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Revisit to a Rajasthan Reverie
During September last year my friend, Dipti Singha has convinced me for a trip which was beyond my dream. We made a plan to visit Rajasthan in Nov and my husband also allowed me to go. My son never wanted to visit Rajasthan so he also agreed readily about the plan. Another girl, Jayanti Goswami, whom I never met was also about to go with us who was actually a friend of Dipti. As we decided Dipti made the flight bookings and we finalised our trip to go on 5th of Nov and be back on 9th Nov, 2014. Thus other preparations followed including accommodation arrangements and all other necessities. It was a really exciting wait and the countdown for the D day was very thrilling for all three of us. Though I and Jayanti had talked over phone but we met only in the Airport which was an added delight. The shopping, packing and other arrangements followed with total gusto. Our respective family also assisted us in whatever way it was possible for them.
Take off !!!!!
Our flight for onward journey to Jaipur was at 12-45 hrs on 5th of Nov, 2014. And we landed at Jaipur at 1700 hrs. Dipti arranged for us to be directly picked up from Jaipur International Airport to leave for Pushkar. We booked at Foothill Camps and Resort, Pushkar and the owner Mr Ayush Agarwal was kind enough to arrange the vehicle for us to be directly picked up from the Jaipur International Airport. We stopped in two roadside shops to buy few evening snacks to munch on as we have been really hungry. The road journey was very nice and the highway was very much well maintained. We crossed many small places and very aptly all three of us have been sinking in the luxurious feel of Rajasthan. We reached our destination for that night, The Foothill camps and Resorts at Pushkar around 8 pm. We almost fell in love at our first site. The tranquil place has been nestled in a really beautiful place. There were Swiss camps with all modern amenities to cater to the need of the guests. There were several hurricane lamps scattered around the place for a rich warmly lit ambience to add to the natural beauty of the resort. Many earthen pots have been strategically put to adjoin to the natural charisma of the place. Very nicely decorated and the owner couple was very attentive to all the guests. After we checked in and settled properly we decided to sit outside to feel the night air and enjoy the surrounding. Though the local people found it to be cold but for us being from Assam it was pleasant weather to unwind from our daily routine life. So we relaxed and chit chat for a long time over on a wonderful dinner set outside only as per our requests. Sweety, wife of Mr Ayush Agarwal, the owner of the resort guided me throughout the Rajasthani Dinner as it was my first tryst with the food of that state. And I enjoyed the taste thoroughly; credit goes to helpful assistance of Sweety. We retired at around 12-30pm for the day and slept peacefully. We got up very early when it was dark outside as we decided to feel the place in whatever small amount of time was available for us. So we dressed warmly and walked outside within the campus of the resort. The openness of the resort was one thing that was really mind blowing. From 6 am till 9-30 am we almost breathed deep in the lush morning air amidst the beautiful Aravalli Mountain range. The open sky and the many chirping birds to welcome a day was something very extra ordinary in its own ways. The not so distant mountain range and its magnificent sight was something that we will cherish for a lifetime to come. After a hurried breakfast in the Sun we checked out from the resort. We intended to visit the famous Pushkar Mela which was to end on 6th of Nov, particularly that date. So directly from the resort we asked our driver to go to the Mela ground. But unfortunately as vehicles were not allowed inside and the crowd have to walk from the parking lot, we decided to sacrifice the whole idea as no one was in a mood to walk in the heat but it was nice to feel the mood of the Mela. Then we left for Jodhpur.
Jodhpur – the blue city of India!!!!
On the way we had stopped in two places for small refreshments. The drive was really nice. Around 3-30 pm we arrived at Jodhpur and directly checked in at the Kothi Heritage Resort which has been already arranged by Dipti. It was a nicely decorated resort in a very beautiful locality of the city. The area seemed to be bit residential though there were nice commercial set ups around. So it was very convenient for us. The Auto stand was just nearby so that we can come out and take the Auto Rickshaw to wherever we wished to go. The people were very friendly.
We have been welcome with Yellow flower garlands and nice cool welcome drinks which was really fun and we enjoyed thoroughly. First we have got busy in looking after the whole lobby area as there have been myriads of minute show pieces all scattered around which caught our eyes. Though, Dipti called us to sit and to listen to the person who was to give a short introduction about the Resort. The person narrated about the establishing story of the Resort which later we found to be contradictory from the ones which were displayed in the lobby area. Never the less with the help of the Resort employees we made a plan to spend our time nicely in the City. We planned to go out as fast as we can manage. So we hurried off to our designated room and freshened up to move out. Then we decided to first visit the Mehrangarh Fort at the hilltop before the entry get restricted at 5 pm as been informed by the Resort people. The ride was uphill and we felt the Blue City around us. The people seem to be very different with a mainstream air of culture and traditions. The houses around the city were built with some lightly tinted Pink Sand stones to curtail the heat. Many houses were coloured with bright Blue colour to make it the famous Blue City of India. The cool air blowing across our face made us very happy and we have been giggling like kids in the Auto while on our way to the famed Mehrangarh Fort on the hill top from where one can see the whole city of Jodhpur. The city was bustling with busy crowd and the Auto drivers were very friendly and often described many details about the city and the place as they knew that we were tourists. Those Auto rides made us feel the city from a close proximity which had not been possible in a Cab so we were happy with our decision to board Auto Rickshaws within the city than Cabs. Just before 5 pm we arrived at the Mehrangarh Fort and bought entry tickets and took a guide to show us the fort around. It was a very exemplary showcase of the preservation of history with all its glory intact. We all enjoyed the walk around the fort. We clicked many photographs to cherish our trip. The famous Blue City of India from atop the Fort under the crimson sky and the wind blowing across our faces, yes that was a lifetime experience really. Then we returned to out Resort to freshen up. And after a quick wash we went out to have coffee in nearby cafeteria just next block of our Resort. Then we decided to explore to the most happening (that was what the Resort people assured us at least) place for non-vegetarian dishes in Jodhpur for our dinner. We went to “On the Rocks” which was just adjacent to the famous heritage resort Ajit Bhawan. We did not enjoy the food out there and mainly the restaurant staffs were very unfriendly. Then we went for a walk in search of a restaurant called Gypsy nearby our Resort as the staffs told us that we get good traditional food there. We all wanted to enjoy the night air. There were bikers and some late travellers but nobody disturbed us and thus we thoroughly enjoyed the night walk and after locating the eating joint we returned to our resort. After we reached our resort we decided to sit up in the terrace to enjoy the beautiful starlit night to our hearts content. And we started talking till we were drop dead tired. Thus was the first beautiful night spent in the beautiful city of Jodhpur. Next day we went out to see the Umaid Bhawan Palace after a not so good breakfast at our resort. We enjoyed the leisurely visit to the famed landmark of the City. Then we had a very hearty lunch at Gypsy restaurant. The meal and the staff of the restaurant were all very good and they assisted us very nicely to taste in typical traditional style. After that we left for a desert safari.
The Chimri chapter !!!!
A very slow and long Jeep ride what seemed like never ending instead of a beautiful road for all of us, we reached the small desert near the City of Jodhpur around 5 pm. That was the first time visit to a desert for me. We rented three camels. Though I announced very sternly that I will not take a camel ride, I would just sit and enjoy the view. I was the most scared one to board the gracious animal. But what got better of me, I do not understand till now. Because when I came to senses, to my utter surprise I was the first one to climb on Chimri (the female Camel in the group of three). Dipti and Jayanti were very amused looking at my condition as I have been shouting at the top of my voice when at last I realized what I have done. Both of them were laughing like they were about to explode. The kids were also enjoying who were guiding our group of camels in the small desert. For half an hour it lasted what exactly seemed to me a never ending sojourn as I have been out of my breath all the while. The up-down and swaying movements were making me almost dizzy atop Chimri. And then to make the situation worse, Lallu, the male Camel on whom Jayanti was riding- had came and rubbed his big face on my back. WHOA!!!! And just imagine my situation!! His thick facial hair was pricking my back endlessly and it looked exactly like Lallu, the Camel was laughing at me. I was almost about to jump from atop Chimri. Dipti and Jayanti were in tears that they laughed so hard, looking at my pathetic position. I was shouting and praying in my mind to all the GODS and GODDESSES of Rajasthan desert to save me then. Somehow after an elongated eternity I got to climb down from Chimri and I realized that I was alive really. Being a total hesitant type person “the Chimri ride” has been the most adventurous experience so far in my somehow saved life. Way back we saw many peacocks near the main road and the beautiful setting Sun made the slow open Jeep ride really a life time memory.
After taking shower we decided to again visit “On the Rocks” not for the food but as we already know the place it was preferable for us to save our time, compared to finding a different new location. Thus we spent our last evening amidst noisy atmosphere in a so called happening place of Jodhpur. Very precisely that was not our preference anyway, but we enjoyed being to ourselves. Then we had our last dinner in Jodhpur in a restaurant nearby our resort. We decided to retire soon but never the less we took a short walk around the block under the beautiful star lit sky. At last we went to our designated room to sleep as we had to leave early next day to Jaipur.
Jaipur – the Pink City
At 5 am we left for Jaipur. That was dark as Sun rises late in Rajasthan. The Innova( SUV) was arranged by Mr Ayush from Pushkar. I thoroughly enjoyed the early morning ride to Jaipur. Entire road the driver described many things about Rajasthan and about many places of Jaipur. We reached Jaipur at around 11 am. We checked in at the Hotel Lemon Tree. After freshening up we went for shopping. Dipti and Jayanti wanted to visit local markets for their indigenous items. I hate shopping to be honest. But I had to go with them. We have been talking and enjoying so much that I have left my Camera in the car itself but the humble driver returned to give it back to us. The Cab driver had dropped us at Bapu Bazar, MI Road for our shopping spree. When we offered him tips he declined it which we felt to be little odd but soon forgotten among the hustle bustle of the crowded Bapu Bazar. As I feel much suffocated among busy multitude of shoppers, personally I had a sickly sweet time out there. But I was happy as my friends were enjoying their time out there. Dipti and Jayanti forcefully made me buy things there for instance – Camel skin Jutti ( Ladies shoe), Quilted traditional Rajasthani ladies half Jacket, Rajasthani Rajai ( layered quilt), Bed sheets, few ornaments and decorative items which later on I have liked very much. They still tell me how much I was reluctant to pick up those things. We had our lunch of Mutton Biriyani in a high-born restaurant. There we had a very funny time following a group of ladies celebrating their Kitty Party. The interesting part was that the group was arguing so loud with the Management people for the bill amount saying every food item was very bad. But we noticed that, their plates were nicely clean and the food ordered were all finished. We ended up laughing so much at the situation. Then we went to a Shopping Mall to pick up things for our respective families. I and Dipti almost ran across to pick up the things. Jayanti, our dearest friend sit with our many shopping bags scattered around her in the entrance of the Mall which was a sight to behold. Then we returned to our Hotel. On arrival Jayanti and Dipti were checking and were presenting a ramp walk in their new collections while creating quite a good show for me. I was almost rolling in the bed laughing out so loud. But I could not laugh for long, as to our awfulness we soon discovered that I have left behind all my shopping items in the last shop we shopped at. They took a quick decision and called for a cab from the hotel and we ran almost. The Hotel people were extremely helpful including the driver. The driver tried his best to drive as quickly as possible though it was difficult to avoid the rush of evening hour traffic. We reached the shop and we got the big bag of my shopping items, thanks to Dipti and Jayanti for their quick decision and the help of the hotel people. I almost felt like clapping though I controlled myself. We returned to the hotel while buying some sweets for our families on the way. On return we freshened up and got ready for our last dinner of our trip. We had our dinner in the hotel itself as we were tired and got an early morning flight next day. Among all the hustle Dipti had ordered a Birth day cake in the hotel itself for Jayanti as 9th November is her Birth day and we wished to surprise her. We picked up a red cardigan as her birth day gift also between our shopping. Dipti arranged the cake to be delivered at our room at 12 PM sharp so that we can pleasantly surprise Jayanti. As planned we celebrated her birthday and Jayanti was almost in tears with the arrangements. It felt so special a celebration among all laughter and our exquisite trip.
Next day we flew back to our respective families early morning at 7.50 am from Jaipur to Guwahati. An all ladies trip and we created so much memories for a life time to come. Now when I am writing this, it’s almost like I am revisiting those moments again and really it is indeed an awesome feeling.
Differences that make it worthwhile an experience!!!!
I have noticed some interesting differences and pointers during the trip which I wish to share here:
- Main difference is that though you are less responsible when your kids are not with you but being in a sole ladies group has made us extra careful in unknown places.
- While we travel in family, being a lady at least I always used to be less alert about the landmarks and many other things but in this trip we three have always been very alert about our surroundings.
- During night and day highway journeys we made it a point not to sleep all three together in the cars. One used to be awake to be safe about the journey.
- We three went all together everywhere.
- We were very carefree and had enjoyed in every silly girlish and small jokes possible. Later on if we think we did not get the idea as why we laughed so much on some small things but then it was the spark of the moment actually.
- It made me realize that, this kind of trip is very necessary to know the value of relationship being in sole ladies company and how much it helps us to grow as person more confident, caring and more resilient.
- The trust and the feel that our respective families wanted us to be happy away from them with our friends - was very important and very reinforcing indeed. The days they adjusted without us being around for simple daily requirements was indeed very reassuring to know that they care for our happiness. This is important for a family.
- The cash management that mainly Dipti planned was very smooth and all credit goes to her, for her initiative and extra caring nature toward her friends. She bought all the flight tickets through her credit card which I and Jayanti paid her back. Then during the course of trip all the payments were made through Dipti and I used to record each single detail in a notebook. At night we used to sit and cross check the entries together so that we don’t pile up our works. Then we divide the expenses among three of us and make our respective contribution to Dipti so that we follow the same routine the next day. Thus it was a very hassle free and entirely cost effective trip for three of us which we will cherish for a life time.
- Ladies, if possible should go on a trip at least once in their life time with an all ladies group no matter to a distant or a short nearby destination. But it’s very uplifting and very pleasurable where one gets to know many different things about own selves and gets a chance to rediscover myriad of things about relationships which is always worth a try.
- Sometimes it is very much important to let go all the reservations and bring out the carefree streaks among us to be with friends and enjoy till you are tired of laughing on otherwise chilly and foolish things.
- About Rajasthan – All the necessary details are all available online for an interested traveller now days. But first hand experiences about the place from a ladies point of view is as follows:
- The place is almost safe for ladies provided you take necessary precautions while being in a sole ladies group.
- It is necessary to do all the booking prior to the actually trip in order to inform your family about your destinations etc.
- The road journey is safe provided the cab is rented from reliable source.
- The highway and road connectivity is very well developed in Rajsthan and drivers are well versed with highway driving which makes the journey very pleasant and safe indeed.
- The road side eating joints and public places have clean and hygienic wash rooms. At least that we have experienced at the places we have covered during this trip.
- The road side vistas of the small towns and the two important cities we visited seemed to be quite clean and people generally were friendly and helpful.
- The colourful and traditional ways of living were everywhere very apparent in the places we have seen.
- It is advisable to wear conformist not too exposing dresses to avoid attracting untoward attention as Rajasthan is mainly a conservative State.
- The people normally were vegetarian and they eat spicy food which is bit incongruous to our tastes though it was good to taste their traditional food.
- We tried posh restaurant to popular cafeteria as well as road side dhaba to taste as much possible the different native tastes of Rajasthan.
Indeed a trip well travelled to celebrate friendship, womanhood and family ties all together. What can a lady wish more than these experiences at least from one GO of a life time!!!