Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Travelogue - A trip to the royal land of the Ranas - Part 1

Travelling is like a breadth of fresh air amidst the routine clockwork that we all tick to. The unwinding that it provides makes all the everyday madness worthwhile. My husband once remarked 'We should make a trip, go back, earn money and then make the next trip':). Even if that is what life is all about, I would say it is one worth living! We both are of one mind when it comes to this subject. So when my birthday came up, the best gift to give was a travel holiday and we set off to experience a regal one at Udaipur.


On a Friday morning, we flew into Ahmadabad with palpable excitement. We had planned to spend day 1 there. I have not travelled much in North India and was really looking forward to experiencing the colourful culture. The trip began well with a glimpse of The Man of Gujarat. On our way to the Akshardham temple (the first destination in the itinerary), we were sidelined into a by lane for about five minutes and a convoy surprisingly small for a chief minister passed by as we caught sight of Narendra Modi. Only five minutes! I have memories of waiting for ever on the roads of chennai for a seemingly endless train of cars to pass by. We were already getting a taste of 'Modi's Gujarat'.

After reaching the Akshardham temple, we surrendered our valuables at the entrance and set foot into the sprawling temple premises. As soon as we walked a little into the grounds, we heard wild cheers of excitement, quite unexpected at a temple. The answer came a moment later when we saw that the sides were lined with theme park like rides and people were roaring as they were tossed and twisted about. But why inside a temple shattering the peace and quiet it would have otherwise provided? Brushing this question out of our minds, we walked on and first hit the canteen for we were monstrously hungry after eating stale sandwiches for lunch in the flight. The canteen was exceptionally clean and well maintained, befitting a place of worship. After eating some delicious rotis, panner butter masala, rice and dal, we went into the temple. The architecture was very grand and beautifully accentuated by well kept lawns. We enjoyed the silence inside the sanctum for sometime and then walked around the lawns, taking in the peace and granduer. 

We next headed to the 'Adalaj ni vav', a very ornately built step well. This place has a very interesting history behind. It was built by a Mughal ruler who had conquered the area and wanted to marry the wife of the fallen chieftain who was killed in the battle. The lady demanded that this step well which her husband had started building be completed if she were to accept him. The ruler painstakingly built the well. After it was completed, the lady was brought to the site so that she could inspect it. She circumvented the well thrice and jumped in commiting suicicde in the very same well. Caught in a situation that she could not escape from or give in, she had intelligently used it to serve the people and had sacrificed her own life too! Lofty morals indeed.
The step well looked more like the interiors of a temple and we spent some time observing the intricate architectural style and clicking pictures.


The sunlit top is the mouth of the well. 

A close shot of the ornate carvings on the pillars
Our next destination was the Gandhi ashram. It was August 15th and we were happy to pay homage to the Mahathma on this important day. It turned out be a very serene and quiet place right on the banks of river sabharmathi. We went around to examine the spartan accommodation of the great people who had once inhabited them and then sat on a short wall by the banks admiring the river for quite a while.

The serene Sabarmathi flows amidst a bustling city

The place where Mahathma Gandhi met his visitors
Post that, we visited a Jain temple and then a mosque. We finished our rounds of Ahmadabad with a yummy dinner of Gujarati dishes at a nice restaurant that had a very different and airy ambiance 

A vanity cart stationed at the center of the restaurant
Having visited a potpourri of destinations, we really did get a taste of a different culture.We then checked into a cozy hotel for a good night's sleep to get set for day 2 - Udaipur!

4 comments:

  1. Where are the Kumarakom diaries? :) Hope that's coming up too. Ahd has been on my list for soo long..in fact Gujarat as a whole...hoping to visit soon.

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    Replies
    1. I have a huge blog backlog .. We did this trip in August and am writing about it now :(
      I have two more trips to write about before I get to Kumarakom. I hope I write it all before it fades from my memory :)
      Do visit Gujarat soon!!

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  2. So, you saw most of the touristy destinations in Ahmedabad. :) But there's a lot more to see, feel, eat and experience there. :)

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    Replies
    1. True .. We had only half a day here and so chose the famous spots. I guess we can experience the place better if we stay a bit longer. I will keep this in mind :)

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