Solo Bike trip : Exploring Rajasthan’s Grandeur (5D-3Cities)
Just when you are tired of climbing those rough terrains and snowy peaks ; or even sunbathing on the beaches and you feel like going back to age old medieval romance, Rajasthan is the place to look out for . Rajasthan India’s largest state by area in north western part , sharing its borders with Pakistan is primarily known for its forts and palaces replete with glorified culture , heritage and traditions .
I started my journey on Royal Enfield Classic 350cc from Delhi to Udaipur on 4th September 2017 .
Reached Udaipur on 5th September , I checked into Lake view guest house near lake Pichola . The guest offered a over the top scenic view of Lake Pichola and showed the exquisite vastness of Udaipur . All the tourist spots are near Lake Pichola so it is always better to get your lodging near it . I went to the footover bridge near Ganghor Ghat to get a glimpse of the Lake pichola and the vibrant appearance of its outskirts which was glimmering with the morning sun. Soon I started my ride to the Fateh Sagar lake around 5kms from there . And rightly called as City of Lakes , the water surrounding the beautiful Nehru Palace gushed outside the fences and wet my feet . Turning my back , my vision was framed by the picturesque lush green mountains that seemed not so far away with the sun’s glare dazzling on the palace on the top of it .
The sight of kids playing in the water , and the birds chirping their own sweet song had relaxed my soul and I ignited my engines to go to Shilpigram a small village around 10kms from there with undulated terrain and surrounded by Aravali mountains . A place famous for rural arts and crafts , and more so for the peace and tranquility that transcended from the lake hidden amidst the cliffs and hills . I could sit there for hours just staring at the water forming ripples and foams and gushing in and hitting the rocks beneath my legs . Perhaps that was the only sound I could hear at the isolated place , I could hear nature speak for the first time . Rightly so , look deep into the nature and you will understand everything better . That is a must visit spot if you plan for Udaipur .
Riding back through Fateh Sagar lake , to lake Pichola I visited the Jagdish Temple and then the City palace , built in around 400 years by 40 rulers of Mewar ; is an evidence of the rich splendour enjoyed by the ancient rulers . I would prefer you to take a guide inside the palace (250bucks) so that you can get aquainted with the history and the artifacts in the palace .
Around 3pm I got on a boat ride from the city palace . Though being in Navy , and have always being in love with the vast expanse of sea stretching beyond the horizon; I have always had affinity with places with water bodies . I could simply fill a volume with my word-pictures of the mesmerising surrounding . The streets where I was strolling seemed to be abit distant now , the vibrant colours on the outskirts were shining brightly on the lake .
The boat stopped at the Jag Island Palace amidst the lake ; which has been a wedding venue for people around the globe . I looked at the lake from there and as completely awe-stricken decided to have a few beer over there as no good story ever started with someone eating a salad .
It was about 430pm and I was in a fix whether to watch the sun’s glare reflecting on the lake or go to the mountains and watch the hues while the sun dipped below . I chose the latter . So I started my ride to the Monsoon palace , Sajjangarh around 20kms from Pichola .
And every moment spent there was worth it . Riding the bike uphill , going on the top of palace with every inch of the alluring Udaipur right in front of my eyes , I was writing my own story there , soaking in the serenity around , everything was getting engraved in my heart forever .
I felt sudden shiver due to the coldness in the winds , the sun has started his downward journey piercing through the clouds that came in its way spreading its vivid colours across the seamingless sky . It was not that I had never seen a sunset so beautiful but that is the thing about it . Just when you think it isnt going to be that great , it comes up with something magical everytime .
After this spectacular show by the mother nature , I rode downhill to watch the cultural fest at Bagore ki haveli which starts at 7pm . After the fest , I strolled the streets to take a look at the local markets selling some really creative and artistic Rajasthani stuffs . Since it was ganpati visarjan the streets were filled with festive colours and mood which added to already demeourness of the place . Rightly so the Venice of the East will hold you in its web of magic with its amazing mystique .
Next morning I left for Jodhpur around 270kms from Udaipur . Reached jodhpur around 3pm I checked in to Patwa Haveli near sarafa Bazar which was quite close to other tourist spots .That day I visited the Kaylana lake , an artificial lake built by Maharana Pratap Singh in 1872 . I sat there with silence when the sun was about to set , the bird were sleeping , the wind was still and it looked like I was floating on glass and I was the one with nature flowing in its sedateness . Quite tired with day long labour , I preferred loitering around the bazaar , interactng with the locals and ending my day with a delicious Butter Chicken and Lachcha Parathe and a peaceful slumber .
Next day 7th Sept , I visited the Mehengarh Fort , India one of the largest fort , Ghanta Ghar,Mandore garden and Patharia hill sunset point . Each defining its own story of liveliness and glory .
Saying Goodbye to amorous Jodhpur , I headed to Jaisalmer – the city of forts around 300kms far . Jaisalmer a princely state in the heart of Thar desert also known as the City of forts or the Golden City cause the entire city is wrapped in the golden texture of bricks . The weather just looked fine when I checked into hotel Tokyo Palace at 9am on 8th September . The calm and the charm of the city was captivating me from the beginning and I began my tour from Gadisar lake ,an artficial water reservoir which was once the only source of water in Jaisalmer .
Next spot that followed was a series of palaces called Patwon Ki haveli which has now been turned into museum to display various carving , furniture , artwork of the times immorial . A stroll inside the fort took me to the medieval times when inspite of the facilities that we enjoy today , people did their work so smoothly . How everything that they did was followed by logic and reason . Also it was amazing to watch the splendour and the grandeur of the ancient rulers , the rich history that we possess which we are not familiar with . In the market outside I listened to the the Rajasthani music played by the locals , a complete soothing experience for the ears .
Next I headed to the India only living and the largest fort , Jaisalmer Fort with around 3000 people residing in it . Also declared as the World Heritage Site and rightly so ; this ‘ Sonar Quila” is the centre of attraction of the city .
Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the Sonar Quila or Golden Fort. I spent around two hours just walking around the fort which had small houses inside selling various antiques .
When on the top of the fort I could see the entire Jaisalmer expanding its boundaries into the yellow sand with the windmills crusing with the winds .
Also do visit the Rajasthan Emporium and handloom there where you can get locally made products like blankets made of camel wool , shoes made of camel leather and also mugs made of Habor Stone . I also visited the Jaisalmer War Museum which gave me an insight of the sacrifices made by the Indian army and the entire buildup of the army right from the colonial age of Britishers .
Around 3pm after having lunch , I headed to the Sam Sand Dunes which was approx 40kms from the city . Though the sun was hitting its glare rather harshly , the ride down the desert was nothing less than memorable . Difficult roads often to lead to beautiful destinations , riding past the huge wind mills , I did not even know when I was in desert .
I could see camels stationed nearby .I had booked my camping with the Tao Lakhmana Desert Camps (cost around 3000bucks including lodging and safaris), so I headed straight to them . We started with the Jeep Safari and Nawab Khan did some really brave stunts with his 4*4 . I had been to the sea , to the mountains but being to the desert for the first time was something special .
We halted in between for awhile where I walked a few miles on the unending golden sands stretching as far as my eye could see . Nawab told me Ind-Pak border from there was 50kms away . I bought a few beer from the local vendor there and also drove the 2*4 quad bike for half an hour (approx 500bucks) . It was an experience worth remembering all my life .
Then there was camel safari which took us to the Sunset Point and watching the fiery ball shredding away its blazed fire across the sky while it turned into all deep orange hues . This is the only thing you can never get bored of watching no matter how much times you see it , it never ceases to amaze you .
After riding on Michael’s back I returned back to the camp where I was welcomed in Rajasthani Style , and watched the Rajasthani folklore and dance . After the dinner , I rested in my camp with millions of stories engraved in my heart . The very next morning I set out on my ride back home .