Saas Bahu Temples – Off the beaten path

Just 23 kms from Udaipur, is the ancient capital of Mewar, Nagda. It was ruled by the Mewar rulers for 7 generations. As of today, the place is in ruins and visited bya few. The Saas-Bahu Temple at Nagda  is the main attraction of this place. The Temple though called Saas Bahu (the literal transalation of which is Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law) is actually a temple dedicated to a form of Lord Vishnu, known as Sahastra-Bahu (One with thousand Arms).

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The temple complex built in the 10th century houses Vishnu, Shiva and Jain Temples with wonderful architectural details. Stories from mahabharat and ramayana are depicted on the temple walls. The complex is divided in 2 parts, the Saas temples which is comparatively little larger than the “Bahu” temples. Most of these temples are in ruins but anybody interested in history and architecture , this place will surely interest you. Its an opportunity to experience the artistic beauty of those times.

The entrance

The entrance

The Saas-Bahu Temple

The Saas-Bahu Temple

The place is now maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. And finds it place in the list of Heritage monuments. With interesting Architecture and carvings, the Saas-Bahu Temple is a not to be missed trip when in Udaipur.

Makes for a perfect postcard !!

Makes for a perfect postcard !!

Shopping outside the complex..

Shopping outside the complex..

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Another place which is well worth a visit from Udaipur is Haldighati, a historic site where the great battle between Maharana Pratap and Mughal Emperor Akbar took place.The place is called Haldighati because the soil is yellow (Haldi-turmeric) in color. Enroute you can also visit the Chhatri of Maharana Pratap’s beloved horse “Chetak”.

Haldighati

Haldighati

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My paradise on earth – Maldives

After a lot of discussion about where to go for honeymoon we zeroed in on Maldives the paradise on earth, Bora Bora island was left for our 25th anniversary (winks).

I really dint have any expectations of this place but that’s what turned out to be the best thing. For Maldives was a dream come true for me. It was my Paradise on Earth.

The airport pick up point.

The airport pick up point.

Male, the capital of Maldives was not a part of our itinerary, we just saw the Male airport and jumped on a speed boat to go to our final destination Lankanfinolhu island. The journey was breathtaking, I had never seen this color of blue ever in my life. It was just magical and every few minutes the color changed from light blue to dark blue to ink blue. I was like WoW. So much blue just blew me Away.

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Once we reached our island we stopped at our resort , our home for the next few days, Paradise Island Resorts & Spa. The place was truly a paradise. On arrival we were given a welcome drink and escorted to our room which was a beach villa. The rooms were really big which opens to the beach. From the beach you could see the overwater villa (it had been my dream to stay in an over water villa). But due to unavailability we were given the beach villa which was also quiet good . After a fantastic 2 days stay at the beach villa we were upgraded to the overwater villa much to our surprise. I was super excited.

The over water villa's

The over water villa’s

If the beach villa was super, this was super se upar (winks). The whole experience changes once your in the water villa .The view from our villa was breathtaking. Crystal clear blue water just merges with the the blue skies. You could see fishes , rays, sharks oh yes baby sharks all around you just by sitting outside your room. We could see a lot of hotel guests go in for snorkelling but the water is so clear and clean that even the tiny fishes were clearly visible just by sitting on the deck. Simply mind blowing. The rooms are superbly made, with an open bath tub and an open deck just outside your room with steps that lead you down to the water. It’s a perfect romantic setting, just ideal for your honeymoon.

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The view from my room

There are three restaurants, all of which were good. The Italian restaurant had the best setting, we could feed the fishes sitting there while having our dinner. The beach was so clean and the spa was amazing. I took a body massage which was rejuvenating and so refreshing.

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The best part was the surprise my husband planned for me , a beach side candle light dinner with a personal chef. I was on top of the world.

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There are water sport facilities too like para gliding, jet skiing but it’s too expensive. Snorkelling was a favourite with the tourists here. We took a half day island hopping tour which took us to another resort and from there to a fishing village to shop ..the tour was just about okay, I would rather stay in the resort and take in the beauty. But the next day we opted for a submarine ride, which was the best. We were taken on a boat to someplace close to male , in the middle of the water and asked to jump on the submarine. Now that we we were truly underway, my excitement level just tripled. We were taken down and down and down… It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. Fishes, coral, water flower, water snakes, and more fishes it was like a beautiful dream. The whole experience was out of this world.

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The four days that we spent at Maldives before heading to Dubai was the best days of our honeymoon. One should go there for a perfect romantic setting, beautiful beaches and the awesome Sunset. It’s a place for a die hard romantic and a perfect place to spend some quality time with your beloved.

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Pointers:-
1. Everything there is expensive. So take an all inclusive package.
2. Even bottled drinking water comes for a cost , and they charge you in dollars and not in their local currency.
3. Stay in a water villa for a bit of luxury, or do a combination of both the water villa & beach villa.
4. Try all the three restaurants , all of them are good.
5. If u have this problem of sea sickness, avoid the full day island hopping tour. (Half day itself made me feel a little uncomfortable, considering the boat that they take you in,is quiet different from the speed boat you take from the airport to the resort. )

Go with absolutely no expectations and return with a whole lot of memories etched in your heart forever.

The museum@Mehrangarh fort

Like i had promised , This post is a photo essay of the things i saw in the Mehrangarh fort museum. It definitely deserved a separate post.

A typical Rajput Sheesh Mahal (found in most of the Rajput palaces) full of delicate Mirror work.

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Everything from the cieling to the walls are made of delicate glass work.

The Phool Mahal, the most private and grandest room of the palace where the dancers used to perform inorder to entertain the Kings.

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Phool Mahal

Jhanki Mahal or The Palace of Glimpses is from where the women from the royal family used to look outside without being seen as they used to practise the tradition of “Purdah.” It is also where the numerous royal cradles are kept.

A room full of The Royal cradles...

A room full of The Royal cradles…

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Takhat Vilas is Maharaja Takhat Singh’s Palace which is blend of modern and traditional architecture. Can you see shiny disco balls on the cielings?

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Daulatkhana was the Treasury of the Royals,  the gallery has a display of huge collection of palanquins, artworks, coins, armory, hookahs etc .This also shows the close ties the Kings had with the Mughals. Its like a well-stocked museum.

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The howdahs were a wooden seat covered with gold and silver sheets, which was fastened on to the elephant back.

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Howdahs

A Palanquin

A Palanquin

Mahadol Palanquin was won in a battle in 1730

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Mahadol Palanquin

Peacock Palanquin

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Covered Palanquin or Pinja

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Howdahs.

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Howdahs

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This silver howdah was gifted to the King Jaswant Singh by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan.

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The make-up box.

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The Swords…some that belonged to Emperor Akbar.

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Marks of cannon balls on the walls / doors.

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Usually i get bored of museums, but Mehrangarh fort museum and the Bikaner palace museum (more on this in a later post)  had some really interesting things to see that got me hooked right from the beginning.

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Mehrangarh fort – Jodhpur

We had just 4 hours in Jodhpur before heading to Jaisalmer. So we had to choose the best from the best things to see in Jodhpur. For me Mehrangarh fort was the “bestest” thing that Jodhpur could offer. I had seen pictures of the fort on various websites and was fascinated by them. So a visit to the fort was on top of my list.

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The Mehrangarh fort offers the best views of the Blue city, Jodhpur. It is from here you can see that all the houses are of color blue.It seems the city of  Brahmapuri as it was known earlier was where only Brahmins used to live and blue houses signified that of a Brahmin. These Brahmins also used to paint their houses blue/indigo as a protection from mosquitos and insects. It is said that Blue color is a natural repellent to mosquitoes and other insects. The color stayed on and the city got its name of “Blue city”.

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Mehrangarh fort or the Sun fort built by Rao Jodha in the 12th century is situated at a height of 400 feet . Its one of the largest and best preserved forts of India. And amongst all the forts that i had visited in Rajasthan in those 10 days, this one was a Masterpiece. The gigantic appearance, the massive walls, the architecture, the carvings everything about this fort was magnificent. There are 7 gates in this fort , the main ones being Jai Pol, Fateh Pol and Loha Pol. This is the only fort i came across which has an elevator for the tourists to use.

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The fort has a very interesting story , it seems Roa Jodha wanted to shift his capital to Jodhpur and had chosen this hill where he wanted to lay the foundation of the fort. He asked his men to shift every person found on the hill elsewhere. At that time, there was just one person who lived there an old hermit called Cheeria Nathji, the Lord of the Birds (even today the fort is home to thousands of birds). He was so upset at being forced out that he cursed the place with scarcity of water. The King was so upset with this that he pleaded that the curse be taken back. But the man said , although he could not take back the curse once its given he would however, offer a solution. He said that a person had to be buried alive here for the effects of the curse to be reversed. A man named “Raja Ram Meghwal” offered to be buried alive at the hill, and the king in return promised to look after his family. His family still live at Raj Bagh , a place given to them by the King. The foundation of this fort was thus laid.  And a memorial for Raja Ram Meghwal was also built here.

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The fort has a lot of beautiful  palaces namely, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal , Moti Mahal etc.What fascinated me were the Jali work  of the windows, they were extremely beautiful with delicate carvings and detailed architectural designs. I couldn’t stop peeping through the  jharokas and posing in front of them. It also houses a beautiful museum with a huge collection of royal palanquins, howdahs, cradles etc. There were swords some of which belonged to the times of mughal emperor Akbar, it is said that the Rathore rulers had good relations with the Mughals. There were furnitures, armory, hookahs, makeup box, musical instruments, paintings etc. But what caught my attention was the Daulatkhana, a place where the treasury was kept or you can say it was the king’s bank hence, the name Daulatkhana.

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The fort also has a spine chilling history of Sati or Jauhar. A practise of mass self-immolation (where the women jump into the fire to kill themselves,commonly practised among Rajputs those days) by the women of the palace including the queens, the dasi’s etc to avoid being used by the enemies if the men lose the war. Many a times the women would kill themselves even before the men went to war because they were unsure of the result. Before the  Jauhar the women would leave their handprints on the wall. You will find these handprints on most of the forts in Rajasthan, i saw these in Jaisalmer and Bikaner too.

Mehrangarh fort was my brush with Rajputana history. Being here was like a dream come ture as this fort had always fascinated me.  Its one of those fairytale forts that you had always seen in movies. It was here that the movie Dark Knight Rises was shot and a lot of bollywood movies too. It overlooks the City of Jodhpur and boasts of  a well stocked museum ( i’ll be writing about this in the next post), mind blowing architecture, well preserved cannon,it also the best place to see the sunset and sunrise.

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Amongst all the forts that i had seen in Rajasthan, this one remains my favourite. I wish i had spent one whole day there as theres so much to see in the city that 4 hours was definitely a short time and we had to leave out the beautiful Umaid Bhavan and Jaswant Thada. But i left the city with a promise that i will be back for more.

 

 

 

 

Kodi Beach, Kundapur

Kodi Beach , a spectacular beach located in the coastal town of Kundapur which lies in udupi district of Karnataka , is one such place which is visited by a few compared to its counterpart, the Marvanthe Beach. It hardly sees any visitors barring a few locals or a handful of tourists visiting the town. Its the local’s own secret hideout. The beach is approximately 3-4 kms inside from the highway.

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kodi beach

It was like our own private beach !!

It was like our own private beach !!

Its one of those beaches where you can relax on a chair while sipping on a cup of tea or coffee, eating the traditional kundapur chicken and enjoying the sunset. The beach also has some shacks where the hotel guys serve you food. With just 8-10 people who come here for evening walk , you practically have the entire beach to yourself.

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The Coastal towns of Karnataka despite being full of beaches has still not come under the radar of tourists and hence, is less commercialized, clean, calm and less touristy. Its completely unexplored and unbelievably beautiful.

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Once, you are done with beach bumping, you can head straight to Shetty’s Lunch Home, the oldest in the Kundapur Town, to savour your taste buds with their authentic traditonal Chicken Ghee Roast. I’m sure you will be back for more.

 

How to reach : By Road – Kundapur is approx 886kms from Mumbai and approx 264 kms from Goa.
Nearest Railway Station – Kundapura
Nearest Airport – Mangalore

Where to stay – I personally like Blue waters Resort. Other than that for budget accommodation and if you want to stay in the centre of the city there’s Hotel Sharon.