Monday, January 08, 2007

A Peep into another world ! Banswara / Udaipur

It was a visit due for many long years ! Even longer than I have been around the house and I dont think Guddan ever really believed that one day 'chotey' bhai would actually come trooping down her beautiful but sleepy little town. She called us a dozen times before we finally boarded the train to ensure that the trip was actually happening !

Our overnight train to Ratlam from New Delhi was 3.5 hours delayed due to dense fog and we spent a couple of shivering hours on the New Delhi Railway Platform ! At Ratlam, Brother in Law was already waiting for us in a Tavera and off we went down the MP country side for a three hour long journey to Banswara in Rajasthan. From the freezing chill of Delhi, the scorching sunny temperature of Ratlam was quite a shock, even though Guddan had warned me beforehand. Layer after layer the clothes came off ...Ruhi's back got so itchy with sweat that she had to be stripped to her bony little frame and given a wet sponging !

Our journey was strewn with hills and lush greenary, lakes and ponds and of course the Mahi river in its various forms. It was incredibly beautiful to see a lanscape so virgin and pure. Thank God the tourists have not yet commercially discovered this part of Rajasthan. I had fallen asleep several times during the car ride only to be woken up by Wasi to show me wonderful sights !

We reached Banswara mid afternoon to a cheerful and sunny first floor house of Guddan...

We found a quaint little Catus garden and a Palace on the way...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The Cactus Garden at Mahraha of Sailana's Palace in Sailana, MP. The Palace looked very European in some parts & is owned by Maharaja Bikramjit Singh who lives @ Indore He sells these rare cactuses as medicinal plants for lakhs according to the keeper of the garden !

Kanhaiya Singh was the keeper of the garden, and he complained endlessly about his miser employer while also insisting in the same breath that he would never make a hole in the thali he eats in !

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


GUDDAN"S NEST : Guddan's flat has a very green balcony and the house full of the sun. It reminded me of the Jodhpur house in many ways and the magazine cutouts on the bedroom doors were ever so familiar. We lazed around enjoying the sun all afternoon ( i have finally realised why the Goras are so crazy about the sun ! Ask me ) and then left for a place called KAGDI to watch the sunset. Guddan parked her Wagon R at the gate and we walked across a long bridge to landscaped garden terraces overlooking the stream. The sunset was deep red and awesome in its quietness.

Came back home to hot jalebis!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

TRIP TO UDAIPUR...BIL is ever so enthusiastic about everything ! He managed to convince Wasi to drive down to Udaipur which was about 3 hours away from Banswara. Also managed to get rooms in the University Guest House and the next morning on Jan 30th the kids got onto the boot of the Tavera and off we drove down the Aravali mountains to reach Udaipur. About 50 Kms short of Udaipur we stopped for Tea at a 17th century second largest artificial lake in Asia called Jaisamand with a island resort in the middle & 2 summer palaces of the Queens of Udaipur on either side. While sitting on the embankment feeding fish, BIL decided impromptu to take a boat ride to the Island Resort and back. Wasi was paranoid and did all he could to resist stepping into water but before he knew it, we had all jumped on to the boat ! He stepped in grudgingly & then gingerly sat in the middle of the steamer....what fun it was !

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We reached Udaipur early afternoon. We dumped our bags at the Guest house and drove to the Sukhadiya Circle which has a fountain & a water body around it. I was feeling terribly sick with a bad sinus attack so I chose to relax on a bench in the park while the kids went boating yet again.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

There was a roadside Photo shoot set up in the lawn and I saw Wasi intently looking into a album full of people dressed in garish Rajasthani costumes. In a minute my worst fears came true and he was changing into a yellow bell pants and frock while summoning me to get into the ghaghra ! I could have died laughing but we did that stunt and I have never seen him more excited about anything in life ! I think I discovered a secret ambition in him to be a Rajasthani villager ! Not to miss his Gray Adidas shoes under the Salwar and black frames !!!


Image and video hosting by TinyPic


Udaipur was lovely, clean and pristine and so full of the Mewar history in every nook and corner...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We were now headed towards Shilpgram to see the annual mela and reached there after driving past Fateh Sagar Lake & Nehru Gardens ! It houses 26 huts for artisans in 70 acres of land and a open air auditorium. Its like a very very large scale Dilli Hat and Ruhi bought a bow and arrow & Wasi bought swords & dhal, gulels...we also saw a brilliant mime performance by Oasis...the kids went on a camel ride...the mela was awesome ! Ruhi also drove a mock jeep, did some shopping of her own and watched a puppet show while I went crazy clicking the rajasthani Belles in their low neck cholis and low waist ghagras...Each one of them would flash a 1000 watt smile without a trace of shyness whenever I asked them for a picture. One even complained that the firangis give them expensive gifts for a pic ! lol

We had vegetarian rajasthani dinner at a must visit 'thali' place and crashed in our very basic rooms at the Guest house...

The next day after enjoying some brilliant sun at the Guest house our first stop was at the Rana Pratap Memorial atop the Moti Margi Hill with a majestic bronze statue of the Mewar Hero at one end. You can watch the city from the hill though there isnt much except that and there was another of that familar photo set up, this time with kids' costumes ! All of us got dressed in traditional finery including little Rayyan who flung off his enormous pagri twice after bawling angrily at our crazy antics !

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Udaipur is all so starkly white that it has a very European appeal...can't put a finger on it though but sometimes also Moroccon in its visual appeal. I loved that...we moved next through a maze of gullis to reach the 1651 Jagdish Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu where we saw a Catholic Priest sitting with a Pujari on the temple steps ! I also saw a Sadhu most probably engrossed in a charas trip ! The temple walls are intricately carved with images of goddesses and elephants..perhaps there is a story to tell.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We walked down a lane strewn with Jap and French tourists, ending in very french white cafe with yellow sunfloers painted on the walls. Starkly contrasting a majestic gate leading to the Gangaur Ghat located on the picturesque lake Pichola.... You can see the Lake Palace from the ghat and there were women doing their laundry on the ghat and several buffalos sleepy eyed in the diminishing sun ! We now walked our way to the absolutely phenomenal City palace stopping on the way at a secret alley with a brilliant view of the lake Palace hotel where Wasi and the kids were waiting for us in the parking.

I was stunned by the beauty of the palace and I knew that I would come here again...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


DEC 31, 2006 : We drove back to Banswara late afternoon on the 31st and reached just after sunset. The kids were tired with the excitement and soon fell asleep. As midnight came closer the sleepy little town came alive with vibrant music and lights. There were parties organised with belly dancers et all ! I guess the locals really believed in living it up ! We chatted and watched some TV till midnight though BIL and I were enthusiasticaly awake till the new year announced itself. Guddan was nearly asleep and Wasi was just about ! The next morning was Bakried and Guddan cooked Sewayin while BIL took Wasi to the Idgah for Namaaz. We had a lovely lunch and left to see the Mahi Dam. Saw fantastic sights on the way and the Dam was awesome. The river was quiet and serene but I could imagine its fury in the Monsoons.


There was a quaint little Guesthouse atop the dam and you could savour the river from its lawns. We climbed almost 200 steps to reach the top and I was impressed that Wasi actually climbed up all the way without a complaint ! I had been told that this was the land of tribals and had been yearning to get to know them but everyone just laughed me off as usual. On the way up the dam I met 3 Tribal babes and requested them for a photo op ! They went crazy giggling and making fun of me !

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The Guest House perched at the center of a small lawn which overlooked the river and the landscape....while we sat there watching the river, Ruhi plucked flowers and Rayyan learnt a new word ' Filawer'. Like a parrot he kept chanting Filawer... Filawer while I felt peace creeping into my eyes...what a balm it would be to my tortured city senses to spend a few stolen days here....wishful thinking !

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We visited the 2 Kalpvrikshas on the way back home and took 3 rounds of each and asked for mannats. Kalpvrikshas are considered to be one of the 14 gems that came out of the samudra manthan are wish fulfilling trees. I was surprised Wasi could guess half of what I had asked....Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We then drove to Ratlam to board the train to Delhi ! Taking with us some brilliant memories and images that will forever be eyecandy for my mind ! Not to forget the warmth of Guddan's home !

10 comments:

manu said...

hi..

its such a wonderfully written travelouge..i actually could visualise what you must have seen and felt...yes, the pictures helped too..
manu

Ashish Gorde said...

I'm so stumbled to your blog. This travelogue is so well-written and so vivid in its descriptions that one could actually experience your journey.

Twisted Humor Inc. said...

That was a brilliant writeup..!

Am planning a trip to Jaipur , Jodhpur and Jaisalmer(for the Desert Festival) at the end of January..
and this blog entry sure is one helluva appetizer..!

Gurpreet Wasi said...

Thanks Manu, Ashish ( why does that name sound familiar ?) and Vinod. Didnt know anyone comes visiting my blog...I stay in the cobwebs. But I am glad you all visited.

Regards

G

the mad momma said...

Hey Gurpreet... that was lovely... and I loved the pics of the children as well as the trip...

Ashish Gorde said...

Name sounds familiar because of "Reclusive Rapture" on Ryze. Haven't been active there for some time but plan to do so soon. Oh please dont stay in the cobwebs... we like to visit often and read more.

roop said...

omg u've written about places i am planning to go this trip and was a bit doubtful about ... but ur blog has only confirmed my want to go to these places : golden temple and udaipur.

Confucius said...

Stupendous writing GW. Its a must see for me now.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.