Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Udaipur Palaces

Udaipur is the best city in India for a stay that's reminiscent of royalty. There are many places with admirable beauty. Here, we saw amazing interior & architecture. Which tells about the marvelous artistic history of Rajasthan, India. We felt that every stone of palace is saying something and every corner is describing the royal past of that place. It was entirely a very pleasant experience.

Lake Palace 

The Lake Palace was built in 1743-1746. It is magical that 250-year-old white marble building sits on Jag Niwas island in 'Lake Pichola'. It was originally built as a royal summer palace, but is now a luxury 5 Star hotel, operating under the 'Taj hotels resorts and palaces'.

After enjoying a 15 to 20 min. Boat ride, we reached lake palace. The location was superb, the views from our room (upgraded to a lake view) were incredible, the ambiance was romantic, and the services were appreciable. We also enjoyed the rooftop dinner; their food was great (the chef sent us complimentary dishes that were just delicious). 
Lake Palace

Jag Mandir

Jag Mandir is another island in Lake Pichola which is known for its garden courtyard. From Lake Palace, we went there. Because of lighting, in the night it looked like a gleam on the water. Guide told that Shah Jaha took refuge here while revolting against his father. He also said that art of Jag Mandir inspired the design of Taj Mahal, which was made by Shah Jaha in later years. There was a restaurant run by the HRH group of hotels. We enjoyed lunch and dinner here. Jag Mandir Island Palace makes a unique place in history. 

Jag Mandir also known as a 'swarg ki vatika' or 'garden of heaven.' When cocktails, theme-dinners, banquets and wedding ceremonies are organized here, the flowers and special lighting, folk dancers and fireworks bring alive this garden of heaven in vibrant colors of celebrations. Jag Mandir Island Palace has dedicated heritage venues that challenge your creativity in pampering guests.

Jag Mandir

City Palace

It is situated on the east bank of Lake Pichola. We enjoyed the history of City Palace and it's beautiful art. In main entrance, we saw a big triple-arched gate-the tripolia, built in 1725. The balconies of the palace provided beautiful views of the Lake Palace, Jag Mandir and the city of Udaipur. 

In palace we visited:
  • Suraj Gokhda, where the maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in the times of trouble to the people to restore confidence. 
  • Mor chowk (Peacock courtyard), gets its name from the mosaics in glass decorating its walls. 
  • Laxmi Vila Chowk- is an art gallery with a distinctive collection of Mewar paintings.
  • chini chitrashala is noteworthy where a series of wall paintings  are on display in Bhim Vilas.
  • Museuma part of the city palace and the 'Zenana Mahal' (Ladies Chamber) were together converted into a museum. There was an interesting exhibit of a freaky monkey holding a lamp and also portraits of maharajas.
  • Dilkhush mahal- is also known as 'Palace of Joy' 
  • Sheesh mahal- is also known as 'Palace of Mirrors and glasses' 
  • Moti mahal- is also known as 'Manak Mahal'.
  • Rang bhavan is the palace that used to contain royal treasure. There are temples of Lord Krishna, Meera bai and Shiva. 
  • Krishna vilas - in memory of a princess of striking beauty who poisoned herself to avoid a bloody war.The palace contains many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture.
  • Durbar hall- It was for official functions such as State banquets and meetings. The gallery of the hall was used by the royal ladies to observe the durbar proceedings.
  • Crystal gallery- it consists of crystal chairs, dressing tables, sofas, tables, chairs and beds, crockery, table fountains which were never used. There is also an unique carpet here. Maharaja Sajjan singh had ordered these rare items in 1877 from F&C Osler & Co of London but he died before they arrived here. The guide said that the packages containing these crystals remained unopened for 110 years.
After visited this, we went for lunch at city palace restaurant and enjoyed a delicious food with a royal feeling. In evening there was a Light & sound show and it was awesome. In this show they described all the history of City palace with the help of light & sound. After watching it, we felt proud for India's brave maharanas & maharanis. 

City Palace

Sajjan Garh Palace

It is also known as Monsoon Palace. It was the summer resort of the Maharajas. It is situated a top the hill overlooking all of the lakes. This palace had a way to collect rain water for consumption all year around. We enjoyed from here a very wonderful view of Udaipur city. 
Sajjan Garh

Jagdish Temple

It is a large Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh. It is an example of Indo -Aryan architecture. There we saw an amazing architecture and art. This is also main tourist attraction in the city. We enjoyed here some special kind of things like rajasthani dress, paintings etc.
Jagdish Temple

After visiting Udaipur I feel that it is a place to visit at least once in a lifetime. If we want to live like Maharana & Maharani then this is the place which gives us a royal feeling. I really enjoyed a lot. and came back with unforgettable memories.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Udaipur Lakes

Udaipur 'The city of lake' and 'Venice of the east', is one of the most beautiful places on earth and has a royal touch of Rajasthan.

Before talking about the Lakes & Palaces of Udaipur, I want to give a brief information about the history of Udaipur. 

Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state in western India. Udaipur is a royal city that had been the capital of Mewar rulers for centuries. It was the Maharana udai singh who laid the foundation stone of Udaipur. Udaipur enjoys a favorable position on the map of Rajasthan. It is known for its marvelous surroundings with a royal past. It is famous because of it's massive palaces and beautiful lakes.

Udaipur city

Udaipur Lakes

Lakes creates a romantic atmosphere in Udaipur. Boat-ride on these lakes with the wonderful views of mountains and palaces gives a soothing feeling and peace of mind. It is a dream destination of every tourist.  

I visited Udaipur two times. First, we went in winter at start of December, and second in monsoon during September. September to March is the best time to visit Udaipur. Udaipur observes the three main seasons, summers (March to June), monsoons (July to September) and winters (October-March). In the summer season, the temperature ranges between 30 to 40 degree Celsius. due to high temperatures summer season is not preferable to visit Udaipur.    

In winters, the temperature touches maximum of 28 degree Celsius and minimum 12 degree Celsius. With such temperature, Udaipur have a pleasant climate. And in monsoon we can feel the green beauty of Udaipur. If you want to enjoy  'Venice of the east' then september is the month when you can see a beautiful view of this lake city.

Pichola Lake

Pichola Lake is one of the most beautiful and picturesque lakes of Rajasthan. Pichola Lake is the oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur. In 1362, the beautiful lake was built by Pichhu Banjara during the ruling period of Maharana Lakha.

We enjoyed boat ride with wonderful surrounding, we saw beauty of lake water, islands and gangaur boat. Gangaur boat is a part of Taj lake palace.
There are four islands on the lake. Which can be reached by taking a boat ride in the lake.

  1. Lake Palace.
  2. Jag Mandir.
  3. Mohan Mandir, from where the king would watch the Gangaur festival celebration.
  4. Arsi Vilas, small island and a small palace. This one was built by one of the maharanas of Udaipur to enjoy the sunset on the lake. It is also a sanctuary catering to a variety of birds.
Pichola Lake

Fateh Sagar

Fateh sagar lake is the second artificial lake of Udaipur, Located in the north of Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake lies just besides the entrance to Moti magri hill. Built in 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh, Fateh sagar lake got its name from Maharana Fateh Singh, who later made additions to it.  This lake extends to the length of 2.4 km, 1.6 km. in width and deep to the extent of 11.5 meters. 

Fateh sagar lake was a quiet place where people usually come for relaxation. From the bottom of Moti magri hill, we hireded a pedal boat to enjoyed a boat ride in the lake. 

There are three islands on the lake:
  1. Nehru Park - The garden include a boat shaped restaurant and a small zoo for children. This island is the favorite picnic spot of Udaipur residents. 
  2. Second one is converted into a public park with brilliant water-jet fountains by the Government of Rajasthan.
  3. Third is a Udaipur Solar Observatory, which is the best solar observing site in Asia.
Fateh Sagar

Udai Sagar Lake

Udai Sagar Lake is another striking lake that falls under the category of five lakes of Udaipur. Udaisagar Lake is located at a distance of about 13 kms in the east of Udaipur. The construction of this lake was started in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh and got completed in 1565. Udai Sagar Lake extends to 4 km in length 2.5 km in width and deep to the extent of 9 meters at the maximum. We enjoyed the calm water of this lake.

Udai Sagar Lake

Jaisamand Lake

Jaisamand Lake is the second largest artificial lake in Asia and first artificial lake of Udaipur. It seems like a sea. 
It is located at a distance of 48 kms from the city of Udaipur, Jaisamand lake is also known as Dhebar. In 1685, Maharana Jai Singh built this lake while making a dam on the Gomti River. This lake covers an area of 36sq km, stretches to the length of 14 km and width of 9 km. The lake has a maximum depth of 102 feet and has a circumference of 30 miles.

The lake has graceful marble steps descending to the water, This lake offers a wonderful place to relax and lighten up. We enjoyed boat ride in the calm water of lake. When we were on the boat, we saw many small-small beautiful hills and 'roothi rani ka mahal'. There is a island resort on Jaysamand lake. here we enjoyed rajasthani lunch. It was also very beautiful resort with all kind of stay facilities. After lunch, we enjoyed the lake view from the resort and in evening we again enjoyed the boat ride and came back.

Jaisamand Lake

Rajsamand Lake

Rajsamand lake is one of the five popular lakes of Udaipur. It is located 66kms in the north of Udaipur, Rajsamand lake lies between Rajnagar and Kankroli. The lake is also known by the name of Rajsamudra lake. Rajsamand lake was built by Maharana Raj Singh in 1660. The lake stretches to the length of 4 miles and 1.75 miles in width. The lake has the approximate depth of 60 feet.

Here, we enjoyed the time of sunset, the waters of the lake was glittering with the light of the sun. The beauty of lake was marvelous at this time, when the orange shade of the Sunset reflates the water of the lake. A quiet walk at the side of Rajsamand Lake gives a soothing and romantic feeling. 
Rajsamand Lake

Badi Ka Talab

Badi ka talab is  located in the village of Badi. It's also known as 'Jiyan sagar'. It built by Maharana Raj Singh. The area of this lake is 155 sq. km, and the lake extends to the length of 180 meters and width of 18 meters. 

We enjoyed here early morning walk. which was full of refreshing air, a peaceful environment, beautiful hill forest and calm water of badi ka talab. It is a best place for early morning walking/jogging, cycling, yoga & exercise lovers.

Badi ka Talab

Swaroop Sagar

Swaroop sagar is a small artificial lake that was created by Maharana Swaroop Singh. The lake was subsequently named after him. It is also known as 'Kumharia Talab'. It is located behind the famous Jagdish Temple, The lake was actually built to provide water to the people of Udaipur. Kumharia Talab is connected with Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake.

Swaroop Sagar Lake

Doodh Talai

Doodh Talai is a small lake that adores the south-east direction of Pichola Lake. It is located in the southern side of Shiv niwas palace, Doodh talai contributes to the waters of Lake Pichola. It surrounded with beautiful, structured and precisely manicured garden with fountains and beautiful rocks. 

Doodh Talai

In this blog post, I have covered the details about most of the beautiful lakes of Udaipur. Check this post covering details of Udaipur palaces.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

'Casela Nature & Leisure Park'

The Casela Nature & Leisure Park is located in the western part of Mauritius. It was a very nice and adventurous experience. It was full of colorful plants and flowers. There were many kinds of birds, mammals and reptiles. In park we also enjoyed delicious food because there was a nice restaurant named Le Mirador. 

Here I am going to describe about the adventurous activities which we enjoyed a lot at Casela -

Quad biking/buggy riding 

Before anyone starts quard biking, it needs some practice. After practice the guide decides who can go for the actual ride. So after we did practice, guide gave us the green signal that allowed us to go for park discovery. We drove in a group which was guided by an experienced person. While riding we saw very beautiful work of the nature like wild animals, birds and trees. Full speed quad ride in a forest full of valleys, small rivers and dangerous turns was really exciting. Also, we enjoyed the wonderful weather.

Quad biking

Segway ride

It was easy to learn and we did not need any special skills. Before we started, the guide gave us all the information about the segway like-how to use it? As we started our ride, not only the journey but we also enjoyed the anecdotes told by our guide about the mauritius, park, animals, birds, plants and flowers.

Segway ride


Safari was the nice experience for clicking the pictures. It was an open safari bus which passes by different beautiful ways in the park. While safari we saw zebras, ostriches, ducks, antelopes, monkeys, deer, colorful birds and other animals.


Walking with Lions

Walking with lions was an adventurous activity. There were some trained lions, wild cats and tigers. While walking, the trainer accompanied us. During the walk, we saw lions playing and go up on trees. 

Walking with lion

Zip-lines and rando fun

The hiking tour was full of fun. Casela has longest circuit in the Indian Ocean with Nepalese bridge. There were double and triple zip-lines which ended up in the pool of a waterfall. The length of zip-lines was 150 meters. With help of zip-line we had to cross the valley. 

In rando fun we had to pass a wooden ladder which was approximately 60 meters high. It was a fight against our fear but after completing it, we felt wonderful. 


Overall, those moments at Casela were very tiring but also full of adventure, wonderful experiences and lots of fun with beautiful natural surroundings. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Mauritius (God's own Island) :)

God created Mauritius first and then heaven” 
Mark Twain

December morning 5 o'clock, ooppss what is happening with me? I never ever wake up that much early on my own. Yesterday whole night I was thinking of you. Ohh yes, Mauritius! 

Yes, this was the day when we started for Mauritius. It was my first foreign trip hence I was very excited. The distance from India to Mauritius is approx 3600 miles, which means the flight duration is around 7 hours. But for us it became 18 hours journey because we started from Pune and flight was from Mumbai. We reached Mumbai international airport around 10:30 pm and after completing all kind of air-port formalities we waited for boarding. 

Flight was on the right time. Fix 2 o'clock we started for Mauritius and we reached there around 6 o'clock according to the Mauritian time. The weather was very pleasant with fresh air, cloudy sky and light rain.

It was our first Mauritius trip so we joined a trip group. It was a 6 Nights/7 days package. At airport we met the person who was going to guide us. We took the bus to our resort. 

Following is brief description of my all 7 days experience - 

Day-1 After checking into the resort we enjoyed whole day at resort only. This was a beautiful resort with a private beach, swimming pool, game zone, cafe, bar and restaurant. After breakfast we went to take rest. After lunch we enjoyed some water activities on beach, spent some time at cafe, had dinner and overnight stayed at resort.  

Jalsa beach resort

Day-2 After breakfast in the morning, we went for a full day North Island tour. Visited the capital city Port Louis, Place d' Armes with it's French colonial buildings, the eventful Champ de Mars racecourse and the exotic Caudan Waterfront .                                                          
Caudan Waterfront

Day-3 After breakfast in the morning, we went for a full day South Island tour. Visited the Trou aux Cerfs, the crater  of an extinct volcano. Proceeded to Grand Bassin, a natural lake at the base of volcanic crater and a pilgrimage place for Hindus. Later visited Chamarel (Colored Earth) containing vibrant hues and waterfall. 


Day-4 After breakfast in the morning, enjoyed a full day excursion to Ile Aux Cerfs. An emerald lagoon, it was accessible by speed boat. With clear waters and endless beaches, it was a heaven for lovers of the sea, sand and sun. We also enjoyed the abundant water sports offered here. 

Water sport

Day-5 After breakfast in the morning, enjoyed the rest of the day at leisure. Made the most of it by indulging in unique and enthralling experiences like taking an under sea walk and deep sea fishing dive. When not doing any activity, we just relaxed and got a tan at one of the many beautiful beaches. 

Sea walk

Day-6 This was our relax day according to the trip but there was many thing left which we din't see. Since we only had one day left, we wanted to go for cruise because we had heard about it a lot. So we called to our guide and asked him that how we can go there. He told us it was not possible because cruise requires 2 days of prior booking. Little disappointed, we decided to try out our next option which was 'Casela nature park'. For that we booked a cab from resort to Casela.

After breakfast in the morning we left for Casela. When we reached there we saw lots of activities were there like-
  • Quad Biking trip/Buggys
  • Walking with Lions Excursion
  • Visit of the Mauritius Safari and Bird Park
  • Rando Fun Adventure (ziplining adventure)

We decided to do Quad biking, and it turned out to be totally adventurous day. Full speed buggy ride in a forest, among lots of animals which we saw while riding. The ride was full of dangerous turns, but we crossed all of them successfully :) 
It was lots of fun with adventure. After all the fun, we had lunch at the park's restaurant. I have described my Casela experience in detail here

Quad biking

When we came outside from the park we decided to go 'Flic En Flac' beach, which was not very far from Park. It was a very nice and pleasant experience. Beautiful, clean, peaceful, enjoyable and relaxing, it was a perfect place. In the evening, we left for resort. 

Flic En Flac

Day-7 After breakfast in the morning, we left to the airport for India.

The trip was a very beautiful experience. We did not face any kind of language problem at there, because most of people there know english & hindi. There were so many things which we couldn't able to cover in 7 days. Whatever we din't see we decided to cover that part on our next Mauritius trip :)