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Old 16th February 2010, 20:26   #31
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Originally Posted by Samir Taheer View Post
AKP - The blue you see behind Mehrangarh Fort is part of the old city. The Indigo was not only used to keep the houses cool, but they say it also acts as an insect repellent. Like most forts Mehrangarh has some really good stories to it.
Yes, in fact the blue colour is supposed to keep the evil away also.

My doubt/question basically is, do they still paint their houses in blue in such large numbers in other parts of the old city which are not visible from the Fort, say?
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Old 16th February 2010, 22:49   #32
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Default Day 7 (01/01/2010) (Contd)

Our guide Dipak is from a nearby village. It was Mr Chandrasekhar Singh who got him into this business. He did well for himself and prospered. Now he has a few Jeeps in his fleet that he uses to take tourists around. He is also trying to diversify and get into other businesses. But this is still his primary job. And he was reasonably good at his job. Well familiar with the topography of the area as well as the people. After we start, for about 30 minutes, I keep following his directions, turn right, take the next left turn and so on. Soon we are out of the main roads, onto some dirt tracks. We cross one or two villages. Then he takes us to a potter household.

These earthen pitchers are the main source of income for the family.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_155232_cimg2973.jpg

This was not a random potter household the guide picked up. Rather, he had some kind of prior arrangement with them. So they know as soon as some visitors come, what they are supposed to do. As we go in, the head of the house comes out and greets us. Then he proceeds to show us how one makes various earthen items using potter's wheel. One of his sons quickly prepares some clay. He asks us what do we want him to make. We tell him, anything you want. He makes a few different items within no time.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_160510_cimg2977.jpg

We talk to him a bit. He learnt his trade from his father at a young age. His father died early. Ever since, he has been carrying the family on his shoulders. He has two sons, who have picked up the skills from him. They now help him. But making a livelihood just out of this, equipped only with a small manually operated wheel, is increasingly becoming difficult. He has daughters also. But he is very clear that he is not going to allow them to work come what may.
We buy a couple of showpieces from him, distribute some toffees among a few kids who were hanging around, and come out. Time to go to the next village.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_163822_cimg2978.jpg

Next Dipak takes us to a household that he tells us belongs to the Bishnoi community. When we reach there, we see a Jeep parked outside. It turns out that the Jeep belongs to Dipak, his brother-in-law is there with another small group of tourists. As we enter, they leave. We sit on the `charpai' kept in the courtyard. They prepare some tea for us. We talk a little. What do they do for a living, we ask. Bit of farming is the answer. He then proceeds to show us how they consume opium. It's not clear to me why, but we just keep quiet and watch. I guess this must be popular with a section of tourists. Dipak explains that they do not normally smoke opium, but drink it after dissolving in water.

The wooden contraption in the middle is the equipment to dissolve opium in water and filter it.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_170330_cimg2984.jpg

Those conical shaped objects hanging on both sides are some kind of cloth through which the `opiumated' water is filtered. Those were really dirty. He asks me if I would like to drink some. I reckon if the opium doesn't get me, the inebriated bacterias in those clothes certainly will. So a firm no is my answer. He goes on and drinks a little bit.

Pagri(turban) is an important part of the traditional Rajasthani costume. When a guest comes to a household, head of the family wears a pagri, so the guest knows who the boss is. The head of the family honours his guest with a pagri.
He quickly makes a pagri out of that colourful piece of cloth and put on my head. And we pose for a photo.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_170914_cimg2987.jpg

Food grains: Jowar, Bajra et al

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_171332_cimg2989.jpg

We had heard before the trip that we must eat ker sangri while in Rajasthan. We thought it refers to a particular dish. But then we had ker sangri at three different places, and they were all very different preparations. That is when we realized it is just a vegetable.
These long ones here are ker sangri.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_171322_cimg2988.jpg

Next up is a weaver. Our guide Dipak takes us to a weaver's place. He shows us how they prepare durries, something we missed out in Mehrangarh Fort because the weavers were away for lunch when we came out. This person is clearly much better off than any of the previous two families. His place was equipped with solar cells and all. He had some delightful durries spread out in his courtyard.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_173454_cimg2991.jpg


Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_173918_cimg2992.jpg

Problem was, the prices he was quoting were atrocious. In fact, his looked more a commercial establishment than a typical village weaver household. So, even though we liked some of those durries and would have loved to buy one or two, we were put off by the figures quoted and decided to leave.

Next Dipak says we will go back, but he will try and take us to a place where we might see some `wildlife'. We do see some sambar, nilgai and peacocks (Sorry about the picture qualities light was fading and with a point n shoot camera, it was a struggle).

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_175250_cimg2994.jpg

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_175514_cimg2995.jpg

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_175930_cimg2996.jpg

Finally time to return back. But Dipak says he will take us to a textile recycling factory which is on the way.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_182106_cimg2999.jpg


What they do here is buy used pieces of colourful cloths of all kinds, and basically stitch them together to produce these beautiful pieces of art, much like the wonderful project reports that many people nowadays produce doing a cut-and-paste job in MSOffice.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100101_182642_cimg3001.jpg

These clothes can be used for all sorts of things, from cushion covers to umbrellas to wall hangings. But again, the prices they quote are ridiculously high.

We come back to Indrashan. Tonight we wanted to try some other place for dinner. We ask Mrs Singh to recommend some place to go. She suggests we try Kalinga, which is near the Rail station. We head off to Kalinga, have a quiet dinner, come back and retire for the night. Tomorrow, the last day of our trip, is also the longest drive of the trip as well as for me so far in a day. So better get some rest.
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Old 17th February 2010, 21:58   #33
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Default Day 8 (02/01/2010)

Last day of our trip. Has been a great one for us. Enjoyed every bit of it. But wait. Its not time to look back yet. We still have to make it back home. At 600 km, this is the longest drive yet of the trip. Also, we should be home before it is too late in the night because fog can be a big problem this time of the year near Delhi. We reckon if we start around 10, we should get home by 8 o'clock and fog should not cause too much of a problem in that case.

We go down for breakfast. There is a completely new set of guests there now. This is the central courtyard of Indrashan that we liked so much.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100102_092102_cimg3004.jpg

After breakfast, we settle the bills, come back and pack our bags. When we started from home, we already were packed to the brim, with wollens and laptops (yes, there were two) and what not. And now with all the shopping done in the three places - carpets, durries, showpieces, cloths, shoes, you name it and we bought it - there was just not enough space; we needed a truck. No problem, says the car. Fold half the back seat, this part goes completely flat, level with the floor, and you have a huge huge space. Here is a poor attempt to capture this, but you really need a wide angle lens to see what all was in there.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100102_110706_cimg3005.jpg

We start around 10, pick up a few bottles of water and fill petrol just before hitting Jaipur Road, which was quite close to where we stayed.
The route that we take will be Jodhpur-Barr-Beawar-Ajmer-Kishangarh-Jaipur bypass-Delhi.
This is somewhere near Barr.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100102_122338_cimg3008.jpg

From Ajmer, I was not sure whether to go straight to Kishangarh or to take right and hit NH79 to reach Kishangarh. Had no idea which option would be better. Decide just to follow road signages, whichever route that takes us to. It turns out the road signs for Delhi lead us to Nasirabad where we hit NH 79. This stretch was quite conjested. After we reach NH79, its good road again.

Truckload of colourful objects..

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100102_145158_cimg3010.jpg

on closer inspection, those were all wollens. Wonder where they are going.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100102_145208_cimg3011.jpg

Soon we leave them behind. This is the last picture from the trip.

Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi-20100102_145232_cimg3013.jpg

It is 6:15. We hadn't stopped for lunch. Wanted to stop somewhere for food. Whether to stop now, or reach Delhi first and then stop for dinner is the question. We are just about 125 km from Delhi, another two hours and we should be home. So we were in a bit of a dilemma. Suddenly there is a big traffic jam. Many cars were taking the service road and going ahead. But I was not familiar with the area, so wasn't sure if it was a good idea. So stuck to the main road. For the next 35 minutes, we made almost no progress. Meanwhile saw RTDC Behror signboard on the left. Decided to stop for dinner, hoping that traffic eases by the time we resume.

Take a one hour break for dinner. Coming from the bright and sunny parts of Rajasthan, it was now feeling quite cold outside. Traffic snarl that we faced was still there, but only till a few hundred meters after which road was fine again. But now there was another problem. It was nearly eight o'clock now, and we find quite a bit of fog on the highway. Soon we cross the Shahjahanpur toll plaza. Fog was now getting heavier every moment. Switched on the fog lamps and slowed down. Visibility was very poor. Couldn't see any other vehicle ahead of us. There was one car just behind us. I slow down further hoping he goes ahead, then I would just follow him. But his plan was the same, he is not ready to overtake me. So rule out the option to follow him. Whom to follow now, so that my job becomes that much easier? There were some trucks that we were overtaking every now and then, but it didn't seem like a good idea to follow a truck, because they don't have any backlight/breaklight and are terribly slow. So patiently wait for some car to overtake us. Comes one Sardarji in his Alto and whistles past us. Must have very good pair of eyes. Anyway, I was not complaining. I start following him. Makes such a big difference in heavy fog when you have someone ahead of you. This goes on for a while. Then I get blocked by two trucks going parallel to each other, one trying to overtake the other, blocking the entire road; by the time I can clear them, Sardarji is gone. Fortunately soon there is a bunch of cars that come from behind. I wait for them to cross me, and start following them. Since there is a group of cars now, it is easier to not lose them. Rest of the drive till Gurgaon was just this, following this group. After that, traffic density goes up, visibility is no more a big issue. Of course one has to be still very cautious. The last 120 km takes us three hours, and we reach home exactly at 11. The last part of the drive, the last 3 hours, were also the most strenuous part of the entire trip. But I was not feeling tired. Which is a good sign; this means we can undertake longer drives next time.

Its always good to be back home, but I felt a bit strange, a little sad really. Because the trip has ended. It was a great trip that all three of us thoroughly enjoyed. The places that we visited were all lovely, each with a distinctly different character of its own. The weather was gorgeous all through. Each of these places has a lot more to offer than what we managed to see. Hopefully, we will go back again in not so distant future.

In a separate post, I will give various details on hotels etc that could be useful.

Let me take this opportunity to thank each of you who has gone through this thread patiently.
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Old 19th February 2010, 23:46   #34
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Here are some details that I promised:

Hotels:

1.
Hotel Basant Vihar Palace
N.H.-15 Sri Ganganagar Road,
Bikaner-334006
Rajasthan

GPS:
28:02:44 N
73:19:45 E
Website: Hotel Basant Vihar Palace,Bikaner
Phone: +91 151 2250669/2251353/2250675

Rate: Rs 1900/- per night for a double bed room. Includes breakfast. You can make booking by phone. No need to pay advance.

Good facilities, courteous staff, plenty of parking space. Restaurant is good but vegetarian. Liked the location also - away from the crowded old city/rail station area.



2.
Desert Moon Guest House
Near Sunset Point
Achalvansi Colony
Jaisalmer
Rajasthan
345001
India

GPS:
26:55:19 N
70:54:26 E
Website: Desert Moon - Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India
Phone: +91 2992 250116, +91 9414149350
Contact person/owner: Loise/Chanesar.

The room we stayed was Rs 1000/- per night. Very basic, but nice. This was the only one available when we booked. I think there are more expensive rooms also. Do not know what extra they offer, though. Breakfast NOT included.

You can book by phone/email. Normally they will ask for some advance, usually about 30%. You can send a cheque, or transfer directly to their account.

Nice little hotel. Quiet surroundings one of the main positives. Has a small kitchen upstairs where you get some basic vegetarian stuff. Enough parking space.


3.
Indrashan,
593, High Court Colony,
Jodhpur - 342001 (Rajast6han).
INDIA.

GPS:
26:16:12 N
73:01:42 E
Website: Rajputana Discovery
Phone: +91 291 2440665/2438593.
Contact person/owner: Bhavna Singh/Chandrasekhar Singh.

Charges for us were Rs 1500/- per night. Includes breakfast. You can book by telephone/email. Did not ask for any advance.

It's a homestay. Very nice and cozy. There is a fixed menu nonvegetarian buffet meal for Rs 350/-. We had just one meal here, it was very good. Enough parking space, though it is outside their premises.



Various Expenditures:

Hotel bill: 9800/-
Food and drinks: 6983/-
Jeep/camel safari to Sam dunes 3000/-
Misc expenditure (entry tickets at various places, tips and others): 2265/-
Travel:
Fuel: 5703/-
Toll: 407/-
parking: 50/-
Auto: 505/-
Total: 6665/-


Car:

The whole trip was 1974 km.
Fuel consumed: 114.82 litre
Fuel Efficiency: 17.19 kmpl
(Filled petrol only in the main cities)

(For a breakup of FE over different parts of the trip, look at the 10000 km update in my Jazz thread)
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Old 13th April 2010, 13:35   #35
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thanks for this beautiful travelouge. enjoyed every bit of it.
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Old 14th April 2010, 17:22   #36
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thanks for this beautiful travelouge. enjoyed every bit of it.
Thanks 0-100. Very much appreciated.
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Old 14th April 2010, 22:00   #37
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Enjoyed your travelogue. Brought back memories. The old city visible from the ramparts of the Mehrangarh are indeed blue and have been thus since ages. Keeps the homes cool in that harsh heat.

I can vouch for this as my sasuraal is in the old city itself and that house is about 100 years old.
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Old 15th April 2010, 00:33   #38
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Enjoyed your travelogue. Brought back memories. The old city visible from the ramparts of the Mehrangarh are indeed blue and have been thus since ages. Keeps the homes cool in that harsh heat.

I can vouch for this as my sasuraal is in the old city itself and that house is about 100 years old.
Thanks, gd. It was your Rajasthan travelogue that made me want to go to these places. Thanks also for removing my doubts about the blue houses visible from the Fort.
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Old 17th May 2010, 18:27   #39
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AKP,

I'm a newbie here and browse the various sections whenever I have time off. Hence the delayed reaction to your travelogue. I have been totally engrossed in your travel notes and photos for the last hour and a half.

A remarkable account with excellent photos. Some of your photos, such as the fort, are of professional standard, congratulations!

And, I laughed till my stomach hurt reading the cell phone on the camel anecdote. Hilarious!

Thanks for this wonderful write-up. I have never visited Rajasthan but am determined to do so now.

Best regards,
Damu
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Old 17th May 2010, 19:54   #40
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A remarkable account with excellent photos. Some of your photos, such as the fort, are of professional standard, congratulations!

And, I laughed till my stomach hurt reading the cell phone on the camel anecdote. Hilarious!

Thanks for this wonderful write-up. I have never visited Rajasthan but am determined to do so now.

Best regards,
Damu
Thanks a lot Damu for your compliments. Good to know that you liked the travelogue. Cellphone on the camel was indeed very hilarious.
We enjoyed our Rajasthan trip very much, and I am sure you will too once you are there.
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Old 5th December 2014, 00:15   #41
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Default Re: Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi

Excellent travelogue. I am doing a trip in January with exactly the same destinations. Of all the threads I looked up, this gave me the most precise detail of what to expect. We also have similar styles of narration !

2 questions:

1. My itinerary, unlike yours, is Delhi-Jodhpur-Bikaner-Jaisalmer. Will it be too much to do Jaisalmer to Delhi in one day?

2. Jodhpur and Bikaner bookings already done. But where to stay in Jaisalmer? Most of the midrange hotels I found on tripadvisor seemed to be on the main road with no dedicated parking. Any particular hotel you would suggest, with dedicated parking?
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Old 5th December 2014, 00:53   #42
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Default Re: Year end trip to Rajasthan: Delhi-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Delhi

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Excellent travelogue. I am doing a trip in January with exactly the same destinations. Of all the threads I looked up, this gave me the most precise detail of what to expect. We also have similar styles of narration !
Thanks. I am not as thorough as you are with history though.


Quote:
2 questions:

1. My itinerary, unlike yours, is Delhi-Jodhpur-Bikaner-Jaisalmer. Will it be too much to do Jaisalmer to Delhi in one day?
It is a bit long, but should be doable. Road till a little before you hit NH 8 should be good and fast. You have to keep in mind though that fog might mess up the Jaipur-Delhi part of the drive.

Quote:
2. Jodhpur and Bikaner bookings already done. But where to stay in Jaisalmer? Most of the midrange hotels I found on tripadvisor seemed to be on the main road with no dedicated parking. Any particular hotel you would suggest, with dedicated parking?
We stayed in Desert Moon Guest House, which was basic, but quite decent. You have to walk a bit to reach the fort, but the benefit is, the locality is (well, was five years back) peaceful, and reaching the hotel in your car is not a problem (this can be a serious headache for most hotels in Jaisalmer). There was another hotel on the same street, but I have now forgotten the name.
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Old 20th March 2016, 21:21   #43
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Thanks. I am not as thorough as you are with history though.




It is a bit long, but should be doable. Road till a little before you hit NH 8 should be good and fast. You have to keep in mind though that fog might mess up the Jaipur-Delhi part of the drive.



We stayed in Desert Moon Guest House, which was basic, but quite decent. You have to walk a bit to reach the fort, but the benefit is, the locality is (well, was five years back) peaceful, and reaching the hotel in your car is not a problem (this can be a serious headache for most hotels in Jaisalmer). There was another hotel on the same street, but I have now forgotten the name.
Hello AKP,

Thanks much for the lovely travel diary - it's so engrossing that I felt I was almost traveling with you :-)

I am also planning to head to Jaisalmer this upcoming long weekend, Mar 24-27 to be specific, with my wife and we want to cover Jaisalmer and Sam dunes only in this trip.

Being a Bengali myself, I can understand your infatuation with Sonar Kella - I myself had watched this movie twice in last 5 days!

Will post my travel diary too. Till then, any suggestions from your end will really be appreciated. Many thanks.
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