Crisscrossing Rann of Kutch and Rajasthan – Part 1 - Nostalgia at Jaipur

Crisscrossing Rann of Kutch and Rajasthan – Part 1 - Nostalgia at Jaipur



Ganesh Pole at the entrance of the Private palaces of king at Amer fort - Jaipur
Ganesh Pole - The entrance of the Private palaces of the king at Amer fort - Jaipur


Crisscrossing Rann of Kutch and Rajasthan - The Plan

It all started with a post by some traveller in a Facebook travel group, wherein he had given a very simple and a budget trip to Rann of Kutch. As per the itinerary suggested it sounded as simple as 1-2-3 1. Travel to Bhuj by train. 2. Hire a bike and visit Rann of Kutch and nearby places. 3. Catch a train back. It sounded so simple and doable in a budget. I shared it with Anupma and to my surprise, she also gave her consent a bit easily this time. Then started the research about ROK and one thing that came out was that getting a transport in that area was difficult and the taxi was going to cost us a bomb. So finally the decision was to drive all the way to Rann of Kutch. Finally, after a lot of discussions and alterations the final itinerary has Rann of Kutch, and a lot of Rajasthan too. I did most of the bookings well in advance as it was going to be hugely busy due to winter break, Rann Utsav and on top of it, 22nd was Full moon night, when maximum visitors throng to Rann of Kutch Full Moon.

Our starting date was fixed as 22nd December 2019. Time was subject to Sarthak's exam and the stop for the day was fixed at Jaipur, because, even if we started from Ludhiana in the afternoon, we could reach Jaipur by late evening. But Luckily Sarthak's exams got over on 19th so we started at 3.00 a.m. from Ludhiana. Initially we encountered dense fog, but later on, it eased and the visibility improved slightly. We passed through Western peripheral Expressway this time as we had done through Eastern Peripheral Expressway on our Varanasi trip. Though it is good but is no match for Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Agra Lucknow Expressway. As soon as we hit the Delhi Jaipur Highway, bumper to bumper traffic welcomed us. Maybe it was because of peak hours as people were going to their offices at Manesar and Bhiwadi. The situation eased off after Bhiwadi, but on this road, a lot of truck traffic was there and very frequently I encountered situations when the trucks had blocked all the three lanes leaving no room for other traffic. Anyways, facing all these situations, we reached Amer by 11.00 a.m.

Nostalgic Jaipur

Jaipur holds a special place for both me and Anupma. I lived and worked at Jaipur in the starting of my career and we also started our married life in Jaipur only. We have a lot of sweet memories associated with this city. Visiting Jaipur after 25 years was nostalgic. We wanted to go explore the places, where we used to frequent, the house where we lived a lot of sweet people who were close to us, but, due to the shortage of time, we focussed on showing some monuments to Sarthak.

History and architecture of Jaipur


Before the city of Jaipur was established, the capital of this area was Amer. As the population grew and the water scarcity increased, Sawai Jaisingh established his new capital at Jaipur. Jaipur is the first planned city of Northern India. As Sawai Jaisingh had a keen interest in astronomy and mathematics, he planned the city on a scientific basis and as per the principals of Vaastu. The chief contributor was Vidyadhar Bhattacharya a noteworthy scholar. The roads bisected each other at right angles making it airy and it also facilitated automatically cleaning of the roads. Totally nine blocks were built out of which two were reserved for Palaces and other administrative buildings and rest were for commoners.

The City of Jaipur has never been attacked. The Kachhava rulers of Jaipur, due to their animosity with Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar, and their knack for lucrative alliances, even though it meant swallowing Rajput pride, initially forged alliances with Mughals and then later with British helping them in fighting against fellow Rajputs and later helping Britishers in 1857 revolt. Raja Bihar Mal was the first Raja who commanded an army for Humayun. Later he gave his daughter to be the first Rajput wife of Akbar who gave Akbar his first son Jahangir. Later on, Raja Man Singh led the Mughal armies under the reign of Akbar and Jahangir. He also led the famous battle of Haldi Ghati against Maharana Pratap of Mewar. Their closeness to Mughals brought them a share of the loot and their coffers were always tinkling. Later on, Raja Jai Singh II ascended to the throne, when Aurangzeb was ruling Delhi. He was awarded the title of Sawai. He further brought more wealth to Jaipur and pursued other skills in the fields of science and art. He only shifted the capital from Amer to Jaipur and built huge observatories popularly known as Jantar Mantars at Jaipur, Ujjain, Delhi, Varanasi. In 1876, Raja Ram Singh welcomed Prince of Wales at Jaipur. After a lot of experiments, it was decided to paint the buildings pink to reduce the reflection and glare from the buildings. This earned the name of Pink City to Jaipur. Another version is that Pink was the only colour available in such a large quantity to paint the entire city so pink was chosen out of compulsion.


Amer / Amber Fort

Amer Fort
Amer Fort

This old capital of Kachhavas is a rare combination of a sturdy defensive building and houses beautiful palaces. The outer walls are of Sandstone and the beautiful pavilions of the palaces are built up in marble. Hindu and Mughal architectures are beautifully blended in these palaces creating a symphony in stone.

A beautiful garden laid in Mughal Charbagh style looks like a Persian carpet from a distance
A beautiful garden laid in Mughal Charbagh style looks like a Persian carpet from a distance



When we walk up the ramparts of Amber Fort, apart from the grandeur of the fort the other thing that attracts is a beautiful garden laid on the left in charbagh style and looks like a Persian carpet. We walked through the main gate known as Suraj pole and reached the First courtyard also known as Jaleb Chowk. It was here that ceremonial parades were held and now acts as a starting point of the tour.

Beautiful gate of the fort that leads to Diwan E Aam
The beautiful gate of the fort that leads to Diwan E Aam

Even the Guard room of the gate is beautifully painted
Even the Guardroom of the gate is beautifully painted



The next door, which is ornately painted leads to the second courtyard. This courtyard has Diwan E Aam a place where the King met common people. This is a beautiful multi pillared hall. Besides it was 27 kutchery, a place where 27 accountants used to sit and perform their administrative jobs.

Diwan E Aam
Diwan E Aam
Inside Diwan E Aam
Inside Diwan E Aam

Beautifully Pillared 27 Kutchery
Beautifully Pillared 27 Kutchery

The Hamams at Amer Fort
The Hamams at Amer Fort
A view for Ganesh Pole from 27 Kutcheries
A view for Ganesh Pole from 27 Kutcheries

Ornately Painted side columns of Ganesh Pole
Ornately Painted side columns of Ganesh Pole

 Adjoining the 27 Kutchery were Hamams. Another gate in this courtyard known as Ganesh pole leads to private palaces of the king. This gate is ornately painted and has Lord Ganesha painted in its centre. The After crossing the Ganesh Pole, we reached the next courtyard, which had a Mughal style beautiful garden in the middle and a magical sheesh Mahal on one side. Sheesh Mahal means Palace of mirrors. When we visited last time, the guides used to take the visitors inside the place and lit a small candle. It was then the magic happened. Due to thousands of reflection, the whole palace seemed as if it was lit up by thousands of stars. But now it was out of bounds for visitors. The idea behind putting so many mirrors was to illuminate the entire place with very less number of lamps using multiple reflections. Another aspect as told by our guide is that these reflections made the place warmer, but I doubt this theory. The corridors outside this palace have Mughal style marble inlay work and one of the major attraction is a figure, which will seem to be a butterfly, a cobra, an elephant and seven such figures when a portion of this figure is covered.

Beautiful ceilings and and walls of Sheesh Mahal studded with mirrors
Beautiful ceilings and walls of Sheesh Mahal studded with mirrors

A closeup of beautiful panel in Sheesh Mahal
A closeup of the beautiful panel in Sheesh Mahal

Inner side of the Sheesh Mahal
The inner side of the Sheesh Mahal

One in seven figure panel.
One-in-seven figure panel. The three flowers show 07 different figures when one or the other part is covered

Just opposite the Sheesh Mahal is another Palace called Sukh Vilas. This Palace with sandalwood doors and ivory inlay work was the place to relax in summers. The water channel carries the water, which cooled the air in the palace before flowing into the gardens. The cooling system was a very effective one.
Mughal Style Garden, between Jas Mahal and Jag Mahal
Mughal Style Garden, between Jas Mahal and Jag Mahal

On the top of the Sheesh Mahal was Raja's personal chambers and the space above the Ganesh pole had Jalis and sitting space for the queens. From here the queens could see the proceedings of Diwan e aam and the courtyard below.


Queen's view of the Diwan e Aam
Queen's view of the Diwan e Aam. The view from a Jarokha above Ganesh Pole, where  Queens used to sit to watch proceedings of Diwan e aam

A closeup of Diwan e aam
A closer view from the Jharokha


Next courtyard is that of Raja Man Singh ka Mahal. It has a Baradari in the centre and 12 palaces for his 12 queens around the courtyard.

Baradari of Raja Maan Singh's Palace also known as Zanana Deodhi
Baradari of Raja Maan Singh's Palace also known as Zanana Deodhi

Raja Maan Singh's palace is the innermost courtyard after that a passage leads directly to Jaleb Chowk ending the tour of the Palace.


After completing the tour of Amer Fort, we started towards the city. 


Contd.......


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