The Heritage Toy Train Journey - Childhood Memoir

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I wonder if it is natural to be nostalgic! Or is it due to the mental and emotional exhaustion invoked in us due to Covid -19 and its consequences? Do you also feel nostalgic at times! If yes, kindly share your moments of nostalgia in the comment box. One such nostalgic moment evoked by Ruskin Bond's book 'The Great Train journey' inspired me to write this blog. You must be wondering how! To explain this, let me take you to my childhood memories. I was born and brought up in the same small town Kalka which Ruskin Bond has beautifully mentioned in his book. Not only this, he also talked about the Toy Train, which happened to be the first train that I also ever saw.  Still confused! Let me explain further.  It was nostalgic because I also saw the train for the first time on the narrow gauge of the Kalka Shimla track that happens to pass just behind my house. I got excited every time the train blew its whistle. Waving to the passengers sitting at the window seat was a routine

How to visit 15 incredible places in Jaipur in just three days ?

Would you like to revisit a tourist site? If yes, why? Please write your reason in the comment box.

I revisited Jaipur in the first week of April this year, and this was my third visit to Jaipur. There were a few reasons why I chose the same tourist place. One primary reason was that this was my only opportunity to go on a vacation, and Thank God I availed this opportunity because immediately after we returned, the covid-19 surged again. During this visit, I revived old memories and also hit new sites that were not very popular. 


With the hope that you remember my previous blog on Jaipur City, I am writing only about new places. To read my previous blog CLICK HERE



Hawa Mahal

Albert Museum

Chokhi Dhani

City Palace


City Palace from Jantar Mantar


Jaigarh Fort

Jai Singh II built the Jaigarh fort in 1726 to protect the Amer Fort and its palace. The fort is named after Jai Singh. The fort is famous for a cannon named Jaivana, which was manufactured in the fort and was then the world's largest cannon on wheels. Jaigarh fort provides a picturesque view of Aravali Hills and Amer Fort below. You can also see water harvesting structures and three underground tanks below the central courtyard. There are chambers below the tank where the kings used to keep their treasure. Rumours or truth, but it is believed that during the emergency in 1977, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi launched a search operation in all buildings, imprisoned Gayatri Devi and carried away the treasure from the tank.

There is an armoury chamber that displays swords, shields, guns, muskets and also cannonballs. There is also a museum that exhibits photographs of royalty, stamps and many artefacts. 



View from Jaigarh

Jaivana Canon

Jaigarh Fort

Nahargarh Fort


Just like Amer and Jaigarh, Fort Nahargarh once formed a strong ring of the city. Nahargarh means 'abode of tigers'. The fort built in 1734 was the capital of Amber. It is believed that the fort was originally called Sudarshangarh, but later it was named Nahargarh after the spirit of Nahar Singh Bhomia, a prince, started haunting the place. A temple was also built in the fort to satisfy the spirit.  There is a wax museum in the fort for which you have to take another ticket ( cost Rs 500 per person). There are 35 wax and silicon statues from the field of sports, bollywood, freedom fighters and the royal family of Jaipur. You can also see a palace of mirrors- Sheesh Mahal - one of its kind. It is made up of 25 million glass pieces. There is a stepwell that was constructed to store water. People also visit Nahargarh Fort to see the sunset.


Inside Nahargarh Fort

Sunset from Nahargarh Fort

On the way back from Nahargarh Fort


Galtaji


Galtaji is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage about 10 km away from Jaipur. Galtaji has a series of temples, holy kunds built into a narrow crevice. The temple of Galtaji is constructed from pink sandstone and looks like a grand palace. A natural spring emerges from the hill and flows downwards, filling seven sacred kunds. The Galta Kund is the holiest, and people believe that it will never dry. The clear water flows into kunds from a cow head-shaped rock. The place is named after Sant Galav, who practised meditation here for about 60000 years in Satya Yuga and brought sacred Gangaji to Shri Galtaji.
It is believed that the holy pilgrimage to all the four Dhams and Satpuris is incomplete unless the pilgrim does not take a bath in Galva Ashram's pond.
The temples include:
  • A temple of Sita Ram and a temple of Hanuman.
  • A Temple of Sun God.
  • A beautiful landscape surrounds a monkey temple on top of the hill, and it also gives a spectacular view of Jaipur city.

People also believe that some sections of Ramcharita Manas were written here by Tulsi Das. Many monk tribes are also settled here.

Galta Ji


Rani Sisodiya Ka Bagh

Sisodia Rani Garden & Palace, 6 km from Jaipur city, was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1728. The palace has tiered multilevel gardens with fountains. The palace has many galleries, pavilions & beautiful murals depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna.

Sisodia was the princess of Udaipur who married Jaipur King Sawai Jai Singh.

Rani Sisodiya ka Bagh

Picturesque beauty of Rani Sisodia ka Bagh

Lush Green Lawns


Birla Temple

The temple, originally known as Laxmi Narayan Mandir, is made up of sparkling white marble. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. Both the idols are made out of a single piece of marble. It is a perfect example of secularism as its three massive domes represent three different religions-Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Inside walls were engraved with mythological events, and outside walls of the temple are decorated with figures of Socrates, Zarathustra, Christ and Buddha and Confucius. The view of lush green gardens surrounding the temple is very peaceful and refreshing. The temple shines in the sunlight and looks equally startling at night, and is a wonder of Jaipur. A famous business tycoon B.M. Birla Foundation purchased this land from Maharaja Jai Singh Ji in just a token amount of one rupee and built the temple here. The best time to visit the temple is on Janmashtmi, as the festival is celebrated with great pomp and show.
The temple complex also has a museum that displays the ancestral possessions of the Birla family.

Birla Temple

Veiw of Shiv Temple from Birla Temple


Jaipur Zoo/ Nahargarh Biological & Zoological Park

The zoo has two parts - Lion Safari & Zoo.
To see the lion safari, you have to hire the zoo's vehicle and see the remaining animals you can walk down or hire an e-rickshaw.
You will also be given a choice of taking your vehicle to the zoo, but this offer is very misleading as you have to pay Rs.300 per vehicle and takes you only one and a half km ahead from the ticket window. So my advice is you park the car at the parking lot near the ticket window and hire a rickshaw which may even take you inside the zoo. 
You can see tiger, sloth bear, crocodile, emu, porcupine, deer, peacocks etc., in the zoo.




Hathi Gaon

Hathi Gaon is situated at the foothill of Amber Palace and fort and near Nahargarh Zoological park. 
It is a project housing 100 elephants and their mahouts. It is constructed on the land that was devastated by its use as a sand quarry. Later they built a series of water bodies here and also carried out extensive tree plantation. Today it has become a place of attraction amongst the tourist.
Here you can make friends with elephants, feed them, clean them, ride them and even paint them. All these activities are on payment and mind it, it is pretty expensive. But to get once in a lifetime experience, you can negotiate and take unforgettable experiences.


Elephant eating Sugarcane

Bahubali Style Climb on elephant 


Panna Meena Ka Kund

Panna Meena Ka Kund is a 16th-century stepwell that lies in the foothills of Amer Palace/Fort. The kund was built so that people of Amer could collect water later used by temples nearby. Women also took water in pots from here for household work. It is square with stairs on all four sides that lead you to the kund.

Pana Meena Ka Kund


Choolgiri Jain Mandir

Choolgiri Jain Mandir is on the same road as Rani Sisodiya ka Bagh. The mandir is on the top of a hill in the Jhalana range. It is also called Siddha Bhoomi. It is believed that Inderjeet and Kumbakaran also visited this temple for meditation.
Jain Acharya Shri Desh Bhushan Ji Maharaj came to this vicinity and found it very peaceful for meditation. He decided to build a Jain temple here and gave the name Choolgiri to these hills. The main temple is located on a hill with 1000 steps. The statues of the three most famous Jain Tirthankaras - Shree Parshavnath, Mahavir Swami and Neminath- are made of white stone. Later they also added figures of 24 Tirthankaras. A small water tank was constructed to collect rainwater. In 1982 an enormous 21 feet tall statue of Mahaveer Swami was established here.
 



Jal Mahal

Also known as the water palace, the Jal Mahal, is the most serene place in Jaipur city. It was once the shooting lodge for the maharaja. It appears to be floating on the Man Singh lake, an artificial lake created in 1596. Only one storey of the palace is visible, and four levels are under the water. The palace is now converted into a restaurant, so it is currently out of reach of many tourists. But due to its architectural magnificence, it is the most photographed sight of India, so you can flaunt your photography skills by clicking photographs at this beautiful site.




The Route Map 

Day 1 

Jantar Mantar

Visit Jantar Mantar the first thing in the morning as it becomes scorching at noon, and the astronomical instruments made of stone start reflecting heat. Most importantly, start from the gallery, which presents a curated collection of photographs, panorama, 3 D models, and animations that tell you about Jantar Mantar's history and gives you information about the working of all the astronomical instruments. The gallery is at the other end of Jantar Mantar, and the most common mistake that visitors make is that they see all the instruments cluelessly and then reach the gallery.

City Palace 

Just opposite the ticket window of the Jantar Mantar is Gate No 1 of the City Palace. Mostly the visitors are misled by the Autoricksha-walas, who convince them that the City Palace is at a distance, so they must hire a rickshaw to reach the City Palace.
Most surprisingly, we also accidentally came to know about it during our third visit. 

Hawa Mahal 

After seeing City Palace, you can come towards the parking of City Palace, and from the main gate, you can walk towards Hawa Mahal, which is just within walking distance (600m). Do not fall into the trap of ricksha-walas.  

Masala Chowk

Don't get confused with the name. Masala Chowk is the newest addition to the eateries in Jaipur. After seeing Hawa Mahal, you can plan a lunch at Masala Chowk. 

Albert Museum

Just opposite the Masala Chowk is the Albert museum. You must see Albert Museum before 5 pm, or you will have to wait for another hour to get entry and have to shed extra money that is not worth it.
With this, you will have seen the most famous landmarks of Jaipur. 

Day 2

Hathi Gaon 

If you love elephants, you can start your second day's expedition from Hathi Gaon.

Nahargarh Biological Park

Nahargarh Biological Park, a zoo cum Lion Safari is worth visiting. And as I suggested earlier, hire an e-rickshaw.

Amer Fort

After visiting the biological park, you can tour Amer Fort(also called Amber Fort). I would suggest you hire a tourist guide who will take you to every nook and corner of the fort and explain the defence's history.

Raj Kala Mandir 

As you climb down the Amer Fort, you come across Raj Kala Mandir. It is an organisation where you can find different art and craft workers working under one roof. If you are a shopping freak, you can enjoy shopping without fear of getting cheated as you can get a large variety of handicraft at a reasonable rate. ( It is govt authorised fixed price market.)  

Kokum Bistro 

After shopping, who will not feel hungry. Kokum Bistro is the best choice for lunch. Do not forget to try chocolate dosa and Kokum drink.

Panna Meena Ka Kund

You may visit the Kund if you enjoy the architecture of historical buildings or can omit it.

Jaigarh Fort & Nahargarh Fort

Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh fort are on the same route so visit both together. 

Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal is visible from the main road, so you can take a halt and enjoy the view before heading towards your hotel. Except for the roadside market and camel ride, there is not much to do.
(All the places mentioned above are in the same direction, so visit them on the same day).

Day 3

Choolgiri Jain Mandir

To reach the Choolgiri temple, you have to climb around 1000 stairs, so it is better to visit it early in the morning.

Sisodiya Rani Ka Bagh

After visiting the Jain Mandir, you can take a halt at Sisodiya Rani Ka Bagh.

Galta Ji

From Sisodiya Rani Ka Bagh, you can head towards Galtaji.

Some recommended places for shopping 

Chandpole Bazaar 

The Bazaar is known for Rajasthani Carpets, footwear, handicrafts and souvenirs. 

Bapu bazaar

Shopping in Jaipur is incomplete without a tour to Bapu Bazaar. It is famous for handicrafts, textiles, lehngas, sandstone, mojari made of camel skin and other leather products.

Tripolia Bazaar

Tripolia Bazaar is a crowded market famous for brassware, lac jewellery and lac bangles. It is also famous for precious stones and bandini.

Johri Bazaar

Johri Bazaar is home to precious and semi-precious jewellery and artefacts. 

Kripal Kumbh

Kripal Kumbh is famous for Glazed Blue Pottery.

Kishanpole Bazaar

Kishnpole Bazaar is in the city's heart and is famous for bandhani textile and wooden sculpture and furniture.

Famous Delicacy

Rawat Ki Pyaaz Kachori is one of the specialities of Jaipur. 

Lassi -The best place to drink Lassi is Lassiwala on M.I. Road. There are many shops with the name of Lassiwala. The original one was established in 1944.

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