September 13th, 2012 by admin

Suryanarayan temple is located very near to Ranakpur Jain temple in Rajasthan. We were traveling from Kumbhalgarh to Ranakpur and the first thing we saw was Suryanarayan Temple. This temple is dedicated to Sun god (Surya Dev in Hindi). The temple is managed by the Udaipur royal family. Suryanarayan temple can be a precursor for what to expect at Ranakpur Jain temple. This compact temple is beautifully designed. Built on a higher pedestal like Hoysala temples of Karnataka. I felt Suryanarayan temple is a mixture of 3 unique architectures of India. The pedestal and walls are of Hoysala style, the main tower and some designs around the tower are of Puri Jagannath temple of Konark temple style (both from Orissa). Then there is Rajasthani touch through the stone work on the walls and carvings.

The temple is open from dawn to dusk. Photography of the deity is not allowed.

September 10th, 2012 by admin

Haldighati is located around 40 km from Udaipur and 50 km from Kumbhalgarh. Haldighati museum tries to showcase the history of the royal family of Mewar, life and time of Maharana Pratap, Haldighati battle, weapons of the time and local traditions.

Entry fees: Rs 20
Camera fees: Rs 50

There is white marble stone temple on the right hand side just after the entrance. The architecture of the museum is of the form of a fort. The museum is on the left hand side. The first room shows the weapons, lineage of the Mewar royal family and the emblem of the royal family. Other section shows life and time of Pratap, how he conducted war etc. It also features miniature of Chittor fort, Kumbhalgarh fort, Kirthi Stambha etc.

There is a pond at the backyard. Around which we saw Rajasthani traditions like Gadola (nomadic people who spend their lifetime on a cart), traditional way of making sugarcane juice by cow, water harvest by wooden wheel etc. One can buy genuine local products like rose water, rose jam, saufs, various sweets etc. Also, you can try local imitation jewels and cloths.

September 6th, 2012 by admin


Tomb of Jhala Mann Singh at Haldighati battlefiled, one of the commanders of Maharana Pratap’s army

Akbar became the third king of Mughal empire in 1556. He started expanding his empire either by diplomacy or by military might. Most of the Rajput kings and others accepted his offer and became vassals of Mughal empire. However, one freedom loving Rajput – Maharana Pratap did not accepted Akbar as ruler of India or Mewar. Maharana Pratap was the son of Uday Singh, who founded the city of Udaipur. Uday Singh gave refuge to Baz Bahadur of Malwa in 1562 after he was defeated by the forces of Akbar. On this pretext Akbar attacked Mewar and captured Chittor in 1567. Maharana Pratap succeed Uday Singh as king of Mewar and wanted to free Chittor. Akbar sent many diplomatic mission to Pratap to accept his rule and become a vassal.


Turmeric color soil of Haldighati

Pratap could not accept the terms and Akbar sent a large army under Rajput king of Amer (Jaipur) to defeat Maharana Pratap. Pratap devised a plan to lure the Mughals to Haldighati hills and ambush them. The hills is called Haldighati as the soil is of yellow color like turmeric (Haldi in Hindi). But after realizing this, the Mughals under Man Singh ran away to the plains around 3 to 4 km from Haldighati hill. Here a fierce battle took place between the forces of Akbar and Pratap. It is said that 18000 people died from both side over a period of 7 hours battle. During the battle it rained there and all the blood washed away to a nearby pond. The color of the pond changed to complete red and hence it is called Raktatalai (pond of blood).


Present day road through Haldighati hill

Chetak was the beloved horse of Maharana Pratap, king of Mewar region of Rajasthan. Chetak was very skilled, strong, beautiful and devoted towards its master. Chetak is now a legend in Indian history due to his deeds for his master. Chetak’s story is immortalized in Rajasthani ballads.

In the battle of Haldighati against Emperor Akhbar led by Mann Singh, Chetak also took part. Maharana Pratap rode Chetak to led this battle. On June 21, 1576 the battle which took place on the plains near Haldighati hill, Maharana Pratap’s army was outnumbered and here Pratap made an attempt to kill Akhbar’s commander Mann Singh by mounting his horse Chetak on the elephant and threw his lance. Man Singh ducked and the elephant mahout was killed. But in this process, Chetak was severely wounded. Now the tide of the battle was turning against Pratap. His followers urged him to leave the battlefield. One of his trusted lieutenant Jhala Mann Singh wore the royal insignia. The Mughals thought that he was Maharana Pratap and they jumped on him. Jhala Mann Singh was killed in the process. His tomb was erected near Raktatalai.


Raktatalai seen in the background

Meanwhile Chetak took Maharana Pratap and went around 2 km away from the battlefield. On the way there was a small stream. Chetak jumped to cross the stream. On the other side after leading his master to safety Chetak collapsed. At the same place Maharana Pratap erected a tomb in memory of Chetak. There is a small temple besides the tomb. The memorial is in good condition and is taken care by Rajasthan government tourism department.


Chetak’s tomb

The battle was indecisive and Akbar was enraged that his large army could not capture Maharana Pratap.

September 3rd, 2012 by admin

Location: Ranakpur, Pali district, Rajasthan, India

Timings: 12 noon to 5 pm

Camera fees: Rs 50

Route: From Jodhpur: Jodhpur – National Highway 65 – Pali – State Highway 67 – Ranakpur

From Kumbhalgarh: Kumbhalgarh – State Highway 49 – State Highway 32 – Veera Matt – Ranakpur

Distance: Around 110 km from Udaipur, 10 km from Kumbhalgarh

Accomodation: Ranakpur temple, Ranakpur Hill Resort, RTDC Panihari Hotel

Ranakpur is located in Desuri tehsil near Sadri town of Pali district of Rajasthan. The Jain temple located here on the slope of Aravalli hills is said to be the most majestic of Jain temples. The temple was completed in 1458 is built with white marble and sand stone. Rana Kumbha the then ruler of Mewar patronized the temple and the temple was built by a devoted Jain. The main temple complex features 1444 pillars in all and have intricate design on stone. The inside domes are designed with flower petals and various Indian style. The domes and pillars are to be minutely watched for. I suggest you to take your time and go around this temple.

Note: The following items are not allowed inside the temple:

1. Eatables and drinks
2. Cigarettes and intoxicants
3. Leather items
4. Umbrella
5. Radio
6. Any weapon
7. Visitors need to enter the temple barefooted or with socks
8. Menstruating women are not supposed to enter the temple
9. People are supposed to enter the temple decently dressed
10. Visitors should not touch any idol or cravings

The temple is surrounded by semi forest range and it gives a green cover. It give me an out of the world feeling of a high level civilization in mid of a forest. the temple is situated on a higher pedestal. I had to climb around 20 plus steps to enter inside the temple. The path inside is a circular way and in the center is the idol of Adinath. He was the first Tirthankara of Jain religion. Also there are some other idols of Parsvanath and Amba mata. I saw small statues of all Tirthankaras of different times carved on a wall. The turrets, cupola and the temple as a whole stand beautifully with background of green cover of small hills.

One thing which stood out for me was the similarity of between a few towers with Jagannath temple of Puri, Orrisa. I was thinking if there was any collaboration between the sculptors of Rajasthan and Orissa then. Inside I walked around the complete way and photographed it. Then I sat on a platform which gives a view outside. The cool and fresh breeze was so soothing that it was like nirvana. From here I could see small temple erections up on the hill. The temple is nicely maintained and is very clean. They have lodging and food facility. Following this I went to see another temple which is located in front of the main Ranakpur temple. This temple is smaller. I think that it may have been constructed first and then the majestic main temple was constructed. The whole temple is now managed by Anandji kalyanji Trust, Ahmadabad.

Following this I went to the food stall there and had coffee, some special local snacks. Also, picked up the famous Gujarati Khakra. Ranakpur Jain temple is a must visit, if you are in Rajasthan.

View more pictures of Ranakpur Jain Temple.

August 31st, 2012 by admin

Nathdwara is a small temple town in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, India. It is famous for the popular temple of Shrinathji ( an avatar of lord Krishna). Also, known as Shreenathji. Nathdwara is located around 34 km from Kumbhalgarh and 48 km from Udaipur. It is a very popular pilgrimage center in this part of India, specially from the neighboring state of Gujarat. The nearest airport is at the outskrits Udaipur around 56 km from here.

I reached Nathdwara at the Lord Sreenathji’s door around evening (around 6 pm). During the month of July it gets dark in Rajasthan only around 7.30 pm. With Lord’s blessing we got a darshan (view) of Lord Srinathji. There were hordes of devotees all over the place. Before the darshan we were told some very interesting facts by one of the temple person. The idol shrinathji was in Mathura but during those days in the late 16th century Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was destroying Hindu temples, so it was moved to Nathdwara in Rajasthan in 1672 to save it. Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar not only dared to station the Idol but also built a temple there.

Photography at the temple is prohibited so there no pictures of this place. It is a two story temple. While walking through the small lane we had to open the shoes. For upkeep you will have to pay Re 1 -2. We were told all those beautiful garland for Lord is made in house and the flower comes from Lord’s own garden. On the first floor there is a gopura (tower) which is said to contain the Sudarshan Chakra that Lord Krishna used. It is said that prayer made here is fulfilled. And only one wish should be made with full devotion. We prayed there and offered a small token amount. We were given a scented cotton bud and were asked to keep it with us. The area near the Gopura was filled with various coins. It was a sight. The area Lord resides is on the ground floor. It has various time slots through out the day for darshan. In some slots there are separate queue for men and women. But in the evening all were left free to go in and view. suddenly a huge rush developed in front of Lord’s sanctum sanatorium. While praying people just do not move and one person over there was literally hitting people with a cloth to move them from the front row. May be Lord’s blessing, I also got one hit! Its pretty hard.

The photo of Srinathji is very beautiful. I was told that Lord said that all of his need would come Gujarat. That way most of the pilgrims are from Gujarat. It seems people managing this temple have never required to bother for anything. If they thought they need anything, somebody comes and delivers it. The town resembles a typical old religious town of India. When I saw the narrow lanes, big windows, dirty drains, old buildings, the first thing that came to mind was Nabawadip (West Bengal). Another popular pilgrimage town of Mahaprabhu (incarnation of Lord Krishna). We brought laddu prasad for Rs 100 like Tirupati temple laddu. It was very tasty. Other forms of sweet prasad are also available. One is not supposed to enter the temple premises with any leather item and mobile phone. With Lord’s blessing we left Nathdwara for Club Mahindra resort, Kumbhalgarh.

The temple has various kind of accommodation on offer starting from cottage to dharmashala. Booking can be made online.

Temple Address:

Shrinathji Mandir,
Nathdwara, Rajasthan – 313 301
Phone: +91 2953 233484
Fax: +91 2953 232482

Official website: http://www.nathdwaratemple.org/

August 27th, 2012 by admin

Badhshah Bagh

We reached Badshah bagh in the evening. It is the place where the Mughal army camped in order to attack Maharana Pratap. It is surrounded by hills with shrubs. I had a complete different feeling while walking through Badshah bagh. It is now a garden managed by tourism department of Rajasthan. It is here on June 21, 1576 the first encounter between the Mughals and the forces of Maharana Pratap took place. There is no entry fees or restriction on photography.

Badhshah Bagh

Badshah bagh is located little way from Haldighati hill and Haldighatti battle field.

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