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Old 9th November 2011, 16:51   #46
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Sudipto Da, Fab travelogue!! While I tried to do the same route same time, after getting the plan from you, ended up doing a tame Kol - Puri road trip again due to paucity of time. But the Rajasthan Trip has to happen for me too and I already have you for all the refs required . The photos you took are one of the best I've seen on BHP so far.
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Old 9th November 2011, 17:31   #47
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Ha ha ha faustus. Yes a road roller would be ideal for Benares but I wonder if it can fit into that lane.
Hotel Lara would have been nice when it was new 20 years ago. Not that it is a bad hotel. Locationally it is excellent. It is just that it is not managed very professionally and one feels like one is in a glorified dharamsalla with AC and a private bathroom. But they saved me in a crisis situation. So I am not complaining.
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Old 9th November 2011, 20:00   #48
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Dada,

I am really amazed at your "eye" for catching these winged wonders!! The manager in Bundela Riverside mentioned about the rich birdlife in the area. Being a novice, i could only spot a myna!! Your pictures are a revelation as far as bird life in Orcha and Kumbhalgarh is concerned

One of the memorable experience we had was counting stars on a full moon day in Kumbhalgarh! It is so quiet and pollution free out there. Good that places like Kumbhalgarh and Bundi - we missed going to Bundi on our way from Jhansi to Udaipur on the recent road trip - are not yet commercialised.

Did you go for any safari in the forests adjoining Kumbhalgarh? This is the only fort which raises out of the blue in the middle of dense greenery in Rajasthan. This is one of my all time favourite picture of Kumbhalgarh when we were there three years back.

One tip for BHPians seeing Ranakpur pictures - Double click on the pictures to zoom it to see intricate carving. It is the grandest of Jain temples in the country

The fort in the middle of forest
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-dsc01840.jpg

Sun rise over Aravallis
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-dsc01859.jpg

Last edited by Fauji : 9th November 2011 at 20:03.
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Old 9th November 2011, 20:45   #49
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Fauji
Glad that you shared your wonderful memories of Kumbhalgarh. In fact I remember the spot from which you would have taken that wall shot. I have a shot from there too. But it's just a small section of the wall because I was carrying a short tele lens and the wide was with my wife :-)
Yes we did go for a Gypsy Safari to the forest core area called Thandi Bheri. In fact all the bird photographs are from there. One can trek there too with a guide. It is an almost impregnable forest.
One can also trek from Kumbhalgarh to Ranakpur - it's 16 km on foot through the jungle.
Osian also turned out to be a great birding spot. I didn't post too many photographs of that. People were possibly getting bored.
Regarding the birds of Orchha - I saw them all at the Chhatris by the river side right next to our resort. For seeing birds one has to go there early in the morning around sun rise.
The Chhatri area is a major nesting site of long-billed vulture which is officially a "critically endangered" bird. From conservation point of view that area should be of immense importance because of this.
Anyone can just go and see them there. It's funny. Even a couple of decades ago these birds used to be abundant. They got wiped out because of human ignorance in India. But that's another long story.
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Old 9th November 2011, 20:49   #50
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Hi,
Great start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
If you killed ten of these, eight would be Bengalis :-)
Strange choice of action/ verb! (I know how you feel. Sublimal thought)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Thanks to all of you. Especially SST. I cannot believe you would even talk to me !!! Is there a hugs icon somewhere? Please accept it from me.
??

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 9th November 2011, 21:36   #51
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

ha ha ha. Do you think there might be a connection between the two?
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Old 10th November 2011, 18:42   #52
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Great Travelogue Sudipto with professional photographs (especially apt focus with dull background). Your travelogue emphasizes again that there are so many wonderful places in India to see and enjoy. India has to promote tourism in a bigger way.

Thanks for sharing..
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Old 10th November 2011, 20:12   #53
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Thanks RGK for your comment. I don't think these are very "professional" images. But yes, images taken with some amount of seriousness.

If there is any interest I will tell a few smaller stories that happened during our long trip. These might sound very trivial. But to us these will remain forever etched on our memory.

Driving towards Kumbhalgarh through Aravalli, we suddenly came across this very cute little girl going from somewhere to somewhere with a big basket on her head carrying some fresh vegetables.

A little baby girl in Rajasthan these days is rarer than a tiger in Sariska !!! So we stopped the car a little distance ahead of her to photograph her and give her some biscuits. Jokes apart, I am also the father of an eight year old girl and something in me stopped me and brought me out of the car.

Upon seeing us she stopped, looking very scared. I encouraged her to keep walking with a gesture of my hand and she started again. I think she just wanted to run across us very fast. But when I tried to offer her the biscuits, she panicked and started crying and howling. She turned around and just ran back. Probably to her village.

Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-littlegirlkgarh_1831.jpg

I felt really really sad and very very guilty. I just couldn't do anything about it. I tried to shout saying "kuchh nehi hoga" but that only helped increase her speed. I was sad that the poor girl will probably have to walk a long distance with that load once again in that sun and barefoot too.

There was not a single soul around who could perhaps have convinced her that I had no evil intentions. The place was completely desolate. I drove on for the rest of the way with a really heavy heart thinking about the huge, huge, huge cultural void between us - the so called city-bred gentlemen with no clue about how children in tourist less, remote areas behave and poor little illeterate girls of Rajasthan.

In my experience, poor children around tourist trails are very smart. They ask for sweets and money in the remote areas of Himalaya. But then they are used to city tourists. These children of Rajasthan are scared of us as if we were tigers or leopards because they have hardly ever seen us.

I do not really know if it is a problem at all and whether it needs to be solved. But if some sort of a bridge could be created between us and them it would be nice for both of us.
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Old 11th November 2011, 11:57   #54
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

So sad, the photograph says it all. Literacy is needed which will create cultural awareness. Unfortunately we have the advanced Honda factory in Rajasthan at one part and the other side, these kind of villages..
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Old 11th November 2011, 14:38   #55
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Beautiful log and pictures Sudipta. You have captured many moods of Rajasthan beautifully. It is also sending stark reminders about issues you are raised here. Not just illiteracy, there are other issues of child marriage and labour.
Anyway, here's my 5 stars to such a lovely log!
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Old 11th November 2011, 15:00   #56
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Brilliant travelogueBrought back memories of our Hyd-RJ drive.Thanks for sharing.

ps:Must admit the pictures of the birds are lovely.
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Old 11th November 2011, 19:55   #57
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Ranjit, MX6, RGK - thanks a tonne for your words of appreciation and comments. Kaushikc5 - I didn't see your comment earlier. Are you Uttirna's father? You are most welcome to ask anything about this route. I will try to help.

Regarding the little girl, if you think of the incident from her angle: Here she is walking all alone with an even smaller sister (or brother?). There is no one in sight. Suddenly this car stops. A man comes out with something in his hands. He is squatting on the road. Looking at me. Is he planning to kidnap me? There he is showing something for me to eat. Let me run away.

I cannot really blame her. Probably she did the right thing. The next human being we saw was perhaps after a good 5 km.

Meanwhile, here is another incident. More pleasant. We are driving down NH2 from Agra towards the last leg of our journey. Our destination is Benares. I have not been able to find a hotel there so far. So I am slightly tensed about it.

Kanpur is a good 60/65 km away. The sun is at its apex. A small hamlet in the middle of nowhere. One saloon with one mirror and a barber but no customer. One tea stall. Another couple of grocers. Right on the highway. Under some banyan trees.

But what do I see on the trees? At least 30/40 huge painted storks !!! They are "near threatened" according to IUCN. But here they are, looking very busy but perfectly at peace with themselves. Bringing nesting materials from the nearby fields and other trees. It is an obvious nesting site for the species. From a conservation point of view this is a bloody important site.

"Near threatened" painted stork

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I had to stop the car. With some trepidation I brought out my camera, tripod etc. We associate UP, Bihar etc with lawlessness. I just hope no one will rob me of my dear equipment and start shooting almost with eyes closed. Curious shopkeepers look at me clicking away to glory from the median.

After I wrap up my ware, I ask a local looking boy on a motorcycle - do these birds stay here throughout the year? He looked completely dumb and then said, "I don't stay here." Good answer to a dumb question, in any case.

The tea stall owner overheard me and explained in detail the birds' behaviour and movement pattern, how and when they teach the youngsters to fly etc. He and a few others who gathered around him to tell me the story looked and sounded very proud of the birds and the fact that they could stop a city-bred car owner.

I told them, "protect them with all you have. They are auspicious for your village." They said, "yes sir, of course". It seemed they already knew about it. I asked one last question: "what is the name of your village?" "Andhi, saab".

I don't know when I will cross Andhi again but I will surely look out for it, stop there and take some more photographs and perhaps record their calls and the general noise that they were making. Hopefully I will not be in a hurry to reach a city with no hotel reserved.
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Old 11th November 2011, 20:38   #58
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Awesome trip Sudipto and breathtaking pictures.

I also drove from Haldia to Mundra via UP & MP this September.
The route I took was Haldia-Kolkata-Bardhman-Asansaol-Panagarh-Varanasi-Kanpur-Orvi-Jhansi-Kota-Chittorgarh-Udaipur-Limbdi-Samakhiali-Mundra. About 3k odd kms.

Enroute had the opportunity to pass through graveyard of army vehicles at Panagarh, took Ganga dip & visited Kashi Vishwanath at Varanasi, visited famous Chittorgarh fort (as did you, hope you visited that lake inside Chittorgarh fort) & this all pulled us back on our schedule & thus rushed to Ahmedabad & Mundra.

My pics as mostly technical in nature but here are few:
Panagarh
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-103_2542.jpg
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-103_2546.jpg
Varanasi
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-p9150195.jpg
Chittorgarh fort
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-103_2799.jpg
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-103_2798.jpg
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-103_2797.jpg
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-103_2803.jpg
Under water Shivalingam in Chittirgarh fort
Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-103_2812.jpg

Raab Rakha.

Last edited by ariesonu : 11th November 2011 at 20:41.
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Old 11th November 2011, 20:55   #59
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Great to know that you and I took the same route. The names beyond Udaipur are completely new to me. Never heard these names before. I believe they are in Gujarat. By Orvi did you mean Orai? We didn't come across any Orvi but Orai was a small town where we had to get off the 4-laned highway. This was after Bhaginipur.
Instead of Jhansi you should have stayed in Orchha. It is very pretty.
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Old 11th November 2011, 23:47   #60
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Very nice travelogue, Sudipta-da. Reminded me of my trip in 2009, though we flew in to Jaipur and hired an Innova for the 9 day tour.
The most impressive place to me was Chittor and the Chittorgarh fort. Oh, what a place. It seemed like every brick on every pillar and wall had a story to recount. I hope you didn't miss the Samadhisvara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva inside the fort, built in the 11th century CE. The Trimurti statue is mesmerizing, with the front-facing head carved with eyes made from ivory. Here's a photo. The ivory eyes, I was told, were added during a later renovation.
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