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Explore India with Jatin Chhabra

A Travelogue on our trip to Delhi and Rajasthan

INDIA | Tuesday, 10 July 2018 | Views [30]

As a Mumbaikar, I always had a fascination with North India. A number of things fascinated me. There was Delhi, on which every dynasty wanted to rule; Agra, where a helpless emperor spent his last days gazing at the very memorial he once built; the pious lands of Ajmer and Pushkar; the searing battlefields of Rajasthan, whose arid lands still sing ballads of valiant Rajput kings; the stark beauty of Thar Desert, whose sand dunes assume a new form every day.

Unconsciously, I had planned my next holiday destination, and one evening, I made my plans with a couple of friends to tour North India. And on a bright sunny day, we left Mumbai on a thrilling tour of North India, which included Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer.

Delhi

Delhi Aiport Metro

Delhi struck me as a vast metropolis, where Delhi Metro makes life easy for travellers. We started with the Red Fort. The fort is a colossal structure, where we found it surprisingly easy to walk around. What really fascinated me were the Diwaan-e-aam and Diwaan-e-khaas, whose arched gateways are most photogenic. Jama Masjid tested our stamina though when we had to climb its steps and minarets. But the real pleasure was when we tasted the street food in Parathe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk. The dahi bhalla chaat, parathas, chole were mouthwatering. We saw the famous Qutub Minar and the Lotus Temple. Talking and photography were not allowed inside the temple, but we sat and meditated for some time. Humayun’s Tomb gave us a glimpse of the Taj Mahal. India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan were so amazingly different. We did have time to visit Akshardham Temple and Lodi Gardens.

Agra

Taj Mahal Agra

In Agra, we decided to save its best attraction to the last, so we toured the massive Agra Fort first. I can still recollect the huge fort standing before us like a huge giant. Its red sandstone walls looked so powerful, even after so many centuries!! We saw the Taj Mahal from the fort, just as Emperor Shah Jahan must have seen when he was held prisoner here. The Baby Taj, or Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb was another incredible monument. Its intricately sculptured stonework is pure wonder to look at. Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandara was also a marvelous landmark, but even more wonderful was Mehtab Bagh. They were the most wonderful gardens I have seen in India!! They lush green gardens are so romantic that you can spend your entire day just admiring the views of the Taj Mahal. Next morning was dedicated to viewing the Taj Mahal during the sunrise. Watching the sun emerge from behind the Taj Mahal is a most beautiful sight. After this grand spectacle, that day we left for our next destination, the Pink City of Jaipur.

Jaipur

Jaipur Rajasthan

We were in Jaipur, and our tour started with the fabulous City Palace. Its architecture impressed us the most, and we were very surprised to know that the descendants of the royal family still live in the palace. It is huge and took us at least 2 hours to visit its palaces, museums and gardens. The next monument was the iconic Hawa Mahal, and looking at its structure, we could just imagine the royal ladies peeping out of the innumerable windows. Jantar Mantar was stunning too, as it was impossible for us to believe that such precise astronomical instruments could be made several centuries back. The next morning we toured the famous Amer Fort and went on an elephant ride up to its gates. The Sheesh Mahal made us marvel at the ingenuity and architectural brilliance of the architects of that era. We could only marvel at Jal Mahal in Man Sagar Lake and take photographs as boating was not available in the lake. Nahargarh Fort was equally stunning as Amer Fort. It gave us the most wonderful views of Jaipur city. After Jaipur, our next destination was the Blue City of Jodhpur.

Jodhpur

Jodhpur Fort

The powerful Mehrangarh Fort gave us the first introduction to Jodhpur. Going up the winding paths up the fort, I could visualize the enemy cannons hurling cannonballs at the fort. Jodhpur from the top of the fort is so beautiful to look at. There were local musicians playing at the gates, attired in traditional dresses. Jaswant Thada made us marvel at its marble architecture. The sunsets from here are mind blowing. Bishnoi village was where we saw the simple villages. We visited the lake nearby, where we could see birds feeding on little fishes and blackbucks grazing around in the grassy land. Umaid Bhawan Palace was such a dazzling building, that we couldn’t help gaping at its structure on arrival. We saw the trophies, clocks, and other antique riches in its museum. After the tour of Jodhpur, we went to our last destination, Jaisalmer.

Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort

The last destination of our tour proved to be most exciting!! There was the immensely huge Jaisalmer Fort looming in front of us in the arid landscape. We were told that you could take around 4 hours just to roam the fort. There were narrow lanes and bylanes, and houses of people who must have lived here since centuries!! Inside the fort, there were many shops selling purses and other exotic items. The views from the top were awesome. The markets of Jaisalmer were colorful and bustling with activity. Gadisar Lake looked picturesque with its chhatris. Nathmal ki haveli and Patwon ki haveli was a picture of golden yellow with its breathtaking balconies and gateways. After touring the city, we made our way to Sam Sand Dunes in the Thar Desert. It is here that we enjoyed riding the camel and exploring the remote areas of the desert. In the evening, we enjoyed the dance performance of folk artists and a royal Rajasthani Thali in the camp.

Departure

Our tour had come to an end in Jaisalmer, and we drove back to Jodhpur to catch a flight to Mumbai. It was a tour worth remembering for its sheer range of attractions. We took back fond memories from this tour.

Tags: delhi, india, rajasthan

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