fort. So I checked if I could visit it on my way to Jodhpur. Well, I found a route that was passing through the country sites of Rajasthan and I would need to drive just 20 kilometres more than the original route. Hence, decided to go to Jodhpur via Kumbhalgarhgarh fort.

Roads till Kumbhalgarh was very narrow and filled with a lot of potholes & speed breakers. It was scenic but scary at times. Mainly because I hadn't seen many vehicles throughout the journey. This would be a blessing If you were with a group but a big headache when you were on a solo ride in unknown territory. Nonetheless, I was experiencing something new, A different kind of scary feeling something I had never experienced. which was what I seek on all my trips.

~Country site of incredible Mewar~

Crazy route wasn’t the only thing I experienced on that day. I had the best Kachori of my life. That too, at an unexpected place. I was riding for almost an hour and was very hungry. Suddenly, I saw Chai Tapri in a small village, run by an elderly man. At first, I ordered just a tea but then I smelled something delicious and asked him to give me whatever it was. That was how I got that yummy Kachori. That too, just 5 Rs/Piece. Indeed “Most of the best things in this world are cheap!”

~Tasty memories of Mewar, Rajasthan~

It's been 4 hours since I was riding. I had driven 150+ kilometres but still no sign of the Fort. According to Google Maps, only a few kilometres left and if the fort was huge, shouldn’t I get a glimpse of it by now. Which made me question myself, was it that amazing fort? Just when I was self-doubting, I saw walls and a huge fort at the top of the mountain. There It was, the Kumbhalgarh Fort. Despite its exceptional height, it was very well hidden in the mountain ranges. Probably the main reason, why it was never been breached.

~Kumbhalgarh Fort from my Rayban ~

Memorable incident of the Day : I couldn’t found any guide despite asking at several places. I wanted to know all the famous stories about this amazing fort. Suddenly, I saw a watchman sitting inside the fort. I went to him and asked him about the history of the fort. At first, he denied saying he shouldn’t be telling this to the tourists as it wasn’t his job. But I kept on asking and sat beside him for 15 mins. Consistent persistence had paid off and He agreed. Probably, he understood this was the only way to get rid of this crazy man! He then took me to the various places of the Fort and explained to me all the stories and historical events associated with it. Probably, better than most of the guides.

~Me @ Kumbhalgarh. Thanks to that watchman uncle for clicking these pics~
Interesting Facts about this fort

1. After The Great Wall of China, this fort had the longest wall in Asia which was 36 km.

2. Inside these walls, 350+ huge temples of various deities existed.

~One of the countless temples @ Kumbahlgarh~

3. It was the birthplace of the great Maharana Pratap.

4. A famous poet once had said, “The fort is so tall that if one would look at the fort from the bottom, his “Paghadi” would fall from his head. Despite this, the fort could only be visible when you reached there. Isn’t it incredible?

Historical story :

When Udai Singh II was a few months old, his uncle Bhanvir wanted to dethrone him and hence attacked him. His “Dai-ma” Panna Dai put her son in place of Udai Singh II and saved him. Woohh!!! That was some loyalty!

There was a hotel, where I had to keep my luggage while I was visiting the Fort. This was one of the few disadvantages of a solo bike trip. I was really hungry. Also, out of courtesy, I had decided to take lunch there. Tasty Rajasthani Thali with the view of the Kumbhalgarh Fort what else would I need.

~Lunch Date with Kumbahlgarh Fort 😉~
“~The Wall which couldn’t be breached and the Fort which couldn’t be conquered~”

It was almost 2 PM and jodhpur was still 180 kilometers away with the unknown route. So, I decided to leave for the Jodhpur and with that my journey to Mewar got completed! Please click here to know the Marwar part of my Rajasthan Trip.

To Be Continued...

Time traveling is possible if you visit the Mewar...