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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

7. DELHI-DWARKA-DELHI BY CAR : CHITTOR (TRAVELOGUE)

DELHI -JAIPUR- AJMER-CHITTOR-UDAIPUR - AHMEDABAD-DWARKA-AHMEDABAD-MOUNT ABU-JAIPUR-DELHI
Day 03 : CHITTOR

The driver and the navigator reach Vijaystambh

Day 03 journey was expected to be a bit long as we intended to cover a distance of over 305 kms and reach Udaipur via Chittor after seeing Chittorgarh Fort, Rani Padmini’s Jauhar Kund, Vijay Stambh etc on way. We decided to leave the Guest House at Ajmer at 8 am sharp…. a shift from our usual leisurely 9 o’clock departures.

We woke up early at 6 am and rang up the caretaker for a cup of tea. Trng..trng … trng..trng …….trng..trng… .. no response. All the guys in the kitchen were probably nicely tucked in bed on a cold December morning. No problem, I took out my tea/coffee kit and prepared tea and we were ready to leave by 8am. The cook was awake by this time and insisted that we have our breakfast before leaving. We agreed but our departure got delayed by an hour and we left at 9 am, one hour behind schedule.

Flowers in Pratap Palace, Chittor
The distance of 190 kms from Ajmer to Chittor was planned to be completed in 2 hours but man proposes and God disposes. As we headed off towards Nasirabad, my phone started ringing. It was the caretaker of the Guest House calling, “Madam, have you taken away with you the keys of the room?”…”No…”, was my spontaneous reaction but checking my coat pockets simultaneously, I cursed myself, “ Oh my God!! What did you do silly woman” and admitted that the keys were in my pocket and that we are coming back to return them. I looked sheepishly at my husband and requested for a drive back avoiding to look at his irritated face.

As we approached the Guest House, Hubby suddenly swerved the car and we were badly  shaken with a  strong jerk bringing the car to a screeching halt. Were  we shocked? Were we stunned? Phew, we had just averted an accident....thanks to Hubby's alertness and quick reaction!!!!  A speeding car with Haryana registration number was trying to overtake us from the wrong side. And all this happened not on the highway but in the middle of the city where there was hardly any traffic... . Looking back, I wonder how we managed to keep our cool and did not let the incident affect our mood and spirit at all.


Keys returned, the journey started again at 10 am singing, "Nikal pade hain khuli sadak pe apna seena taane..". However, the road to Chittor was not only picturesque, it was wide and smooth too and without much traffic on the Sunday morning. The distance of ~200 kms was covered in only 2.5 hours and we reached Chittor via Nasirabad and Bhilwara  by 12.30 pm after paying toll of Rs 50 and Rs 40 at two Toll Plazas on way. How I wish, they levy toll at all roads and make them as good as roads in Rajasthan and Gujarat.


Loved the architecture and the colour of
Hotel Pratap Palace in Chittorgarh 
As we were not sure of the availability of a decent eating joint at Chittorgarh Fort, we decided to have an early lunch at Chittor city only. Later we discovered that there was a RTDC (Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation) restaurant up there too. 
Not taking any chance, we stopped at Pratap Palace, a haveli like restaurant with exteriors painted in haldi yellow colour. 


A child feeding a turtle in the restaurant
We were ushered into the backyard with a beautiful lawn where a lot of foreigners were seated enjoying their lunch on a sunny afternoon. The service was relaxed, ambience cool and the food good. By 1.30pm, it was time to leave for Cittorgarh Fort.



CHITTORGARH FORT
it is located a few kilometres away from the city on a hill-top  and spread in more than 700 acres. It is stated to be the largest fort in Rajasthan and is considered the "Pride of Rajasthan". It is believed to have been made by the Mauryas in the 7th Century and was taken over by Bappa Rawal from them in the 8th Century. Once there, it was a wise decision to hire the services of a guide for Rs. 100 for 4 hours who showed us around all the important places and also doubled up as a photographer.


VIJAYSTAMBH (VICTORY TOWER)

It was built by Rana Kumbha in the the year 1440 to celebrate his victory. It is 120m tall and has 9 storeys. The carvings are beautiful. For me the importance of Victory Tower is even more as my parents had gone there  together on their first visit outside Udaipur  and that too alone, way back in 1948. I still have a photograph of a young self-conscious couple at Vijay Stambh who  later brought me in this world. I had, therefore, been wanting to visit this place ever since I was a kid. My desire got fulfilled after so many decades.
  

Queen Padmini's Palace
PADMINI PALACE
 It is said that three factors, ie, Zan (Woman), Zamin (Land) and Zar (Money) are at the root of every fight/crime. Rani Padmini was extremely beautiful. Her fame spread so much that Ala-uddin Khilji  approached the King Rana Rattan Singh for letting him see the queen. As he had agreed to go back after getting a glimpse of her, he was allowed to see her reflection in the water. But one glimpse of hers and he went bonkers. He attacked Chittor to possess her but Padmini committed “Jauhar” (self-immolation) by jumping in the fire cauldron to save her honour. The palace and the pond are still there, a standing tribute to the most beautiful woman of that time.  

Kirti Stambh (The Tower of Fame)
KIRTI STAMBH (THE TOWER OF FAME)
This too is a magnificent tower with fantastic carvings though not as high as Vijay Stambh. Standing at ~22m, Kirti Stambh which was built in the 12th century was dedicated to Jainism.


MEERABAI'S TEMPLE: Wonder whether Meera Bai actually lived here.. "Pad ghunghru baandh Meera nachi re..." Meera Bai was one of the top three religious poets of Bhakti Kaal, the other two being Surdas and Tulsidas. Who has not read Meera ke pad in class VII and VIII?

Bheem Laat (orTaal?)

BHIM LAAT (or TAAL??) This lake is stated to have come into existence when Bhim hit the ground with his foot in disgust. Must be some powerful leg ;-)

The Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh
A beautiful gate leads to Trinity Temple

Yet another temple
The field where battles were fought

Soon we realised, we were getting late for our onwards journey. So we said good-bye to our guide who turned out to be a student of nursing. He had just completed his BSc(Nursing) and this was his Sunday pre-occupation for earning an extra buck!

At 4.45 pm, we set off for the next lag of our journey to Udaipur, a distance of app. 115 km. Was there any fatigue? If it was there, it was not felt.


TODAY’S LEARNINGS
1. One must carry total arrangement for making tea/coffee.  I love to have my tea as per my taste and hubby loves his coffee his way and that too at our own time.  A ruck-sack containing a small electric kettle, tea bags, coffee powder, Nestle Dairy whitener, 2 spoons and our favourite large coffee mugs, a box of paper tissues, Marie Biscuits to accompany our morning cuppa is an essential gear on our car drives. Good that we had it with us.




2. Never get hassled at the time of departure. Always keep your cool. Pick up your luggage, check the room for any left-over stuff, hand over the keys, sign off the registers, pay the dues and tips properly, check petrol, check air-pressure in the tyres including the stepney and leave for the next destination.





Reached Udaipur safe & sound by dusk time.

3. Be extra cautious while driving especially when   the road is empty. You have to factor in for other people’s recklessness and mistakes too. A road accident is the worst thing that can happen and has to be avoided at any cost. Remain alert and one important factor for remaining alert is proper and restful sleep on the prevous night. Don't ever compromise on the sleeping time.







For more Travelogues, pl visit my dedicated travel blog  http://globalhindustani.blogspot.in                    
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