Category Archives: Pilgrimage Tourism

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Indian Railways to begin Ramayana Circuit trains from November 2019

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Indian Railways to begin Ramayana Circuit trains from November 2019

Owing to successful runs of four packages of special tourist trains last year in 2018, on Ramayana Circuit, covering places associated with Lord Rama as mentioned in the famous Indian epic Ramayana, Indian Railways is again re-launching two tour packages on this circuit this year in November, 2019. The two tourist trains will be run by Indian Railways PSU – Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd(IRCTC). These packages are part of Bharat Darshan scheme of IRCTC.

Image courtesy: Financial Express

The first such train by the name “Shri Ramayana Yatra” is scheduled to depart from Jaipur (Rajasthan) via Delhi on 3rd November 2019. The package also includes the option of visiting Ramayana related places in Sri Lanka for a limited number of seats.

Shri Ramayana Yatra will start from Jaipur Railway Station with boarding / deboarding Stations at Alwar, Rewari, Delhi Safdarjung, Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Bareilly, and Lucknow.

The tour, which is starting on 03rd November, 2019 which will be a 16 Nights -17 Days tour, tourists will be visiting the tourist places associated with Lord Ram also known as “Ramayana Circuit of India”. Major places covered in this journey are Ram Janmbhoomi and Hanuman Garhi at Ayodhya, Bharat Mandir at Nandigram, Sita Mata Mandir at Sitamarhi (Bihar), and Janakpur (Nepal), Tulsi Manas Mandir and Sankat Mochan Mandir at Varanasi, Sita Samahit Sthal at Sitamarhi (UP), Triveni Sangam , Hanuman Mandir and Bharadwaj Ashram at Prayag, Shringi Rishi Mandir at Shringverpur, Ramghat and Sati Anusuiya Mandir at Chitrakoot, Panchvati at Nasik, Anjanadri Hill and Hanuman Janm Sthal at Hampi & Jyotirlinga Shiva Mandir at Rameshwaram.

 

Fare, facilities: Tourists will be offered vegetarian meals, accommodation and wash and change facilities in dharmashalas. All transfers & sight-seeing arrangements at tourist places will be by Non AC buses. A dedicated tour manager of IRCTC will be traveling with the tourists during the entire tour.

The total capacity of the train will be 800 Seats. Per person fare for the trip from Jaipur in Shri Ramayana Yatra, Tourist Train is Rs. Rs.16065 for the Indian Part of this tour covered by train.

Rajasthan government gifts free air travel to senior citizens.

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image via Google

Senior citizens of Rajasthan will now be able to travel abroad under the Senior Citizens Pilgrimage Scheme. Senior citizens will be able to travel to Kathmandu, Pashupatinath in Nepal by air. Devastation Minister Vishwaendra Singh has sealed the decision at a meeting of the state level committee at the tourism hall. This year, 5,000 passengers will travel on pilgrimage by air and 5,000 by rail.

Two new circuits have been added in rail travel and three in air travel. In the Dehradun-Haridwar-Rishikesh circuit, the pilgrims will be airlifted to Dehradun and from there by buses. In the Gangasagar-Southeshwar Kali-Velur Monastery-Kolkata circuit, devotees will be airlifted to the shrines by air and from there by bus. In the Pashupatinath Kathmandu circuit, the passengers will fly to Kathmandu by air and will be taken by bus to Pashupatinath from there.

In fact, earlier air travel included 6 circuits, which have been increased to 9. Meanwhile, two additional circuits have been added to the proposed Senior Citizens Pilgrimage Scheme. The rail journey includes Shri Govardhan-Nandgaon-Barsana-Mathura-Vrindavan circuit and Ajmer (Dargah of Moinuddin Chishti), Delhi (Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya) and Fatehpur Sikri Agra (Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti) circuit.

A piece of heaven in Rajasthan- Dausa

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A piece of heaven in Rajasthan- Dausa

The historic town of Dausa meaning beautiful like heaven is located 55 km from Jaipur (NH 11). It is also referred to as Dev Nagari. Far away from the bustling cities, it is popular for its temples all over India and has exemplary archaeological and excavation sites which you can visit this summer.

Chand Baori (Stepwell) – Abhaneri

Abhaneri is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dausa. Built back in 8th century, it is one of the deepest and largest stepwell in India. The phenomenal structure is 64 feet deep and consisted of 1000 perfectly symmetrical narrow steps, spanning 13 storeys.

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Harshat Mata Temple

Harshat Mata Temple is a magnificent piece of architecture and home to Harshat Mata, goddess of joy and happiness. It is adjacent to Chand Baori. The temple is decorated with domicile ceiling and pillars, carved with many sculptures and Brahmanical deities.

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Bhandarej

Tracing back to 11th century Bhandarej is a fine example of the splendid history of this region. It is located about 10 km from Dausa. The Baori (stepwell) is a fine example of the architecture with glorious walls, sculptures, ornamental lattice work (Jaalis) and stunning terracotta utensils, found in excavations, the region is also known for its carpet making.

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Lotwara Garh (Fort)

Just 11 km from Abhaneri, the fort of Lotwara is another attraction of Dausa, built in 17th century by Thakur Ganga Singh. It is home to the largest peacock population in Lotwara.  The best way to reach the village is by road.

Jhajhirampura

Known for its spiritual glory, Jhajhirampura accommodates natural water tanks, temples comprising deities such as Rudra (Shiva), Balaji (Hanuman) and other Gods and Goddess. It is surrounded by hills and has immense natural beauty.

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Mehendipur Balaji

Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Mehendipur Balaji is 50 km from Dausa. The temple holds a lot of religious significance and is visited by locals as well as devotees from all over India. It is believed to hold a reputation for healing the mentally unbalanced, exorcism of evil spirits or black magic and attracts many pilgrims.

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Bandikui

Bandikui is the railway city, located about 35 km from Dausa. The Roman style church for Protestant Christians is a popular attraction in Bandikui, cast in stone and is located near the railway station. The church was built by King Shishir Shamsher Bahadur.

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Image via google

Ranakpur Jain Temple- a striking destination of wonderful architecture

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Ranakpur Jain Temple- a striking destination of wonderful architecture

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It’s Mahaveer Jayanti today, and we are reminded of the most beautiful Jain temple in Rajasthan i.e Ranakpur Jain Temple!
Ranakpur Jain temple is a beautiful destination to experience the marvels of architecture in Rajasthan. The famous Jain temple is located near Sadri town in Pali district of Rajasthan.

The main attraction of the Ranakpur Jain temple is its architectural excellence and fine carvings on the walls. The major attraction of this temple is the Chaumukha marble temple.

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The temple comprises of 1444 pillars, each unique in architecture and design. These pillars in the temple are completely carved in a different manner without any similarities. Carvings of pillars are the peak level of architectural skills in this temple. Other than the pillars, the mesmerizing multi-curved ceilings catch the visitors’ attention. Ceilings of this temple are beautifully carved and designed with miniature designs, geometric designs. Not just the pillars and ceilings of the temple, some other beautiful carvings like Marble elephant are also the attractions of Ranakpur temple.

Ranakpur temple

So many sculptures and different fine carvings are the symbol of architectural style and preaches of Jainism. This temple is the best and unique place to experience the legends Jainism. The deities that are worshipped here are the Adinath, Neminath, Parshvanath, Surya, and Amba Matha. Among them, the Adinath temple means Chaumukha is visited by a maximum number of devouts.

Galta Ji Jaipur – The Sacred Kund of Natural Water Springs, Ponds and Cluster of Temples

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Decades ago in the year 1726, the Maharaja of Jaipur established this kingdom of royal architecture. Within the unfolding lanes of Jaipur you’ll find many temples and holy halts But the most fascinating and intriguing among them all is Galta Ji- the magnificent campus of temples, yes you read it right, it’s not just one temple but a marvelous cluster of numerous beautiful temples spread amid the boundaries of Aravali Hills. Unlike any other tourist spot in Jaipur, Galta ji is rather more popular among locals and pilgrims from adjoining villages for its religious significance.

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Dated back to 16th century, Galta Ji temple was developed further by Sawai Jai Singh II’s companion Vaishnavite Ramanandi Diwan Rao Kriparam. The temple complex however is named after the Saint Galav who spent his whole life in search of truth and meditated for 100 years within this compound. Touched by his perseverance, the Gods appeared before him and blessed this place with abundant water. So as to honour the great Saint Galav; the temple was named after him. The gaumukh shaped structures (Cow’s mouth) secretes holy water and the water from these natural springs is further accumulated in the ‘kunds’.

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Of all the seven tanks, the holiest is the Galta Kund, which never goes dry. The pre historic temple is flocked by thousands of pilgrims every year who believe that taking holy dip in these natural springs of Galta ji would wash off all their sins. Holy months or dates like Makar Sankranti, Ekadashi, the revered month Kartik ,which is currently going on, Purnima (Full moon night of Kartik month) are the important dates when the crowd of pilgrims is at its peak.

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Located 10-11 kms from Jaipur in the sprawling expanses, the striking temple of Galta ji appears more of a mansion replete with temples, pavilions, natural springs and sacred kunds. The compound of pink sandstone with brilliant layout is primarily dedicated to the Sun God that rests on the top of the temple which is decked up with intricate gazebos, carved pillars and painted walls.

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Galta ji also houses the temple of RamGopal ji- an architecturally beautiful temple dedicated to lord Vishnu whose Idol in the temple is unique that appears like Lord Krishna and Rama both. As per the legends, lord Krishna appeared before Goswami Tulsidas ji in the form of lord Rama. Hence we see the image of both lord Ram and Krishna in the idol.

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Another major attraction is Hanuman temple that stands out for being surrounded by hundreds of monkeys. When you enter the temple you’ll find a mass of monkeys ranging from babies to adults all playing around, sleeping, feeding and taking care of each other by grooming them. It totally feels like an empire of monkeys where you can feed them with bananas or nuts; which is also another way of washing off sins according to local guides and hawkers.

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Nevertheless this lush green landscape of nature, where the sight of bathing pilgrims, praying women, meditating monks, decorated cows and makeshift shops of attractive souvenirs offer another kind of solace, on the other hand the compassing hills, lush green vegetation with breathtaking landscapes, offer a mind blowing panorama of the surroundings and the Pink City.

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Galtaji Temple is a treasure trove of heritage and a sacred pilgrimage where pilgrims would dive into the kunds with the idea that they would receive a good karma, and monkeys are treated as sacred animal and worshiped like Gods.  A visit to Galta ji that attracts people from far lands owing to its tranquility, temples, kunds, people and pilgrims is one in a lifetime experience that not just offers a travel story but also fills your soul with sacred sanctifying thoughts while returning home!

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