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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Jodhpur Diaries | Sardar Market | Part 1

Jodhpur Jinks:

I have been planning for weekend trip to Jodhpur for long. Luckily this time around my friend Nikhil and Pooja agreed to accompany me and my wife,so we were ready to hit the road (in our case rail). In India if train journey is required then the first prerequisite is to book the tickets well in advance. Population itni hai ki train ka tickets milta hi nahi. Thankfully advance booking of one month ensured that we got confirmed tickets. But then as they say there is always a slip between a cup and the lip, toh mere bhi hoto per jaam aate aate jhalak Gaya.... 3 days before the trip, 
Jodhpur jinks ka kala jadoo chal gaya,
Aur maine viral fever se bister  pakad liya. 

I cancelled my tickets! Trip cancelled !

However after cancelling the tickets, I started to feel the pangs of missing out my trip,I couldn't sleep the whole night and next day no sooner when I felt better.I again booked my tickets, this time around I got wait listed tickets and waiting no 84!, Per kahte hai na.....Agar kisi cheez ko shidat se chaaho toh puri Qayanat usey tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jati Hai.

Well on the day of the departure  my tickets got confirmed miraculously  and I was on my way to Jodhpur.

Jodhpur here I come !!

I love train journeys, Sitting at the window, watching the rivers, creeks, bridges, houses, green fields,trees,mountains pass by are the most cherished moments for me.It was raining very heavily so the scenery outside the window was all the more mesmerising.

Lush greenery due to monsoon

Most often I hardly sleep a wink when I am traveling because I love to get down on stations especially late at night, with the sound of tea seller calling out chaiii, and you can actually enjoy drinking tea on a deserted station.

Trains and Rains

After the overnight journey we reached Jodhpur at 6:30 in the morning. My excitement knew no bounds. I was standing at the door of the train to have the first glimpse of Jodhpur and slowly our train glided on the Jodhpur station.

First glimpse of Jodhpur.

As soon as we got down at the Jodhpur station we got the taste of the Rajasthan by just looking at the station itself. The prominent clock tower , then the painting on the wall all spelt Rajasthan in bold letters.

Prominent Clock Tower at Jodhpur Station
Typical Rajasthani style Paintings
 on the station walls

As usual we took our mandatory group picture at the start point.Note the sleepy faces after all it was 6:45 am in the morning.

Yaaro Chehra toh doh lete

Being a backpackers we decided that we will walk to our hotel, which was around 2 KMS away from the station and another reason for walking was that we felt we will start exploring the city from close quarters. However after walking for over one and a half km , my wife started giving me ferocious looks so I thought its better that I hail an auto. The auto driver plundered Rs.40 from us for 2 minutes ride. Loot lo tourist hai was written all over us.

Loot lo tourist hai was written all over us.

Our hotel was a Haveli, ab feel aana mangta hai na bhai ki hum Rajasthan me hai. Our Haveli was 3 storied Haveli with a huge verandah in the center of the Haveli, which housed the restaurant of the hotel. 

Our hotel is an old Haveli

Kisi ne sach me kaha hai sokh badi cheez hai, So time for some enjoying haveli life. We checked into our rooms got freshened up and marched out of the hotel to explore the town.

Time to enjoy Haveli life

Jodhpur, especially the main city centre has this typical small town ambiance viz. narrow lanes, with shops flanked on both sides of these narrow streets,scooters and autos screaming past you without a care in the world. We walked our way from the hotel to Sardar market our first destination for the day. A mere walk of 15 mins from Merti Gate and we were standing at the Sardar market gate.

Sardar Market Gate

Coming out from the lane on our right side we saw this gigantic Sardar Market gate and just across the road we couldn't miss reading out Shahi Samosa board so with hunger pangs clinging to us we felt it better to raid the samosas.

Shahi Samosa Shop on the right

Samosa were indeed jumbo in size, the filling was so delicious that it's beyond words to be described. In fact when we asked for chatni with Samosa, the shopkeeper smiled and said Aap Samosa khaker toh dekho aap ko samajh jayega ki chatni ki koi zaroorat nahi...and indeed those words were too true. Next we hogged on local delicacy of Mirchi wada followed by the ever famous pyaz kachori.Ab papi pet shant , we moved forward towards the Sardar market gate from the Nai sarak side  road.

Top view of Sardar Market from Nai Sarak Side

This gate is known as Girdikot, which means crowded gate. True to its name the gate is surrounded by small shops with tea seller on one side, lined up next to him is a shoe and saree shops, actually opposite the Sardar gate lies Nai sarak which is a kind of popular local market for the natives. Major attraction on Nai sarak road was series of shoe stores selling mojadis, leather bag, local handicrafts and dresses.

Riots of Colours

 As soon as we enter the Sardar market, we are confronted by a huge clock tower in the center of this market.This clock tower was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh.  This area is also popularly known as Ghanta Ghar.

Ghanta Ghar

Sardar market I was told is one of the noisiest place is Jodhpur. It has shops flanked on both sides and numerous hawkers vending their wares keep roaming around the premises. 

vendors vending their wares

If you ask me Sardar market epitomize a true market place of a small town with the array of colors displayed through jingling jodhpuri Bangles,gunny bags of colours, mounds of spices like turmeric powder, chilli powder, multicolored fruits and of course the famous colourful bandini sarees.

Colour Festival

As a traveler  you stand dazed for a few minutes, among all this noise, chaos and colour festival.that you have to find your moorings.Am I in a real world !! There is so much available for shopping in this Sardar Market that one should dedicated atleast a day for exploring different shops and restaurants. We had time constraint during this visit,but next time I am definitely going to spend an entire day here.  

Standing in the market we could see the majestic Mehrangadh fort in the background.

We clicked few pictures and came out from the back gate of Sardar Market and took left to move to our next destination that was Toorji Ka Jhalra . In my next blog I will take to the mystical world of Toorji ka Jhalra ( Click on the link here, to read the next part)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bhivgad aka Bheemgad Trek | Weekend Wanderer

Monsoons were at its best, lashing rains and cool temperature was making it all the more compelling for me to break the shackles of my heel spur and head towards the mountains.So the next thing I did was I called my Doctor and asked Hey Doc can I go for a trek?. As I was talking on the phone so I couldn't see her expressions but I promise you she must have said "Arre Pagal hai kya" but as she is a professional so she coolly told me the precautions to take and not to forget the icing on the feets,( My wife who was standing near me said "Aap ko Doctor ne bola hai itni barish me pain ke sath trekking per jane ko" and I was like "Arre Doctor ne hi bola hai" and I gave her an impish smile.

Sunday morning and I was off on my trek. It was raining cats and dogs I somehow managed to reached Andheri Station.I boarded the train bound to Dadar from where I changed to Kajat local.We were 5 people altogether. It was 9.00 am when we reached Karjat Station. As I was not aware of the route so after getting down from the train I kept asking people as to on which side is Shri Ram Pul aka famous Karjat bridge. 

Morning walk through the streets to
 Sri Ram Pul

A little walk of 5 minutes and we were on course and reached the Shri Ram pul and there we inquired about the auto going to Vadap.

 There was this 3 seater auto rickshaws which we took for 100 Rs and it was 5 of us in it! Nikhil and myself were sitting along the Auto driver hanging on to our life and at each bump on the road we were like "Beta ab toh pakka bahar gire " but the regular trekking and travelling to remote villages have got us used to such perilous conditions. Infact I burst out laughing when Shradda asked will the auto be stable with 5 people in it. Actually wanted to tell her "Behna yeh toh ab roz ki zindagi ho gayi hai"

Vadap is hardly 5 kms away from station so in about 15 minutes drive we reached the base village Vadap.As soon as we got down from the auto it began to drizzle, so we quickly stole a moment and took a group picture. Kya Hai na roll call ho jata Hai ....kitne aadmi the, ab photo se pata to chalega kitne Gaye the aur return photo me kitne wapas aaye...chodo yaar yeh mera logic. Chalo ab aage badte Hai.

Morning Roll Call

We started our trek from this sign board and walking through the village we come out into open and see a 70 mm screen filled with lush greenery and a Gigantic waterfall I was simply zapped at seeing such a beautiful sight.

70 mm view of Greenery with Waterfall

We kept walking towards the col on the mountain keeping the waterfall on our right. As we kept walking we could see the dark cloud formation behind us as if gearing to ambush us with flash rains.

Clouds gearing for ambush

In the meantime breaking news yeh thi ki Shraddha madam ki shoes ki sole nikal gayi and her expression was saying it all..yeh lo! itne saalo( by the way saalo means years here, Saalo....not the swear word,😂😂) baad trek per aayi hu aur mere shoes ki Tay Tay phiss.

Who cares Juta toot gaya...
Boss her situation per ek selfie toh banta hai

Thankfully Rajesh was carrying an extra pairs so the day was saved and we moved on. The trek is quite easy because one can see the top. There is this saffron flag fluttering on the top . One  should  try to reach the col in the mountain.As the height of Bhivgad fort is hardly 600 feets so we reached the col very quickly. Upon reaching the col . You'll see  a signboard with directions marked for Dhak and Bhivgad. If you take left from here you go to Bhivgad and the right from here takes you to Dhak ,  Thanks to Durgveer Pratisthan who had put up this signboard which gives direction for both the places.

From here we did take left and started to walk up to the rocky patch,but little climb and we realized that it's a wrong trail because there was a dead end .So Nikhil and myself we came down and started afresh from the sign board

Wrong Climb

we now took left and started moving down to the path that we saw going down on left. However as we were going the path was  descending instead of ascending, I felt it was time to stop and take a stock of situation, so we all sat on the rocks for a while.

Life on the rocks !!!

 Sometimes these kind of break are extremely refreshing because as we sat here on the rocks, absorbing the beauty of the green grass laden mountains dipped in the shrouds of clouds with series of  waterfall, I felt it was one of the most enthralling moment of my life.

The most enthralling moment of my life.

Just as we were idling on the rocks we saw a villager who was passing by, he directed us that we have to climb from that rock patch, but more like circumventing from right side rather climb straight up. So we did that accordingly, and simultaneously at the same time few village kids too came along  with whom we climbed on this rock patch and reached next level where the green carpet again confronted us. 
Life on natural green carpet

Standing at the this point we saw paved muddy trail and walking on that we reached the first plateau.

Running to reach the first plateau

Seeing this huge plateau with so much greenery, we realise that as city creatures how much we are losing out on abundance of the nature. 

Nature is more glorious
when you enjoy it with the village kid

As we were clicking the pictures we saw few people coming from the top , we later came to know that they had started there trek from other side i.e  Gaurkamat village . They were ladies trekkers from Ambernath. We shared few pleasantries with them and started to climb from this plateau to the topmost point. 

Preparing to go to the top

The top has very little remains of early era. Secondly there is no shelter on the top so you are almost exposed to sun.

Few remnants of past

 Then there are 2 water tanks where we squatted rested for a while.I was told that the water is potable here , but I wont advise you to drink. Please carry your water with you.

Due to overcast conditions the view from the top was very mesmerising, 

Watery silver sheets on farming fields

Looking at the fields drenched with the silver sheet of water was out of the world kind of experience.Hence we thought why not to have lunch on this natural viewing deck.

Lunch at natural viewing deck

It was here we met Swapnil with whom I had trekked few times earlier, it was a pleasure to connect with him and the team of trekkers who were accompanying him. See mountains are such a lovely place to connect with people you know only through FB😂

Me and the mountains .....
The love affairs continues

We spent some time on the top exploring the top and enjoyed the pleasure of the shayadris.

 Getting down was not much of a bother,running down this green trail was so enjoyable infact the heart was singing  "Aaj phir jeene ki tammana Hai aaj fir Marne ka iraada",  we quickly came down and made our way to the waterfall.

And just like like Jill of Jack and Jill
the weekend wanderer came tumbling town

Ab monsoon me trek per aaye hai  toh thode waterfall ke majje to bante Hai....kyo ki agar nahi Gaye uske pass toh woh bura man jayega ðŸ˜

Chal Yaar Chill Maar !!

So instead of going straight down to the vadap village we diverted our path to left towards the waterfall and in 5-10 minutes we were savouring the natural distilled water.

naturally distilled water shower

We spent some good time here clicking pictures and soon made our way down so as to catch our train back home. 

Zindagi ek safar hai suhana

Upon reaching the village we hailed a passing tumtum which dropped us near the karjat station, from where we took the train to CST.

✔️How to reach:

✴️ One needs to reach Karjat station.
✴️  Take Auto from Sri Ram pul to Vadap
✴️  Start your trek from Vadap village and it should take you   maximum one hour to reach the top
✴️  Alternatively one can go further one km to Gaurkamat village and start the trek from mountain trunk.

Trekker Tips

✴️   Nothing is available on the top so carry your food with you
✴️  There is no shelter on the top.
✴️  It should take you max 30-40 minutes to explore the top.

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