Incredible Rajasthan ! – A 2320 kms road trip, without reservations.


 

Normally most of our trips are planned in advance. We at least have info about the places to cover, a rough idea of the time required at each place, road conditions and the route to take…

What made the Rajasthan road trip incredible for us is :

  • We just had an arbitrary list of places that we wanted to see – No route plan for most of the trip.
  • Though we were bang in the middle of the tourist season – no accommodation reservations anywhere.
  • We used online portals to read up about the ‘must see’ places at each location and we would plan the itinerary for each day on the previous evening.
  • No paper maps this time around – We totally depended on Google maps on a smart phone, to plan our route and also decide on the plan for the day ahead.
  • We ended up covering more places than we thought we could.
  • Thanks to the great roads between most places in Rajasthan, it was an an amazing driving experience.

Four of us started from Jaipur in the Xing on the morning of the 8th December and returned back late evening on the 16th of December 2011. Nine days of the most incredible sights, sounds and taste of Royal Rajasthan.

The weather was perrrrrfect ! The gentle winter sun allowed us to walk around exploring the forts and palaces even at 2 pm. [ Just try doing that in summer 😉 ]

Is Rajasthan a very expensive proposition for the normal tourist ? Well, the 9 day trip cost the four of us around Rs.14,500 per head. (Food, Accommodation, Petrol, Entry tickets, Toll etc.- all inclusive).

The route that evolved as we covered each place was :

Jaipur >> Fatehpur >> Mandawa >> Bikaner >> Deshnoke >> Gajner >> Pokharan >> Sam Dunes >> Kuldhara >> Lodarva >> Jaisalmer >> Barmer >> Kiradu >> Mahabar dunes >> Jodhpur >> Mandore >> Ranakpur >> Kumbhalgarh >> Udaipur >> Chittorgarh >> Jaipur

During the trip, we started from the ‘Pink City’ – Jaipur, to the ‘Golden city’ – Jaisalmer, the ‘Blue city’ – Jodhpur and the ‘Lake city’ – Udaipur !

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5F1ymNMdIc

 

Fatehpur

 “Fatehpur or Fatehpur Shekhawati is a town in the Sikar district of Indian state Rajasthan. It is part of the Shekhawati region. It is midway between Jaipur and Bikaner on National Highway 11. Fatehpur is famous for grand havelis with frescos, which is a specialty of the Shekhawati region. A number of bawdis are also centres of attraction here.

We started a little late into the day on the 8th of December. Usual story… it was quite late by the time we came back from office the previous night and woke up late the next morning. Vani & Aishwarya had taken the flight from Bangalore to Jaipur the previous evening and were all set to head out. Our first overnight stay would be at Bikaner, so the plan was to cover Fatehpur and Mandawa on the way.

We stopped enroute at a couple of places to click a few pics… and we kept doing that throughout the trip. Between the four of us, we must have ended up with over 5000 photos ! So it was a tedious task putting up this travelogue since I had to work with a set target of not more than 15 pix per place…

The Fatehpur bawdi. This unique architectural structure was fully dry on that day…

One of the four entrance arches…

Climbing the tower in the middle of the step well was probably more difficult than expected…

One of the havelis in Fatehpur; this one had been converted into an office.

No wonder this area is called an ‘Open air art gallery’. As we drove through Fatehpur and Mandawa, there were quite a few small and big havelis with paintings and exquisite designs…

 

A few of the havelis are open to visitors…

And many others are decaying in silence…

 

Mandawa

“Mandawa is a town in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan in India. It is part of Shekhawati region. Mandawa is situated 190 km off Jaipur in the north. The town lies between latitude 28°.06’ in the north and longitude 75°.20’ in the east. Mandawa is known for its fort and havelis. The fort town of Mandawa is well connected with the other places in region through a good network of roads.

 

Our next stop was Mandawa, where there are quite a few havelis that have been renovated and thrown open to tourists…

 

Each haveli has delicate paintings and intricate woodwork…

The town has around fifteen odd havelis that are worth visiting…

After exploring Mandawa for a few hours, we started off towards Bikaner, which would be our first night-halt for the trip. We reached Bikaner at around 9 pm and the GPS guided us right to the RTDC hotel. Rooms were available, we checked in and after a light dinner, it was lights off for day one.

 

Bikaner

 “Bikaner (Rajasthani: बिकाणो ) is a District in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in northern India. It is located 330 kilometres (205 mi) northwest of the state capital, Jaipur. Bikaner city is the administrative headquarters of Bikaner District and Bikaner division. It was formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner.

The city was founded by Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan. Bikaner is famous for sweets and snacks (or namkeens in Hindi).”

Woke up a little early and by around 9am, we were ready to head out for the day. First stop was the Junagarh fort and palaces…

The Laxmi nivas palace…

 

The Lalgarh palace.. which is now a heritage hotel.

 

Deshnoke

 “Deshnoke is a small town in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan, India, near the Pakistan border and about 30 km from Bikaner. Deshnoke is famous for its 600 year old Karni Mata temple where rats are worshipped. Goddess Karni mata is worshiped by the royal family as well as general public of Bikaner and other parts of Rajasthan from old times.”

From Bikaner, we headed out towards Deshnoke to visit the world famous Karni Mata temple, known for the hordes of rats that have a free run of the place !

It was crowded.. with people and with rats !

Apparently, spotting a white rat is supposed to bring good luck… and luck was on our side ! We spotted one…

From the Karni mata temple, we proceeded towards the camel research center. On the way, we took a small deviation towards a place that had a good population of endangered vultures. Being a keen bird watching enthusiast, Aishwarya wanted to get some good pix… and she did !

The camel research center.. the only one of its kind (?)

Next stop was at the cenotaphs outside the city…

The Bhandasar Jain Temple…

The four travelers !

Since we planned to visit Gajner the next morning, we stayed back for a second night at Bikaner. What better way to wind up the day than to visit some of the well known sweet shops in old Bikaner to savor some sweets and namkeens !

Gajner

“Gajner palace near Bikaner is an incomparable jewel in the Thar Desert is built on the embankment of a lake. Built by H.H. Maharaja Sir Ganga Singhji of Bikaner, this Grand Heritage property is spread over 6000 acres. Gajner Palace was used as a hunting resort by the former Maharajas and visiting British dignitaries during the days of the Raj.

We started from Bikaner quite early in the morning. The plan was to have breakfast at Gajner. The palace is now a heritage hotel with a open air restaurant too !

 

It was quite cold outside, so we opted for a breakfast in the cozy dining hall…

After breakfast, we walked around to explore the palace and the surroundings…




6 comments to...
“Incredible Rajasthan ! – A 2320 kms road trip, without reservations.”
Avatar
Sammy The Gamer ^^

i loved the photography
awesome.


Avatar
Sjarn Mansoor

Thanks for the wonderful inspiration!
I’m planning this trip for January 2013
And I am so excited after having seen your blog.
Can’t wait!


Avatar
Rakesh Sachdeva

Truely Incredible. The pictures are awesome and descriptions very crisp and appropriate. I admire the efforts in compiling this blog. Quite inspiring. We shall be taking this road trip ex Delhi (minus Udaiper & Chittorgarh) sometime around the forthcoming New Year. Can someone also add his/her comments on Khuri Sand dunes?
Your blog has kind of added the fuel to the fire. Thanks for sharing.


Avatar
sandhya

planning a road trip from delhi in winter 2013 to rajasthan


Avatar
p.k.prasad

A creative artwork in writing about the travel made by four of you that i have never seen in my life in other travelogues. Hats off to the wonderfull description and the lovely photographs and the choice and importance of puttting those phtographs. Without proper planning and on the plan done on the previous night a wonderfull journey into the desert land of Rajasthan has been made by you. I thank you for the amazing and marvellous work and pains taken so that others can be benefitted out of your travel. The messsage in your travelouge was nothing but not to possess things and information with you but to SHARE them. I have planned during december first week of this year to go to Rajasthan. may be i strictly follow your itinerary. Thank you once again. From P.K.Prasad of chennai.


Avatar
ashok chadha

Wonderful concise yet riveting. Has built big expectations since we are doing the same route from Delhi starting Mandawa plus Ranthambore. Many thanks for all your effort of putting it all together.




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