Sep '14: Of Palaces and Forts: Royal Rajasthan

Dry Ice

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2014
Chalo Ranakpur

We are staring at a half closed shop. One side shutter is still closed while the other side is open. I sneak in while rest of the folks wait outside. It's totally deserted.

Koi Hai?
I hear some utensils drop and someone is hurridly coming down the steps. Though it sounds like that, but I hope someone is not rolling down.

Soon the familier face greets me.

It's babu.

The same guy who served us last night at Maxim. While leaving we had asked about the time he opens the shop to have breakfast and then leave for Ranakpur. As per his commitment, we came bang at 8:00 AM. BUT... from his half sleepy face and semi nude attire, I was sure commitment kar ke ye sahab sab bhul jate hain!

Sir, nau baje tak kholenge, tabhi aa jaiye
Hmm.. sure, You said you open the shop early, that's why we came here. Anyway, no problem.

No point wasting time with him, so I move on.

Find the shops are still opening and Udaipur still seems sleepy. Walking through the market, I realize the true width of the road! Its reduced to 1/4th as soon as the market opens due to all the hussle bussle - pedestrians, vehicles, animals all sharing the same space.

We come around to a smallish stall preparing kachoris, pakodis etc. Let's check out some street food, I think and order a few plates of poha, mirchi pakoda, kachori and even get him to parcel some!



Fantastic food yet again! Experimentation works. The recommendations had failed us in this trip while the experiments actually saved me! hehe! Anyway, breakfast done, we move to the parking, to wake up the sleepy elephant. I crank, it moves and soon settles into a nice idle rythm.

Bye Bye Udaipur. Will we meet again? Can't say with certainty right now but even if we do, will mostly be a transit halt.


Google with it's own problems manages to navigate me out of the city and soon we are on these fantabulous roads, zig zaging through the hills.


Fantastic NH 76





I am tempted, for a moment, to take the diversion. But then, the schedule is already tight for today and if we deviate, we might miss either Kumbhalgarh or Ranakpur.

Soon I get off the NH 76 and take the SH 32. The difference is drastic.


Curvy SH 32




Gypsy populace?

From a wide, smooth 4 laned road, you are suddenly on a 1.5 laned road. Yes, 1.5 lanes. You have to get off the tarmac at places to let a vehicle pass. Initial few kms have villages coming up pretty fast. After a while though, we enter a wildlife sanctuary and the road starts to gain some altitude. No Khardung LA here, but still, you gain some height. It almost reminds me of the drive to Mussorie from Dehradun at places. Beautiful valley views.


A different kind of Padharo Mhare Des

As I park into the Temple complex it's 11:45am. Tourists are allowed after 12 pm. But, I don't see any such issue right now. Tickets are being issued and people are going in. Great!

We buy the tickets and enter.

The moment we have a glimpse of the huge temple (from the main gate itself), we are taken aback. But as we enter the main temple and move our heads around, we are stunned! Spell bound! The intricacy of the work is mind boggling. Trust me on this. No amount of pictures can help capture the essence of this temple or the amount of labour that has gone in.

I will let the pictures speak for now.


Main temple


Main temple from far


Intricate work inside the dome


Crafty doors



Detailing is spectacular




There are many more smaller temples in the same complex and this is one of them. Apparently, the workers built this in their free time.


After the temple visit, we have lunch in the bhojnalaya run by the temple. Charge is some 50 bucks and it is open only till 1:00 PM. We barely make it at 12:30 PM. Food is a simple dal-roti-rice affair. One can have as much as one wants. :)

With our stomachs full, I have to fill up the ride too. Now come some shockers.
  • The route I was depending on (as suggested by Google) does not exist. We have to go back till Sayra and take the other fork from there. That means an extra 30kms!
  • No petrol pumps till Kumbhalgarh along the Sayra route. Nearest petrol pump is in Sadri Village, some 11-12 kms away.

So in essence I have to cover - 12+12+50 ~ 80 kms to get to Kumbhalgarh. Time is 1 PM now.

I make a quick dash to Sadri. Let's get one problem out of the way first. 10 kms, no sign of petrol pump. 11, 12.. nothing. After close to 15 kms, we spot an Indian oil pump on the right. As I pull in, the attendant, waves me to move out.

Diesel khatam
Haan bhai, khatam hai, full kar de
Almost giving me a death stare :mad: - pump mein diesel nai hai.

Paas mein koi aur hai?
han udhar 10 km aage

Main udhar se hi toh aaya hun, nahi hai koi. Kumbhalgarh jana hai, uss raste mein aur koi hai
hmm.. idhar chale jao phir 10 km aage

Idhar hai pakka 10 km aage? Aur kumbhalgarh idhar se he wapis jana padega? Kitna km hoga yahan se? Ye road seedhe jayegi kya kumbh..
Acha acha daal deta hun thoda. Kholo. 1000 ka

1500 daal do malik!

Phew! with the fuel concern out of the way, we start back for Kumbhalgarh retracing our steps. At the Sadri junction I stop and enquire again with the locals if there is any route as google shows.

gufa se kaise jaoge? Ghoom k jao Ranakpur se hi. Mandir k baad ek chadhai aayegi, wo le lena, shaartcut hai, 10 kms shaart padega.
Great thank you!

We take the shortcut. Its bloody steep. At one point there is a bike coming down and I have to stop. Even with the handbrake applied, the car is moving backwards. I dab the brakes in time to stop it! This is at only one point though, a few steep u-turns, after that the route is fine. Google is confused all this while as to where am I headed - and switches itself off once it realizes no one is listening to it. After I join the main route at Bhanpur though, it comes back to life with its usual, "continue straight on state highway xx for xx kms" chant.

We look around accomodation here. Find one very near the fort but don't get a good deal. Fellow passengers are tired and not in mood to explore more, so I give in and finalize the deal after reducing the rate a bit. After some rest we reach Kumbhalragh fort at 3:45pm. The climb is very steep, again. But this time we are on foot. So even worse in a way. Now I see the reason why nobody bothered to attack this fort. For one, it's located high up on a hillock and second it's kind of remote!


Fort Main Gate


Front wall


Fort wall snaking it's way around the hills


Stretches far and wide



View from the top


You can see the wall remains on far away hills




Deadly - To prevent elephants ramming against the door, I guess


Mata Mandir, within the fort


Shiv Mandir, L&S show seating on the right


Shiv mandir soaked in evening light

Anyway, the state of things is pretty bad and there is some renovation work on going. They have applied some makeup to the front walls but rest of it needs attention. We purchase the light and sound show tickets as well. It starts at 7:30 pm, so we explore and kill time till 6 pm or so and then take the seats. The narration is good and bollywood celebrities have lent their voices to several characters. Overall, it was entertaining and informative. But what disappoints me is they don't turn on the fort lights after the show! I was hoping to capture some of its grandeur in the evening but my plans are spoiled.

Anyway, we head to the hotel to crash.

Tomorrow we head to Jodhpur by retracing our today's steps yet again (all the way to that petrol pump) and then taking the NH 14 - NH 65.

More soon ...


Dry Ice

Well-Known Member
Lovely captures and awesome narration..
Superb narration ...superb captures.
Awesome shots and excellent narration..
Thanks debarshi!

Amazing show..
Thanks for sharing :)
Lovely shots
Thanks.. :)

Nice Narrations and Lovely Pictures.

Which hotel did you stay in Udaipur?
Thanks harjeev, this is the hotel - Anjani Hotel (Udaipur, Rajasthan) - Hotel reviews, photos, rates - TripAdvisor

Very well written. Dry humour from dry ice ��
Thanks Sachin!

Once again great narration
Thanks Shekar!


Although it's around 20kms away, in no time, we are at Choki Dhaani.

I had first visited this place way back in 2009 and have fond memories. Back then, they had just one dining hall and there used to be a mad rush for dinner. Fearing something similar, I reach there rather early. And for the second time today, we are pleasantly surprised to see a rather ‘empty’ Choki Dhaani.
Nice clicks of Choki Dhani here and wife have been waiting for many years to visit this place..don't know when will the plan materializes.. till then will enjoy via your lens..:D

Dry Ice

Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2014
Suncity Jodhpur beckons..

Morning at Kumbhalgarh is chilly! We had never thought we would experience such cold weather on this trip. And of all the places, in Rajasthan, in October! We have our breakfast and leave the hotel by 8 am. Back to the same narrow, undulating, curving village roads. Google yet again is asking me to go through the cave. I simply ignore it, and after sometime, it switches itself off. Peace.

Soon, we cross the Ranakpur temple and reach Sadri. From here, we can either take a left or a right. Google recommends taking right. I have a feeling, we should take the left as it seems to merge with a NH after some distance. I enquire with the locals and they confirm, right fork will take us through villages and roads are not good. Not Google's fault per se, Westerners are generally attracted to our villages and rural life. I forget, forgive and turn left.

The road, though narrow, is good. We cross a village every now and then. As I join the NH 14 at Sanderao, I see a big board,

Jodhpur →

And yet again Google doesn't agree,
At 200 meters, turn Left

I turn right and continue on NH14. I have the route in mind. Turn left at Pali on NH 65 - that will take us straight to Jodhpur. We keep on fighting with Google, which keeps advising us to turn into any and every turn that comes up.

At 100 meters, turn Left
Turn Left

SHUT UP!:mad:
Dejected, I turn it off. Peace. Maybe it was something in the Kumbhalgarh air.

Anyway, roads are fantastic inspite of many diversions, and truck traffic. We make good progress and are on the outskirts of Jodhpur by noon. I especially enjoy the roads more as the tolls are non-functional for now on this stretch. Nice feeling to zip past the tolls without paying a dime!;)


NH 65

I turn on Google for directions to the hotel, scared it will not guide us anymore for the disrespect we have shown it since morning. Thankfully, it has a big heart and forgives us. We check-in the hotel, order lunch and relax.

In the evening, we head out to explore Umaid Bhavan Palace. Umaid Bhavan Palace, is part hotel, part residence and part museum. The area open for general public is rather small. The exhibits are mostly articles of daily use of the royalties and some pictures. The museum also has a detailed histrory of the place. There is a separate vintage car and a model train display at the other end of the complex.


Umaid Bhavan, entry to public is restricted to the left most wing


In the courtyard




A Royal dinner table?


A scale model


Painting on the roof. Note Mehrangarh fort is depicted here


Side view


Views from the parking

After the palace, we park the car at hotel and take a tuk-tuk to the crowded and chaotic Nai Sadak & Sadar Bazaar for some shopping. Manage just 1 photo from my phone.

Clock Tower at night

More Soon...
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