badge

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Legendary beauty of Chittorgarh and Udaipur

 

Tower of Victory- Chittorgarh

A treasure in form of my old notes appeared and I could relive my trip to Chittorgarh and Udaipur that I undertook several years back. The memories are as fresh as dewdrops on an autumn morning. I vividly remember scrambling for the Delhi Junction station to board the Chetak Express on the hot March afternoon. The train journeys were always eventful and after settling down we enjoyed the scenic views as the train rumbled through villages of Haryana to enter into the vast expanses of sand of Rajasthan. We slept off at night to wake up with the start as the train had arrived in Chittorgarh. 

It was rather early so after having a freshly brewed tea, I headed for the town as, we had not booked our accommodation. Just a little distance away was the quiet Circuit House. There was thick foliage all around and after a bit of small talk with the caretaker, I managed to get the place for a day! A perfect place for a short stay! We settled down and after refreshing ourselves we headed for the town. An autorickshaw which had a strange look appeared. I managed to hire him for half a day to visit all the places well worth a visit. The rickshaw was new and could seat almost 6-8 people. The driver of the rickshaw was a good guide who kept us entertained with amusing tales of the city and was equally at home with the history of the city. We had reached the foothill with a gradual ascent. After a short climb, we arrived at the fort. It was a huge place with a number of monuments and temples within its perimeter. The sight of hundreds of long-tailed langurs was a surprise but they were friendly and harmless. Our first halt was the Kumbh Shyam Temple which served as a private praying place of the legendary devotee Meera Bai. It is said that she was offered a cup of poison at the place by her brother in law, which turned into nectar!  As we stepped out of the temple the sight of huge Jain temples awaited us. The Jain temples were constructed by the supportive Rajput rulers and adorn the fort till to date. A little distance from these temples is the Ranthambore or the Tower of Victory. A huge edifice the tall structure stands majestically and is also known as Vijay Stambha. It was constructed in 1448 AD by Rana Kumbha to commemorate the victory over invading armies led by Mahmud Khilji. It is nine-storey high and has a narrow flight of about 150 steps. The view from the top is beautiful beyond words.

Next, we came to the Rani Padmavati Palace an outstanding specimen of architecture. It was the home of Rani Padmini or Padmavati who was a flawless beauty. It is said that the reflection of her image in the pond of Jal Mahal had attracted Khilji. Stories abound and the famous movie 'Padmavati' was shot to recreate the legend in 2017.

After immersing in the history of this UNESCO World Heritage site we returned to the town to enjoy the traditional Rajasthani food of dal, chapati, aloo matar, and buttermilk having all the spicy flavours of the region. In the evening we went for a stroll to find an unusual sight of a child being carried on a horse cart with ladies singing in colourful attire, accompanying him. We learnt later that he was being taken for tonsuring the head( Mundan ceremony). It is these traditions that make our country unique. The Padmavati park and a nearby market were agog with activity. The water in the pond was so clear that we could see the water snakes in it! It was time to return back to the Circuit House for a nights rest.

We woke up very early to board the Chetak Express at the crack of dawn once again to head for another pearl, Udaipur. We arrived in Udaipur and the next action was to book the return journey two days later as there was no internet those days. I stepped out of the station only to find a small Army Unit across the road where the kind Officer Commanding provided me with lovely accommodation for our stay! A huge room where more than ten people could stay. A luxury I never expected. The food was extremely good and after slumber, in the afternoon we headed for the town to explore Hathipole and Surajpole market. The place is famous for the traditional artwork where my little daughter and wife purchased the traditional 'Lehanga sets'. The nearby Mohanlal Sukhadia circle park had come alive with lights in the evening. It was a day full of activities crammed in a time capsule.

Maharana Pratap  Monument-Haldighati

We woke up early next morning to head for Nathdwara and Eklingji the temple towns famous for Lord Krishna's temple and the Jain temple respectively After reaching the little town of Nathdwara we saw the grinding stones made of gold and silver and a well full of 'ghee'. The aroma of the 'prasad' an offering for the lord was overpowering. we had the 'darshan' and were almost knocked down in the melee of the surging crowd. I got separated from my wife only to find her half an hour later outside the temple gate. The beauty of the temple is seen to be believed and the priests call for the lord as if he was a child, to return to have his food! On our way back the bus took us through ' Haldighati' where the King Rana Pratap fought the battle with Akbar's army in 1576AD. The time we went there was a bloom of roses in the month of 'Chaitra' and the air was filled with the aroma, where once the rivers of blood had flown. A statue of Maharana Pratap mounted on the legendary horse Chetak adorns the place now.

City Palace Udaipur

Udaipur is also known for the lakes and the visit to Pichola lake, the City Palace, Saheliyon ki Badi, Fateh Sagar Lake that we explored deserve another post to relive the beauty of the place. Udaipur has so much beauty and richness that its splendour can only be assimilated after a visit and no amount of words can cover its beauty fully.

Jagdish Temple-Udaipur

A fun-filled trip was just the beginning of many more joyous journeys that lay ahead.

PS - All pics are mine



No comments:

Post a Comment