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.
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
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!
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
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!
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.
Amazing world this is…
very small actually it is…
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 ;)
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
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.
The mood of a river though is quite interesting when watching it around a waterfall, from very angry…
to majestic and beautiful…
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.
After a few days of hardwork, suddenly one morning you get up on a day when you are not really having any back log and then you stumble onto pictures of a friend who visited the same paradise you did a while back. Its so refreshing to see those old holiday pictures from your trip to the Mighty Himalaya’s! :D Sigh…
and then I was listening to this song on loop…
Saare haseen nazaare…
Sapno mein kho gaye…..
Sar rakh ke aasmaan pe….
Parbat bhi so gaye….
koi aisi dastaan….
mile chain mujhe meri jaaaaaaaaaaaaan! :D :D :D
Is there a more soothing voice than Kishore Kumar on a Lazy cloudy morning??? :D :D Tune in then! :D
The above picture was taken at ‘Dhamma Giri’ in Igatpuri, Dhamma Giri means hill of Dhamma, this pagoda is one of the world’s largest meditation centre and also the main centre of the rapidly growing global Vipassna organisation. It is dedicated to the teaching of Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
We managed to walk up to this place and learnt a bit about what actually happens here. Apparently the pagoda have has 400 cells for meditation if you observe carefully in the picture above the small holes are the window’s of 400 such cells which are some 3 feet wide and 6 feet long for people to meditate.
The best part about this place according to me was that people from all religions, caste and creed all could join this Vipassna course where they teach you techniques to meditate. There is no bar for anyone and they do not even charge you any fees for staying there and teaching you this. Apparently this ancient technique of meditation was almost going into oblivion before thankfully it was revived and today it flourishes nicely!
Very well managed and clean premises with a lovely and pure atmosphere was shown around to us by another disciple who was working in SBI Jalgaon and had come to offer his services for a while to the centre as he attributed the place to have brought him peace. They have this system where some disciple will inform you all about the activites that go on there. They also show you a short video on how things work there informing you everything you want to know in case you plan to enroll.
Perhaps someday I think I will want to give this a try and cut myself for a few days from the world and try to actually confine myself to just my thoughts. It looks a little tough to me right now but unless we try I will never know I guess.
If you are wondering what is Vipassna let me copy paste some info from their official site :
What is Vipassana?
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, an Art of Living.
Vipassana is the process of self-purification by self-observation. One begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. Then, with a sharpened awareness, one proceeds to observe the changing nature of body and mind and experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness. This truth-realization by direct experience results in mental purification.