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NE-GQ Tour: Pink City — Jaipur

Jaipur was the last city and the last place to be visited in our trip. Jaipur was one of the first planned cities in India which was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh.

History of Jaipur from wikipedia

In ancient time Jaipur regioncomes under Matsya Kingdom . Modern Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who ruled from 1699–1744 and initially his capital was Amber, which lies at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. The King consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the layout of Jaipur. Finally under the architectural guidance of Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, (initially an accounts-clerk in the Amber treasury and later promoted to the office of Chief Architect by the King) Jaipur came into existence on the classical basis of principles of Vastu Shastra and similar classical treatise.

In 1876, when the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted pink to welcome him during the regime of Sawai Ram Singh.

Our tour began by paying a visit to the hawa mahal. The palace complete with mirrors which was used by the queen’s to watch the processions and other activities during the time of festivities

Hawa Mahal

Note: Entry inside the hawa mahal is restricted to general public as the place is turned into a police HQ.

A short stop for couple of snaps and we were of to Jantar Mantar an astronomical observatory built by Maharajah Jai Singh II.

The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars’ location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides.

A detailed explanation of each instrument was given by the guide along a sample demo of a few.

Instruments @Jantar Mantar

The guide also mentioned that since jaipur is famous for astronnomy and astrology, the astrology final exams are conducted here in jantar mantar. We spent some time exploring all the instruments and taking photos before leaving the place. The next place on the list was the city palace. The palace is still occupied by the current king of jaipur and there are two types of tickets. A normal ticket will let one see the museum which houses paintings of all the kings and the durbar hall etc. The grandeour tour which costs Rs 2000 allows one to go inside the royal palace. Tickets for cameras cost extra. We just got the tickets for the museum. The museum contains a huge collection of things used by the kings and queen’s of jaipur. From the clothes they used to wear to the other things they used daily everything is on display here. Apart from the clothes large size photos of the kings are also on display. Since we had’nt got the tickets for photography no snaps could be taken.

Amer fort was thenext to be be visited. The fort is located atop a hill and is outside the city. A short drive from jaipur saw us reach the fort. We passed Jal Mahal on the way, however we didnt stop there as we planning to spend some time while returning back.

One can either drive all the way to the top or choose to ride an elephant.

Amer Fort

We chose to drive to the top, and the driver took us through a few back roads before reaching the back side of the fort.

Passing through the long courtyard, we proceeded towards the main entrance.

Fort Courtyard as seen from top of the palaceThe palace has seperate chambers for each queen and there is a common area where the king used to meet his queens and spend time with them. The watch towers above the place was guarded, when the king was present. Since they were at an elevated place and quite far away, privacy was ensured.

Meeting Place

A large man made lake is present at the back of the palace. This was built by Raja Man Singh who had built the palace. The lake was built for the purpose of entertainment. The lake present among mountains looks very pictuersque when seen from the top of the fort

Lake

The palace insides are covered in beautiful paintings. Restoration work was going on in a few places to get the palace back to its old glory

Palace Inside

I wanted to take the photo of the fort from the road, had asked the driver to stop the car after going out of the fort. After roaming the fort we headed out. A quick stop for a few shots of the fort from the road and we headed out to Jal Mahal

Amer Fort

Jal Mahal is a palace built in the middle of the man singh lake. The palace used to be in use during the kings era however now its in ruins. he lake eco system is a favorite home of a number of migratory and resident birds. The Mansagar Dam is situated on the eastern side of the lake and provides a good vantage point for viewing the lake and the valley. There are plans to turn the palace into a resort.

Jal Mahal

Evening was spent shopping. Our flight to Bangalore was booked for the next day, thus ending a wonderful 15 day trip.

Snaps can be found here

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Matheran

100kms from mumbai lies a beautiful and unspoilt hillstation called matheran.  This is a popular hill station with the localities and many people visit it. With my work getting extended for another week, I could get one sunday, which i decided to make use of by going to matheran.

Matheran is a hillstation which contains a series of view points offering a panaromic view of the sahyadris. Matheran can be reached by train or by road. There are numerous trains plying between mumbai to neral which is the last stop for matheran.

I reached neral by 9.30 after switching trains at dadar. One can travel to matheran from neral on a toy train which takes about 2 hrs to reach the top. Since there was a huge rush for the toy train,

Early Morning at Matheran

I took a shared cab, to the top

Winding roads

The ride took me about half hour and I was at the gates of matheran. After buying the tickets I went ahead to explore the place.

Walking along the tracks, I could see some amazing scenary along the way.

Scenary @ Matheran

There were quite a few viewpoints which I could cover till evening. There are boards with directions along with the name of the viewpoint.

One of the first viewpoint I visited was called Kandala Point, which offered me a good view of the sahyadri range

Kandala Point

Spending some time there I moved ahead to see the other view points. The view of the sahyadris got better from each view point

Views from other view points

My next point of attraction was a huge lake called chorlette lake , which was also a popular attraction. There were a couple of shops there where i satisfy my hunger pangs, before moving ahead. The lake sees a huge crowds as it is the only water body present in the hillstation

Chorlette Lake

Taking some snaps i went to another viewpoint from where we could get a clear view of the valley . I had a small nap there

Valley view

Evening was spent at sunset point before making my way back to neral to take the return train back to the hotel

Sunset @ matheran

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Snaps can be found here

Elephanta Caves/Gateway of India

The entertainment captial of India was on my list of places to visit for a long time, and this wish came true when I was asked to go to mumbai for work.

My first week was strangly spent in the room as I was sure of how to go around in mumbai, however the following week, I decided to go to Gateway of India,Elephanta caves and a few other popular places in mumbai

My colleagues and I met a VT which  is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Victoria Terminus / CST

Taking a couple of snaps of the station we headed to gateway of india, which was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Delhi Durbar, in December 1911. The place draws a lot of crowd and after the recent terrorist attacks in mumbai security around the place has been tightened up.

Gateway of India

We spent some time taking snaps before boarding a ferry to elephanta caves. The ferry services start from gateway of india.

It takes an hour to reach elephanta island where the caves are located

Elephanta Caves is one of the UNESCO world heritage site located in elephanta island of mumbai harbour

Elephanta Island

The island, consists of two groups of caves—the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves. The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures, representing the Shaiva Hindu sect, dedicated to the god Shiva

The rock cut architecture of the caves has been dated to between the 5th and 8th centuries, although the identity of the original builders is still a subject of debate. The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock. All the caves were also originally painted in the past, but now only traces remain.

The caves attract a lot of visitors. We reached the harbour in an hour and proceeded towards the caves. The place has become highly commercialized,which was evident from the line of shops present along the way till the caves.

There was already a huge crowd by the time we reached the caves. Taking the tickets we went to the caves.

Elephanta Caves

The main cave also called shiva cave contains sculptures of which some are heavily damaged. Spending some time taking pics we roamed around the cave. The main cave contain 2 smaller caves. Taking snaps in the dark was a little tricky.

Rock cut sculptures

After seeing the main cave we went to see the other caves, which were suprisingly empty. Upon asking the other tourist we came to know that there are no sculptures in other caves.  At the entrance of the caves there was an error indicating the direction to canon hill. We went to see what was present on top of the hill. We could find a large canon which was present there

Trimurti Statue

As usual a couple of snaps were taken before heading back. Lunch was the island itself and we took another ferry back to gateway of india.

Canon atop canon hill

With enough time left to go back, we headed to marine drive which is also called the queen’s necklace and to chowpatty which is famous for its bhel puri.

Marine Drive

Munching on snacks we passed the time before boarding a taxi to bandstand which houses some celebrities such as SRK and Salman Khan.  We could see ‘ANTILLA’ enroute.

Sunset @chowpatty


We hit the bandra-worli sealink and in a couple of minutes we reached bandra and then headed to bandstand where we spent some more time roaming around.

Bandra-Worli Sea Link

Finally it was time to bid goodbye to my friends and i headed back to the hotel thus concluding a well spent day

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