It was a mother-daughter story-session and ‘Glowingal’ was gladly telling me the story of a Crow who was very unhappy with his colour. When he saw a Swan swimming in a serene lake, displaying his glorious white plumage, the crow got desperate. Thinking, it might be the result of a daily swim in the lake, he too started taking bath and would spend hours rubbing his body against the mud. Neither his colour nor his determination faded, instead, he felt sick and died.
She made sure I hear the Moral , “You can change habits not the Nature.”
I was thinking, How unfair of Nature!
Then another day, we received a fruit basket from some relatives with delicious apples and pears in it. The fruits were disappearing fast from the fridge, especially the pears. Soon, I caught ‘GlowinGal’ red handed and she was like, “Ma, I love apples!”
“But this is pear, my dear!”
“No! Pear is green. This is red apple.”
“But apples do have green colour and Look at the shape and the taste!”
“No, this is apple, see!” and she munched the pear. “Apples are red and pears are green!”
It’s not easy to win from a soon-to-be four. 🙂 So seeing her grit, I yielded, “Okay! You are right; this is apple only. Pears aren’t red!”
(How do I tell her that there is something called ‘gene’ and scientists keep playing with it to make some desirable changes in things they ‘feel like’! On one hand, her story says you can’t change the Nature and on the other hand, we keep changing Nature!
Even if I am successful in convincing her that it is actually a ‘pear’, I am afraid, she’ll ask me to request the scientists to make all the Crows white! ) 😉
The residence of Jodhpur’s Royal Family, mere sight of which sends you to a different world. It is a mammoth and you get the idea about that after seeing the model of the palace kept in its museum; the only part of the palace, open for common public.
The museum exhibits many royal articles, photographs of regal kith and kin and their life style. There’s a huge collection of clocks in myriad shapes and sizes which makes you wonder at the love and value of time among the royalty. The vast assembly of crockery from all over the world is suitably and beautifully exhibited. Good thing is, you feel for a moment the touch of bygone Royal era but bad news is that you have to remain content in this much only. If you want to taste some more, you got to stay in the Palace-turned-Luxury-Hotel part which is undoubtedly a pricey affair ranging from some 40000 to around 80000 Rs per night depending upon the type of room you chose (as told).
Well, right now, this is beyond my budget, but if anyone can afford, I would say this is a must-do! Reason- Umaid Bhawan is one of the largest private residences in the world and the kind of benevolent welcome that I witnessed them giving to their guests, is way too ROYAL.
The palace has its personal ‘helipad’. The moment you are at the main gate, two parallel rows of traditionally decorated camels, are there, to welcome you.
As you cross the gate, again, many horse-riders in two rows enthusiastically salute you along the rhythm of gigantic drums beaten by man in red. Commoner like me come out from wherever they are, to witness this great show of pomp.
The guests are once again given a special treatment at the entry of the Palace where beautiful girls wearing Rajasthani dresses and ornaments, shower you with rosy petals and do an ‘Aarti’ with holy lamp and put a kumkum ‘tika’ on your forehead, ultimately showing you the flower laden path to the paradise – well this is my limit, I don’t know what they offer inside.
Common Public is restricted to a museum and a small part in front, housing the vintage cars. And you thank them later because this is the place which offers a magnificent front view of the palace.
- This palace took 15 years to be completed.
- Initially it was started as a project to provide employment to the farmers affected badly by a famine in 1920s.
- Luxury Hotel is run by Taj Group of Hotels.
Last week, I was at Akshay’s house.
Yes, Akshay! Bollywood’s daring Khiladi… A-k-s-h-a-y K-u-m-a-r!
Akshay and Twinkle, one of my favourite bollywood couples, invited ‘this couple’ for a sleepover in their house. Isn’t it splendid? And you know what in-spite of having a big house; they offered us their own bedroom so that we have a ‘night for life’.
Enthralled, we entered the room having just a bed and a cupboard. We were knocked-for-six.
“That is all! Even our bedroom is way more appealing.”
My prying hands reached the handles of the cupboard and…there, opened a whole world in front of my eyes. Some sort of cascade with countless dresses, bags, shoes, jewels and scented candles displayed beautifully; one could literally walk in and through.
I was trying to believe my eyes when we heard a knock at the door! ‘Mr and Mrs Khiladi’ had come to wish sweet dreams. Pointing towards the open treasure, they announced, “This is all yours.”
I covered my mouth with my hands in amazement, “Really!” (You better not be kidding). But controlling my enthusiasm, I said, “Thank you Akki ji. You two are adorable but we can’t accept THAT. You entertained us here wonderfully, it is more than enough and we are totally thrilled.”
“Well. This is Twinkle’s plan and you know what! She doesn’t like to hear ‘NO’. Okay (He winked at us). Now, you guys have some rest and we are gonna go.”
I can’t forget how elegantly Twinkle moved out of the room. She Looked gorgeous; I thought I’ll compliment her in the morning and congratulate her on the success of ‘Mrs Funny Bones’ but I never saw them again….
And this week, to my utter amazement, Maharaja of Jodhpur, His-Highness himself wished to see us, in person. Sounds unbelievable! Actually we have won a lucky draw to stay in the royal palace for a few days. (*While we were there last month, I purchased a ticket and look we turned lucky this time). To add to it, we were made to stay in the luxurious ‘Maharani suite’. Now this is way too much to believe.
There I was, living a life of Maharani, sleeping on a soft supple bed and bathing in scented ambience and rose petals soaked water.
There were people even to dress me up; I just had to clap my hands and a ‘Genie’ would appear immediately. No worries to wake-up early and no stress of cleaning-up the domestic mess. I even had the privilege to see those parts of the palace, no commoner ever could ever dream of and I tried to capture each and every happy royal moment cause these were the best and (I guess) only ones of my life.
Finally, the time to bid farewell to all the lavishness came and we expressed our desire to personally thank the Royals. The Maharaja was sitting in a blossoming garden with his Prince. I appreciated the kind of hospitality that they arranged for us but ‘His Highness’ didn’t pay much attention. I continued, “Your highness! If you ever plan to come to Himachal, do contact us. Though we don’t live there but still if there’s anything, we can do!” (In the back of mind, I was thinking, Why would a Maharaja ever contact an ‘aam aadmi’ (commoner) like me? But still, I had to say something.
“This is our card,” Mr CoolHead extended his arm and thank God, His Highness didn’t lose his cool (or we could have been inside their not-so-royal prison, for-good), instead he gestured the prince to take it. Joyously, we left the Royalty behind and boarded our flight back home. The hangover was on; I searched for the camera in my bag to reconfirm whatever happened, happened for real.
Lo! It’s not there. I emptied my bag of all womanly paraphernalia but It’s nowhere. I yelled , “w-h-e-r-e… i-s… m-y… c-a-m-e-r-a?”
Mr CoolHead handed the ‘Thing’ over to me and after feeling the cold frame, suddenly I realized where I actually was! I jumped out of my bed. It was already 7:30 and I was running late for work….:)
First thing that one notices after arriving at Jodhpur is ‘Mehrangarh Fort’. It is situated on a hill top encircled by the city. Without any doubt, the majestic fort is well maintained and tells myriad tales of its glorious past.
There’s an entry ticket of 50 Rs per person and 100 Rs are charged for carrying the camera inside. To know the complete history, you can hire a personal guide or choose an audio tour by paying 170 Rs, I opted the latter. Various points of significance have been marked; all you have to do is give your feet a pause and press a button.
As you continue climbing uphill, the beauty of the blue city starts unfolding. After many twists and turns you reach an almost impenetrable iron gate having pointed arrowheads towards outer side (of course for the intruding enemies in the past).
On the inner side, there’s cluster of hand impressions on the wall. It saddens you after knowing that these are the hand impressions of widows of the king who used to sacrifice their life by burning alive with their husband’s body (SATI PRATHA). For a moment you are forced to wonder at this inhumane act of humans. How could they let a person burn alive in front of them just for the sake of some stupid custom? Thanks to many empathic people who worked against this custom and let women live without the tag of a husband!
The museum inside exhibits various aspects of past royalty; umpteen palanquins, cradles, dresses, weapons, paintings, coins and many more articles successfully catch your attention.
This fort seems to be a favourite among film makers and many movies has been shot here. In-fact, while I am typing this article, Mr CoolHead is watching the movie ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ to which I accidentally looked up and shouted, voilà! It is Jodhpur city.
Towards the exit from the museum part, there’s ‘JananKhana’-the ladies area. The Royal ladies would assemble here for chit-chat and no males were allowed here except for the traders of feminine articles.
The audio tour also ends here and you can take exit after visiting the shopping centre where the prices are also kept in level with the royalty of the place. But still you can buy a few gifts, at-least something out of the many displayed varieties of Teas and Spices.
Well one thing is sure; Jodhpur is a hit across the border because the foreigners absolutely outnumbered the denizens.
The wall facing the main city is adorned with big canons. You can also see the other tourist attractions of the city from here. The helicopters keep roaming over the city giving tourist, a paid tour. The city looks so jam-packed; No street is visible from up there.
Because it takes you hours to see the full fort, if feeling hungry, there’s no need to worry. There are two cafe on the entry point and one towards the bottom of the hill. Daily buffet is served here. It costs you around 1000 Rs. per plate. There are other options too if you wish.
And if you are somewhat adventurous by nature, at the very same point there’s a provision of Zip line ride to give yourself an adrenaline gush.
It’s worth a try. 😉
People say ‘Rajpoots’ have their roots in Rajasthan, Being one, I always had an intense desire to touch the land of our ancestors and taste the royalty of bygone eras. I managed to steal a few days and chose ‘Jodhpur’ and ‘Jaipur’ for a trip.
Over to Blue city ‘Jodhpur’:
‘Jodhpur’ is a Beautiful city in the western ‘Rajasthan’.
Founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, a Rajpoot chief of Rathore Clan.
Also known as Sun City, Jodhpur experiences bright and sunny weather throughout year. So the best time to travel this city is between October and March.
Before this visit, I knew Jodhpur for two reasons- for the shooting of ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ and the very infamous ‘black buck shooting’ by the film stars. But after putting my first step out of the Railway station as I raised my gaze to look around, I knew it for sure that it is going to be a visit worth.
We took an ‘Auto-Riksha’ and moved through multifaceted street reticulum to Hotel Haveli. As the name suggests, it is no short of a Haveli with many tiny hidden rooms decorated appropriately with carved doors. There’s a staired well in-front and its terrace offers an enchanting view of the city and distinct monuments.
The Hotel has a semi personal restaurant in every balcony; they call it ‘Jharokha Restaurant’. Food here is delicious and affordable. And best part is that many significant points of attraction are at walking distance from here.
The main Attractions of the City are:
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Clock Tower and Sardar Market
I will be talking about them separately in my upcoming posts. 🙂