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Old 20th August 2008, 18:18   #1
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Arrow Weekend Trip To Udaipur & Ranakpur

Hai TBHpers,

The dark realization that Leh trip would not be possible this August thro Srinagar was casting a pall of gloom on us; something had to be done to add colour to life. The long weekend 14th to 18th was round the bend, wife & sons were doing a concerted barrange, "you promised to take us to Leh, now do SOMETHING". Any mortal will wilt under this pressure and we settled on to Udaipur for the trip.

Though we had been to Udaipur at least twice, they had been pretty hectic, mostly with other friends families and temple-centric, Udaipur-centric and hectic. We decided this would be a sedate, slow and easy trip, no plans on what to do once we reach there and take it as it flows. With this understanding my sons packed thier electronic gizmos like the gameboys, playstation, DVD players; the grand plan was to plug them into the TV in the room and all of us to play the games together, something we have never done before!!!!!!! My wife secretly packed our favourite movei CD / DVD's; that was the hidden agenda!!!! We booked into Hotel Hill Top and secured a room, it was really on top of a hillock, from the balcony we could see right into Fathe Sagar and the area around there, one could just sit in balcony and spend 3 days doing nothing.

The 250+ KM run from Ahmedabad to Udaipur on a good day takes 3- 31/2 hours, a sedate run about 4 hours. The 4 track toll roads winding through Aravali mountains are one of the best in the country; only rains could play spoil-sport. After finishing the urgent tasks in the office and lunch, we start off @ 230 PM on 14th.

14/08/2008: The road till Chiloda circle is slow, road already pot-holed, but drivable. Right turn towards Himmatnagar displays prestine roads inviting you to flex the right feet. The Scorp, as usual, is all eager to lap and is singing the re-assuring whistle-song, swallowing small blips / rumble strips or transitionary rumbles. The gang, (wife, son of 19 & 12 ) slots in a hindi mp3 cd, past the tollgate in no time @ Himmatnagar after 90 Kms @ around 4pm. Wife suddenly tells me to pull over, I was surprised, thought it must be to take out something to eat from the back of the truck when she says, "move over man, I want to drive". I was surprised, just settling down to enjoy the drive. Well, it would be a great change to be chauffeured long distance and hand over the wheels reluctantly. She's has driven the truck earlier, but on the expressways of Baroda and Mumbai-Pune stretch; this section of twisties would be a new experience, better on a 4 track great road than anywhere else.

No worries..., though overcast, no rains; we're past Shamalaji temple overbridge, pas the Gujarat border and into the ghat section, cruising nice and easy. The recent rains have sprinkled the whole area green; the countryside, the hills, the road embankments and what have you..... everywhere a holi of soothening greenary. By jove.. have never seen Rajastan so green earlier, for that matter, never have driven thro. Rajastan in the rains. We hit Udaipur BP around 6 pm, circle around town searching for Hotel Hilltop Palace twice and finally locate it around 630, on top of a small hillock over looking the Fathe Sagar Lake. I use the corporate muscle to get a choice room overlooking the lake, were lucky the week-end rush has not happened yet, it would grow full-blown by next day evening.

We settle in, unpack the gizmos and order snacks and tea & sit on the terrace overlooking the lake, was a beautiful sight, lots of lights, boats on the lake and the buzz of humanity wafting up to the air. Unhitched the camera, fixed it on the tripod to try some lake shots, turned out OK.

At 9 pm, we go down to the garden restaurant and order dinner. In 10 minutes, we're all scratching our legs and hands, the musqito squadron have had their dinner, some more are droning for vulnerable attack-points, its too late to defend, we bolt insdie the restaurant and finish a rather scratchy dinner. Looks like the musquotos loved my younger son, he got the "Best Scratcher Award" for the night; in between dinner, he went washed his hands, scratched himelf, we lent him 2 more till he was satisfied and then continued dinner. I sent out a bell-boy to get some Desloratidine tabs, which has an anti-histaminic to reduce the allergy, all of us popped one and watched TV for some time. Turned out... it was a funny ending to a great 1st day, we ended up laughing at each other on the scratch-antics.

We tentatively planned to visit Eaklingji Temple and if possible explore the route towards Ranakpur and Kumbalgarh Fort the next day.

Attaching the trip log and some photos.

Well.... more coming up next, need to optimize some good Ranakpur Pictures and those of interior Rajastan Country side. Will get some time in the weekend, till then..

--Ramky
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 20th August 2008 at 18:34.
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Old 20th August 2008, 19:31   #2
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Arrow rasta

What beautiful roads!

Must have been a pleasure driving on them.
Doesn't seem to be much traffic either.
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Old 20th August 2008, 19:35   #3
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Wonderful trip and I am sure you would have loved to drive in that roads. I think we should thank the BJP govt for providing such good infrastructure. Ofcourse, kudos to NHAI who maintain it well.
This weekend you made the trip and next weekend its for processing those pictures Good, we are waiting for those.
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Old 20th August 2008, 19:36   #4
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Beautifull, I did Delhi-udaipur in January this Year
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Old 20th August 2008, 22:27   #5
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Fantastic roads. The driving would hve been a pleasure on these roads. Did you ask the hotel guys about the mosquito remedies like odomus/all out/tortise. It would have avoided the blood suckers.
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Old 21st August 2008, 09:57   #6
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Arrow One Of The Best Roads

aah78, mjothi : Yes, it's one of the best stretches in the GQ, in the last 3 years I've never heard anyone complaining of this stretch, great pleasure to drive on this, well the best part of the drive, from Himmatnagar to Udaipur was driven by my wife, so I had to sit out and watch the scenary !!!

mjothi: Each photo's about 2-3 mb, need to downsize them all to upload. Will try to finish by Sunday.

arun: I think the Jaipur - Udiapur stretch thro Ajmeer is equally good, about 400 kms ?

rasta: Yes, trffic was light on 14th and till 15th evening, after that it picked up on all the rods.

snaronikar: The hotel guys kept something fuming under the tables on the garden, it was of no use. We have lived in the "queen of the musquito city", Cochin for 10 yrs and are used to it; its just that we were caught unprepared with legs and arms exposed!!!! The hotel guys said its a temporary thing during the rainy season.

--Ramky

Last edited by ramkya1 : 21st August 2008 at 10:03.
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Old 21st August 2008, 16:01   #7
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Quote:
arun: I think the Jaipur - Udiapur stretch thro Ajmeer is equally good, about 400 kms ?
@ ramkya1, Jaipur - Udaipur via Kishangarh is better route albiet some construction work going on but that too for few kilometers only. Rest of the road is one of the best I have driven on atleast in India. Absolutely no traffic except the truckers and one can really enjoy the drive !
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Old 21st August 2008, 18:20   #8
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Waiting for your weekend updates of Udaiur. Do update with lost of pics.
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Old 21st August 2008, 18:41   #9
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Dear Ramkya1 - hello to you once again. The road photographs, especially the ones you have taken between Shamlaji / Ratanpur border and Udaipur reminds me when I did 1475 kms in one day (Delhi / Mumbai) when there were no double roads at all. I took exactly 17 hours then. Rajdhani Express takes 17 hours today. Maybe now I can finally convert one of my dreams to reality - BEATING THE RAJDHANI EXPRESS FROM DELHI TO MUMBAI (GURGAON OUT TO BORIVLI). Hmm. A Scorpio or something better from the same stable + Hella Rallye 3000 yellow driving lights + full night full blast "chamcha" (means accelerator). Sooo interesting.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar

(Sapne mat dekho - Sapne kabhi sach nahin hote - mera baapu kehta tha - lekin maine sapna dekha - the dialogue from "Guru"). Hmmm.
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Old 21st August 2008, 18:54   #10
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@Ramkya

Superb pics and nice travelogue there.

Those roads surely looks very very tempting.
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Old 22nd August 2008, 12:07   #11
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The photographs of the roads bring nostalgic memories of my journeys from Delhi to Vadodara and back. IMHO these roads are better even than the Ahd-Vadodara express highway.
Raji
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Old 22nd August 2008, 12:55   #12
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Arrow 2nd Part of story, Ranakpur.

Hai,

Could work on the Aug 15th story yesterday night, uploading with some photos.

15-08-2008: The alarm bleats, silenced with a touch @ 7am, no sign of The Gang waking up, I lounge in the balcony staring at the waking lake-life of humanity. I nod off, must have been 30 minutes and wake up with a start, a small bird was sitting on the table at arms length, inspecting what fate has brought in front of it for the breakfast. I stir and it takes a hop-skip-and-a-jump to the balcony rails thinking perhaps this is more than it can chew-off in the morning.I put on the TV and wake up the gang; we troop down for breakfast, shoot some more pictures from the lawn and make a plan. Head out towards Nadhwara, on the way visit Eaklingji Temple and then take it from there.

At 11am we roll towards NH 8 with the help of the GPS, my son has already marked the postition of the nearest road to our Hotel on my points so we can navigate our way back. Light traffic, first 5-6 kms of the NH8 is a little bumpy, but it improves as it near the ghats, up and down the ghats and round the bend we're at Eaklingji, parking there is a pain, we somehow find a spot to squeeze in the truck. Surprisingly, there's a thin crowd, we could actually sit in front of the Diety, there was a wonderful Bhajan gorup singing, sat ther for 20 minutes, a soothing calm wafts down, time for the Aarthi, up, catch a parting darshan and back to the
parking lot, time 1150.

We drive down towards Nadhdwara, some 25 kms away, and stop for a concrete plan, stop at a point where a good looking road foarked towards left. Take out the maps, outlook Traveller-Rajastan book & check with the GPS where this would go, confusions, no conclusive information except that in about 40-50 kms if you go left it should hit the main road going to Kumbalgarh/ Ranakpur. The locals there said, there's no connection to Ranakpur or Kumbalgarh through this route, but it would take us to Losing, the GPS showed Losing and then a small road to Gogunta which is the point from where we can turn to Ranakpur. We tried to test out, afterall it's only 12 noon, we have all day to explore, take a left turn into the
single track, secondary country road of interior Rajastan, having no idea what to expect.

The road runs for about 6-10 kms, hits a small village, meanders thro. hillocks, medows, flocks of sheeps / cows / buffallows and people walking on the road. All around us was shades of green, booming green, green and green; the sky was overcast, caught a couple of drizzles, but no serious rain. We could see the real India in its truest spirit on Aug 15th, villagers walking, grazing their cattle, children walking back from school (after the celebrations of Ind. Day?), women in bright colours traveling enmass towards Losing for the village fair, the hum-drum of typical interior village.

We hit Losing intersection, a big village, pretty crowded and asked around for Gogunta, they point straight. The road becomes pretty crowded, people in their best cloths are walking forward, many of the Chakadas agog with people, there's a village fair on. Soon the road becomes difficult, small pavement shops are ON THE ROAD and there's a van coming at us, I lean on the horn, put on my hazard lights and gun the engine, people scamper away, the shops are moved from the road side, another 1 km we're clear from the treacle-thick humanity. We coast till Gogunta and catch the big road, its 4 track for some distance, this road will untimately go from Udaipur to Mt. Abu. So our experiment did work out, we hit
the road to Ranakput at last.

The road is better but with lots of unmarked humps and ugly / bumps turns, some of them quiet surprising. We hit Sayra about 215 pm and take the fork towards Ranakpur, the one on the right goes to Kumbalgarh, 32 kms from here.Thick forest from here, its actually the WLS of Kumbalgarh, the road climbs and twists, but the surface mercifully smooth. We cross and pass many qualis, innova taxis with Firangi tourists with plates from as far away as Haryana, Delhi and UP and of cours, lots with RJ plates. The gates to the Ranakpur Jain Temple catches you by surprise, if you don't watch out for it, you'd pass it by, a non-discreet gateway with a chowkidar which leads into a cavernous parking lot. The chowkidar stops you, enters your details and lets you pass.

We park @ 245 pm and walk out to find the sun peeping out of the clouds, looks like it's not decided what to do for the day!!! Anyway, we decide to go inside the temple first, complete it and then look out for lunch later. We surrender mobiles, the movie camera @ the counter, take a Rs.50/- ticket for the still camera and move in, people exposing below the knees cannot enter or will have to hirie a robe, so be forewarned. Last time we were @ this place, our camera could not do justic to this marble wonder; we were better prepared this time.

Rana Kumbha of Mewar built this 1444 pillared temple for Lord Adinatha in the 14th / 15th century; 400+ years old and still well preserved. It has 24 halls, 80 domes and sprawls over 48,000 sq. feets, the domes are carved in concentric bands and brackets. Each exquisitely carved pillar is different, the carving done with extreme care and devotion; they resemble the carvings of Khajuraho. This was voted to the 77th position in a popular global poll for 7 wonders of the world, also one of the 5 most important holy shrines of the Jains. The setting of the temple itself is breath-taking, thick jungle and the Aravalis mountains, strangely
quiet, green and calming.

We spent an hour ( many tourists spend days inside ), the hungar pangs are tolling now, we scout for a place to eat. The chowkidhar says there are many hotels on the right, towards Pali, we discover to our horrer that most of the so called resorts have 2/3 dishes and charge about Rs.300/- + per person for food!!! We pull over to this decent Ranakpur Hill top hotel and they fleece us for Rs.350/- per head for basic food; you can't reason out with a hungry family.

At 5 pm, dark clouds gather and it starts to drizzle, we want to clear the ghats before it starts raining and gets dark, reach Sayra in 30 mts.and settle down for the next 70 kms. Wife and kids are nodding off after a full stomach, the A/C blowing, daylight ebbing, the Scorp droning and a soft song from the ICE flowing.

I must have been doing 60 when I take a sharp turn near a village; a brand new Indica full of people was coasting in front of me, his indicator to the left comes on, the trjectory was well to the left, I thought he was wanting go to the edge of the road and stop when he suddenly brakes in the middle of the road!!!! My front fenders would not have cleared him, if I had not braked hard, I jam on the pedals, somehow manage to down shift to 2nd and we come to a rubber burning rocking halt, my front fender hardly 1 inch from his rear!!!!! Fortunately my wife in front was strapped on and my two sons sleeping on the seats fall into the gaps in between, there was no point in picking an argument with an idiot, so I accelerte
off after an angry blast on my horn. All are awake now, break into peals of
laughter at my younger son trying to get up into the seat. Again stressing the need to strap on, never know when you have to brake hard with so many maniacs on the road.

First time, I had braked the truck rubber-burning hard; it was reassuring to know the Scorp does stop in an energency, it does not topple as many maliciously throw mud at its reputation. It rocks hard, its scary because you feel the rear wheels will skid out any time but stops all right, though not with the predictable accuracy which my earlier Ford Fusion did. Fusion was so dead on track, even under hard braking, I could close my eyes and brake hard knowing it would not skid. We navigate back with the GPS to the hotel @ 7 pm, take a shower and go out to Sukhadia Circle for a Fast Food dinner. We hit the sack around 10, a great day, all around.

The 16th and 17th story to follow tomorrow when I get time....

--Ramky
============
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Old 22nd August 2008, 13:04   #13
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Arrow Some more phtos

More photos of the Temple.
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Old 22nd August 2008, 13:12   #14
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Arrow Some More..........

Some more coming up............
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Old 22nd August 2008, 13:13   #15
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nice pics, really nice pics.
lush green country side and that too in rajsthan.
pour some more pics.
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