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Saturday, 28 January 2012

8. DELHI-DWARKA-DELHI BY CAR : UDAIPUR (TRAVELOGUE)

DELHI-JAIPUR- AJMER-CHITTOR-UDAIPUR -AHMEDABAD-DWARKA-AHMEDABAD-MOUNT ABU-JAIPUR-DELHI
Day 04 : UDAIPUR

Day 04 and we woke up in Udaipur, the City of Lakes. The Guest House was beautifully perched on a hill-top overlooking Fateh Sagar Lake. The view was awesome and the breakfast sumptuous. Having experienced the maze of roads the previous evening and in view of the time factor, we decided to hire a cab instead of venturing out all over the place on our own. I hate the idea of lowering the window glass every now and then and calling out every second pedestrian or rickshaw-puller, “Bhaiyya ji…xxx ka rasta kidhar hai?”



Pichhola Lake as seen from the Guest House
The cabbie was punctual and as planned, we started our local tour at 9.30 am sharp. Well, by tourism standards, it is pretty late. Isn’t it? Anyway, having already feasted our eyes on the Pichhola Lake the previous evening, we headed off straight to Rana Pratap Memorial.




Rana Pratap on Chetak
RANA PRATAP MEMORIAL:
Built in the memory of Rana Pratap, it is an unusually neat and clean memorial and the bronze statue of Rana Pratap riding his favourite horse Chetak is quite imposing. 
Born on 5th May, 1540, Rana Pratap succeeded the throne of Mewar on 28th Feb, 1572 even before he was 32 years old. Having lived a life of strife and struggle, he sadly died quite early on 19th Jan, 1597 when he was barely 37 years old. From the large size of his dresses and the size and weight of his sword(s) displayed in the local museum, it appears that he was quite a tall and strong man who could carry such heavy swords in each of his arms while fighting.





We as a Rajasthani couple
Incidentally, while walking towards  the memorial, I spotted some tourists dressing up in Rajasthani dress and getting themselves  photographed.  I could not resist the temptation of getting ourselves photographed too in Rajasthani attire. At first, it was tough to make hubby agree but I managed to succeed in persuading him. And there I was!!.. getting dressed up in ghaghra, choli, jhoomar, choora and what not. And he looked so different in a Rajasthani attire. By the time, we returned after seeing the Pratap Memorial, the photograph was ready. Cool!!... and oh boy!! … did I look Rajasthani? You decide for yourself.







SAHELION KI BARISoon we were at Saheliyon ki Bari, an old beautiful garden maintained so meticulously even today. As the name indicates, it is a garden where the royal ladies used to come with their female friends for a graceful stroll. 




GULAB BAGH:
My grandfather Rai Sahab 
Shobha Ram Bhulyan, 
FRSH (London)
It was now time to visit Gulab Bagh and my heart started beating fast. Will I or won’t I be able to locate my grandfather’s house there. It was my birthday and I was in the city where my mother had spent all her pre-marriage life with her parents and I very much wanted to see the house where she lived She had told me so many tales about that house that I had framed a picture of it in my mind. Will the picture match the reality, I wondered?  




As we walked and walked asking strangers whether there was an old building there, nobody was able to direct us to the house as it had now been converted into the office of the Senior Supdt of Gardens. We were told that there is a zoo here and nothing else. We also sighted a toy train chugging away. Quite disappointed, we were about to return when suddenly behind some old trees we sighted this big yellow building. It appeared almost out of the blue when I had started feeling depressed thinking that I will never find it. 
Yippee, we had found it at last.

In front of the building where my grandfather lived 60 years ago




The huge yellow house covered by blooming bougainvillaeas stood there in its full glory. As I was about to walk in, somebody stopped me, “This is an office.” 
“Yes, I know,” I responded with a feeling of belonging and tone of authority, “This is the place where my Nana used to live 60 years ago and I have come to visit the place (as if I had come to visit my Nana in his house)". The inner feeling was that of satisfaction on finally finding something  that was amiss.  It was like a religious place for me which I had been waiting for years to visit. 


Standing there and watching the house, memories of all that my mother had shared with me about the house flooded my mind. This is where she used to live, could not go to a regular school due to conservative place and had to study privately  (about that later), learnt music, learnt swimming from her personal maid Bhoori Bai. This is the place where 63 years ago, she got married to my father.…the jharokha (window) from where she saw her groom for the first time, the place where my father had gone as a 23 years old bridegroom wearing khadi clothes due to tremendous influence of Mahatma Gandhi on him, which my grandfather (Nana), highly influenced by the British had taken as offence and where my father had refused to ride a horse as a bride-groom because he did not know horse-riding and did not want to hand over the control of his horse to someone else. Nana, full of his status and sense of righteousness, must have been fretting and fuming and Papa, strong-headed as he was, must have been emboldened by the fact that he was the bridegroom. Imagine what a conflict of ideologies, it must have been! Sinking and floating in the depths of my own emotions, I was satisfied that at last my pilgrimage was complete today.


The City Palace
THE  CITY PALACE: The next destination was the City Palace. The cabbie dropped us at the gate of the palace and took the car away for parking. What a rush for purchasing entry tickets! Good that we did not have to look around for a parking place for the car.  The walk being long and the Palace sprawling, I thought one has

The City Palace
to be reasonably fit physically and should not don any fancy footwear. Once inside the palace, we had to take a quick look at various museums as we had a time-bound schedule for today. However, as we moved in to see the palace, we soon realised that it was one-way traffic and one could not go back even if one wanted to. “Keep walking, keep walking,” we were being goaded time and again by the security personnel there…perhaps because of the tourist rush in the winter season. Most of the stairs were narrow and steep and almost all were without any support. I was wondering how a comparatively elderly or handicapped tourist would manage. It is rightly said that India is not friendly to handicapped or elderly people. But the panoramic view of the Lake Palace located in the blue waters of Lake Pichhola from top of the Palace was simply magnificent.  



JAGDISH TEMPLEThis shrine is stated to have been built in the 16th century with a black marble statue of Lord Vishnu. The sculpture looked impressive from outside, but we were short of time, hence decided to give it a go.



Sunset on the way to Ahmedabad
It was now lunch time and soon we were back in the Guest House for our frugal meals and ready for the next leg of the journey… from Udaipur to Ahmedabad or Amdavad as they call it now.  


TODAY'S LEARNINGS

1.     For local sight-seeing, it is a good idea to hire a local cab who can take you around with the driver usually doubling up as a guide too.

2.    Eating frugal meals at the Guest House keeps your health in order.


For more TRAVELOGUES, please visit my dedicated blog on travels http://globalhindustani.blogspot.in
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