After the Jaisalmer Desert Festival & Trekking Expedition, we left the base camp late night after the last Group Dinner at 9.00 pm. We had to catch the train to Jodhpur (Pre-booked), which reached at Dawn. We had already booked Hotel Govind (Rs. 850), which was at 5 minutes distance from Railway Station. Instead of walking, we took an auto (Rs. 30) to drop us at the Hotel. After resting for 2 hours, and breakfast, we left for Sightseeing. We hired an auto (Rs. 600).
Umaid Bhavan Palace (Entry Ticket: 30): I was awestruck at the magnanimous structure, only part open was the Museum. The museum had housed antiques, painting, artifacts etc. It is almost 75 years old and named after Maharaja Umaid Singh who crushed the Foundation’s ground. Built from Golden Yellow Sandstone, which was sourced from nearby Chittar hill, hence it is also called as Chittar Palace. Part of this Palace is managed by Taj Hotels.
I loved the different types of exquisite wall clocks in the Museum. Opposite to Palace, there was a Glass enclosure, housing all kind of classic vintage cars, another favorite of mine.
It took almost 45 minutes to scan across the Palace. Next stop, was Jaswant Thada Memorial (Ticket: 40), another beautiful White Marble Structure, closer to Mehrangarh Fort.
It is a Cenotaph, built by Mahraja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur in 1899 in memory of his father Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. There are various paintings & portraits of Jodhpur Rulers inside. This memorial has a Temple like architecture.
There is a Lake next to JTM, where many migratory birds could be seen. While photographing some, we came across a Gentleman, who seemed like a Ornithologist, made us familiar with some of the species. There are some smaller cenotaphs around and well maintained Garden.
After 20 minutes of Tour, we left for Mehrangarh Fort (Ticket: 110, inclusive of Camera), which we saw while approaching to JTM.
The Fort is perched on top of a hill and can be viewed from the distance. We left auto at the Gate, who assured us that he would pick us up after 2.5 hours.There were proper markings to guide us through museum and other parts of the fort. It did take us almost 2.5 hours.
Mehrangarh is one of the largest Fort in India. This enormous Fort was built by Rao Jodha in 1438. Major part of the Fort is now converted into a Museum, which houses relics and ancient artefacts belonging to the Royal families of Rajasthan and Mughal Dynasty. There is a vast collection of Paintings, Costumes, Arms etc. We saw some musicians playing traditional folk songs at the entrance of the fort.
While exiting the Museum, there are souvenir shops and vendors selling some spices, which is sold in cloth bags. I bought some pickles. We had our lunch in the Café inside the fort. We had time till evening. Before going to Mehrangarh, we went to Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park. The guide suggested that the best time to visit was early morning or evening. Hence, we went for Mehrangarh.
We were free by 3.00 pm. Going back to city and coming back to Park would have been wastage of time. Hence, we went again to Rao Jodha Park (Ticket: 200). We shared our time constraint issue and asked the Guide to show us around. Our Guide – Densil was very informative about the habitat, desert ecosystem. The Rock Park was created in 2006 to restore the natural ecology of a large, rocky wasteland. The main purpose of the Park was to eradicate Baavlia (Prosopis juliflora), a thorny shrub from central america, which was introduced some century ago. It destroyed the indigenous species, hence to reverse the effect. After lots of hard work, they were able to introduce indigenous species slowly and eradicate Baavlia completely.
Explaining us the need for maintaining the Park and also how they are conserving and bringing back the species that are almost on verge of wipe-out from that particular area because of invasive Baavlia (Prosopis juliflora). Their purpose is simple, they intend to plant and grow only rock friendly, adaptable to harsh conditions kind of plants. We almost walked around the entire area following a marked trail, listening to the Guide. It was already 5.00 pm. We decided to go back to the city, asked the Auto driver to drop us at the central Bazaar, where the tall clock tower was present.
Next was Kumbalgarh!