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Ajmer – my visit and impressions

10 Feb

During our stay in Pushkar, we decided to book a local cab for a day and explore Ajmer. Now Ajmer and Pushkar are pretty much twin cities just separated by a hill and a 15 – 20 minute drive. Based on my own experience, I recommend that everyone stay in Pushkar and visit Ajmer for a day trip only.

We started our day with a visit to the Jain temple of Nareli. Nareli is a new temple complex that is around 7 kms ahead of Ajmer and is a kind of township. There is a main temple building built-in the centre on the ground and 23 small temples built atop the hill behind this main temple. The color of the stone used for these temples is a mix of pink and red which contrasts with the barren hills around this place and contribute to the character of this complex. There are gardens all around the main temple and they have small rooms built with replicas of Jain beliefs on conducting their life and small boards which explain the principles of Jainism in the most simple language.

Jain Temple, Nareli, Ajmer

Jain Temple, Nareli, Ajmer

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Meeting the various forms of Lord Shiva in Pushkar

20 Jan

Pushkar is a small Hindu temple town in Rajasthan that is full of temples, either every alternate building is a temple or every house has a temple. In addition to the famous (and one of the few in the world) Lord Brahma temple, there are numerous temples dedicated to Lord Shiva here. According to Hindu mythology when Lord Shiva’s wife – Lady Sati died, Shiva cried so much that his tears created 2 ponds and one them is in Pushkar.

Hence it was not surprising that while walking around this town we came across Lord Shiva in various forms. While it was prohibited to take pictures inside the temples, we captured Shiva on camera in various other places. I am sharing a few of these here in my 100th post today.

We found this small kid wandering on the road dressed exactly like Lord Shiva. However unlike the Lord he demanded a small fee to be photographed. 🙂

A kid dressed as Lord Shiva

A kid dressed as Lord Shiva

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The Pushkar Experience

20 Jan

On the third day of our Rajasthan trip, we found ourselves in the small desert town of Pushkar, where we spent nearly 3 days.  And I must say that nothing had prepared us for what to expect in this visit. For starters, this town is very very small (you can walk from one corner to the other numerous times in a day), its full of temples (every building is either a temple or every house has a temple), has more foreigners than Indians, is brimming with every possible color, is very cheap for everything and all food here is fully vegetarian (non-vegetarian food and alcohol is prohibited here). Though this place is more famous for the Pushkar fair, we decided to visit it before the fair to just get an actual flavor and feel of this town. And I must say, we loved this place.

In Pushkar there is just one main road which is full of shops, eataries and temples. One side of this road are ghats and the Pushkar Lake while on the other side you have the small by-lanes with shops, houses and more temples. The town is so small that you can cover it several times in the day and all on foot. Also, you will notice that there are more tourists than locals and only two kinds of tourists – Indian pilgrims or foreign backpackers. Because of all the international tourists everyone here speaks english and all internal cuisines are available. In fact the food here was so amazing that I’ll write a separate post on it.

While there is nothing per se to see here, there is a world here to experience. So here’s my experience of Pushkar in pictures –

An ancient door of an ancient haveli

An ancient door of an ancient haveli

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Rural Cruising in Rajasthan

9 Jan

After  an exciting Day 1 of our holiday in Bundi, we had decided to start our second day pretty early with a trip to a nearby Jain temple called Bijoliya Parasnath, then return to Bundi for lunch and then start for our long drive to Pushkar.

And in order to manage everything in time, we started pretty early from Bundi at 6.30am (in fact it was so early that we had to wake up the haveli staff to open the doors J) for our journey to Bijoliyaji Parasnath. Now the distance between these 2 places is only around 50 Kms but the drive takes around 2 hours one way, due to the bad conditions of the road.

Drive to Bijoliya Parasnath

Drive to Bijoliya Parasnath

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Bundi, a small town lost in time

1 Jan

Rajasthan, for some inexplicable reason, has been a place that always beckons me to visit, no matter how many times I have already been there (and I have been there 7 – 8 times already). Hence it’s not surprising that I ended up there yet again for a short holiday in October this year. And like always, this holiday didn’t disappoint us in fact we saw a completely new face of Rajasthan.

For this trip, I decided to visit Bundi (a small town in Rajasthan), drive through a few villages (a rural journey) and ultimately visit Pushkar (the temple town). You can read more on my travel planning and itinerary in my previous post – Travel Plans for a quick trip to Rajasthan.

Bundi, a beautiful palace overlooking the city

Bundi, a beautiful palace overlooking the city

We started our trip when our train dropped us at the Kota station at 5am on Day 1. We had booked a cab in advance (since it was early morning), but you can just reach the station and take a cab for Bundi directly. We found our dozing driver and then set off for our journey towards Kesariya Patan.

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Travel Plans for a quick 5 day off-beat trip to Rajasthan

18 Dec

October this year came up with a fabulous opportunity to take a quick unplanned holiday. In a week, the Wednesday was an off and so was that same Friday, so if you just took a thursday off – you got full 5 days holiday.  On seeing this small window of opportunity, the travel junkie in me just couldn’t resist and decided to go somewhere, rather go anywhere. However realty hit me hard, when I saw the extremely expensive air fare for any place that I wanted to visit, so I decided to leave all those places and check my options via an overnight train travel from Mumbai.

Now, I am one of those people who really need to plan for a trip much in advance and research / mull on it for at least a month. But in this case I decided the broad trip details in 2 days and landed up at the place with only the trains and hotels booked. Rest all, I left to be discovered en route; I guess this is as impulsive as I’ll ever get. And I am glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed; in fact, I realised that there is a different experience all together when you travel like this. For starters, you haven’t read a lot about a place so it’s all new and unexpected. Secondly this allows you a lot of flexibility in the paths to take or things to do.

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Goodbye Rajasthan

28 Oct

All good things eventually come to an end and for some reason the good times just run by at an amazing speed. Sadly my fun trip to Rajasthan is also ending with today being my last day in Pushkar and of this trip.

We checked out of our guest house in the morning and decided to walk around for one last time in Pushkar. For some reason today we really found some amazing gift stuff and shopped like crazy people. We also ate some awesome pohe and malpuas and also got some packed for family back at home. For my entire trip, Pushkar has been amazing in terms of great food and shopping and that too at dirt cheap prices. I’ll write a detailed post on this soon.

We now sadly bid goodbye to this beautiful place and await our train to reach home. Tomorrow it’s work as usual though I think I will be too dazed to do anything productive 🙂

So it’s me signing off for one last time from Pushkar with a few instagram postcards –

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