D day arrived…. Me and my friend reached much before time at Borivali station and were anticipating train’s arrival but my other friend was yet to reach…. His cell phone was switched off and nobody from his family knew about his whereabouts…. Anxiety gripped us…. On one hand, our first ever trip seemed to end before it had actually begun whereas on the other hand, we were getting more worried about our friend’s well-being…. There was hustle – bustle of passengers onto the platform…. Whereas we were watching them aimlessly…. Our hearts were about to sink…. We were stuck in a dilemma – to board the train without our friend or to wait for him…. Negative, disturbing thoughts about my friend’s safety were clouding my mind…. And suddenly a loud siren pierced my ears and I could see the train pulling onto the platform….. We were losing our hope and suddenly we see a guy, running towards us with his luggage and signaling us to board the train…. He was none other than our friend…. I and my other friend were in worry-cum-panicky state whereas our late-comer friend was smiling widely…. As soon as he approached us, he uttered “There needs to be some adventure in a trip, so I reached late to bring that element“…. At that moment, wanted to whack his head but boarding the train was the need of the hour…. Frantically, we searched for our coach and managed to board the train just before it started…. Lucky we!!! After tugging our luggage beneath the seat, we cornered our late-comer friend as we were really pissed on him….. Our train was to be missed because of him…. But our anger soon vanished upon learning that he was kidding and was actually caught-up in heavy traffic…. All’s well that ends well…. Getting seated, we heaved a huge sigh of relief!!!….. Our first ever trip had begun, with a drama at the beginning itself…. I was now sure that the trip would be undoubtedly amazing & adventurous…. Yoohooo….
Itinerary for any trip is always preset…. But in our case, it wasn’t…. Yes, our tickets were booked, stay arrangements were done but no itinerary was chalked out…. It was to be planned during our journey…. As that would have not only level up the excitement quotient but also leave a room for improvisation in the itinerary till the last minute….Upon interaction with co-passengers, we learned about a haunted fort…. Hearing about its ghostly history, I was too scared to visit the fort…. But my friends were pretty excited about it….
The other afternoon, we reached Jaipur…. After resting for few hours in our hotel room, we went to explore nearby places in the evening…. Our hotel receptionist recommended us a place for dinner >>>> CHOKIDANI….
On our way to CHOKIDANI, we took a halt at JAL MAHAL…. A beautiful palace aka MAHAL built amidst a lake, surrounded by hills…. A mesmerizing, scenic view, with cool breeze flowing around…. Aah!!! a perfect place for a perfect evening…. Facility of boat ride was available to visit the centrally located palace but we weren’t keen for it…. All we were interested was getting ourselves clicked with the mesmerizing view of the palace in the backdrop…. Later, we gulped down few goll-gappas at a nearby stall…. I would rate goll-gappas as 4/10 compared to our Mumbai Pani-Puris which are no doubt 10/10….
CHOKIDANI…. A sort of theme park…. Its a built-up of a village – with huts, veranda (chawk), etc…. A hut had an old lady making hot and yummy makai ka paratha over choola, being served with lasoon ki chutni and jaggery…. A mouthwatering dish…. Whereas a veranda had a magician showing mysterious tricks which were too archaic but quite entertaining…. There was a wide open space, wherein kids were being entertained by a puppet show…. A nearby tree was surrounded by ladies staffs, who were applying henna to the customers…. Folk dance was being performed by beautiful lady dancers on a center stage….. Shops selling traditional outfits, bed sheets, bags, other articles etc were lined up around a corner… Golla wala out there reminded me of my school days…. For dinner, Rajasthani buffet was served…. Varieties of Rajasthani dishes which I had never ever heard of were presented in our plates…. My taste buds were thrilled on experiencing each and every food….. Uniqueness of the buffet served was the staff’s hospitality…. Hats off to the management…. A must visit for all tourists….
The other morning, we were all set to visit the haunted fort >>>>>BHANGARH FORT…. Locals had informed us that the fort had a princess named Rantavati who was the most prettiest…. A black magician had fallen for her…. He tried to trap her with one of his trick which backfired upon him, leading to his death…. While breathing his last, he spelled a curse on the entire fort, due to which everyone and everything was destroyed…. Left are the only scattered remnants of the fort…. It is believed that after the sun sets, spirits wander around…. Hence, nobody is allowed to stay back after 6pm within the fort premises & whoever stays back seems to never return alive….. This scared the hell out of me…. We immediately moved out after clicking few pics…. Though, I would never recommended anybody to visit Bhangarh fort but yes, if you have ample amount of time to kill then this fort is an option…. Enroute to hotel, we took a halt at Rathambore National park only to sadly learn that park was closed…. Utter disappointment…. The day which started with excitement, turned into scariness, followed by disappointment and abruptly ended with an argument…. Phew!!!!…. What a bad day….
After savoring over irresistible aloo ka parathas the other morning, we drove for almost two hours to visit our destination in line >>>> AJMER — the divine shrine…. A Dargah believed to fulfill one’s true wishes and it is said that people who visit Ajmer have their wishes being fulfilled…. While we were moving out from Ajmer, a fellow tourist asked us to visit a nearby Hindu pilgrimage >>>> PUSHKAR…. Pushkar is a lake and has many temples around and the most famous being Brahma temple…. One of the few temples of Lord Brahma…. It is said that Lord Brahma’s wife had cursed Pushkar to be the only place where Lord Brahma be worshiped…. Donot know the exact reason underlying the curse, but still inquisitive to know about it…. On our way back to our hotel, we stopped by a shopping place nearby HAWA MAHAL…. Beautiful collections of traditional wears like chaniya cholis, sarees, footwear like mojri, etc could be found…. Being a shopping freak, I had a handful of bags while walking out…. Damn!!! I always go over budget due to my shopping habits….
There came the third and the last day in Jaipur…. Rajashthan is well known for its forts…. So Jaipur being its capital city houses few historical forts like NARGARH, JAIGARH, AMBER FORT etc…. Though I donot recollect much about Nargarh and Jaigarh fort as both the forts appeared quite similar to me…. But yes, I vividly remember two things about Nargarh fort…. First thing which amazed me was the fact that it was built by Maharaja Ram Singh for his 9 wives!!!…. And second is Hot pakodas served with chilled beer, a must have [Though I binged only on hot pakodas]…. A suggestion by my brother, which seemed to be worth an experience…. Also this fort gives a picturesque view of the city, especially during night…. Amber / Amer fort is my favorite one, basically because I gave ears to its history…. Rani Jodha (Akbar’s wife) was the princess of Amer fort / palace…. Most artistic & beautiful fort…. Was amazed by its strategic layout…. Fort had an in-house lake for its water supply….. Surrounded by huge boundaries, wherein soldiers must be getting a clear view of the enemies encroaching towards the palace…. It also had a passage which connected it to Jaigarh fort, basically a hide-out place during war break-out…. For sure, Amer fort tops my must visit list of Jaipur…. We had also been to JANTAR – MANTAR, a monument built by the then King…. It houses various instruments to identify time, position of sun, planets with the help of naked eye and formulae…. Quite an interesting monument…. Defined the intellectuality of the Kings during those times….
Finally our Jaipur trip was about to end…. During this trip, we three had our share of laugh, fight, love etc etc…. It brought all three of us close together…. We were leaving the place with heavy heart carrying too many, beautiful memories which are being cherished till date and would be cherished to the infinity….
At times, it becomes necessary to give ourselves a break from our routine life…. To allow ourselves for the “Me time”…. To spend leisure time with our loved ones…. Need not be an international or exotic location…. Merely a change of place like a day out to a nearby place can sometimes do the magic…. So move out, grab a cup of coffee and allow a lot to happen over it, just like it happened with us….