Monday, 14 October 2013

Junagarh fort | Bikaner | Major Fort of Rajasthan Not Built On Hilltop

Last and the only day in Bikaner or if more precisely i say i had only some hours to explore Bikaner. Though it was quite easy as only some 2-3 places were to be seen and in which first one was Junagarh Fort of Bikaner.

I was going to visit one of the major fort of Rajasthan which was unique in itself as it was not built on a hill top like other forts of Rajasthan, had passed the Junagarh fort when arrived in Bikaner the previous night but this time it was time to enter it.


Same procedure followed here , ticket for me and my camera but here guide was free from the fort , but they take people inside in groups and one guide with a group , it was nice.

[caption id="attachment_993" align="alignnone" width="1024"]first view from inside ... Junagadh fort first view from inside ... Junagarh fort[/caption]

Majestic view of Junagarh fort before entering to buy the ticket.

The fort was originally called Chintamani and was renamed Junagarh fort or "Old Fort" in the early 20th century when the ruling family moved to "Lalgarh Palace" outside the fort limits. It is one of the few major forts in Rajasthan which is not built on a hilltop. The modern city of Bikaner has developed around the fort.

[caption id="attachment_995" align="alignnone" width="765"]Junagadh Fort from inside Junagarh Fort from inside[/caption]

Junagadh fort from inside

Before entering the main premises of the Junagarh fort area we had to gather at a specific point just in front of this lovely view of fort. This view had already marked its impressions on my heart and camera and i was dying to go inside but it was going to take some time as some 30 people were to come to make a group. Generally groups are of only some 10 people but due to heavy footfall because of visitors going for Ram Devra Mela in Jaisalmer , who had given me company in all the destinations on this Rajasthan tour.

[caption id="attachment_996" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Courtyard of Junagadh fort Courtyard of Junagarh fort[/caption]

Junagarh Fort is primarily build of Red sand stone , and the mines of Red sand stone are owned by Royal Family of Bikaner though they are closed now , just to keep them safe and intact and whenever there is any repair needed in Junagarh Fort , Lalgarh Palace or Laxmi Niwas palace , Red Sand Stone is brought from there and they get the matching right.

This courtyard is an exception in Junagarh Fort , built of Italian white Marble brought from Italy in the 16th century. Wow.

[caption id="attachment_997" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Palace view from Courtyard Palace view from Courtyard[/caption]

Courtyard connecting palace on 1st floor of the fort , though i found it quite abrupt as one wall of the courtyard was partialy made of Red sand stone. This palace was in itself a rarety , built of Italian White marble and the tiles having the designs of Camel herds , elephants and boats were brought from England. Suddenly one thought was coming in my mind , " Were they aware of the word Globalisation ? ".

[caption id="attachment_999" align="alignnone" width="678"]One of the Longest gun of Rajasthan One of the Longest gun of Rajasthan[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1000" align="alignnone" width="678"]Smallest cannon placed on Camels One of the Smallest cannon placed on Camels[/caption]

On my Jaipur trip i had seen the biggest cannon "Jaivana" placed on Jaigarh Fort of Jaipur , but this time i was watching the blend of small and big together. On one side was the longest gun used in the battles that placed inside the holes of walls of the forts and on another side was this smallest of cannon which was placed on a frame and which was placed on the back of a Camel to allow them to reach to the nearest to target. Though these were not the patented things of Bikaner.

Our guide was very boastfully saying this that "Historical records reveal that despite the repeated attacks by enemies to capture the Junagarh fort, it was not taken, except for a lone one-day occupation by Kamran Mirza (second son of the Mughal Emperor Babur) who attacked Bikaner in 1534, which was then ruled by Rao Jait Singh. In the battle, the Mughals were defeated by Rathors.

[caption id="attachment_1001" align="alignnone" width="678"]Ball room or Darbar hall of Jungadh Fort Ball room or Darbar hall of Junagarh Fort[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1002" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Designs made on Apricot Wood Designs made on Apricot Wood[/caption]

Junagarh Fort is said to be the most well maintained fort of India , after Mysore Fort of Tipu Sultan. I had not seen the Mysore Fort but i would say for me till now Junagarh Fort is the most well maintaned fort i have visited.

Leaving aside its grand structure , its carving on Red sand stone and the use of Italian White Marble and imported England tiles , the designs made on the roofs of the Darbar hall were something very unique.

Apricot wood boards were glued to the roof and then the designs were carved on them , it was some thing which i was watching for first time , had never heard before that Apricot wood is also used for decoration purpose or in furniture.

This fort covers some 5.28 hectares area , though whole complex is not open for public but still it took me some 3 hrs to cover the portion open for visitors , thanks to the detailed narration by the official guide of the Junagarh fort. Now it was time to move ahead and reach my next destination Laxmi Niwas Palace.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Camel Breeding Farm Bikaner | One Day and lot to see

Tour to Jodhpur had ended , and i was back on road again for one more long drive. This time it was Jodhpur to Bikaner , and it was going to be different , i was going to the Desert part of Rajasthan State. Like the way i had seen on my Udaipur to Jodhpur drive , it was much different now , hardly any greenery now , monsoon had been for a very short span which had not left any impressions of it.

Lush green fields , tree and grass loaded mountains had shifted there attire on this journey. It was just small bushes now on the side of higway , sand dunes had replaced green mountains , though one thing was common , highway was as smooth as it was on my Udaipur to Jodhpur journey.

Once again it was a long hectic drive of somewhere around 6 hrs , again i was going to reach in the evening , and i had only one night stay there and the next morning after my city tour i was going to take another long journey to Mandawa.

[caption id="attachment_982" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Kesar tea on the way to bikaner Kesar tea on the way to bikaner[/caption]


We stopped for some refreshment after some two hours , we had been suggested by the owner of Mandore Guest House to stop for a lovely and refreshing kesar tea and their very famous Vada Pao , yes i was in Rajasthan and i was eating Vada Pao , one more feature of globalisation. Truely their Kesar Tea was awesome , had taken away the tiredness of us and we were back on road , though Vada Pao were quite different from Mumbai's original Vada pao but they were quite good in being different also.

Now we were not going to stop anywhere in between , next stop was our hotel "Harasar Haveli , Bikaner" and then we had to leave for Camel Breeding farm Bikaner , as it was must for us to start the tour today only , the next day we had to leave directly finishing our sight seeing of Junagadh fort and Laxmi Niwas Palace.

[caption id="attachment_983" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Tried first camel ride of life... what an experience..ahhhh Tried first camel ride of life... what an experience..ahhhh[/caption]


At 5.30pm we were at Camel Breeding Farm , Bikaner. We were 30min before the closing time , and first thing to see was the museum at camel breeding farm showcasing the artefacts and objects made of Camel skin , bone etc.

And the next thing , was Camel ride. I had heard a lot about how people fell from camel when he stands , and it had scared the hell out of me , but this was the testing time. Though screaming and shouting , but i completed the whole ride and trust me it was blend of awesomeness and scariness.


[caption id="attachment_984" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Herd of camels Herd of camels[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_985" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Its the feast time Its the feast time[/caption]


We had reached at the right time , Herds of Camels were returning from the day long time spent in the jungle , and watching them run , race for the feast was a magnificient view, wish i had made the video of it.

Though some of the younger one's were crying also , locked in other barracks away from their mothers. Separate barracks for male , female and the pregnant female's. It was the ideal time to visit that place.

[caption id="attachment_986" align="alignnone" width="1024"]camel milk coffee ... feast time for us camel milk coffee ... feast time for us[/caption]


while walking back it was feast time for us. Camel Breeding farm Bikaner has shop for visitors , offering them dairy products made of camel milk. On an average a camel gives only some 2-3 litres maximum milk in a day , but here 1000's of camel support this shop. I wanted to have ice cream made of camel milk but unfortunately on coffee was available out of a list of products , all finished , so had to manage with coffee only and it was the best.

Headed back to our Hotel Harasar Haveli , day had been very tiring and it was not the rest time , next day was going to be more hectic as our journey to Mandawa was going to start straight after finishing our sight seeing.





Tuesday, 8 October 2013

clock tower Jodhpur | A place not to be missed

I was in some last hours of my Jodhpur trip , next morning i was going to leave for Bikaner . Nothing much was left in Jodhpur now for me to see , though i would say still i left some attractions i wanted to explore , but i have kept them for my next trip to Jodhpur.

These last hours i was going to spend in the Old Bazaar area of Jodhpur , which is built around the Clock Tower , which i can say is the land mark of that area.

[caption id="attachment_959" align="alignnone" width="678"]clock tower of Jodhpur clock tower of Jodhpur[/caption]

I have seen Clock towers before also , infact in Delhi also i have seen but so far this was the most well maintained , and accurate which was a surprise as it was showing the exact time.

[caption id="attachment_960" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Old Haat Bazaar surrounding clock tower Old Haat Bazaar surrounding clock tower[/caption]

clock tower is standing in middle of the old City bazaar or "Old Haat Bazaar" of Jodhpur . Though previously this place was made as the rooms for Elephants , in previous times elephants used to live in these big halls but later on according to the need they were shifted to some other places , and halls were divided in small shops , which are still owned by the people who are working their from that time , now maintained by their lineage.

This Old Bazaar or Sadar Market retains a traditional village bazaar feel. It's chaotic and colorful, and sells almost everything (including handicrafts, spices, saris and fabric). If you feel uncomfortable in crowds, you might prefer to take a walking tour rather than explore the market area yourself, as the congestion can be overwhelming.

I was unaware when i had spent two hours there , just roaming on the streets and clicking pictures. Sun was down and i could see the Mehrangarh fort lighted up from their , as this clock tower of Jodhpur is just below the Mehrangarh fort.

[caption id="attachment_961" align="alignnone" width="678"]vibrant clock tower in Night vibrant clock tower in Night[/caption]

Suddenly this sight of clock tower was in front of me. clock tower was lighting , colours of the dial area kept on changing. Wish i could have gone upstairs , but i was late and didnt got the permission to go upstairs , though only upto 1st floor is allowed.

I had read it right before leaving for Jodhpur , that without a visit to Clock tower of Jodhpur and the old haat bazaar , a trip to Jodhpur is incomplete.


Monday, 7 October 2013

Parrots | What a lovely creation of God | A Photo Essay of Parrots and Qutub Minar

Watching a Parrot in front my balcony and not able to click his beauty would lead me to a place where i would find parrots and parrots and more and more and that place was Qutub Minar in New Delhi.

I have been there before also and i knew that i would find the best clicks of parrot there only. Left early in the morning at 6.00 Am in the morning and it was after a long time when was getting up so early.

I just went for the look out , though in between i was clicking the pictures of the historical monument , Qutub Minar and its complex which one of the the most visited tourist destination in India.

[caption id="attachment_933" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Qutub Minar Qutub Minar[/caption]

Tallest minar in India, originally an ancient Islamic Monument, inscribed with Arabic inscriptions, though the iron pillar has some Brahmi inscriptions,and is a UNESCO world Heritage site.The Qutub Minar is made of red sandstone and marble. The tower has 379 stairs,is 72.5 metres (237.8 ft) high, and has a base diameter of 14.3 metres, which narrows to 2.7 metres at the top storey. Construction was started in 1192 by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak and was completed by Iltutmish. It is surrounded by several other ancient and medieval structures and ruins, collectively known as the Qutub Complex.

[caption id="attachment_934" align="alignnone" width="678"]Sandersons Sun Dial and Qutub minar in background Sandersons Sun Dial and Qutub minar in background[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_935" align="alignnone" width="678"]Iron Pillar at Qutub Minar Iron Pillar at Qutub Minar[/caption]

According to the local folklore, anyone who can encircle the Iron Pillar with their arms, with their back towards it, can have their wish granted.

The authorities had to build a fence around the Pillar to prevent damages to the column due to the corrosive qualities of sweat – Sticky backs in the hot Delhi summers







[caption id="attachment_939" align="alignnone" width="678"]some Beautiful click of Qutub complex some Beautiful click of Qutub complex[/caption]

Some of the clicks of the Qutub Complex which defines on their own their discription.

Now was the time to click for which i was here , Parrots. And in these structures there were plenty of Parrots , early morning and they were fresh and with full of activitites , and i was loving it.

[caption id="attachment_940" align="alignnone" width="1024"]First parrot which i found. First parrot which i found.[/caption]

Then i was onto a specific parrot who was rubbing himself and was playing with his feathers. This was going to be my best shot i knew , i set my camera on Manual mode did the need full setting and put it on Continuous click.




parrot 2



parrot 3



parrot 4



These were some of his playfull mood pics , but it was not over here , i was waiting for my best and he also wanted me to have my best click of the day. Suddenly he changed his position and his tail was on my side , didnt knew why he was changing his position. But then he gave me my best click.


[caption id="attachment_945" align="alignnone" width="1024"]My best shot of the day My best shot of the day[/caption]


I was overjoyed after seeing this shot , this is what i had came here today.

An amazing 2 hr spent , sacrifice of good tight sleep atlast paid me with the best and rest of day was all happy happy , just watching this picture. Already gone for printing and very soon would be in a frame.

Waiting for my next best shot now.




Sunday, 6 October 2013

Jaswant Thada | Cenotaphs of Royal rulers of Jodhpur | An Achitecturel Beauty

Just a walk away from Mehrangarh fort , Jaswant thada is the royal cremation place of Jodhpur rulers. Built with white marble and that too , so thin sheets of white marble are used in making ,that they were carved and moulded in the shapes.

[caption id="attachment_921" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Jaswant Thada Jaswant Thada[/caption]

Inside the main tomb of the Jaswant Thada , Cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh has been placed , on whose commemoration Jaswant Thada was built by his son Maharaja Sardar Singh.

[caption id="attachment_922" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Cenotaphs Cenotaphs[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_923" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Royal Cenotaphs Royal Cenotaphs[/caption]

Around the main tomb , Royal cenotaphs of other royal family members have been made. After its completion in 19th century this place has been declared as the Cremation place for the royal family of Jodhpur.

[caption id="attachment_924" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Beautiful view of Jodhpur from Jaswant Thada Beautiful view of Jodhpur from Jaswant Thada[/caption]

Jaswant Thada have some nice views from the terrace in front of the cenotaph.To visit the Jaswant Thada one have to go through the rocky hills. This also lends a mystic aura to the whole visit. Do make sure to visit this architectural delight while on a tour to Jodhpur, Rajasthan.



Friday, 4 October 2013

Skywatch friday , Sultanpur Lake bird Sanctuary... Photo Essay

Day was 2nd October and it was the National holiday and like everyone for me it was also the best day to go out with family and spend some nice time. Tried to jot down some places and in the end my Niece had left me for two options. First was the Delhi Zoo where she had been before also and second one was Sultanpur lake bird sanctuary.

Second option was best suited for all of us as nobody had been their and it was the best day to explore something new.

My Mahindra Quanto was ready for its long drive , Sultanpur Lake Bird Sanctuary in Gurgaon district of Haryana state was just some 40 Kms away from our home and it was going to take only an hour or so and succesfully we had reached there in some 1hr 15min time and thank god weather was amazing.

As we reached there , we got our first surprise , it was Forest week and for one week it was going to be free entry , except on tuesday the day on which this sanctuary is closed.

[caption id="attachment_898" align="alignnone" width="920"]On the way to reach the best point On the way to reach the best point[/caption]

This year it had been a very high rainfall in the North region of India , thanks to that it was lush green and the Lake was full.

[caption id="attachment_899" align="alignnone" width="678"]Almost to the nearest point to have the first view of birds Almost to the nearest point to have the first view of birds[/caption]

Just a minute walk away and i was almost to the best possible point from where i could see the best view of birds, though from the entry gate i had already walked some 10min but in a sanctuary it is obvious.

[caption id="attachment_900" align="alignnone" width="1024"]My first view of the stock of birds My first view of the stock of birds[/caption]

Very soon i had realised here that my new Nikon 55-300 mm telephoto zoom lens was not going to be sufficient here. I needed one bigger one , and suddenly something was into my wish list. Though i was trying my level best to capture best pics.

[caption id="attachment_901" align="alignnone" width="1024"]White Breasted storks White Breasted storks[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_902" align="alignnone" width="1024"]White Breasted storks White Breasted storks[/caption]

At the starting these White breasted stork were quite camera shy but later on they decided to give a good click of them.

[caption id="attachment_903" align="alignnone" width="974"]Best shot of mine Best shot of mine[/caption]

This shot of mine was the best shot of whole lot of some 300 odd pictures. Surely this picture is going to be framed.

[caption id="attachment_904" align="alignnone" width="768"]Second best shot of mine Second best shot of mine[/caption]

This bird was sitting very calm but suddenly dont know what she decided and flew , but she gave me this marvelous click, though a bit blurred but it has got its beauty.

[caption id="attachment_905" align="alignnone" width="1024"]I follwed her and got her this look I follwed her and got her this look[/caption]

But my camera was following her and found her sitting just on the next tree.

And below that tree some more lovely birds were waiting for me.

Now it was the time for me to take test of mine and try to capture a flying bird , now it was actual test of my zoom lens and how i follow the birds wind. Beautiful sky was waiting for the shots.





[caption id="attachment_915" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Series of clicks of a  bird going from up Series of clicks of a bird going from up[/caption]

Our fantastic visit to Sultanpur lake bird sanctuary was going to end and each of us were hungry so it was the time to go to nearby Pelican Restaurant of Haryana Government , though i would seriously point out this thing that there service was on snail pace so try to avoid and take your packed food. Though it is not allowed to take food inside , but in the outer lawn just adjacent to ticket counter one can have their food , many families were enjoying there picnic there.

One of the best holidays spent with the family.