Andrew McCarthy once said, “The further I travel, the closer I’m to myself.”… I believe this by my heart. This time I planned to pay my visit to the land of Kings, the land of rich Indian heritage and culture- Rajasthan. I knew it is not going to be a touch and go trip. Every place in Rajasthan has its own thrilling history. Yes, I’m telling Rajasthan’s history “thrilling” and I completely mean it.
Day 1 (Jaipur to Bikaner)
I landed on Jaipur on a cold foggy morning of December. Coming out of the airport I saw a happy faced short guy standing just outside the arrival holding a piece of paper where my name was written. As soon as I saw him I understood he is my companion for the next 14 days. He shook my hand firmly and told me “Padharo sa mhaare des!” which means “Welcome to our land!” I have been to a lot of places but this kind of greeting I never got!! Me and Trilok Ji (my cab driver cum companion) headed towards Bikaner and we had to cover almost 350km. The condition of the road was decent for a long drive.
We did a heavy breakfast with smoking hot aloo paratha dahi and spicy achaar on a roadside dhaba. It felt like heaven. On the way one thing I realized that from the next day onwards I have to carry a few bottles of water and dry food as there was hardly any roadside shop.
It was almost late afternoon when I reached Bikaner. It took a little bit time to finally reach the hotel as our GPS led us to two dead ends. Raj Villas Palace was my abode for that night. It was well decorated and comfortable. The weather was freaking cold. I had an early dinner which was a complimentary buffet and slept off.
Day 2 (Bikaner)
Next day having breakfast we headed towards Junagarh Fort. My 1st viewpoint in Rajasthan. Having Trilok Ji with me was an added advantage. He was well aware of the glorifying history of his ‘des‘. He came along with me inside the fort and became my guide. I was surprised that he knew every detail of the fort.
If we google, maybe we’ll get to know everything but standing at the very place and listening to the history from someone who was born and brought up in that soil is completely different. I actually do not want you guys to bore by narrating the history of that fort. You can click here and check it out yourself.
We had to skip visiting Lalgarh Palace due to some unavoidable reasons. Seeing that palace we directly headed towards the Golden city of Jaisalmer. Bikaner to Jaisalmer was another 330km. Trilok Ji insisted me to buy some dry foods and water bottle as it was going to be almost a 5h 30min journey. Before leaving Bikaner we had our lunch with paneer butter masala and tandoori roti from a roadside dhaba. I have to admit, roadside dhabas in Rajasthan are too good. They maintain cleanliness no matter how small their dhaba is and serve tasty food. I could understand the importance of food and water on the road because after 50km or so deserted land started on both the roadsides. Not a single shop was there. We reached Jaisalmer when it was late evening and wherever my eyes were going, it was all golden. I stayed in Hotel Mannat. The manager told me from their rooftop restaurant and awesome panoramic view of Golden fort can be seen.
Day 3 (Jaisalmer)
My day started with a cup of hot coffee and an amazing view of the Golden Fort. I got so surprised seeing the city from the top in the morning, it was all yellow!! Wherever I was looking. Rising sun made the city look like heaven.
I and Trilok Ji headed towards the fort after breakfast. There Trilok Ji met his childhood friend (I forgot his name). His friend was from Jaisalmer itself and stayed with us for the rest of the city tour. The fort itself is situated on top of a hilly structure. It was about 100m high from the adjacent countryside. Trilok Ji and his friend were telling me the history of the fort. You can see the detailed history of the fort here. We went to the rooftop of the fort to get a better view of the golden city. From the roof, I got a glimpse of Thar Desert.
After finishing the fort tour we headed towards the Amar Sagar Lake. The only thing that attracted me there, is the presence of huge catfishes. After that, we went to visit Nathmal Ji ki Haveli. It is an extraordinary piece of work by the architect. It has been said that the construction was started from two points of the building. If you observe carefully you will be able to see the difference. The architecture of this building is quite different from the rest of the architectures in Jaisalmer.
After visiting the Haveli we headed towards the much-awaited place of the trip- Thar Desert, to witness the sunset. After reaching the parking place we had to go by Camel on the top of the sand dune to see the sunset. I must say that 15min camel ride was just incredible.
I literally have no words to express the magnificent view of the sunset. I only can say that if you do not witness by your own eyes you will simply not believe just seeing the pics. It seemed like somebody lit a fire on the horizon to let this deserted land know how grateful we all are to have it as a part of India.
Good things do not last much. As it became dark I had to come back to my car. We planned for dinner in one of the resorts that were present on the other side of the desert. The local cultural program was going on there. We had Dal Bati Churma. It tasted like heaven in the middle of nowhere. While coming back Trilok Ji suddenly stopped the car and switched off all the lights and told me to get down. To be honest I got a bit scared. But when I came out of the car I couldn’t believe that I will be able to see the Milky Way on top of my head. My camera was not that good so I could not click that photo. But again I’m not getting any words to express the beauty.
So many things happened on a single day making me believe on my luck again. How many of you had an opportunity to witness the sunset in a desert or to witness the Milky Way in the most unexpected manner I don’t know? But what I know is if you visit Rajasthan you might get them all at once!!!
My next destination was Jodhpur. Stay tuned to know more about this amazing trip.
To be continued…