Happy Times!

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When you are about to set off on a journey to the jungles to track tigers, leopards and bear, you get a text from your soul mate who has had a wonderful appraisal and there are just grins all over, hugs being held onto and its a total gooey moment… yes it is also a time to get up and just let lose and do the crazy dance! :D :D :D :D

Feeling Happy! :D :D

Jharokha

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The Jharokha’s in almost all Rajputana forts and palaces are quite intricately done and they never fail to intrigue me, here is a photo of one such Jharokha in the Salam Singh ki Haveli with the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer in the back drop.

Apparently almost all books and internet sites I read say it was Salim Singh Ki Haveli where as the guide who showed us and manages the places claims they are from the same family and that it is Salam Singh Ki Haveli. He also very strongly disputed the whole history that was largely written by James Tod a fellow he claimed never traveled to Jaisalmer!

There are quite a few interesting stories about Salam Singh Ki Haveli and about that man himself! I will let you onto those in my next few posts! :D

Faces of India – III

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This baba was sitting at the entrance of the main gate of the Jaisalmer Fort and was quite happy to pose and even asked me to pay him something since he had posed for me. Whilst the baniya in me just gave a ten’er away, our guide Mr Lalit Vaishnav had a mischevous smile on his face and whilst he was smirking and I asked him he told me to finish my business with the baba and that he would tell me about him later.

As soon as we left the baba behind and walked ahead our guide told us that this Baba has some 6-7 trucks, woh bhi those trucks which have 16-20 tyres that run between Delhi to Jaipur and that he is the owner of a big business!!!

I am not sure if my guide was bluffing, throughout our 3 hours with the guide I kept asking and looking for hints to see if he was just making up the story. If indeed that story is true I must say I am flabbergasted! :mrgreen:

To see more in the series of Faces of India meme go here.

Dance bar’s err… rooms from another era!

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Apparently the most wonderfully decorated rooms in the forts and palaces happen to be the rooms where the kings would listen to music… I guess that means where they would sit to watch women dance! :P With mirrors and glasses and decorative pieces being brought all the way from Belgium to Jodhpur I am quite sure the kings here were quite selective in the things they put to use! :P

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I am sure being in the good eyes of the king or being a friend of him came with some unique benefits, a chance to be his guest and probably get an inkling into the pleasures of royal life would have been quite sought after I am sure! :mrgreen: A musical night with the king was surely what everyone looked forward to!

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Even the ceilings of these rooms have been given intricate designs and plated with gold which has stuck till date.

That surely must have been some dance room… I have not visited too many pubs or dance bar’s but the one’s I have, always have struck me as too dark and not too attractive at times. This one though looks like quite a KEWL place to hang out though! :P

Of Kings and their subjects!

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At many times my naive mind used to wonder, especially when I was not such a keen history student how did some people in the desert become so wealthy, why did their subjects stick around those kings in those deserted plains where growing anything for self was tough, where water was scarce, where the sun was harsh and the terrain unforgiving. Over a period of time after reading a lot on wikipedia and the internet I have understood how the silk route used to work and how the people who lived in the desert benefited.

Eventually many Rajput kings also joined forces with the Mughals, where in after a war the territory would be owned by the Mughals but all the loots would be given to the Rajput’s who would many a times be the leader of the armies. No wonder the Rajput’s are still so proud about their weapons and their bravery. No, I am not judging anyone, I am sure the Rajputs did need the gold as their territory was not very fertile and they had to arrange for things that only wealth would buy.

Another very important thing I have noticed is that since the Kings were above their subjects and no one could actually question them, they lived life as per their whims. Not one king we heard about on the trip had less than 8 wives. If some king actually had one I guess he was not important enough for the guides to mention him! We even came across one guy Takhat Singh who had 58 queens and 59 children! Still no where near the Dhritrashtra figure though! :P lol

Some of the stories, anecdotes and ways of life of those ages are …well… lets say of another era… I guess we at times cannot comprehend some things.

Above is a shot of the Umaid Bhavan Palace, now a luxury hotel managed by Taj, though the king still stays there using some 20% of the property with the rest being converted into a pretty mean and expensive hotel. The shot was taken from Mehrangarh Fort, the Umaid Bhavan Palace is one of the last built palaces among the royal complexes in India. The king’s palace simply outsizes the houses of the subjects!

Padharo mhare desh….

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So this gentleman and his family sat outside the Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur singing and inviting tourists and travellers alike. Rajasthan has its own typical way of welcoming tourists into resorts or palaces. For a state that receives a large share of foreign tourists I guess the welcoming way is a unique way of intriguing the guests and also making them feel special. Probably one of best managed forts I have visited till date, Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is amazingly clean and no matter how much the crowd, the management is so good that it still allows you to be able to experience enough peace to soak in the the whole royal grandeur of the bygone age.

Be it the elevator to get to the top for the older people or the audio guides or the dustbins or the cafe’s inside the fort everything I found to be kept quite in order and actually is a shining example of how a lot of other places in the country should be managed and maintained.

Apparently we also managed to sneak upon the Maharaja of Jodhpur who happened to be visiting the fort to go to the ancient Chamunda Mata Temple inside for the traditional pooja of his weapons which is done by Rajputs on the auspicious day of Dusshera!

We also learnt later that this fort has also won several awards on prestigious international forums which recognize how well the place is maintained and managed. Not for nothing I guess.

Sunoh! Sunoh!!

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Amazing world this is…
very small actually it is…

two photodhari’s
two states…

wide apart

A gujju…
A mallu…

But hey… listen listen… they both click the same species :D :D and so can you pass on my alliance to your mallu friend for the handsome tailorbird she has been shooting as well??

Thats what I think the bird was telling me the other day and so I had to you know ask you Shail, if the one around your house is available or not?! :P :D ;)

Sweet Pickings!

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Yea, I guess when we humans romance it is sweet nothings, never quite been able to understand how this idiom did come about but anyways that is for another day. Here the wonderfully gifted would probably have written a poem on what sweet murmurs the treepie was doing in the Sambhar’s ears! How peacefully the two have accepted each other without a trace of discomfort for each other, wonder if we even let our mom’s pick our ears this peacefully! So much of peaceful co-existence can be learnt from the wild eh!? :D

The many moods of the river Ambika!

3kms from Waghai, in District Dang are these Gira Falls, the river Ambika falls a natural 30mts, attracts a lot of tourist folk! A must visit sort of destination during the monsoon. DSC_0320

The mood of a river though is quite interesting when watching it around a waterfall, from very angry…

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to majestic and beautiful…

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to very calm and serene… all in a matter of just 100 meters! Nature is absolutely amazing ain’t it?! I remember a similar scene in Bhedaghat on the Narmada where it is about 300 ft deep in Bhedaghat and the waters are amazingly calm, the calmness does exude a lot of danger as well and then about just one kilometer ahead it is only 2 feet deep and flows making a terrible racket! :)

Disclaimer : Unfortunately a few too many local vendors have sprung up there and offer way too much food to tourists who quite irresponsibly litter everywhere. Suggest you carry your own snack, water and trash bags so that you can manage to take all your trash back with you.