Destination Next !!
Upon getting only a week’s holidays at hand, and a dire need to escape into another world from ours, we decided to make the most of it by travelling to someplace nearby. The name AAPNO RAJASTHAN reverberated in unison, and hence, zeroed on. It is a state that resonates INDIAN ETHOS at its purest and most embracing; ROYALTY of yesteryears redefined and served to your heart’s content and majestic grandeur and rich cultural heritage to fill your sights and mind for years to come.
Travel Partner Who?
WE BOTH KNEW ONCE WAS NEVER ENOUGH! Hence, we were TRADITIONALLY YOURS, O’ LAND OF RAJPUTANA, for a week.
It was a revisit for the both of us, though we were going to colour ourselves together in this experience for the first time.
You must be wondering, my referral to “WE“…. so before moving ahead let me introduce you to the other me who completes my “WE”…. My Companion, my co- traveler, friend, guide, photographer … a Naval OFFICER by profession; photographer and artist by passion; and bitten by TRAVEL BUG …JUST LIKE ME – TILAK!
Udaipur -City of Lakes
Rangeela Rajasthan, so rightfully said is every inch a colourful experience, every corner has a story of Proud Palatial Regalia; sagas of bravery; tales of unrequited romance; songs of nomadic folklore and dance of the dunes which being Rajputs ourselves, drew us like a magnet to the royal land.
These majestic sights and places once, become a part of you, they never leave your soul. You carry a piece of them in your heart and memoirs wherever you go.
However, making a quick itinerary wasn’t that difficult, we, each knew at once the places we wanted to revisit, the places that kept calling us back, the places we had faint memories of, however, etched fondly in our hearts.
This time however, it was going to be different for now we have changed, we live with a better perspective; a deeper vision and a knack for details, a hunger for travels persists. FOR We…. Have tasted WANDERLUST like never before; we want to explore GOD’s canvas and want to find our true calling; we are now in pursuit of zenith, for we now are TRAVELLERS… OF THE GLOBE!!
We instantly booked our flight tickets from Aamchi MUMBAI and landed in UDAIPUR!! An early morning flight brought us to the bewitching city at 9:00 am in the morning. As per the week’s itinerary, our first halt that we had most desirously chosen was JAG MANDIR!
We had a whole day of exploration planned ahead of us and O’ Boy were we any less excited!!
A day Well Planned
SO, My Dear Readers, this blog post is about our visiting to one of the most breathtaking places of ROYAL inheritance; aesthetic presence; grand historical eloquence and architectural marvel: JAG MANDIR of Udaipur city, Rajasthan.
What History Says?
It is a palace, also known as the LAKE GARDEN PALACE, built on an island in the Lake Pichola. It is credited be built during reign of three Sisodia Rajput Maharanas of Mewar and hence, named “JAGAT MANDIR”, in honour of the last ruler, Maharana Jagat Singh (1628 -1652). This place speaks volumes of the grandeur and leisure of the royalty. It was used as a pleasure palace for holding huge parties and was a summer resort for the royal family and guests.
This palace is also famously remembered as a refuge asylum given by our Rajputana Mewar kings to prince Khurram, later came to be known as famous Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in annals of history. A portion of this palace, initially built specially for Khurram was known as GUL MAHAL. Its one of the most remarkable structure of great architectural glory by Mewar dynasty and was built quite unusually than other relics. It is said to be believed that this palace came to be the inspiration behind conceptualisation of eighth wonder of the World, Taj Mahal; Built by Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
What we wore?~
I deliberately chose to style my outfit of the day befitting the occasion and place of visit. Bringing out the every bit of Rajputani that exists in me and fusing it with classic contemporary traveller, this is what I wore:
I paired my ethnic gheradaar neon lehriya skirt/ghagra with a classic black knot shirt and a pair of my most comfortable red boots,[the perfect choice as we had long walks ahead of us!]; ethnic accessories and metallic bag pack to carry my essentials for the day.
AND I SET OUT TO EXPERIENCE EVERY BIT A QUEEN EVERY WOMAN DESERVES TO BE!!
Tilak chose to wear, a cool pair of co-ords, a commando black tee with detailing laces and super comfy and stylish joggers; paired with his most favourite military boots! keeping in mind his behind the lens activities and long day ahead.
How we reached Jag Mandir ?
We embarked on our small trip, super excited and landed in UDAIPUR, after merely two hours of rest we couldn’t wait any longer and headed towards City Palace & reached its BANSI GHAT jetty We bought tickets at the corner ticket counter,the prices of which differ from morning to evening hours; as we went in the morning ferry, it costed us Rs 400/- per person. It is however, advisable to go in the morning itself, specially if you have a bigger travel group as charges are higher in the evening hours. Also, you get more time in hand to enjoy the island palace and hotel exerience at leisure.
We waited for about twenty minutes for the ferry to begin the tour to the island palace. The weather Gods seemed pleased with us too, as it was a gorgeous, breezy day.
This ferry ride is the most magical and soothing ride that traverses across the LAKE PICHOLA, while showcasing the magnificient scenes of the ghats and city palace all around you. The experience i believe is similar, to the romantic Venetian lakes and boat rides.
The palace jetty is the first striking scene of majestic grandeur that welcomes you and leaves you spellbound. The elegant facade includes brilliantly carved four elephants on either side alluring you to much more promising sights and architectures.
Upon entering the first thing that amazes and beholds you is the marvellous crown shaped domes of GUL MAHAL, built in yellow sandstone, three circular domed chambers, two marble chhatris, giving it a Mughal architectural style. We couldn’t help but marvel at the craftsmanship and refined taste of those times.
It felt every bit a Paradise for people who love Art, Architecture and Photography!!
We felt so at peace yet excited to soak in the entire experience and the royal vibe and capture every bit of this beauty into our lens.
We decided to stay longer than we had intended.
I loved the fact that the pavilion upon entering the palace, a gorgeous white colonnade carved with crisp arches marks the periphery of the island with a scenic back drop of Aravalli hills and opens up to THE GARDEN COURTYARD and the DARIKHANA on its northern side.
Walking along the huge GARDEN COURTYARD amidst roses, frangipani trees, bougainvillea, palm trees was invigorating and brought in a sense of peace to your being. Despite many tourists, there was a very respectable silence around; one felt enchanted and transported to a not so distant world of kings and queens and felt every bit a part of them.
The courtyard is a classic make of black and white tiles that leave a resonating effect on your senses with its fountains and waterpools, low marble handrails, crisscross walkways bedecking the garden surroundings mesmerising your entire experience.
A flock of pigeons can be seen fluttering, playing around the whole areas and tempt you to capture them in your frames for sure, and i too couldn’t resist the temptation either!
DARIKHANA, an open sided terrace built with marble columns, is now being used as a lovely restaurant for tourists and private parties.
Incorporating GUL MAHAL is the prestigious main palace the JAG MANDIR. It is a masterpiece of sheer elegance, its tower ,an octagonal in shape, topped with dome shaped, weather proof, cupolas. It encompasses many interconnected residential suites, reception halls and The Zenana -residence of royal ladies chambers, built in great Rajput and Mughal architectural styles!
Also, one cannot fail to mention the beauty of THE KUNWAR PADA ka Mahal, the palace of the Crown Prince, located at the western end of the island.
‘The Palace of The Twelve Stones” or Bara Patharon ka Mahal, situated at the eastern wing of the main palace is yet another architectural brilliance carved out of twelve marble slabs. It indeed was the highlight of the entire architectural marvel.
We really had an amazing time wandering in and around the labyrinth of the island palace; gaping and gasping looking at the detailed craftsmanship and enjoying the halo of the royalty. Loitering around we went into the section where a mini museum was built and relics of yesteryears historical importance were kept there to depict the significance of the times immemorial.
As we toured ever inch of this gorgeous relic , enjoying the scenic galore; capturing moments, we decided to take a breather and check out their restaurants and cafe menus and services as well. A Coffee date amidst the royal gardens seemed the most apt choice to rejuvenate.
The menu was crisp and uncomplicated, not with too many options as well. Good, selective beverages and some cosmopolitan dishes to order. The prices were on the bit expensive side but good for one time experience. As we were not hungry we did not go for the dining services. Though we checked out the details for future references. The five star hotel diner looks warm and cozy with a perfect view to look at. For a fine dining experience, one needs to reserve a table on telephone. The menu comprises of Rajasthani and international cuisines served in utmost royal regality. A meal for a couple could cost approximately around Rs 5500/-. Food can be best experienced here in the evening as dinner to experience the fully lit ambience and atmosphere of this Royal heritage at its best with lighting and music though the service is a bit slow. However, to relish the cuisines there are far better places in the town and budget friendly too and this experience can be given a miss on the island.
After the much needed break, we set out to, we set out to see one last straw of this island and that is the garden on the eastern side of the island. I fell in love with this portion of the island that had so much beauty, tranquility and grandeur to offer to its visitors and on-lookers.
We started roaming in this beautiful garden and enjoying the breezy scenes the lake provided. One could see at the shore and marvel at yet another royal architectural marvel CITY PALACE from here and a art of the Udaipur town on the shores as well. Also, couldn’t help but gape at the white beauty of the HOTEL LAKE PALACE, Standing tall and graceful in its glory.
AND then amidst all these scene searching, i found my favourite place to perch and click umpteenth pictures. I’m talking about the most talked about marble takht out in the garden, onlooking scenes of lake Pichola and the entire city of Udaipur, such beautifully carved and strategically placed chair.
In yesteryears Maharaja and the Maharani’s of the Mahal ,must have spent a quality time here, amidst serenity and romance.
This chair literally led me to day dream and envision the mystic era gone by.
I Sat on the marble chair to my heart’s content and soaked in the Royal feels and the beauty around me to last a lifetime .
Have i told you this before….i often feel i’am an OLD WORLD SOUL trapped inside a new day body. The era’s gone by, their lifestyle, thoughts; poetry; architecture; music; mysticism; larger than life caricatures; language have always fascinated me and i feel difficult to disconnect once, in that zone.
Anyhow, dusk was slowly spreading its wings and the whole island was being prepared to be lit for the approaching night. It was time to take the ferry back to the city of Lakes.Rejuvenated , satiated and at peace we alighted the ferry bidding our adieu to the Island Palace and to enjoy the cool ferry ride across the lake.
Excited and Happy at the phenominal beginning of the trip and making plans for the day 2 of the vacay we sailed through.
Want to know how our rest o the trip went? and if you are keen to know my experiences though the rest of the journey! Stay tuned and kee watching this space for more.
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THAT PASHMINA GIRL!!