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A rare three consecutive off-days in March made us decide to attend our colleague Sachin’s wedding in Udaipur. We started on the 4th – on this day I took my luggage to office as our train MEWAR EXPRESS was to depart from Nizamuddin Raailway station @ 19:00 hours.

After office, we hopped onto a bus in Greater Noida which took us to Sector 37, Noida Metro Station. The Metro ride was quite enjoyable and enroute we passed through touristy spots like Akshardham temple. At Indraprastha Park station we booked an auto which took us to Nizamuddin Railway station.
The train set off at its scheduled time. I was seated next to Chetan Agarwal who hailed from Rajasthan and had been to Udaipur on past occasions. Chetan apprised me that Udaipur is the cleanest city in Rajasthan and the numero uno tourist destination of the state. It borders Gujarat and has a sizeable Gujrati population. That Ahmedabad was in the vicinity and just 250 kms away – a mere four hours bus ride from Udaipur came as news to me. Chetan had brought rotis which made for an early supper for us. A treat were the kachoris we had at Kota around midnight which Chetan had been speaking off glowingly.
We reached early the next morning and was received by Sachin’s father at the station. He is a Professor in Rana Pratap Agricultural University. He revealed that he wanted his son to pursue a career in agricultural engineering which still has good job openings in the Govt. sector but the biker and thrill loving son opted for computer science instead. A thorough gentleman, he went out of the way to be extra hospitable to our large group of about twenty members. Our group included Dr. Parmanand, Dr. Ajay Shanker Singh, Dr. Radha Krishna Rambhola, Mr. Thiru with their families, Mr. Keshav with his wife, and myself and Chetan were the only ‘singles’ around …
We stayed at Rana Pratap Agricultural University (RNAU) Guest House. Breakfast and lunch were arranged at a farm like wedding house.

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Post breakfast, we went site seeing. Udaipur is named after Maharaja Udai Singh, father of Rana Pratap, the fearless Rajput warrior. Firstly we visited City Palace, and took a boat ride on Lake Pichola. The ride took us to Jag Mandir Palace where we spent quite some time soaking in the spectacular view of the City Palace beyond Pichola Lake. Recently the Bond movie OCTOPUSSY starring Roger Moore was shown on TV which was shot in Udaipur. I could identify the series of elephant statues at JagMandir vividly in the film.


After spending an hour or so at Jag Mandir we took the return boat ride. Thereafter we went around the city palace and had a cursory view of the surroundings. Since I have been to Umaid Bhawan and Mehrengar Fort in Jodhpur, I discovered similarities in these edifices and was reluctant to explore further.
Rana Pratap towers above everyone else in the city nicknamed Venice of the East. Murals of Rana Pratap adorn the city walls everywhere. Udaipur has good educational institutes and one of the IIM (Indian Institute of Management) is located in this city.
We returned and had a late lunch at 4 pm at Sachin’s wedding venue. Thereafter we returned to RNAU guest house to rest for a couple of hours.
The wedding was slated for 8 pm. We had to start from the guest house well in advance. We reached the venue just in time to see Sachin decked up in bridegroom finery seated atop a horse. Soon the procession started and we walked the lanes and bylanes of Udaipur for an hour or so before we reached our destination. Bands played popular Bollywood song, crackers were burst and photos galore were clicked. Dr. Ajay seized my mobile (his had run out of battery) & kept uploading pictures of the wedding instantly on our whatsapp Computing Science school group and many of our colleagues kept praising me while I was just a mute spectator.
The marriage was solemnised with rituals and exchange of garlands between the new couple. I had a light meal after a rather late lunch and ambled leisurely around with colleagues for a while. We returned to our guest house when it was getting nippy.
The following morning we discussed about the sites we could explore. Bhavnagar Fort, the second largest fort in the world, which houses a ‘great wall of china’ like structure within, was 80 kms from Udaipur. Paucity of time compelled us to discard the idea of visiting the fort as we had to catch the evening train bound for Delhi.
Nontheless we really made use of the remaining time at our disposal and visited spots in the vicinity. We saw Fateh Sagar, a beautiful lake where one can do boating, take camel rides etcetera. We had our breakfast at this place.


We also saw SAHELIYON KI BARI (Wonderful flowers at this garden) and watched a delectable puppet show at National Rural Art Meseum. We loved both. We took a quick tour of the market place and purchased a few momentoes. We grabbed a quick bite (a decent vegetarian meal at Annapurna Restaurant) as well before boarding the train.
We reached our homes the following morning. All in all this was quite an enjoyable 2-day trip. I wished my family could have been there too, sonny’s exam being the reason for their staying back.


Okay, I promise I’ll make another trip shortly to this beautiful town with my family this time around and make amends …

 

One fine morning over a weekend in June, we set out for Mussoorie from Faridabad in our car.  Very soon we found ourselves in Noida crossing HCL, LOGICTEX, NTPC & …. we filled gas, sorry petrol,  at a station in Noida, because the price of petrol  in the country  moves northwards with the altitude of the place…. we whizzed past  Indirapuram in  Ghaziabad and soon found ourselves in Mohannagar. A thirteen kilometer stretch along the NH-58 brought us to Muradnagar….continuing straight for 10 km on NH-58 brought us to Modinagar…after crossing Modinagar and before Meerut city we took left on to the Meerut bye pass to reach Khatauli…we stopped for a while and had breakfast at a dhaba….our next target was to reach Purkaji via Muzaffarnagar city…

@Dhaba

We were enjoying the drive when suddenly our driver pressed the brakes and our car went and rammed into the rear of a van filled with passengers, some of them hanging from the back…needless to say, our car bonnet went  asymmetric…an intrepid passenger complained of a leg injury…this culminated in our taking him to a local doc who prescribed ointments to tide over the mishap…he ruled out the possibility of a ‘fracture’…we continued on our journey and after crossing Roorkee soon reached Dehradun…we had a rather late lunch in Dehradun…

A distance of 30 kms separates Missouri from Dehradun…towards the end of this journey, the road ahead steeply rises upwards…@ Missouri, it was difficult to find a decent accommodation @ a decent price in the peak season over a weekend when the entire summer travelers of the capital seem to have descended on this town…

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The distance of Mussouri, an enchanting hill station in the state of Uttarkhand, from the National Capital is 281 kms…we checked into a hotel in the vicinity of Gandhi Chowk, the main hub of the town…this was just a 2-day trip, and so after resting for a while in the hotel, towards the evening we went to the Mall area of the town, and made a few purchases…

The following morning, we set off early to see Kempty Falls….one has to travel 13 kms downwards to reach a vantage view point…

on way to Kempty

on way to Kempty

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Kempty falls

view of the serpentine road

Thereafter, we went to Municipal Garden (also known as Company Garden), a good spot with artificial waterfalls, nurseries, boating, fun rides etc.

@company garden

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The weather of Mussourie changes rapidly, and towards the evening after a bright day, there was hailstorm, and the ‘best part’ was that we could get a glimpse of the snow-capped mountain from the terrace of our hotel after the downpour…we couldn’t make it to Gun Hill, a spot in Mussourie from where it was said one could have viewed the snow-capped peaks…

snow capped peak from terrace

The next day, we started on our return journey, and made a brief halt at Dehardun, and paid a visit to Forest Research Institute, an internationally renowned institution established in 1906 for conducting research and education in the fields of forestry and environmental sciences. We also sampled the renowned bakery of Dehradun by stopping @ Ellora Bakery, a well known shop in the city.

Forest Research Institute

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Late in the evening, we reached our abode.

Hawa Mahal

The capital city of Rajasthan offers two different faces to a visitor. While one has history and royalty written over it, the other is a city of industrious people eager to put it at par with the best metros of the country. The achievements of the art and architectures of the royals are showcased in City Palace or a museum in Amer Fort. The Amer Fort is quite spectacular and it was here that the royals used to spend their days meeting people and taking strategic decisions. Intricate designs of floral wall art are visible, and a small rectangular garden is housed within the fort. Nearby is another fort – Nahargarh, also known as Madhvendra Palace. This isn’t as grand as Amer, though one can get a spectacular view of Jaipur below from the windows of the rooms on the first floor. At some distance from this point, one need to go to Jaigorh fort which has preserved what it claims – the largest cannon in the world.

Ajmeri Gate

The city is named after Maharaja Jai Singh, and he and his illustrious progeny like Man Singh looms large on the city psyche.  Jaipur bears a striking similarity with Jodhpur in its touristy appeal – both has a spectacular fort (Amer in Jaipur, Mahrengarh in Jodhpur) and a dazzling palace (City Palace in Jaipur, Umaid Bhavan in Jodhpur), so for a tourist one can chose to visit any one of the two cities, and I guess one would have sampled the Rajasthani lifestyle – hardworking simplistic folks engaging in business, industrial  & agrarian  pursuits using animals (camels, cattles, elephants)  as helpers to survive (and how regally!) in this hot arid region.

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

In 1876 Jaipur was colored in terracotta pink to welcome Prince Albert, and thus the name “Pink City” was attached with the city. Jaipur is famous as largest exporter of gold, diamond and stone jewellery in Asia. It  has been ranked 31 among the 50 Emerging Global Outsourcing cities. Genpact and Infosys have their BPO already established and running successfully. In fact Genpact has the fastest growing location in Jaipur. Real Estate business is flourishing well from last 2–3 years. Some companies already present here include Bosch, Coca Cola, IBM, Ericsson and NEI, popularly known as NBC Bearings.

The distance by road from Faridabad to Jaipur is about 260kms. Enroute we touched a developing Manesar (or Greater Gurgaon?),  thereafter an industrial Rewari where bicycle and motorbike companies like Atlas and Harley Davidson operate from the place, before the rolling Neemrana hills announce that you have reached Rajasthan from Haryana. We took a break at Neemrana on the onward journey, while on the return journey we stopped at Behror which boasts of a Sagar Ratna (popular food chain).

The blossoms in the city are in abundance and similar to the National capital. The roads are well maintained, and the place is much less dusty in comparison to Faridabad. Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal & Jantar Mantar are some of the other attractions of the city.



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  • Subhajit Ghosh: Have been reading that he had 'left' leanings in some articles recently..
  • mystic wanderer: Well put. It's difficult to imagine the sacrifices of our freedom fighters. But can Netaji Subhash Ch. Bose be called a leftist? Nationalist perhaps
  • Subhajit Ghosh: Your wish has been granted, and look how! Even NDA possibly didn't dream of this huge victory. Let's hope they deliver, and take the nation forward.

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