This is my “First Attempt” to share some Pravachan on Things to do and not to do on a Road trip! I feel its quite essential to have some background knowledge about the place you are going before packing your bags for the same. But more so I wish I had read someone else’s blog before and got to know the place a bit better before I went on for this..But nevertheless, there is some learning which i would like to share:
So when you are planning to go for any Road trip the below mentioned points are some imperatives that need to be followed:
1.Make sure that the people you are travelling with are the ones you absolutely want to have fun with ! Its good to be with people who share the same mindology with you..so that you can avoid any upcoming arguments.Don’t be too rigid about the plan… but don’t be too loose about it as well..Also, keep enough time for an unforeseen adventure that you would like , if it happened with you. In a Road trip, each individual person has his own individual contribution and IS a crucial element throughout the trip. So its important to be with a trusted gang, since a person can make or break your day.
2. Have odd departure times to Avoid traffic. So leaving at midnight or early at 4 in the morning will save a lot of time!
3.Don’t underestimate your budget. Be realistic. Its always good to research as to where you want to save and where you want to splurge.
4. Keep aside, both Money and Time ,or anticipate rather, for oil change, roadside attractions, Instant Urges, occasional mid of the night Tolls, Unworthy Ticket fares and entrance fees, and other surprises and shocks.
5. (If you are a foodie, and get lucky) You will be tempted to hog like anything possibly, thanks to the break that you are enjoying, but sleeping post meals will cause you some serious scenery and excitement loss. So in case you know what you will be visiting, try adjusting your meal portions .
6. Don’t drive a crappy car! Its going to be your life for the upcoming 10 days and will form part of a memorable past when you would definitely like to look back! But Open Air Vintage Cars are not recommended since it is Chilly Cold at night and Burning Hot in the Afternoon.
7. Lose that GPS!
8. Do some Karaokeee, Enjoy the Caarnamee!
9. A fabulous DSLR or professional camera contributes to a most fabulous flashback and something that should not be missed ! The place is worth a million dollars and you wont like your phone camera to ruin some hell of photos.
10. “DON’T ” book a place in advance in case you are going during peak seasons to travel and you are an adventurist and cost is not a problem. (Highly recommended :P)The fun of looking for a prospective hotel was an experience and taught me the Real Value of My Home.
11. DRIVER ADVICE:Take along a GOOOD DRIVER! Reasons for the same:
a. In case you are getting late, he will be your only trusted saviour.
b. In case you are carrying a lot of luggage,his management skills will fit everything neatly in 5 mins. EVERY TIME.
c. The drivers usually have some kind of community in India, where every driver catches up on with their stranger counterpart at any random restaurant during lunch/ dinner , and takes in all the gyaan about the shortest routes and quickest getaways. They might also recommend you which heritage sites to visit and which ones to avoid.You can research and shortlist their recommendations.Where as even he gets to learn and accumulate knowledge. And is a good opportunity to gain friends and socialize.LEARNING FOR BOTH IN SHORT. In case he has been to the place before, even better for you. Just treat him like a family member and he will become a part of your family for all the upcoming trips.
12. This trip made me blissfully aware that I had probably used all my senses at the same time after a long long time. Time to feel grateful.
13. Take as much snacks as possible from the place of source to munch on the way. You never know where you might get lost in the middle of nowhere.Also you can never tell when you could get hungry or some random unavoidable circumstances might crop up.For eg: There are not many proper restaurants on the highway to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur..You may fall prey to an enticing wrong route, or occasionally not like something you ate for lunch.
Having food backup reduces your “break” time . So break time involves all the time to find a Good hotel, place an order, and Waiting Time which, if saved can increase your fruitful travelling and exploring time.2 hours saved on break at a hotel place could get you sightseeing an entire fort.
14. Start early. (Something I could not manage, which cost me a lot though..) The forts usually open by 9.30 and stay open till 5.30- 6.00 P.M. Say you start late by 12 noon. You visit a fort which takes 2-3 hours. So you are delayed by 1.5 hours for lunch. If you go for lunch by 3.30, its evening in half an hour. You travel to say some monument which is 2 hours drive from the place you are at. You reach by say 6. And the monument is closed by 5.30 so you get to visit the same place the next day, which is a sheer waste.
SOME FEASTS DURING THE TRAVEL:
- Rang birangi SWAG Trucks having Horn Ok Please and Witty English one liners written in Hindi on the back of trucks.
- Millions of tyres! From 2 wheeler to 20 wheelers, we saw it all.. Classic Highway scenes.
- The congregation of camels gathered in the hometown of Jaisalmer, where the pastoralists gather on a dusty plain, sip masala chai around the campfire and smoke chillum. Photographer’s heaven.
4. The unique dressing sense- all decked up in White, jewelled earings, grand moustaches, and of course the most colorful turbans!
5. Shopping markets are a delight! One of them known as Ghanta Garh at Jodhpur which is a long clock tower which is famous for clothes and spices. Clothes are like Bombay types but spices are fab! And so are the Chandeliers
6. Rajasthan also is a hub for manufacture of colourful lamps and chandliers hung on the top of poles and chamkaoing and giving a rich heritage feel to any place.There happen to be many factories which manufacture these , situated on the outskirts of the city.We happened to visit Kohinoor Wood and Glass factories at Jodhpur which was a sight to watch.Costly goods but hospitable people.
7. Each of the heritage fort has impenetrable walls and its own classy exquisite charm. If forts were a Man’s Royal Pride, Gardens depicted the Exquisite Unique beauty in which each Royal Princess stayed. A short description below:
a . Protected from the rest of the world, Disguised and Grand on Revellation –Kumbalgarh. Plus its got its own unique history. (Follow upcoming blogs)
b. Proud in the history of Rana Udai Singh – City Palace – Udaipur
c. The Oldest Inhabited (Overcrowded) fort , also known for its Yellow Stone – Sonar Kila (Jaisalmer Fort)
d. Humble and Grand – Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur)
e. Lavish and Artistic – Umaid Bhavan (Jodhpur)
f. Mysterious , Historical and Picturesque- Chittaur Durg
8.Lavish and Artistic Gardens- Saheliyon ki Baari
9. Unique Wall art throughout Rajasthan – Be it on the walls of the forts or the colonies or mud walls in the deserts.
10. Temple of Rats ( Must visit for an experience )
11. Pokhran is around Jaisalmer. So is the Jaisalmer Army Museum. ( Another must visit for a History freak.Jaisalmer Army Museum is like the Bible for history lovers who dont know anything about all the wars India has fought till date)
12. Bhangarh bhi hai Bhai ( Did not have the guts to go IN this time, so maybe next time)
13. Merchant ka Havelis – Jaisalmer
14. You will find some rather interesting things outside the Jaisalmer fort..It is said that these sheets are especially given to newly married couples. Quite modern happenings just outside a traditional fort.
Wait for more.
- Jouhar Sthall – The place in Chittaur, where Jouhar had been committed by the Royal Queen and the village ladies. Its an act of great courage but it can make you a bit depressed. The 1st photo shows the actual place where Jouhar was committed. The square well was found filled with ashes and leftover bones of the ladies, when the Government started efforts to preserve the monuments. Thus for general safety and maintainance, the well was covered and transformed into a garden to commemorate the place, as shown in the 2nd photo. The 3rd photo shows the actual place from where the ladies jumped into the flames of fire.
2. Handprints of women who had committed Sati on the fort walls. Even tour guides glorified them.All this is the “Real Deal” and is seen on the fort walls.
3. Jaisalmer City was disappointing because of its untidiness. Though it is hugely famous across the world with a wide footfall, fame is not come clean. Infrastructure + governance strictly required.
4. There was this Past Stories which were told by a local jeweler, who mentioned that Jaisalmer looked like a small town in Europe some years back since it was so popular amongst the foreigners.Surrounded by foreigners throughout the cold season, spotting Indians was a competition.The locals felt as if they are stayed abroad.The conditions have been reversed in the Current times.Locals have become greedy and foreigners, easy targets.
5. Camels are known as the King of the Desert, but there are no motiffs which show the importance of Camels since ancient times. Artefacts, keychains, wall paintings, textiles very proudly show Hathis, Ghodas and Palkis but none show any interest in the Good Ol’ Camel. A logic to this could be that since Maharajas, merchants and people of the upper caste used to travel in Hathis and Ghodas, both were showcased undoubtedly. But if Dalits used Camels to travel, and Dalits as on today still remain to be ignored under the guise of “Untouchables & Unmentioned” type of castes, then it is highly probable that everything in connection with the lower caste is highly invisible to the modern man’s eye.
6. Also the future looks uncertain for a common herdsmen and agriculturist in Jaisalmer.
7. There are no adequate board signs on the roadways for directions or distances. Its insufficient or just not there. Unlike Gujarat.
I wish I had visited this one place which is highly popular and bizarre.There is a Bullet temple at Pali where a Bullet Bike is worshiped in the form of a deity. Also there is this famous block printing place at Barmer where dyes are made and used for exclusive fabric making by the entire town
Now lets get to the most obvious part- The ACTUAL KHAZANA
Rajasthan treated me with a lot of food items which I had merely heard of and was dying to taste. But this trip was the perfect opportunity to explore all those unknown things.Since the terrain is difficult to survive in, water has been pretty scarce over a period of time and not all crops could be grown on such barren lands. Thus people preferred preparing high nutritional value foods, which could be stored for a long time,and required minimum water and vegetables, and also did not require re heating, because of the high temperatures.I noticed a lot of dairy products which were used in the cuisine like Butter milk( Chaas), Milk,Dahi and other milk products. Bajra and Jowar ki roti is cultivated and beans from Sangri and kaer are grown locally.Curries appear to be Blood red (due to the famous chillies grown here) and hot, but they aren’t that spicy. Chutneys and spices are sold which happen to be of a very premium quality. Recommended Spice Shopping 😛 Some mouth watering dishes I had the extreme pleasure of eating:
1. Daal Baati Churma – (Now I get the reason for being so famous)
2. Gatte ki Sabzi
3. Yellow Kadi (My hot favourite! )
4. Kaer Sangri
5. Makki ki Roti
6. Sarson ka Saag
7. Sookhi Roti ki Subzi
8. Kachri ki Chutney
9. Lassi and Chaas ityadi
11. Mawa Mishri
12. Suji Ladooo
13. Pyaaz ki Kachori
Ghar Waapsi : By the time you return 10 days later, you would have been so enchanted by the stories , folklore and experience you have gained that YOU WOULD DEFINITELY not want to come back! And even if you do,(which you would have to), you are sure to go back wanting for more!