Weekend trip – Alwar and Bhangarh – Listed as most haunted place in India

When we search in Google for the most haunted places in India, Bhangarh in Rajasthan tops the list. It’s been a place I badly wanted to go for a long long time! So then I finally made it. Tickets from Mumbai to Jaipur to and fro for a weekend. Started off in the evening, reached during the noon the next day. Stay was at Moustache Hostel. Whenever I go to Jaipur, prefer staying here, the ambiance is really nice!

Trip duration – 2.5 days

Trip cost – INR 2500

Day 1 (Evening):

On first day after reaching there, only the half day was left so went to Bawri, Jaipur. Had the traditional local dal bati churma for lunch near the Ganesh Chowk. Rented a bike for Rs. 600 a day and headed for Bawri. The deep well was used as a water reservoir that helped during the non-rainy season. This concept of traditional well was quite common in every parts of ancient India. You can see bawri at many other places of Rajasthan too.

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Dal bati churma in lunch @ Ganesh Chowk

Day 2 :

Bhangarh is approx 2 hours from Jaipur by road. But if Bhangarh can be explored then why not Alwar? So headed for Alwar first, approx 3 hours from Jaipur. Jaipur-Alwar-Bhangarh-Jaipur. The roads are superb.

Map

Alwar Fort :

A place whose history dates back to 1000 CE. It was a part of Matsya Kingdom as per history. It has evolved under various Rajput rulers since then. Alwar has several forts, lakes which attracts tourists. So also the Bhangarh Fort and the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The scenic beauty, the calmness of the pathway to the Alwar Fort is a beauty. Karni Mata Temple can be visited on the way.

 

There were hardly any tourists except 5 or 6 and the Security Guards. The Bala Quila or Alwar Fort is not completely accessible as it is restricted by Military. What I loved about the Fort is the originality with its original charm and the absolute silence. Only the chirping of the birds and the swaying of the leaves in the breeze could be heard. The view of Alwar is seen for the viewpoint of the Fort – it’s absolutely mesmerizing!

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A view of Alwar Fort from the viewpoint

 

There’s direct way to Bhangarh from Alwar via the Sariska National Park. That road is not so smooth hence you might want to start a bit early.

Bhangarh Fort :

It felt fantastic to step on this place which has been rumored as haunted across the globe. To me, it felt simply beautiful! Just when you enter the gate, there’s Lord Hanuman temple (to shoo away the ghosts may be 😛 ). Walk straight through the ruins, it will lead to the garden and the Fort. You can listen to the local guides especially kids explaining about the history of the place and the haunted activities take place every night which is quite interesting and entertaining too.

 

 

 

Reach the Fort and climb to the top most part through the broken stairs. On the right side there are valleys and greenery where numerous peacocks and peahens could be seen enjoying their time and relaxing. Some dancing with their gorgeous and most vibrant feathers open and enjoy the breeze in the setting sun. That’s a beauty to the eyes!

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The ruins of the Bhangarh Fort

 

On the left side there’s a hill having a temple at the peak of it (photo above).

Something was really irritating – the unnecessary hooting and shouting of the so-called-tourists which disturbed the natural silence over there.

Colorful treats (photos below of our National Bird) amidst the cool breeze and the ruins of the historical Fort.

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The sun goes down and people start to leave from the Bhangarh fort. Some say when you enter the Fort and its areas, you get a different negative feeling. But to me, it was one of the most calm and serene place to have visited. In other words, beautiful!

 

On the way near Bhangarh, these 2-horned deers were spotted on the road.

 

Next day breakfast at the Curious Life Coffee Roasters was not just yummy but a huge spread of healthy foods 🙂 You must try the coffee here.

Finally, time to return. But to me Bhangarh offered some beautiful scenic beauties and a soothing ambiance although the history has something else to say! Do visit this place and check yourself. Happy traveling 🙂

Weekend trip – Alwar and Bhangarh – Listed as most haunted place in India

When we search in Google for the most haunted places in India, Bhangarh in Rajasthan tops the list. It’s been a place I badly wanted to go for a long long time! So then I finally made it. Tickets from Mumbai to Jaipur to and fro for a weekend. Started off in the evening, reached during the noon the next day. Stay was at Moustache Hostel. Whenever I go to Jaipur, prefer staying here, the ambiance is really nice!

Trip duration – 2.5 days

Trip cost – INR 2500

Day 1 (Evening):

On first day after reaching there, only the half day was left so went to Bawri, Jaipur. Had the traditional local dal bati churma for lunch near the Ganesh Chowk. Rented a bike for Rs. 600 a day and headed for Bawri. The deep well was used as a water reservoir that helped during the non-rainy season. This concept of traditional well was quite common in every parts of ancient India. You can see bawri at many other places of Rajasthan too.

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Dal bati churma in lunch @ Ganesh Chowk

 

Day 2 :

Bhangarh is approx 2 hours from Jaipur by road. But if Bhangarh can be explored then why not Alwar? So headed for Alwar first, approx 3 hours from Jaipur. Jaipur-Alwar-Bhangarh-Jaipur. The roads are superb.

Map

Alwar Fort :

A place whose history dates back to 1000 CE. It was a part of Matsya Kingdom as per history. It has evolved under various Rajput rulers since then. Alwar has several forts, lakes which attracts tourists. So also the Bhangarh Fort and the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The scenic beauty, the calmness of the pathway to the Alwar Fort is a beauty. Karni Mata Temple can be visited on the way.

There were hardly any tourists except 5 or 6 and the Security Guards. The Bala Quila or Alwar Fort is not completely accessible as it is restricted by Military. What I loved about the Fort is the originality with its original charm and the absolute silence. Only the chirping of the birds and the swaying of the leaves in the breeze could be heard. The view of Alwar is seen for the viewpoint of the Fort – it’s absolutely mesmerizing!

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A view of Alwar Fort from the viewpoint

There’s direct way to Bhangarh from Alwar via the Sariska National Park. That road is not so smooth hence you might want to start a bit early.

Bhangarh Fort :

It felt fantastic to step on this place which has been rumored as haunted across the globe. To me, it felt simply beautiful! Just when you enter the gate, there’s Lord Hanuman temple (to shoo away the ghosts may be 😛 ). Walk straight through the ruins, it will lead to the garden and the Fort. You can listen to the local guides especially kids explaining about the history of the place and the haunted activities take place every night which is quite interesting and entertaining too.

Reach the Fort and climb to the top most part through the broken stairs. On the right side there are valleys and greenery where numerous peacocks and peahens could be seen enjoying their time and relaxing. Some dancing with their gorgeous and most vibrant feathers open and enjoy the breeze in the setting sun. That’s a beauty to the eyes!

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The ruins of the Bhangarh Fort

On the left side there’s a hill having a temple at the peak of it (photo above).

Something was really irritating – the unnecessary hooting and shouting of the so-called-tourists which disturbed the natural silence over there.

Colorful treats (photos below of our National Bird) amidst the cool breeze and the ruins of the historical Fort.

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The sun goes down and people start to leave from the Bhangarh fort. Some say when you enter the Fort and its areas, you get a different negative feeling. But to me, it was one of the most calm and serene place to have visited. In other words, beautiful!

On the way near Bhangarh, these 2-horned deers were spotted on the road.

Next day breakfast at the Curious Life Coffee Roasters was not just yummy but a huge spread of healthy foods 🙂 You must try the coffee here.

Finally, time to return. But to me Bhangarh offered some beautiful scenic beauties and a soothing ambiance although the history has something else to say! Do visit this place and check yourself. Happy traveling 🙂

The Blue City – Jodhpur in a day! #SoloTraveling #TravelIndia

After spending two and a half amazing fantastic days at Jaipur , it was time to head for Jodhpur – The Blue City. There again stayed at a dorm at Hostelavie . With a touch of Rajasthani decorations, its a fantastic place to stay.Very friendly staffs, great food, clean rooms and great view from the terrace.

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Rightly known as the ‘Blue City’

Mehrangarh Fort

Reached around morning and got freshened up. The best part is the location of this hostel. The Mehrangarh Fort is just behind this place at a walk-able distance.

Few things to remember :

  • The walk-able road from the Jodhpur Clocktower road is quite steep so prepare accordingly and go if you are planning to walk.
  • Carry a bottle of water, cap/hat as it can be quite hot except the winter months.

The entry charge is Rs. 150 to the Mehrangarh Fort. One of the biggest Forts in India. It’s majestic beauty and magnificence cannot be simply described in words. While entering there is a small canteen with simple snacks, juices and beverages available.

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Majestic Mehrangarh Fort

Performances by the locals, the hand made arts and crafts, music, everything is worth experiencing over here. The interiors and the exteriors as well have been maintained very well.

The galleries, the royal court, the antiques take you back in the history giving goosebumps.

Umaid Bhavan Palace

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of world’s largest private residences named after Maharaja Umaid Singh. It has 347 rooms. This museum cum a luxurious hotel is visible from the Mehrangarh Fort. The Royal Hotel section is managed by the Taj Hotels.

Reaching this place is very easy, you can either book Ola/Uber or hire a local cab and reach there within no time.

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Umaid Bhavan palace

Jaswant Thada

Next was the Jaswant Thada, a cenotaph built by Maharaja Sardar Singh. You can sit at the lawn over there and have a relaxing time.

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Jaswant Thada

From there went to the Birla Temple. It’s beautiful! Peaceful, clean and serene.

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Birla Temple

By the time it was evening and was feeling hungry. There’s a famous egg sandwich stall at the Jodhpur Market gate, which earned its place in the Lonely Planet, hence, it’s name is Lone Planet Sandwich Shop. Do try out the egg butter cheese sandwich. It’s delicious!

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Egg sandwich at Lonely Planet Sandwich Shop

From there wanted to go to a good cafe and so after searching and asking some people there, went to ‘Pizzeria’. Have some awesome pizzas and Quesadilla. The ambience was quite good to chill out.

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Pizza with Cold Coffee!
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Quesadilla!

After that it was evening time and I had to catch the train. It marked the end of this Jodhpur diary. However, the experience for me was quite interesting and would love to visit Rajasthan again whenever I get time.

Do visit places atleast once as solo traveler. It is really exciting, interesting and lots to learn for oneself for good. Happy traveling 🙂

 

Jaipur – Pink City – #SoloTraveling #TravelIndia

A long weekend….pleasant weather…..a previous cancelled trip of Rajasthan – all these came down to the booking of to and fro tickets to Rajasthan. Finally! I had 3 days so thought of covering 2 places. First Jaipur and then Jodhpur.

Total cost for Jaipur trip – Approx Rs.2500.

Started off on Thursday and reached Jaipur on Friday. Now, the stay options had to be given a good thought, since I did not want to stay in the same boring hotels or guest houses. So looked around for hostel options. Got few really good ones! As per the availability, booked a bed in bunk-bed dorm in Moustache Hostel located near to the Jaipur Railway Station at a proper location.

Reaching Jaipur

Since I went from Delhi, took the Delhi Porbander Express which reached around afternoon, perfect for me since the check in time to the Hostel was 2:00 PM. From Mumbai BCT Jaipur Superfast Express would be the good option.

First day, got down at the station, few rickshaw pullers and auto rickshaw came running to bid for the ride. Instead of taking those, came outside and took one auto rickshaw from the stand which was only Rs. 40 (I confirmed the rate from the Hostel guys itself over phone) 😛

Reached Moustache Hostel, the entrance and interior will give you a friendly feeling with lots of interactions and good vibes. Ofcourse it’s mostly for the backpackers but to my surprise there were families too! Good rooms, foods and the recreation room was the best thing – read books, play games or sit/sleep there for as long as you want.

Moving on to the next set of action – Got freshened up, and decided to look around the city on foot since it was already evening by then.

Day 1 – Albert Hall Museum and Ram Bagh Niwas

Started to walk towards Albert Hall Museum . On the way to the museum, there is the Ram Bagh Niwas – one of the oldest park in Rajasthan. It was simple, full of greenery and nothing extra unique over there. Then headed to the museum. It has housed different kinds of artifacts , instruments, historic articles and many more.

One very interesting fact is that there is a mummy kept at the basement of the museum. Do watch it!

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Squirrel having its own time @ Ram Bagh Niwas

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Albert Hall Museum

By the time I came out it was already dark and I was very hungry. Asked some people which is the best place to have the authentic Rajathani dal-baati churma, and I was suggested to try out the thali at Virasat.

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Rajasthani Dal Baati Churma

Just to give the idea about it, Virasat is a three storey building with each floor having its unique way of presentation – Rajasthani folk dance performance, traditional seating arrangement with costumes, giving you a Royal feel , general Ala Carte too. Although it’s a bit pricey but the food was amazing, no doubt.

Returned to the Hostel and spent time in the common room and terrace. There was BBQ that night for all on the terrace.

Day 2 – Nahargarh , Jaigarh and Amer Fort

Next day, hired a two-wheeler and started for all the major Forts in Jaipur. Yes! Like Goa and Hampi, two-wheeler renting option is available which is definitely a boon! The roads are really well maintained and the view while going uphill to Nahargarh Fort is breath taking. You can spot our National bird – Peacock roaming around on the roads and nearby bushes.

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Our National Bird – Peacock roaming in the bushes

The entry to Nahargarh Fort is Rs. 200.

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Interior of Nahargarh Fort

Then on the way back visit the Jaigarh Fort . This is an interesting one. The largest canon ‘on wheel’ is kept here. Also as per the guide story, the water reservoirs in this Fort was used not only to store the rain water but also to hide tons of gold acquired after winning a battle! Hence when the Britishers used to raid, they could see only water and return without the hint of gold underneath the level of water.

The entry to Jaigarh Fort is Rs. 50 only.

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Largest Canon on Wheel in the World at Jaigarh Fort

Next is Amer Fort . More famous due to the fact it was the home of Jodhaa Bai. Beautiful, magnificent are very small words to describe the beauty of this Fort.It has been maintained very well by the Govt. Interesting fact is that , Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort are connected by a ‘tunnel’ . And yes! you can walk through the tunnel which is underground at the Amber Fort side and above the wall on the Jaigarh Fort end.

The entry to Amer Fort is Rs. 50 only.

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Amer Fort

I walked the entire length of the tunnel and back i.e. starting from Amber Fort and back to it, since I took my two wheeler and had to get back on it.

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Inside the Tunnel at Amer Fort

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The portion of the tunnel above the wall at Amer Fort

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Brilliant mirror work of Sheesh Mahal at Amer Fort

It was evening by the time got out of Amer Fort, so had food at one of the hotel there. The food was simple and cheap.

While returning saw the Jal Mahal, the Palace in the middle of the Lake.

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Jal Mahal at Jaipur

The day was amazing in the midst of the historic relics.

Day 3 – City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Jaipur Markets

Next day was the City tour.

Started off at the City Palace. Even today the Royal family stays there. Hence half portion is private while the remaining is open to the public. It’s clean and well maintained. The variety of arms display is great. There’s a museum and Rajasthani items exhibit where you can see and buy stuffs from amazing hand made paintings, traditional jewelleries, clothes and lots more.

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City Palace – Jaipur

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Guards at the City Palace posing for photo 🙂

Just infront of the City Palace is the famous Jantar Mantar – first in India. The one at Delhi is a smaller version of this. This is a great place for all especially for the kids. The perfect calibration hundreds of years ago, the calculations as per the astronomy, the zodiacs and the biggest physical Sun Dial in the world are human creations that will leave you simply amazed.

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Largest Sun Dial on Earth at Jantar Mantar

Next, headed for the Hawa Mahal – ‘Palace of breeze‘, famous for its architecture and the constant breeze that blow in the top floors of it. May be previously it was closed for public to get inside as per few locals over there, but now it’s open and you must pay a visit to this other gem of Rajasthan.

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Beautiful Hawa Mahal at Jaipur

Just opposite to the Hawa Mahal are two cafes. You can sit there for hours and enjoy the beauty of it over a sip of coffee or bite a sandwich. Below road is the continuous stretch of the market area. Lots and lots of traditional ‘Mojri’ , clothes, spices, foods are available here. So shop till you drop!

Spotted this Elephant walking down the market road from the Cafe opposite to Hawa Mahal.

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Mighty friend on the Planet!

This marked the end of the Jaipur trip. For Jodhpur check out the next article, since this has become quite long! Stay tuned and happy traveling… 🙂

Udaipur – indeed the City of Lakes! #TravelIndia

Rajasthan – the name itself gives us the image of forts, palaces, deserts, cultural colourful activities and many more. Words cannot describe the vastness, the beauty, the serenity of this place. There are lots of places to explore and see. However this time we just covered Udaipur and its nearby places. Next time would cover the rest 😉

We reached Udaipur in the evening from Mumbai. Checked in Hotel Ishwar Palace , freshened up and started to explore the nearby places. This Hotel is situated at a walking distance of Lake Pichola. The view from the roof top is just amazing!

Since it was already evening, we did not have a lot of places to explore. Every evening there is a Cultural dance and puppet show at The Bagore Ki Haveli which is just situated on the Banks of Lake Pichola.

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Folk dance at Bagore Ki Haveli
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The dance form ‘Ghumar’
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The Puppet Show at Bagore Ki Haveli
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A 62 year old Lady performing the dance while balancing the Earthen pots

Different forms of Rajasthani dance , the history and the puppet show beautifully designed the evening. Next the sunset at lake Pichola is something to behold. We sat there soothing our feet in the water as the pigeons flew around us , sometimes for food, sometimes for fun.

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Folk music being played at the banks of Lake Pichola
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Li’l friend trying to sleep while am trying to take a shot 😉

The City Palace and the Lake Palace are situated beside and in the Lake Pichola respectively.

Next day we headed for the city attractions. The major lakes in the City are connected to each other. Named as Lake Pichola, Lake Swaroop Sagar and the Fateh Sagar Lake. The water is really clean and one can see shells all along the banks of the Fateh Sagar Lake! There are few Camels around the Lake and once can have a Camel ride there for few minutes(although mostly camel rides are at Jailsalmer).

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Shells at Fateh Sagar Lake
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A Camel beside the Fateh Sagar Lake

After that we went to Saheliyon ki Bari. It is a must visit place because of the architechture and the engineering of all the fountains that were made such a long time ago. A specific garden for a specific season where the water in the fountains comes from the Lake and flows in anti gravity way to give a beautiful circular design in the gardens. The garden meant for the summer season has the fountains designed in such a way that when the water pours out , it fall on only the big leaves directly, giving the impression of heavy rains while one walks in in the interior of the garden!

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Saheliyon Ki Bari
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One of the gardens for the Queen

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Water flowing at one go in anti gravity way out of the trunk

On the way there is the Rajasthan Handicrafts and Dress shop from where one can get different kinds of dress materials and some beautiful handicrafts of marbles, stones , gemstones, etc..

Next place was the Folk Art Museum. It houses every kind of Rajasthani folk musical instruments, dresses, ornaments, arts and crafts and lots more.

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For lunch we had the famous Laal mas of Rajasthan as ‘Hukam’ restaurant. It’s a mutton dish cooked in the Rajasthani herbs and spices. No wonder it was delicious!

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Next we headed for the Car Vintage Museum of Udaipur which houses some of the oldest and vintage cars of all time! It’s a treat to the eyes of all car lovers 🙂

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The oldest Rolls Royce!

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Giant carriage

The City Palace – most famous attraction of Udaipur. It was built over 400 years ago by the Mewar dynasty. It’s not only a majestic palace of Rajasthan but beautiful and very well maintained too. The only con is that the entry fee is a bit high, so also for the Camera. Nearly all Mewar Maharanas have contributed to the betterment of this palace.

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Entrance to The City Palace
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The walls of the Great City Palace , Udaipur

There are 2 entrances to this palace. The one on the Lake Pichola side is a narrow street and a bit crowded one.Everything inside the palace and the palace museum is a treat for history lovers.

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The Mewar Dynasty
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Cage for Carrier pigeons
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A view of the Udaipur City from the City Palace
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Li’l friend posing for a shot in the premises of the City Palace

After coming out of the City palace we headed towards Lake Pichola for the sunset again. It’s walking distance from there. On the way just near the Lake there is the Cafe Edelweiss. Once can get a good aromatic coffee and different kinds of tasty pie and cakes! Their speciality is the chilli brownie. We grabbed apple pie , chilli brownie and some coffee. It was yummy no doubt! It’s a small cosy hangout place and a must visit to steal some time of your own to sit and relax with some coffee and dessert 🙂

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Apple pie, Chilli brownie and coffee at Cafe Edelweiss

Next day we headed for the nearby places which included the Eklingji temple – believed to be built in the 15th century, Haldighati – the soil there is of turmeric or ‘haldi’ colour, Kumbhalgarh Fort.

On the way to Haldighati we stopped at a restaurant to have authentic veg Rajasthani thali and it was spectacular!

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Veg Rajasthani Thali
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A view of the Kumbhalgarh Fort

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The Kumbhalgarh fort is another must visit place. It’s huge, majestic and wonderful!

We booked a cab for a day tour and visited all these places. Rajasthan Tour and travels is a good option for that.

There are lots of other activities to do in Udaipur like ropeway, Elephant or Jeep ride etc.

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On your mark….get set go!

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Finally a short trip to the City of Lakes got over for the time being and we came back with beautiful and colourful memories of the place.