Tag Archives: Rajastan

365 Places: Pushkar

Day 87: Pushkar, India

I am still continuing my daydreaming about India and today will have a look at Pushkar – a town famous for its annual two-week camel fair.

Image Credit: http://www.pushkarcamelfair.com
Image Credit: http://www.pushkarcamelfair.com

A website promoting the event says:

Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon, Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most highly-rated travel experiences, a spectacle on an epic scale, attracting more than 11,000 camels, horses and cattle and visited by over 400,000 people over a period of around fourteen days.

For visitors it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the colour, spectacle and carnival of one of the last great traditional melas, which brings livestock, farmers, traders and villagers from all over Rajasthan.

What is really interesting is that during the camel fair, the town’s population swells from 15,000 to 200,000 during the two weeks. Visitors are accommodated in tents, though from what I understand, this is glamping at its best. For those initiated to glamping, it is camping with style – a lot more effort to set up but usually with all the comforts of home, just under canvas.

Image Credit: http://blackandwhiteflowerspictures.weebly.com
Image Credit: http://blackandwhiteflowerspictures.weebly.com

I also love the etymology of the word Pushkar. Wikipedia says:

Pushkar in Sanskrit means blue lotus flower. Hindus believe that the gods released a swan with a lotus in its beak and let it fall on earth where Brahma would perform a grand yagna. The place where the lotus fell was called Pushkar.

Pushkar is also one of the oldest cities of India. The date of its actual founding is not known, but legend associates Brahma with its creation. It is also one of the few places in the world where they are temples to Brahma and the Brahma Temple in Pushkar is very famous, being built during the 14th century CE . Although Pushkar has many temples, most of them are not very old because many were destroyed during Muslim conquests in the region, causing many to be rebuilt. Pushkar is also considered one of the five sacred dhams or pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus.

Image Credit: Redtigerxyz  http://www.flickr.com/photos/vasantv/291184069/
Image Credit: Redtigerxyz http://www.flickr.com/photos/vasantv/291184069/

We are very much looking forward to visiting Pushkar, it sounds like a paradise for photographers and the thought of the camel fair with its colour, movement and dust is really enticing.

References

Al-Hind: The Slavic Kings and the Islamic conquest, 11th-13th centuries, p.326

Where would you like to go today: Pushkar Camel Fair http://www.kashgar.com.au/articles/where-would-you-like-to-go-today-the-pushkar-camel-fair (accessed 27 August 2014)

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365 Places: Udipur

Day 83: Udipur, India

In The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the residents of the hotel in Jaipur venture on a trip to the nearly city of Udipur, famous for its beautiful lake.

Gangaur Ghat, Udaipur, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Udaipur
Gangaur Ghat, Udaipur, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Udaipur

Udaipur is referred to as the “Venice of the East,” the “Most Romantic City of India” and the “Kashmir of Rajasthan” (a reference to Dal Lake) because of the lake and the building which surround it. The city is situated in the heart of the Aravalli Hills, and has three interconnected lakes: Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichhola and Swaroop Sagar Lake.

The City Palace Museum, Image Credit: http://www.eternalmewar.in/museums/city-palace-museum/index.aspx
The City Palace Museum, Image Credit: http://www.eternalmewar.in/museums/city-palace-museum/index.aspx

It is also a place that is famous for its beautiful palaces and temples. For example, the City Palace Museum looks like a definite place to visit.

Royal cenotaphs in Ahar, near Udaipur. Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Udaipur
Royal cenotaphs in Ahar, near Udaipur. Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Udaipur

Udipur certainly sounds like a colourful place with a very interesting mix of people. Wiki Travel says:

The city is still inhabited by people of the Bhil tribe. Udaipur dwellers are really friendly and good to be with. Here, people usually prefer wearing bright colored clothes. Colorful festivals and fairs depict the cultural prosperity of Udaipur.

From what I have read, the most famous festivals are the Mewar Festival and the Shilpgram Fair. At these events, many of the tribal desert people take part in the festival activities, making them a very colourful affair.

This is another destination on our dream trip to India, which we are currently planning for later in the year.

Fateh Sagar Lake, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Udaipur
Fateh Sagar Lake, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Udaipur

Udipur sounds like a beautiful and fascinating place – I can’t wait to visit!

365 Places: Jaipur

Day 82: Jaipur, India

Earlier this week we watched a wonderful film about a bunch of English retirees who move to this wonderful, falling down, chaotic palace in Jaipur. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a wonderful tale, full of great characters, a lovely story and a stunning setting. It also featured some of my favourite actors including Judi Dench and Bill Nighy.

The shining star of this movie had to be this wonderful city in India, which was presented as a complex place, where old traditions and new technologies collide, against the background of a city full of colour, noise and activity..

Film Poster, Image Credit: https://itunes.apple.com/au/movie/best-exotic-marigold-hotel/id511070134
Film Poster, Image Credit: https://itunes.apple.com/au/movie/best-exotic-marigold-hotel/id511070134

Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’, which is a reference to its distinctly coloured buildings, originally painted this colour to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. Wiki travel says:

The present earthy red color originates from repainting of the buildings undertaken for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876.

In this part of the world, pink is traditionally a colour associated with hospitality. The tradition of painting buildings pink has been maintained ever since the visit of the Prince of Wales, when Maharaja Ram Singh made the request. Interestingly, today all residents in the old city are compelled by law to keep the pink colour. Maharaja Ram Singh also built the Ramgarh Lake to supply water to the burgeoning city.

The city gets its name from its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1744), who was known as a  great warrior and astronomer. He came to power at the age of 11 after the death of his father Maharaja Bishan Singh.

There is a fascinating history in the region of Rajastan of feudal alliances and rival families. Jai Singh’s lineage can be traced back to the Kucchwaha Rajput, clan who came to power in the 12th century. They were long-term rivals to the Sisodia Rajputs who ruled from Mewar. This rivalry led them to ally with the Mughals, and this alliance resulted in them eventually gaining a pre-eminent position in Rajasthan.

Jaipur was also India’s first planned city and the largest city in Rajasthan. It was also a city that gradually came under control of the British after the war of independence in 1857. Wiki Travel says:

After Jai Singh’s death in 1744, his sons squabbled for power and without a monarch, the kingdom became open to invasion and neighboring Rajput states and the Marathas usurped large areas of kingdom. The core, however, remained part of the kingdom, which lasted during British times. As with the Mughals, Jaipur maintained good relations with the British and during the war of independence in 1857 remained loyal to the Raj. Yet, the British gradually began to undermine the independence of the state and exercised greater control over the administration.

Aside from this rich history, I understand the Jaipur is rich in markets, monuments and temples- all things I love to explore when I am travelling. Jaipur is also known as the gems and jewelry capital of the world,  and it is famous for its many jewel merchants, which is something else I would love to see.

Rajasthan's Legislative Assembly situated at Jaipur during festival season. Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Jaipur
Rajasthan’s Legislative Assembly situated at Jaipur during festival season. Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Jaipur

We are planning a trip to India and Jaipur is one of our planned destinations. I can’t wait to see this wonderful city and all that it offers. I hope too that we might find the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – just for fun.