Monthly Archives: November 2019

Kumbhalgarh Festival- a vibrant three-day celebration of the cultural heritage of Rajasthan.

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Kumbhalgarh Festival- a vibrant three-day celebration of the cultural heritage of Rajasthan.
Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort

The multi-hued culture of Rajasthan will be on full display during the upcoming Kumbhalgarh Festival from 1st – 3rd December 2019 at the majestic Kumbhalgarh Fort. The festival aims to enthrall the onlookers with everything that Rajasthan stands for. Various cultural performances and competitions are planned to give the participants a glimpse of the rustic side of the state.

Kumbhalgarh Fort The full landscape view of Kumbhalgarh

The festival commemorates Maharana Kumbha’s contribution toward art and culture at the historic fort of Kumbhalgarh, located at Aravalli Hills, 84 km north to Udaipur. Many activities and cultural programmes are organized to entertain the people visiting the fest. The cultural festival has been organized for more than a decade annually.

The festival is divided into two sections- day and night. In the daytime, there are exhibitions by the locals where they display regional ethnic wear, jewellery, handicrafts, souvenirs, etc. In the evening it is full of sound, vibrant and colourful light with dance and music performances by the finest artists across India. A few competitions among locals and foreigners are also conducted such as Pagadi Bandho (Tying the turban), Mehendi Mandana (henna applying)Tug of war, musical chair, etc. Visitors also witness the historical and popular puppet show organized every year.

Around the festival time, Kumbhalgarh Fort turns into a majestic sight with the decorations and lightings. The 3-day festival brings the art and culture of other states together and hosts competitions to bring out the enthusiasm among the visitors. Kalbeliyas, Langas, Terahtaali, Kachi Ghodi and Odissi dancers enthrall the audience with their performances. The fest is also looked upon as an opportunity for foreign tourists to get the taste of Rajasthan. The Sufi songs, Rajasthani folk dance, and saperaI (snake) dance are the major highlights of Kumbhalgarh Festival. 

The magnanimous fort is popular as a World Heritage Site, constructed and expanded in the course of the 15-19th century by Rana Kumbha. Kumbhalgarh is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great king, and warrior of Mewar. The mighty fort, believed to be built by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century, is also known as the second-largest wall after the Great Wall of China.

Images: Gaurav Hajela Photography

See how Jaipur has evolved but retained its heritage charm since its foundation

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Jaipur, the largest city of Rajasthan, the construction of which started in 1727 by HH Sawai Jai Singh, was built following the principles of Vastu Shastra and it took around 4 years to complete the construction of major palaces, roads, and squares of the city. Jaipur is noted as India’s first planned city then and now is among the fastest emerging metropolis of the nation. The life in the Pink city in the 18th-century that was full of Rajasthani flamboyance embraces modernity swiftly by 21st Century while retaining its centuries-old charm.

The Pink City has undergone a sea change- its people, their pace of life, transportation, visibility of the gender ration on streets, how they dressed and their expressions but even today when you pass through the buzzing lanes of the capital city you’d recognize that you are walking through more than 3 hundred years of living heritage. The city gates, Havelis, courtyards, palaces, and monuments have been witness to the changing phase of lifestyle in Jaipur keeping intact its ambiance.

Owing to the great urban planning in the past, modern development has never affected the true grandeur of Jaipur. The City with its new infrastructure and global exposure is undoubtedly the most beautifully evolved ancient city of the country. Today, Jaipur proudly retains its pink hues; the built heritage standing tall and firm alongside the splendor of modern infra with equaled wider lanes together weave a marvelous picture of three hundred centuries living in harmony!
Jaipur’s historic erections during the times of yesteryears when compared with its today’s look make a fascinating story- on one glimpse it is what it was centuries back and on other one can comprehend with its Oh So New Look 🙂

On the 292nd Foundation Day of Jaipur today, scroll through this fascinating story of Jaipur Now-and Then through the historic and modern photographs of Jaipur –

  1. Galta Gate, Jaipur

It is the only gate to enter the walled city of Jaipur. The view of Jaipur City developed around Galta Gate is ravishing, while back then there were very few constructions and long-range of barren land.

2.  Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Built in the 17th Century and perched in the middle of the walled city, Hawa Mahal is also known as the Palace Of Winds. Its walls of pink color give a hint of the Pink City. It was constructed especially for the royal women to be a part of the festivities, as they were secluded from the society by ‘parda’ system. Having its own history, today gives it worldwide recognition.

3.  Tripoliya Gate, Jaipur

Once the point of entrance and arrival of Royal Families from City Palace, Tripoliya is a famous landmark in Jaipur. One thing that hasn’t changed since then is the procession of Gangaur and Teej from this restored Gate of Jaipur. Now, this gate is open to use exclusively for royals living inside City Palace and closed for the common man.

4.  Johri Bazaar, Jaipur

Johari Bazaar is the popular shopping arena of Jaipur dedicated to the market of gems and jewellery.  As the name suggests, Johari Bazaar attracts jewelers and buyers of precious semi-precious gems and metals from across the world.

5.  Govind Dev Ji Temple, Jaipur

Govind Dev Ji is one of the prominent temples of Rajasthan. Since decades it is visited by thousands of devouts annually. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the temple is well preserved by the royal family of Jaipur.

6.  City Palace

City Palace is located in the heart of the old city of Jaipur. It is where the Kachwaha Rajput clan ruled from. Built in the 18th Century, the Palace houses many gardens, splendid courtyards and a Museum displaying many artifacts from the bygone era.

7.  Badi Chaupar

Chaupar means a large square and Badi means Big. This is also known as Manak Chowk and located near to famous Hawa Mahal. This is one square that leads to many fascinating bazaars of Jaipur. The under process construction of the metro station can be seen in this area.

8.   Chandpole Gate

Adjacent to the famous Hanumanji temple with 25 feet high dome, Chand Pol is the Moon Gate. Along the East-West Axis of the City, it forms the Western Gate of the walled City. Spotting this gate means you have reached the western end of the walled city.

9. Badi chaupur-

Another view of Badi Chaupar where one can see how over the centuries mode of transportation changed from camels to auto, rickshaw, cars and buses and the change will continue as very soon it will be metro site as well.

 

10.  Albert Hall

Albert Hall Museum is located in Ram Niwas Garden of Jaipur. The foundation stone of Albert Hall was laid during the visit of the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward to Jaipur in 1876 and completed in year’s time in 1877 by the architect Samuel Swinton Jacob, then Director of Jaipur PWD. It is home to many beautiful paintings, sculptures and other distinct objects of historic significance. It is the oldest museum in the state and is quite popular for its Indo-Saracenic architecture.

 

Jaipur City Palace opens for Royal Stays.

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Jaipur City Palace opens for Royal Stays.

City Palace Jaipur

When we talk about luxury hotels in India, the opulence of heritage properties in Rajasthan cannot be overlooked. Carrying an illustrious history of royalty, these magnificent palaces now serve as the epitomes of fine living. Now, Rajasthan’s capital city Jaipur has another new palace added to its list of heritage properties available for Royal stays, and that is the fathoming City Palace, Jaipur. The pink city is already on the map for foreign travelers, and this addition will undoubtedly garner more attention to the royal legacy of Jaipur.

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A stay at the City Palace will provide an inspiring journey into the rich history, cultural heritage and artistic traditions of Jaipur’s royal family. The room comes with an indoor swimming pool. Guests will be feted by a private butler who will arrange curated city experiences including shopping tours, guided walks through local museums and other excursions. Authentic Rajasthani meals may be enjoyed at the terrace overlooking the Aravalis, and peaceful daily breakfasts can be had in the company of peacocks who are often a sight at the Palace’s lush gardens.
Your experience with City Palace starts as soon as you walk out of the airport where a chauffeur-driven car will be waiting to transport you to your exquisite chambers. Booking the Gudliya Suite will let you have access to a lounge, kitchen, bathroom, and an indoor swimming pool. The suite is located in a private section of the palace. Starting from November 23, the airbnb suite can be booked for an inaugural price of INR 71455 per night, but the original tariff, which is INR 572280 per night, will begin from January 1, 2020. Once you arrive, a private butler is assigned to you to take care of all your special needs to provide sightseeing recommendations, make travel arrangements for excursions, organize restaurant bookings, etc. A member of the royal staff will also be assigned to escort you on a private shopping tour of Pink City’s highly lauded retail treasures.
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Guests will also be treated to two curated gourmet experiences: breakfast and dinner, at City Palace’s in-house restaurant, Baradari. The cafe was renovated for adaptive re-use a couple of years ago and its new avatar as a modern restaurant has been quite a success. You can expect tailored menus featuring hearty Rajasthani dishes like laal maas, top-shelf wine, and champagne, as well as an interaction with the chef during these meals.
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Finally, history and architecture buffs will be pleased to know that there’s a complimentary guided tour of the 1700s complex conducted by a member of the royal staff who will explain the intricacies of the architecture, art, and décor at the palace. If you’re still curious, ask questions about Jaipur’s legendary, historic sagas of war and love and you’ll hear some incredible folk tales.

It is applaudable to know that the proceeds of each booking will go to the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting rural women and people of Rajasthan.

 

 

Pushkar Fair: A lot more than Camels

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Pushkar Fair: A lot more than Camels

The greatly awaited Pushkar Fair is right upon us, scheduled to begin on 4th November and will culminate till 12th November on the day of Hindu festival Kartik Purnima. There’s nothing like Pushkar Camel Fair. It’s a celebration of the uniqueness of Rajasthan and experiencing the festival is the dream of every traveler. This is the time when Pushkar comes truly alive with multiple hues.

pushkar sunrise

The small sleepy town comes out of its hibernation mode and becomes the playground of people from the world over. The history of Pushkar Fair is a hundred years old but the festival keeps not only that historic spirit alive but also has new age elements to it now.

Primarily, thousands of pilgrims and cattle merchants flock the town for holy rituals or the trade of cattle and livestock. But, that’s not all; Pushkar fair has a lot to offer to the travellers who are neither pilgrims nor traders. Buzzing markets, fascinating ghats and activity grounds are enough to catch the fancy of travellers and photographers.

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Sunrise and Sunset: The vibes and the views of Pushkar switch within every hour right from the dawn to dusk, added to that the starry sky above ignited Pushkar Lake gives a heavenly chill in nerves. During early mornings and evenings, when the dust mixes with golden light falling from the sun it’s an absolute delight to watch the camels and the camel traders in the Mela ground. You not only get to see the heard of camels but also get a glimpse into the life of a rural Rajasthan, where the traders heat up the chullahs (a kind of stove used for cooking the food ) and prepare their food with minimum ingredients. Thousands of people from the world across come to capture only this spectacle.

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Markets: The narrow streets and lanes of the town have hidden within themselves a whole world of intrigue; from the local artifacts and handicrafts to funky apparels and chunky jewellery, Pushkar’s cozy markets are the treasure trove for a shopping enthusiast.

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Ghats: The Ghats in the holy land of Brahma are said to be nothing less than those of Varanasi. Roaming around the ghats with a soothing sound of hymns and bells renders tranquility to the visitors. While the night scene becomes even more fascinating when evening aarti is performed on these Ghats. Illuminated with multitude of lights the Ghats and lake take the spectators into a world of solace and peace.

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Food: Pushkar is also one heaven for foodies. From street stalls to roadside cafes, wide range of cuisines waits for food lovers to visit and enjoy sumptuous cuisine of Pushkar. Special Masala chai in Kulhad, Authentic Italian pizza, unique Poha Dal Pakwaan and Ugma ji ki kachori are a few to dishes to tantalize your taste buds. However, as you walk down the streets of Pushkar amidst the aroma of freshly made baatis, puris and kachoris being fried right on the street, the whiff of gulkand and the sight of tempting malpuas dipped in sugar syrup will call out only one thing- pure bliss.

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Pushkar

Adventure and Activities: Apart from the buying and selling of livestock, the fair has become an important tourist attraction. Competitions such as the ‘matka phod’, ‘longest moustache’ and ‘bridal competition’ are the main draws for this fair, which attracts thousands of tourists. In recent years, the fair has also included an exhibition cricket match between the local Pushkar Club and a team of foreign tourists. Pushkar Camel Fair has so many events and activities like camel cart ride, horse riding, bullock cart ride and giant wheel that your day will be full but we advise you to take out a little time to stroll in the narrow lanes of the town.

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For your convenience, here’s a tentative impression of the flow of events at Pushkar Camel fair 2019.

4th to 9th November – Cattle Trading
Cattle trading is at its peak during these days along with a variety of cattle contests.

10th to 11th November – Cultural Galore
These two days will see some cultural activities like dance shows, music performances sponsored by the Rajasthan State Government.

12th November – Holy Dips
This is the Holy Day when people take dips in the Pushkar Lake, and other religious ceremonies take place.

How to reach Pushkar:

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By Air

The nearest airport to Pushkar is in Kishangarh, which is 36 kilometres away. Apart from this, Jaipur Airport is the major airport, which is 140 Kms and well-connected to major metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata. Once you reach at the airport, you can hire a cab to reach Pushkar. The journey from airport to the city will take approximately 3 hours. You can either pre-book a cab or hire from any of the taxi vendors outside the airport.

By Bus

Regular buses between Jaipur and Ajmer ply every hour. However, buses from Delhi to Ajmer and further to Pushkar are easily available. The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation runs deluxe and semi-deluxe buses (both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned) connecting Ajmer to nearby cities and then transport you to Pushkar for a very nominal fare.

By Train

You will need to take a train to Ajmer and then take a 30-minute drive to Pushkar. The Ajmer railway station is well-connected with major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bhopal, and Bangalore. Some of the most popular trains that run daily on this route are Ajmer Shatabdi and Ajmer Rajdhani. Apart from these, other trains are Chetak Express, Aii Sdah Express, Aravalli Express and Bsb Express. Once you reach at the station, you can hire a taxi to reach Pushkar.

So what are you waiting for? Go and enjoy India’s Biggest and world’s famous festival Pushkar Fair.

pushkar camel fair

Pushkar Fair to begin from 4th November 2019

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Pushkar Fair to begin from 4th November 2019

There’s nothing like Pushkar Camel Fair. It’s a celebration of the uniqueness of Rajasthan and experiencing the festival is the dream of every traveler. This is the time when Pushkar comes truly alive with multiple hues. The small sleepy town comes out of its hibernation mode and becomes the playground of people from the world over.

pushkar camel fair (4)

The history of Pushkar Fair is a hundred years old but the festival keeps not only that historic spirit alive but also has new age elements to it now. This year the much-awaited fair will begin on 4th November and will culminate on 12th November on the day of Hindu festival Kartik Purnima.

pushkar camel fair (3)

pushkar camel fair (6)

Apart from the buying and selling of livestock, the fair has become an important tourist attraction. Competitions such as the ‘matka phod’, ‘longest moustache’ and ‘bridal competition’ are the main draws for this fair, which attracts thousands of tourists. In recent years, the fair has also included an exhibition cricket match between the local Pushkar Club and a team of foreign tourists. Pushkar Camel Fair has so many events and activities that your day will be full but we advise you to take out a little time to stroll in the narrow lanes of the town. Also, don’t forget to try local foods and do indulge in retail therapy. Spend some time at the famous Brahma Temple and watch the evening Aarti at Pushkar Lake too.

pushkar camel fair (2)

pushkar camel fair (1)

For your convenience, here’s a tentative impression of the flow of events at Pushkar Camel fair 2019.

4th to 9th November – Cattle Trading
Cattle trading is at its peak during these days along with a variety of cattle contests.

10th to 11th November –  Cultural Galore
These two days will see some cultural activities like dance shows, music performances sponsored by the Rajasthan State Government.

12th November – Holy Dips
This is the Holy Day when people take dips in the Pushkar Lake, and other religious ceremonies take place.