Monday, 9 September 2013

Trip Along

Way back in March itself we had decided to stay back in Dubai this year for the summer holidays[July-Aug]. Reasons were many, and all of them valid too. But 1 month into the holidays we were all climbing the walls for different reasons.

And worse, our whole building wore a deserted look.

Even the few [kids I mean] I met were like “We are going to our country next tuesday” and I found myself desperately wanting to reply “Even we are going to our country next Monday, so there”.

Simply everybody we knew and didn't were travelling out for the summer.

We had absolutely no plans to go.

After all decisions were made to be followed, right.

So we changed our minds and left to India in a hurry.

Friends asked concerned “Any emergency???”

And we were like noo, noooo….and left the sentence hanging because we had no clear answers for our change of mind.

The kids and I took off [the better-half was swamped with work which was part of the reason why we decided against going in the first place] to my mom’s place in Bangalore.

Not satisfied with the distance we covered we sat around planning another trip, with family this time.

Goa was my brother-in-law’s first and only choice.

But friends who just came back from Goa warned us “It’s drizzling continuously. We stayed cooped up inside the resort all the 4 days we were there.”

“Delhi????” I ventured. I always wanted to see the Taj Mahal.

“Delhi is flooded. The newspapers are full of it. Infact it’s raining everywhere, given the season it’s not surprising is it??” BIL looks at us reprovingly as to why we pick the rainiest of seasons to come home.

Smarting under the veiled attack of ‘not reading newspapers’ I mutter huffily “I’m quite sure it’s not raining in Rajasthan”.

The next thing I knew we were booking tickets to Rajasthan.

We settled for a 5 days trip divided between Udaipur and Jaipur. Mt. Abu was reluctantly ruled out because we knew the kids wouldn’t be too happy with all the travelling. We were also fortunate to find a lovely hotel at such a late stage.

The trip was good. The journey spaced out and comfortable. The hotels first-rate.

But even then, almost everybody had issues.

The kids were not happy about all the sight-seeing  we were doing everyday.  All the travelling from one palace/fort to another in the heat took some out of them. We were sympathetic and cut out a few forts and temples from our list to keep them happy. But they were not very impressed. Today if you ask the kids about their trip they'll tell you in a loud and dramatic voice “You know, we were attacked by monkeys in Rajasthan.” 

Both sets of grand-parents got a shock when they heard this.

Nothing like that happened….they are talking about 1 or 2 monkeys who came a bit too close hoping they’ll get a bit of the ice-creams the kids were eating.

"Nooo wayyy…there were atleast 5 monkeys."
[I can hear their voices in my head stoutly defending their story]

And that is all they remember about Rajasthan;-/

Coming back to the subject, the BIL also had complaints. He was not enthusiastic about the trip to Rajasthan in the first place. He still thought Goa was the ideal destination. The airfare itself irritated him. Well it stumped all of us. You knw our airfare to Rajasthan[from B’lore] was more than our airfare to Dubai[from Rajasthan];-o. I'm sure he was thinking we could have done Thailand on the same budget;-).

The better-half[he took a break & joined us in Rajasthan] came away disconcerted and disillusioned at all the going-ons. He didn’t have any specific incident to tell but I knew. You see, he has always lived outside India and went home only for the holidays. Which meant he didn’t really meet ‘people’….u know like aam aadmi* of India. Being jostled in lines and spoken to rudely and watching officials behave arrogantly towards the tourists all unsettled him. His question of the day[actually he pondered over it everyday] was “why were people in authority acting like they owned the place they worked for. And inspite of paying the amount they demanded as entrance fee[& what not] why were we being treated like second-class citizens and palmed off second quality goods in our own country??” We all went through the same experiences as him but the difference was that we took it in our stride...well it is not something new, is it????

On the last night of the trip my sister & I stood contemplating all these issues outside our hotel rooms[while the others slept]. I lowered my voice and whispered  “But I enjoyed everything… was fantastic, even the noise, the grime, the chaos, the delays, everything” and looked at my sister almost guiltily.

She leaned forward conspiratorially and whispered “Me too”.

We couldn't stop giggling for like 5 minutes;-D.

Seriously I loved it……….I loved the visits to the heritage sites and found the history of each, fascinating. I rued that the guides rushed us through everything but then I know if I went there without one I would have wandered around the same place whole day leaving time for nothing else. The greenery was amazing; I thought Rajasthan was a desert but it was green and so fertile everywhere I looked. And the Aravalli mountains all around do I put was all sooo romantic. Later somebody told us that the monsoons made it seem like that and that Jaisalmer and beyond were more desert-like. The weather was a bit hot and it sometimes rained too but that never came in the way of our plans for the day.

The locals were very approachable and had the tourist routine down pat. And the traders were so good at selling their wares that we felt guilty if we didn't buy something from them. We picked up razais**, saris, paintings, carved pieces, carved pencils[the kids of course], magnets[heee] and even a pagdi[Rajasthani headwear];-D.

And oh how could I forget the puppets….the kids were soo thrilled with a pair I got for them at a puppet show the hotel organised for us. The next day I found the same puppets for half the price in the market;-(.

We also tried the local food, the main attraction being the Rajasthani Thali…..delicious.

Rajasthani Thali

I took lots of pictures and here are a few....

City Palace, Udaipur
Udaipur is known both as the 'City of Lakes' and 'The White City' because of the marble work the place is famous for. It is also known as 'Venice of the East'.

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Most of the palaces have been converted to luxury hotels and the Lake palace[above] covers an entire island in the Pichola lake. We didn't go there but I heard it's an experience of a lifetime.

White City, Udaipur
Artist at work

The train journey from Udaipur to Jaipur took around 6 hours and we got to see a lot of villages and cities on route.

City Palace Entrance, Jaipur
Jaipur is known as the pink city but the colour is not exactly pink, more terracotta. Most of the old city wears this colour...seems like the law states that they have to be painted this colour and no other.

Jaipur City Palace
The palace is very imposing, interesting and spread over acres. The present Maharaja who is a teenager[seriously, he is] lives in the yellow portion of the palace[see above pic].

Largest Silver urn in the world

Seems like more than 100 years ago the then Maharaja of Jaipur had to attend a meeting in London. To avoid the punishment of crossing the ocean he carried with him 3 huge silver urns of water from the Ganges for his exclusive use. Each urn can hold 9000 litres of water. I remember reading this a few years back in 'A Princess remembers' by Gayathri Devi. At one point our guide was mixing up a lot of info which made me wonder if these guys were making up stuff as they went along;-).

Entrance to Jantar Mantar
According to Wikipedia "The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Sawai Jai Singh who was a Mughal Commander and served Emperor Aurangzeb and later Mughals. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period".

Samrat Yantra, Jantar Mantar
Can u see those 2 people in the corner of the picture??? Now just imagine how tall the structure is:-o???

Amer Fort
Amer Fort is a major tourist attraction located high on a hill. The view is breath-taking from there; Nikita & I took a lot of pictures. Any angle I missed she covered;-). But when I look at them now, none of the pictures I feel really captured the essence of those moments spent there.

Palace Grounds, Amer Fort
Visit the place in the morning for the elephant rides. Mostly foreigners were queuing up;-D. I think the authorities charged around Rs.900 per person for the ride.
Kitchen area, Amer Fort
Does it look familiar to any of you??? Seems like the kitchen scene[where Jodha cooks for Akbar] of the Hindi movie 'Jodha-Akbar' was shot here:-).

Jaigarh Fort
By now the information on the different palaces and forts were getting muddled up in my head. All I remember about this fort is that this is where the monkeys attacked us;-P. Yep right at this point.

Camel rides being offered
And finally what's a trip to Rajasthan worth without a camel ride:).

All in all, a wonderful trip especially since it happened so unexpectedly & also maybe because I went with no expectations.

*common man


  1. The yearning to our good old motherland is always overpowering.
    Did not see Jodha Akbar but I know location shooting always brings out the best.
    Some nice pics of a place I have yet to visit -Rajasthan.

    1. Yeah we've already decided we are going to see more of India instead of loitering around Bangalore & Kerala all the time;-).
      You know, only after we decided to go there did we find out that Rajasthan is the 2nd most popular destination in India after Delhi;-). Do make it if u can...totally worth the effort ie if you are the kind who likes visiting heritage sites:-).

  2. Rajasthan was our favourite place to get away on weekends while we were in Delhi. I remember bringing back car loads of Razais for all the neighbourhood aunties who would request me to buy it from Jaipur :)

    Did you eat Dal Bhaati? Oh how I miss those....sigh!

    Btw so this is what kept you away from blogging?

    1. I didn't.....I went with the intention of eating a few traditional dishes which I had made a list of but somehow missed Daal Bhaati;-(.
      After 6 yrs of blogging I know nothing can keep me away from blogging but yeah sometimes a break does good no;-P???

  3. Dubai, Rajasthan, Delhi.... that too in Summers? You seem to have a passion for heat-wave inducing places! Goa might have been a better option. Munnar, Coorg or Kodai, a much better option. Sometimes, it maybe better to listen to your BIL. BTW, your sister is younger or elder to you?

    Destination Infinity

    1. Not in summer....we did the trip in it becomes monsoon no??? Though we did make fun of ourselves saying we were going from one desert to another;-D. It was raining in Goa throughout and worse I've already been there thrice;-P. Even Coorg and Kodai has been done. Only Munnar & Wayanad is left...but leeches are a big problem during monsoons I've heard.

      Younger, almost 5 yrs younger to me:-)).

  4. Wow that is too much for a last minute trip and I should say you did a good job taking the kids to a place that is famous for its architecture and tradition.The pictures were good too.. end of it all the kids are going to take these memories through their life anyway. So kudos to you for making memories for them !

    1. Seriously the last minute bit is not a joke...we travelled exactly 4 days after we bought the tickets. It was mayhem but surprisingly we forgot nothing and there was no confusion at all;-o.
      Kids were very patient with us...but a bit bored with all the sight-seeing. But they enjoyed the hotel stay and food;-). Only Nikita found it interesting[in parts] because she is studying these things in History now. Plus I gave her my old camera;-D.

  5. Sounds like a lovely trip. I know what you mean, this usually happens when I go for a trip with the inlaws. Everybody will be in some or the other problem, while I enjoy all by myself. Glad you enjoyed :)

    1. And I so get what u mean Tharani...even if its lousy I'll keep thinking it cd have been worse/ it can't get worse than this/we've exhausted all our bad luck, now its time for the good to take over....the possibilities are endless;-D

      Oh it was but Kashmir wd have been my first choice if everybody was willing;-D. Waiting to read about your holiday there:-).

  6. it is great to see a post the day i check! good going nance:-) i knew you enjoyed the trip even before you started. you are a lover of people nance and they love you too. jaipur is one of my dream destinations. glad to see it through your eyes. hopefully one day.. it is good to have taken that trip than not to. right? good to see you back.

    1. Oh yes I totally enjoyed the trip, surprising because I was the one with the most doubts before we started out....u knw esp travelling with children so far and all tht.
      I feel as good if not better to receive a comment from u Lan:-D.

  7. Beautiful photos Nancy :-)

    1. Ooooooooh thanks Agnes....I just love ur pictures, am so pleased u thk mine are beautiful:-)).

  8. Now you know how to plan the next holiday - just you and your sister :D

    Errr....did you say you were in Bangalore?

    1. To travel alone is one of my dreams...not like alone, alone...u knw like with friends or like-minded people. I dont mind the sister also...well she seems to have transformed into a level headed individual[fr the brat she was];-P.

      Still not going to forget or forgive are u;-S???

  9. Very nice. Kids will be kids and men are hopeless of course - so it takes two damsels to make for great tourists.

    Bravo N. And lovely photographs too.

    1. My H thinks I'm the ideal tourist....always forgetting where I am, getting conned by royally by the traders, trading life-stories with the porters & doormen, insisting on tasting local food everywhere I go;-D. He gets impatient because he is left with disciplining the kids & making sure we are on the kind track. Luckily for him this time he had company[my BIL who shared his views]and I had my sibling;-D.

      Thanks Ramesh and glad u liked my pictures:-)).

    2. Errr...I'm scratching my head as to why I used the word kind when I meant to say right track. Well the H is a kind, kind of person with the patience of a Saint I must say*deep sigh*.

  10. You braved Rajasthan in heat and enjoyed it?? *claps hard*

    But yes Rajasthan has an umatching charm & culture!!

    Lovely photos!

    P.S. Jodha Akbar was shot in a set at Karjat :)

    1. It was not sooo very hot Smita...I went there in August. Or maybe because I went from Dubai where it is peak of summer that I didn't feel it so much. But yeah we did tan a bit;-D.

      Everywhere we went, they were telling us abt films shootings & famous marriages which took place there. The guide said tht only 1 kitchen scene was shot there...since we didnt know anything abt it, we swallowed it whole;-D

  11. Lovely pictures. been to Rajasthan when I was a kid myself. Loved it then.

    1. U went to Rajasthan when u were a kid and haven't forgotten abt it;-o....u knw I was thinking maybe the kids will forget everything in another 5-6 yrs, u've given me hope;-D.

  12. Welcome back!!! As usual, loved your post and the beautiful pictures. I miss India...

    1. Heyyy Laila, thanks and good to see u too:-D.

  13. Your post and the pics brought back a lot of memories to me, about the time I had visited Jaipur and Udaipur :-). Really wonderful places. I too had the Rajasthan Thali from Chowkidhani. Did u get a chance to visit Chowkidhani?

    1. Chowkidhani was the last on our list and we planned to do it on the day we were leaving but it didnt work out as we were pressed for time. Regret it now;-(.

      Did u go when u were younger or recently:-)????

  14. Good to read your posts Nancy. And beautiful pics, Rajasthan is an amazing place, steeped in history, their cuisine is so wonderful too, have so many memories of trips to Rajasthan. Part of the fun is the chaos :)

    1. Exactly....whats life without a bit of confusion and chaos;-D.

      Good to see U Elizabeth:-))

  15. I saw all this in Rajasthan 40 yrs back:).
    children always like to go to some resort where they can swim play and all that whereas we adult want to do sight seeing.

    1. 40 yrs time flies haaa;-D

      Tell me abt are obsessed with the pool and all the animals they find;-P

  16. You and family seem to have really enjoyed the trip and thats all that matters. Now you can sit back and laugh at all the mayhem, in retrospection. Nice pictures and this post is kind of making up for your blog break, Nancy. ( but, please dont get any ideas, continue blogging) look forward to your posts. I have never been there to Rajasthan, your post is making me plan a trip there :-) :-)

  17. time passes by we are reminiscing abt the trip more fondly than ever;-P. The kids are now acting like as if they enjoyed the most and already hinting for another one;-D.

    Do make a trip Vincy, totally worth it in my humble opinion;-).

    And I was getting ideas but u nipped them all in the bud and forced me to put up today's post;-o


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