3J's in Rajasthan : Jaipur Jodhpur Jaisalmer

Post 3:
Posting after a long time as I was on vacation during new year. Will update more on that later, probably as an travelogue.

Day 1 in Jaipur:
We had an early morning flight from Bangalore to Jaipur. And so had to leave for the airport in night itself, as the airport is pretty far and traffic is unpredictable even in the night. Thus we started at 2 AM from the house and took an Uber to the airport. After a snooze in flight, we landed in Jaipur at 8:30 AM. It felt good to be welcomed in Rajasthan by hot and dry weather.

From there we rushed to our pre-booked budget hotel. Though it turned out to be a not a very good choice, but it’s location helped us a lot in coming days.

We had landed on the next immediate day after Diwali, and hence all major markets and shops were closed. After breakfast, we decided to start city tour with Jantar mantar and City palace. We didn’t have the car by then, hence Uber was the saviour.

We reached Jantar mantar by 11 AM, and by that time it had become bright and sunny. There, we got to understand the working of sundials and a few other instruments, all being dependent upon sun’s position. Then we walked to city palace which is right across the road. The palace was more of a museum, with many areas are still restricted, not for tourists.

We came back exhausted, ate dinner and called it a day. Next day we will wait for the rest of the team to arrive with the car.

Sharing some of the pics for the day:

Instruments at Jantar mantar:
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Sundial reading 12:42 PM, and it was indeed accurate:
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Another view of sundial:
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They also show a short movie about Jantar Mantar. This is where it is shown, this place is inside premises at a corner:
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Another astronomical instrument:
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Gate just inside city palace:
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Diwan e Aam inside city palace:
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Big utensils kept, there are 2 of them:
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Big jhoomar:
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Some more shots of city palace:

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The last shot was the most difficult one due to hoards of crowd :D
And this was end of the day. More to follow for Day 2 in next post.

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Post 4: Day 2 in Jaipur

After a refreshing night’s sleep, we woke up at ease. The day’s plan was pretty simple. We had to cover one of the three forts of Jaipur, and then by afternoon rest of the gang would be joining us. Together we would figure out what to do in evening.

We were having breakfast when the gang started from Delhi. Since we had time, hence decided to cover Jaigarh fort in morning. It was good to find out that we could take an Uber to fort, as fort is a little away from main road on the hill. There’s a small ghat section of 20 mins that comes on the way, was very easy even for the little Eon in which we went.

Atop the fort, we saw “Jaivana cannon” which is the largest cannon in the world. It wasn’t used in any war, in fact used only once just for show. Jaigarh fort boundary covers up a lot of area, and gives a good view of Amber fort and Jaipur city. It was a bright and sunny day, we covered up the place in 1.5 hours and decided to head back to Hawamahal in city.

Uber wasn’t available for coming back and hence we hired an autorickshaw, which turned out to be a good decision. It was a fun ride to come down the ghat roads in autorickshaw. We finally got down at Hawa mahal. Unfortunately, the monument sits on a very busy road which was jam packed in traffic.

Decided to skip interiors of Hawa mahal, did some shopping nearby and by that time rest of the gang had reached the hotel. Went back to the hotel for lunch.

After a good lunch and leisurely spending 2 hours spent in the hotel, went in evening to Birla temple. This is newly constructed, made from marble. It’s wasn’t so amazing and in fact didn’t give a great feel of a temple, but was more like a tourist spot.

Came back to hotel, had dinner and slept like a log. Rajasthan was still pretty hot in October.

Some pics from the day:

Mouth of Jaivana cannon:
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Some pics of Jaigarh fort :
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View from Jaigarh fort:
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Approach road to Jaigarh fort:
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Small cannon we found in Jaigarh fort:
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Birla temple in evening:
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Day 3 in next post :)
 
Post 5
Day 3 in Jaipur:


It was going to be a long day. Covering up the remaining places in Jaipur that too in the day’s heat was never going to be easy. Woke up early at 6:45 AM, and we finally left the hotel at 9 AM.

The first destination was Amer fort. To save climbing some stairs, we decided to park in Amer fort car parking right on the top. Unfortunately, a lot of people thought the same and hence we got a 1 hour traffic jam near the parking lot. Although this parking does avoid some climbing, but perhaps not worth wasting the time.

And so finally we reached Amer fort at around 11 AM. It then took another 2 hours to see the fort. Amer fort is a big one with lot of attractions like diwan-e-aam, Sheesh mahal, diwan-e-khas etc. At around 1 PM, we munched a few snacks and decided to walk down towards the next attractions: Anokhi Museum and Panna meena kund (Step-well). Had lunch on the way and then covered Panna meena kund in 5 mins (was more of a dirty step-well).

Finally we reached Anokhi museum of hand printing. We could see a lot of exhibits, tools and techniques of hand printing/block printing. They also allow you to try it as well. By the time we finished, it was already 4 PM, and it was time to leave for the next fort. Hence climbed back to Amer fort parking, got the car and went to Nahargarh fort.

Reached Nahargarh at around 4:30 PM, and got ample time to see the fort and sunset from the fort. It was an amazing sunset view from its roof. Other than that, Nahargarh is a very simple fort. Came back to the hotel in night, had dinner and a good sleep. Tomorrow we start driving on the highways.

Sharing pics here:

Amer fort from parking :
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Diwan-e-Aam in Amer fort:
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Sheesh Mahal:
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Jaigarh fort from Amer fort:

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Some more pics of Amer fort:
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A local artist :
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Panna meena ka kund:
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Anokhi museum of hand printing:

Blocks for printing-
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Exhibits at museum -
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Different tools for making wooden blocks for printing:
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Nahargarh fort: Famous step well
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Some more pics of Nahargarh:
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After a long day, we prepared ourselves for the road trip that starts from next day.
 
Post 6: Jaipur to Jodhpur

And so the 4th day arrived when we’d start road tripping from Jaipur to Jodhpur. Near empty roads expected on the way, and that’s exactly what we got. It is approx. 380 kms drive via Pali. We decided to take Pali route to Jodhpur, as that would cover Bullet Baba temple (Om banna temple) as well on the way. This is a must do on the list.

We started the drive at 9 AM, and soon were outside Jaipur city limits. Had breakfast on the highway, and kept driving on the route. The roads are amazing, and it was very tough to stay within the speed limit prescribed by the self-driving car company. If you don’t notice, over-speeding will happen in an instant.

We stopped at Bullet baba temple on the way. It was a very unique experience, seeing the belief of local people in the bullet bike as a deity. They even have a dedicated aarti song as well.

Had lunch on the way at blue diamond restaurant (pretty famous on that highway, hard to miss), and reached Jodhpur hotel at around 4:30 PM. The roads have been amazing and so it was a comfortable drive, hence decided to freshen up and go to the main market.

Reached Sardar market (ghantaghar) at around 6 pm in an Uber, and had a good time shopping and eating Jodhpur specialities like pyaz kachori, mawa kachori and even Makhani Lassi. This was sufficient to be called as full-fledged tummy filling dinner.

Came back to hotel by an autorickshaw, a far better experience than Uber cab in Jodhpur. It went through very narrow lanes from which a car might not be able to go. We reached hotel at 9 pm and called it a day.

Sharing some pics from the day:

Beautiful roads from Jaipur to Jodhpur:

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Wife taking the pic while I drive:
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Toll booth on the way:
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This is where you take cut for Jodhpur via Pali:

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Still 70 kms to go:
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Water body on side of road:
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A confusing milestone neat Jodhpur, since we just drove from Jaipur to here:


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Next post: Jodhpur sightseeing
 
Post 7: Jodhpur sightseeing

This day was planned for Jodhpur sightseeing. Jodhpur is a city built around the fort.

After breakfast, we proceeded to Mehrangarh fort. It was a hot and sunny day, something not expected in October. We started from base of the fort at around 10 AM. It took around 3 hours to see the fort completely. The fort is a beautiful place, probably the best in Rajasthan. We saw various artifacts, museum and its articles, cannons etc, and captured a few in camera as well for sharing here.

After we completed Mehrangarh fort sightseeing, next stop was Jaswant Thada. We were quite hungry but decided to quickly see it. Reached there by our car as it is only 5 mins from Mehrangarh, and then we saw this peaceful place in 30 minutes.

There was another major attraction nearby, the “Rao Jodha desert park”. But that would mean walking on the rocky terrain in hot summer, so decided to skip it.

Headed back to the hotel, had lunch nearby on the way. After reaching hotel at around 4, decided to go back once again to Sardar market in evening. It was good fun shopping and eating at that place again.

Reached hotel at 9, and prepared for tomorrow’s drive to Jaisalmer.
Here are some pics from the day:

Family (except me) at Mehrangarh fort Parking:
Sharing some pics from the day:

Family (except me) at Mehrangarh fort parking:
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Sharing some pics of Mehrangarh fort:
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Jaswant Thada - a very peaceful place:

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Me and wife at Jaswant Thada:
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Next post: Jodhpur to Jaisalmer
 
Post 8: Jodhpur to Jaisalmer

The day started early . Today we expected to drive in the desert itself, and Rajasthan is known for good roads even in the desert.

After breakfast, we started towards Jaisalmer. Till Pokhran, highway condition is very good. But from there highway condition became very bad. The whole part is under construction. Adding to it were big trucks throwing up the sand in air, and you have to wait for 15-20 sec for it to get settled before you can move forward. The 4-laning work is in progress, but till that time the stretch will be a nightmare.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the scenery. We could see sand, but not any sand dunes from the road as there is vegetation. This is intentionally done so that sand dunes don’t shift and occupy the road itself. While this is necessary, it does kill the expected scenery.

After a snack break in between, we stopped at Jaisalmer war museum. This is on highway itself, 15 kms before Jaisalmer. This was one of a kind experience. But alas, then there were so many loud people in the crowd as well which were trying to make the museum experience bitter, and making life tough even for the guards there. I believe even as tourists, one should be courteous to our Armed forces whenever we meet them.

After museum, we headed to Jaisalmer city. We could see fort boundary from highway itself. We ate lunch and proceeded towards sand dunes.

Sharing a few pics of the lovely (and not so lovely) roads:

Started from Jodhpur and roads are a breeze:

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But watch out for this:
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The good roads continue:
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And after a while, there's only sand on the sides of highway:
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And this is the sign beyond which the road starts to deteriorate:

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Freshly laid tarmac:

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And then the under-construction stretch:
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Good patches again:
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Jaisalmer war memorial:
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Finally reached Jaisalmer. View of Golden fort walls from highway:
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Next post: Jaisalmer sand dunes
 
Post 9: Jaisalmer sand dunes

And after a good lunch at Jaisalmer it was time to head to Sand dunes. We had a night’s reservation in “Royal camps”, one of the many camps at Sam sand dunes area.

Reached Sam sand dunes at around 4:30 PM, and checked-in to Royal camps. It did involve 200-300 m of off-roading which XUV could do easily. Took the camel safari at the dunes. And while it was good, still I was pretty disappointed by its short duration of 10 mins or so. Seeing the sunset was lovely, although sand dunes is a pretty crowded tourist spot.

Came back to Royal camps to see few locals perform a cultural programme there in the evening. Had buffet dinner (surprising very good it was), and slept off late night. Tomorrow we would be seeing the Jaisalmer fort, and even staying inside it for the night.

Sharing the pics here:

Way to Sam sand dunes from Jaisalmer:
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But hey, you won't be alone:
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Sunset at Sand dunes :
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Back to royal camps:
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Next post: Jaisalmer fort
 
Post 10: Jaisalmer fort and city

Woke up to an amazing sunrise at the Royal camps.
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This was followed by a good cup of tea and breakfast. Started back from Royal camps towards Jaisalmer. This is the approach road for Royal camps, a little off-roading stretch of 300m or so:
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Saw a few camel on the way, roaming around in open:
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Reached Jaisalmer fort parking by 11 AM. We had booking in “Mud mirror guest house”, a cozy place inside the fort. As the car can’t go inside the narrow lanes in fort, we had to ask them for help with the luggage. They enthusiastically arranged for the luggage pickup on bike. It felt very welcoming. We left the car at fort parking here:
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Walked up from parking to the guest house. The entire fort looks like a market from inside, with narrow lanes, and shops everywhere. And with people trying to sell a lot of things to you, it becomes a bit difficult to digest at the start. But then you ignore that up and start seeing true beauty of the golden fort. Though it’s more like a sandstone fort, but is lighted up in evening to look golden. Here are the lanes through which we walked up:
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And tried a monochromatic one as well:
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Mudmirror guest house is built where soldiers once used to stay. It gives a good view of the fort and also the view outside walls as well. We could see the small Jaisalmer boundaries and the vast desert.
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We checked into the hotel and freshened up. The owner was more than happy sharing us the details of Jaisalmer’s history. I would really recommend this place to travellers.

The first attraction inside fort was Jain temple, which was right in front of hotel. It was good to see them, reminded of Ranakpur Jain temple.
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Then went forward to see the fort palace. The building looks pretty good from outside:
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But unfortunately isn’t in a very great condition from inside. It does offer a great city view:
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Finished fort palace in an hour, and then had lunch in a nearby restaurant.

We then explored the remaining fort places inside, came out of it and then started walking through the narrow streets (and GPS navigation) to reach Patwaon ki haveli. GPS was important as otherwise you may get lost in lanes like this:
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Patwaon ki Haveli is an old (and big) haveli, with many artifacts to see. It is well preserved, renovated ad maintained monument. It was good to see various sections of the haveli.
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And from rooftop the haveli offers a great view of the fort:
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Roamed around in the market area for quite some time. It was mostly small lanes like this one:
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Came back and had a superb dinner in our hotel’s rooftop restaurant. It was amazing to see Jaisalmer lights, and then pitch dark desert from the top. Tomorrow we will visit Longewala and then start the drive back.
 
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