Category Archives: Bird Watching

KEOLADEO NATIONAL PARK,BHARATPUR IN IMAGES

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Keoladev National Park is the official name of the Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan. The national park is named after a Lord Shiv temple in the park by the same name & ‘Ghana’ refers to dense forest cover. It is spread over 29 sq.kms. Prince Harbhanji of Morvi State in Gujarat developed the area as a duck hunting preserve for the Maharaja of Bharatpur in his tenure as an administrator of Bharatpur in 1899. He actively had constructed bandhs & dykes   to hold water to create marshes to attract the birds from far & near. The Bharatpur Maharaja handed over the sanctuary to the Rajasthan Government in 1956 to be run as a bird sanctuary & it was declared a National Park in 1981 &  a Word Heritage Site in 1985 by UNESCO.

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TIME LINE (Click to enlarge to read)

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THE BAG & THE GUNS  (Click to enlarge to read)

Anytime is a good time to visit the park because there is some or the other activity going on in the park.

From July to September The water fowls are nesting & breeding.

From October To February Migratory birds are arriving.

From March to June Resident birds are nesting & breeding.

The sanctuary is near the Golden Triangle of Jaipur-Delhi-Agra so is very well connected by road & rail while the nearest airports are Jaipur & Agra & Delhi.

According to the official records there are diverse species of water fowl, plants, mammals, fish,snakes, lizards,geckos,turtles, butterflies & other various life forms. But first & foremost it teems with birds & their call. 374 species of birds have been recorded.

The park is open from 6am to 6 pm. You have various option in how you visit the park. You can hire a cycle rickshaw to take you around the park (The driver doubles up as a guide too) or cycles, tongas & naturalist guides or electric van for big groups.

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ENTRANCE TO THE PARK & THE CYCLE RICKSHAW STAND

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PAINTED STORK

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WATER BODY

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POND HERON-PADDY BIRD

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PAINTED STORK

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SPOTTED DEER

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THE PYTHON

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PADDY BIRD IN FLIGHT

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WATER SNAKE

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SPOTTED DEER

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ANTELOPE

BOMBAY NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY (BNHS)

A Visit To KCK Simriti Ban

(Click on Image to view in gallery)

It is always a pleasure to visit the Karpur Chandra Kulish Simriti Ban on the Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg,Jaipur,Rajasthan. The fascinating aspect is the green oasis in a world dominated by sand as Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan a desert state in India. It has water & trees & plants to attract the local birds and other insects & butterflies etc.  It has lot of secluded corners where benches are provided by the administration for the young and not so young couples visiting the park.

My only suggestion is that they should provide an hour each in the morning & evening for nature lovers who would like to photograph the birds and the flora & fauna as the park is very busy during the visiting hours for a serious study to be done. Furthermore boys being boys some of the boys are  intentionally disruptive to the peaceful atmosphere in the park.

A Walk At The Man Sagar Lake

( Click on the image to view in Gallery)

Whenever I get a chance, I take a morning walk along the Mansagar Lake, just like so many other Jaipur residents and tourists from outside Jaipur. It does not have any thing to do with getting exercise in the morning. It is just a fascination of  a resident of a desert state with a large body of water, greenery, sunrise & birds. I also took a few pictures which are enclosed herewith.

The dirt & general neglect were a pathetic site. This site is THE prime tourist spot of Jaipur. Any tourist visiting Jaipur visits here once at least.

Some stop gap arrangement should be made for the up keep of the site till the courts have their say.

A Gourmand’s Jaipur

When on a visit to a tourist destination eating is the last thing on our mind. We try to maximize the sight seeing, the shopping, the destinations… But if we were to slow down and taste the authentic delicacies the city  has to offer us it would be a more rewarding trip than if we just got a bite to eat on the run.

This is such a post. It will inform you about where to eat while you are on your way about the city of Jaipur.

For an emerging Metro, Jaipur still  does not have many options by the way of an establishment offering early breakfast. On the weekends the Mcdonald  on the M.I.Road opens early. On Sundays the sweet shop in Bagariya Bhawan Market offers great Sabzi-Poori from 8 am to 11 am. Rawat Mishtan Bhandar on station road opens early offering traditional snacks like pyaz ki kachori, Mirchi Baras & mawa Kachori & Desi Ghee Jalebis. On M.I. Road the Lassiwala opposite Natraj restaurant  & the Samosa-Kachori-Jalebi wala near the Narsingh Temple open shop early.

Amber Palace opens at 8 Am & the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar open at 9 Am. So it is a good idea to head for Amber Palace & Jaigarh Fort & Nahargarh Fort after breakfast. If you have brought your own car or are in a Taxi, on your way you can photograph the magnificient facade of Hawamahal bathed in early morning sunshine and click the Jal Mahal in Man Sagar Lake against the rising sun. For lunch you can eat at the Nahargarh Fort’s Durg  Cafetaria or  return to Jaipur and & eat at the LMB or the Palace Cafe in the City Palace. After lunch you can visit the Hawamahal Palace from the inside, Jantar Mantar, City Palace & climb the Isar Lat. All these monuments are nearby. While at the City Palace you can also visit the Govind Dev ji Temple where the darshan are according to Jhanki Times which change as per summer or winter. The deity here is offered Chowgani ke Laddu as prasad. As it is sold during Jhanki times you ought to buy some because it is a delicacy. Also a point to note is, if you plan to offer prasad at the Temple you out to get some  with you from outside.

By the time you finish sightseeing at the City Palace Complex you will be ready to head to the hotel for evening tea. Or you can have a cup of tea at SAHU’s at shop no. 365 in Chaura Rasta. It has been in business for about 45 years, now.

After you freshen up at the hotel, what next?

These are some of the  options for you- You can go pubbing or Clubing ( if you can get a member of a Club to invite you for drinks & dinner) or you can go back to Amber for the light & sound Show or you can go for a typical Rajasthani dinner with folk dances at the ethnic village named Choki Dhani on Tonk Road.

On the next day when you visit the Albert Hall museum & the Zoo in the Ramniwas Garden you can visit the Goodearth Shop for Organic food stuffs.

On your way back from the visit to the Vidhyadhar ka Bagh, Sisodia Garden & Galta ji stop off  at the Pink Square Mall for a quick bite to eat at their food court or head to the Bakewell or Chawala or Hanuman Dhaba or Nand Paani Patasi walla or Mahaveer Rabri Bhandar or Falahar ( for those who are fasting) at Raja Park.

If you decide to visit the Science Park ( there are life size Dinosaur statues)  in Shastri Nagar you can stop at the Nathu Sweets for a quick snack.

The Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg (JLN Marg) has a lot to offer a person visiting Jaipur. On this road you will find the Simriti Ban, for the nature lover or a birding enthusiast , Jaldhara- a picnic spot, Musical Fountain & the Rose Garden at The Jawahar Circle, Gaurav Towers for the shopaholics, The Peacock Garden, Jawahar Kala Kendra for the culturally inclined. There is the 24 hrs  SARAS booth at the RCDF office. Gaurav Tower has a brilliant Food Court besides the Mcdonalds. Jawahar circle has a nice Chat Bazaar.

If birding is your forte then you ought to visit the Central Park for a walk in the morning or early evening & have coffee at the Coffee shop on statue circle. Central Park is also home to a French Sculpture and the Tallest Flag in Jaipur.

For Non-Veg food best bet is Niros, Spice Court on Jacob Road & Talk of the Town on M.I. Road.

You ought to visit Natraj for Choorma Dal Baati & Rajasthani Thali.

Four seasons & the Olive in The C-Scheme & Kanha chain  for veg Multi Cuisine food.

Sankalp on Subhash Marg Off M.I.Road for veg South Indian food.

Ice Spice on Ashok Marg for veg Punjabi Food & Annapurna behind Raj mandir

for Gugrati Thali. Golden Dragon & Yo China for chinese food.

Lasun Ki Chutney

Lasun Ki Chutney

LMB has achaars  & bottled chutney &  stuff like Mangori you can take back home with you if you are partial to it besides sweets like  ghewar & pheeni.

Vijay store on Choti Chaupad has great roasted snacks. Jal mahal Ice Cream Parlour for Ice Cream Desserts. Hot Breads & Bake hut for Bakery items & snacks. Cafe Coffee Day for Coffee. Tapri for Tea.

According to Napoleon, an army marches on its stomach & in my opinion so should a tourist. A  delhi belly not withstanding.

JEWELS IN THE CROWN OF JAIPUR

In no particular order these are some points about Jaipur anybody would consider as the Jewels in the Crown of Jaipur.

Everybody has to eat something some time. So let us list salient points related to food about Jaipur.

Jaipur is part of the desert state of Rajasthan & lack of adequate rainfall & transport saw to it that people ate ‘ana se ana’ as vegetables were scarce. Also because of the heat and the hard work the people put in the fields red chilies & Desi Ghee were used in abundance.

Ghewar

Ghewar

The delicacies one would consider as Jewels in the Crown of Jaipur would be

  1. Gatte Ki Sabzi – A veg. curry made with gram flour dumplings
  2. Ker Sangari- A veg curry made with fruit of Khejari tree & a berry.
  3. Ker ka Aachar- An aachar made with a berry which grows in the wild.
  4. Piyaz Ki Kachori – A Kachori made with a filling of onions & potatoes.
  5. Mirchi Bare- Pakora made out of green chilie & allo based filling & gram flour.
  6. Pheeni- can be had as a dessert or at breakfast with milk.
  7. Gazak – Sweet made of Til & sugar or Gur
  8. Mishri Mawa- Mawa based sweet
  9. Mawa ki Kachori – a Kachori with mawa filling served with sugar syrup
  10. Omlete by Sanjay
  11. Khatto – A curry made with gram flour boiled in buttermilk.
  12. Paneer ki Sabzee & Bejar Ki Roti  with rabri as dessert at Mahaveer Rabri Bhandar
  13. Kulfi- traditional Ice Cream
  14. Namkeens from the Sonthliwalon Ka Rasta
  15. Choorma Daal Baati- It has to be tasted to be defined!
  16. Raabri- A little atta cooked in boiling Chach.
  17. A meal at Chokhi Dhani Ethnic Village
  18. Rajasthani Thali at Natraj, LMB
  19. Heeng ki kachori -Kachories made of asfoetida flavored masala.
  20. Heeng ki sev- Sev made of asfoetida flavored gram flour.
  21. Doodh Jalebi at Breakfast
  22. Meethi Lassi on M.I. Road
  23. Ghewar, a sweet, from LMB
  24. Gulab Sakri Mawa based sweet flavored with kesar
  25. Kangan – traditional sweet made more or less like a Jalebi
  26. A late night snack at the Saras Snack counter on JLN Marg
  27. Laal Maans – Mutton in red curry
  28. Safed Maans- Mutton in white gravy
  29. Paan – chewing betel leaf with slaked lime, Kattha & Supari.
  30. Jalebi made in Desi Ghee
  31. Mutton  Sule- Marinated boneless mutton cooked on coals
  32. Shammi Kabab- Minced meat tikiya cooked on a tawa or deep fried in oil.
  33. Mangori Curry- Lentil paste dried in small pieces and later on cooked as a curry.

As Rajasthan is a border state & the Princes in The Rajputana were at war more than they were at peace so you will find Forts & Palaces in which ever part of Rajasthan you might venture. But the monuments of Jaipur are special as they are not only in good condition but the administration takes pains to keep them in pristine condition.

Entrance To The Palaces Of Amber

Entrance To The Palaces Of Amber

  1. Amber Fort- Built in the 16th century on a hillock it is a majestic Fort.
  2. The Palaces at The Amber Fort are amazing.
  3. The imposing & artistic entrance to the Palaces of the Amber Fort.
  4. Elephant ride at up the Amber Fort Hillock
  5. Jaigarh Fort about 15km from Jaipur is located on a hill known as Cheel ka Teela & was built in the 16th century by Raja Man Singh & Sawai Jai singh II.
  6. Jaibaan was built in 1720 and is said to be the biggest cannon on wheels in the world.
  7. Cannon Foundry at Jaigarh- Jaibaan was cast here.
  8. Water Tanks at the Jaigarh Fort- Still in use these tanks can store 60,00,000 liters of fresh rain water. Find out about the system thru which they collected this huge amount of water.
  9. Nahargarh Fort was used for the guests of the Maharajas.
  10. Stepwell at the Nahargarh Fort- This step-well was made famous by the film Rang De Basanti.
  11. Man Sagar Lake This Lake is sustained by recycled water & a popular spot for birding. A birding fair is held here, every year.
  12. Jal Mahal Palace- Recently restored to its former glory this palace is in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake.
  13. Sisodia Raani ka Baagh- Built in 1728 by Sawai Jai Singh for his Sisodia Queen, it is a terraced garden.
  14. Galta Ji- A pilgrimage site it was built by Rao Kriparam, the Sun is worshipped here.
  15. Vidhyadhar ji Ka Baagh- This garden is named for the Architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya who designed the city of Jaipur.
  16. Kanak Vridavan Garden- Near the Man Sagar Lake this garden was the adobe of Govind Dev ji before the idol was moved to the City Palace Complex.
  17. Kos Minar at the VT Road circle was a pillar situated by the roadside, it was used to measure distances in the Mughal times.
  18. Peacock Garden- On the JLN Marg near the RCDF offices this garden was decorated with sandstone chatris & fiber Peacocks made by an eminent artist.
  19. Central Park is a most popular place for a morning walk, a date or for birding.
  20. French Sculptures in the Central Park & the Man Sagar Lake- Made by a French artist these sculptures are a thing of beauty.
  21. Isar Laat was constructed to celebrate the victory of the Jaipur forces under Sawai Ishwari Singh Ji in 1749.
  22. Jantar Mantar– An astronomical observatory having with huge Sundials etc made out of marble & masonry.
  23. City Palace-Residence of the ruling family of Jaipur. Some parts are open to public & some parts have been made into museums.
  24. Hawa Mahal Palace- Built in 1799 by Sawai Pratap Singh ji for the royal women to watch the religious processions etc. & still be in purdha.
  25. The façade of Hawamahal- It has 5 stories & 953 windows & is painted terracotta pink.
  26. The various gates of the walled city- As Jaipur was built according to Vastu Shastra it had 9 gates.
  27. Maharanion ki chatriyans- This is the funeral grounds of the Maharanis of Jaipur.
  28. Gaitore- Cenotaphs of the past Maharajas are here.
  29. Sawai Jai Singh Statue Circle- Almost all circles of Jaipur have statues installed on them but only one circle is known popularly as The Statue Circle. A statue of Sawai Jai Singh stand tall here.
  30. Birla Planetarium-Plan a visit to be updated about the universe.
  31. Conference venue at the Birla Institute of Scientific Research (BISR)
  32. Rambagh Palace Hotel- One of the best hotels in the world today.
  33. Silver urns- Huge utensils cast in silver used to ferry Gangajal to UK for the use of  Sawai Madho Singh II.
  34. Light & Sound Show at Amber Fort
  35. Light & Sound Show at Amar Jawan Jyoti in remembrance of Kargil War Martyrs.
  36. The pillarless hall at the Govind Dev ji Temple is Jaipur’s contribution to the Guinness Book of World records. It is the world’s widest RCC flat roof construction with a single span of 119 feet.
  37. Rajmandir-A single screen theatre, offering bollywood song & dance movies.
  38. Science Park in Shastri Nagar. A huge statue of a T-Rex roars here.
  39. National Flag In The Central Park

There are so many ancient Temples in Jaipur that it is also called Choti Kaashi.

  1. Thikana Govind Dev ji – The rulers of Jaipur claimed to be His Deewans & ruled in his name.
  2. Shilla Mata in the Amber Fort. It has doors made of silver with  9 roops of Goddess Durga & 10 roops of Goddess Saraswati engraved on it.
  3. Laxmi Narayan Temple- A poetry in white marble made by the Birlas.
  4. Ganesh Temple, Moti Doongri, Jaipur ke pratham poojya!
  5. Hanuman Temple, Moti Doongri, Another ancient temple
  6. Kala Hanuman Temple near the old Ram Prakash Cinema Hall.
  7. Garh Ganesh on a hill near Gaitore
  8. Nahar ke Ganesh ji- This Temple is about 175 years old.
  9. Jagat Shiromani Temple-Dedicated to the Lord Krishna His likeness in a black stone idol is worshipped here.
  10. Akshardham Temple-Located in Vaishali Nagar this temple is dedicated to the 18th century saint Swaminarayana.
  11. Ram Krishna Mission is in the C-scheme colony.
  12. Sanghi ji Jain Temple-A 1000 year old Digambar Jain temple at Sanganer.
  13. Choolgiri near Jaipur on a hillock is a Jain Temple.
  14. Padampura Jain Temple is about 30 km from Jaipur on the Tonk road.

Clubs of Jaipur-These are the best options for eating, drinking, staying, exercising or meeting people of Jaipur. They have rules about allowing non-members to use their facilities.

  1. Jaipur Club on Jacob Road
  2. Ashok Club on Janpath
  3. Polo Club on Bhawani Singh Road
  4. Golf Club on Bhawani Singh Road.

It does not matter if you like festivals to disrupt the hum-drum day to day rhythm of life  or not they do leave you rejuvenated by their mere presence. These are some of the important festivals celebrated in Jaipur.

A Bazaar Decorated For Deepawali

A Bazaar Decorated For Deepawali

  1. Deepawali- The festival of lights is celebrated with much gusto in Jaipur. The whole city is bathed in colored lights to welcome the Goddess Laxmi.
  2.  Makkar Sakranti – A day for giving. The young guns of Jaipur fly kites, this day.
  3. Holi-Is the Festival of colors.
  4. Elephant Festival around Holi- If you wish to see this huge animal in huge numbers in one place all beautified for the day, this festival is for you!
  5. Gangaur – is a widely celebrated festival of Rajasthan where, Gauri, symbolizing Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiv, is worshipped as a symbol of virtue & fidelity. A big procession is taken out from the City Palace on 2 days.
  6. Teej-The festival is celebrated to pray to goddess Parvati for a happy married life, well-being of husband and children. A procession is taken out from the City Palace.

Excursions

  1. Samode is about 42 km from Jaipur Samode Palace is used as a heritage hotel & charges an entry fee for non residents to view the Sheesh Mahal & Darbar hall.
  2. Abhaneri- About 95 km from Jaipur off Jaipur-Agra Highway it is a huge stepwell in the shape of an inverted Pyramid.
  3. Bhangarh– Ruins of an ancient town said to be haunted .It is off Jaipur Agra highway.
  4. Tonk- About 110km from Jaipur it is also known as the ‘Lucknow of Rajasthan’. Sunehri Kothi is a must visit place. It is famous for Namdahs.
  5. Sambhar-About 65km from Jaipur it has the biggest salt lake in India. It is also a birders paradise around monsoons.
  6. Bharatpur-About 175km from Jaipur. It has a rich bird life for the Nature Lover and The Lohagarh Fort for the history buff.
  7. Ajmer- About 135 km from Jaipur. Holiest Muslim shrines of the world, Dargah Sharif is located here.
  8. Pushkar– is about 145 km from Jaipur & is famous for the Brahma Temple and the Savitri Temple, Sarovar  & the yearly Camel Fair.
  9. Pachewar-About 90km from Jaipur it has a 300 year old fort which has been coverted into a heritage hotel.
  10. Sariska Tiger Reserve– About 107km from Jaipur this National Park is spread over 866 sq km.
  11. Bairath or Viratnagar – About 86km from Jaipur. This town has been around since the times of Mahabharat. It was also a flourishing Buddhist centre during the reign of King Ashok.
  12. Seel Maata ki Doongri- 35km from Jaipur near Chaksu. This temple is dedicated the the goddess of small pox. Sheetala Ashtami is her day.
  13. Ranthambore- About 180km from Jaipur. This National Park has a rich natural life to be observed by the Nature Lover besides the Tiger.
  14. Alwar-About 150km from Jaipur. Famous for its monuments & Alwar Ka Mawa.
  15. Siliser-About 110 km from Jaipur near Alwar & Sariska. There is a palace hotel in the middle of the lake.
  16. Shekhawati- Encompasses the Districts of Jhunjhunu & Sikar.It is most famous for frescos painted on Havelies.
  17. Mehndipur Balaji off Jaipur-Agra Highway. The deity here is famous for exorcising evil spirits from a person.

Personalities

1. Sawai Jai Singh Ji II (1688-1743) A keen Astronomer he made the Jantar Mantars of Jaipur, Delhi etc and also founded the city of Jaipur.

2. Rajmata Gayatri Devi( 1919-2009) Voted as one of the World’s 10 most beautiful women by Vogue she was also an educationist & a philanthropist. She founded MGD School for girls & Sawai Man Singh Vidyalaya. She also revived the art of Blue pottery.

3.Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt- Born in 1952 he won the Grammy award in 1994 & the Padam Shree in 2002 for taking Indian classical music to new heights.

Shopping

  1. Silk/Woolen Carpets, Rugs & Durries made in Jaipur are world famous.
  2. Mojari-Traditional leather shoes.
  3. Lac Work – Bangles made of lac are a must for any auspicious occasion.
  4. Laheriya- A saree dyed in diagonal stripes of different pastel colors usually worn during the monsoons.
  5. Bandhej is the process of tying & dying a saree etc.
  6. Thewa-This process of fusing 23 carat gold with colored glass was developed about 350 years ago in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan.
  7. Jewelry made with silver has much favour with the rural folk.
  8. Kundan- is the process of inserting gold foil between the stones and its mount, commonly used to make necklaces, believed to have originated in Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is the oldest method of making 24 carat gold jewelry in India.
  9. Meenakari is the art of fusing metal like gold, silver or copper with different lacquers of colors like blue, red or green.
  10. Miniature Paintings are a fine rendering in water color of the court life etc over the years.
  11. Brass decorative items are a must buy on a Jaipur visit.
  12. Hand made paper of Sanganer– Paper made out of waste materials. One brand even adds a ratio of elephant dung to the formula. A variety of paper is made of Akda plant, commonly found in Rajasthan growing by the roadsides.
  13. Jaipur Blue or Blue pottery a collectors item.
  14. Jaipuri Razaai-A sheer delight to use, made according to a centuries old formula, a must buy on Jaipur visit.
  15. Bagru Hand Block Printed clothes & furnishings
  16. Sanganeri Hand Block Printed clothes & furnishings
  17. Turbans-Headgear of men in Rajasthan. Every region had its own style of tying a turban. They were made of different colorful materials & designs all with its own significance.
  18. Heritage Liquor- Traditional liquor made by Ganganagar Sugar Mills as per recipes provided by the former Royal houses.
  19. Itra- locally made traditional perfumes
  20. Supari/Churan- A huge variety can be found at Link Road near Sarawagi Mansion.
  21. Gota- Lace made of metal or plastic used to trim traditional clothes of women.
  22. Batik print- A variation of Bandhej tie & dye process.
  23. Terracotta stuff- The best terracotta articles come from Baswa village.

Miscellaneous

  1. Jaipur Bus – A fleet of Lo-Floor Buses are plying the streets the city every day & connecting the far flung areas of Jaipur.
  2. Musical Fountain, Jawahar Circle, JLN Marg performs everyday from 7-7.30 pm in winters. They even show music videos on a wall of spray.
  3. Sanganer Airport – Recently renovated one of the top air-ports of India.
  4. Akshay Paatra- Providing free mid-day meals to the school going children.
  5. Gaalibaazi- An irreverent Kavi Sammelan at Holi, a tradition almost as old as the city.
  6. Hella Khayal Sangeet Dangal have been held in Lalsot on the 2nd day of Gangaur  for more than 257 years now. Through this platform the artists inform the public about current affairs and issues, put forth problems to government officers, or comment on social, political and economic issues.
  7. Jaipuri Weddings– you have got to attend one to know the difference.
  8. Sculptures at the Circles– part of the drive to beautify Jaipur, this is priceless art commissioned for the city of Jaipur.
  9. Mandana-are the rangoli done in white & red colored lime on the floor & walls of a house on an auspicious occasion to welcome the gods.
  10. Bandarwal- door hangings tied at the entrance of a house on an auspicious occasion.
  11. Shorgar-They make traditional crackers by hand in earthen pots to be used at weddings etc.
  12. Neelgar- They dye clothes.
  13. Mehendi is used in all important occasions in life. A woman’s Shringar is incomplete without some mehndi on her hands & feet.

Educational Institutions

  1. St. Xavier’s School on Bhagwan Das Road
  2. MGD Girls School, off M.I. Road.
  3. St. Xavier’s College in C-Scheme.
  4. Rajasthan University on JLN Marg
  5. Rajasthan School of Art in Kishan pole Bazaar.

Music

  1. Maand-The local singers sung praises of the Rajput folk heros like Tejaji, Gogaji and Ramdeoji in this style of folk singing.
  2. Pabu ji ki Phad-The heroic stories of the folk hero Pabuji sung as folk songs.
  3. Kathputli- Folk songs which accompany the antics of the puppets on stage.
  4. Ravanhattha is a two-string stick fiddle used by bhopa community to narrate the epic tales of Pabuji.
  5. Panihari- songs sung by the local women, narrating the scarcity of water etc.

Dance

  1. Ghoomar – A dance performed mostly by Rajput women in groups or singly.
  2. Kaalbelia- Dance done by the snake charmer community.
  3. Therah Taali- This dance is performed in praise of folk-deity Baba Ramdeo by the Kamad community of Pokaran & Deedwana.
  4. Kacchi Ghodi- An important dance form of Rajasthan. It is performed with the help of a dummy horse and elaborate costumes.

Mela

1. Pushkar- Camel Fair

2. Nagaur- Cattle Fair

3 Looniyawas, near Sanganer- Gadarbh (Donkey) Mela

Museums

  1. Albert Hall -The central Museum of Jaipur. It has an Egyptian mummy here.
  2. Sanjay Sharma Museum-A fine collection of rare manuscripts, art & shoes.
  3. Alice Garg Sea Shell Museum- A huge collection of sea shells.
  4. In the city Palace
  5. At the Jai Garh Fort
  6. Anokhi Museum- Hand Bloc printing museum
  7. Dolls museum- A collection of dolls from all over the world.

Work-In-Progress

Jaipur Metro Is On Its Way

Jaipur Metro Is On Its Way

  1. Jaipur Metro
  2. Museum in the Old Town Hall in the City Palace complex.
  3. Pet Show- usually held in Delhi going to be held in Jaipur this year.
  4. The tunnel at Ghat ki Ghuni on Jaipur-Agra Road

Unique Eating Places of Jaipur

Rambagh Palace

Rambagh Palace

  1. Swarna Mahal, Dining Hall at the Rambagh Palace
  2. Steam, Lounge & Bar in the Bogies of a defunct train & a Steam Engine
  3. Polobar, Bar at the Rambagh Palace
  4. Neelmahal, Restaurant for snacks at the Rambagh Palace
  5. Durg Cafetaria at the Nahargarh Fort.
  6. India Coffee House(ICH) on M.I. Road
  7. Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) Branch Of India Coffee House
  8. 1135, on the ramparts of Amber Fort.
  9. Restaurant at the Jaigarh Fort
  10. Palace Café, Café at the City Palace.
  11. Cave In Natraj Restaurant
  12. Revolving Restaurant at Hotel Om Tower
  13. Pink Pepper A restaurant on a moving Bus.
  14. Tapri – A tea stall, much frequented by the youngsters.
  15. Niros- If Delhi has Moti Mahal Jaipur has Niros.

Adventure

  1. Skywaltz- A firm providing Hot-Air Balloon rides in & around Jaipur
  2. Vintage Car Rally- An annual fixture in Jaipur’s List of yearly events.

Culture

  1. Rabindramanch– The 1st venue of Jaipur where plays were held over the years.
  2. Open Air Theatre Behind Rabindra Manch
  3. Open Air Theatre near Simriti Ban
  4. JKK- A hotbed of cultural activity in Jaipur
  5. Open Air Theatre at JKK
  6. Jaipur Lit Fest – A trend setting congregation of the elusive faces behind the books we read. An annual affair.

Flowers

  1. Rose Garden- Located at the Jawahar Circle. It is a sight to behold in the winters when the flowers are in full bloom.
  2. Guldaudi Exhibition & Sale – Annual fixture. A very successful show & sale of Sevanti.

Bazaars

  1. Bapu Bazaar & Nehru Bazaar-You can shop here to your hearts content for all the stuff Jaipur is famous for.
  2. Johri Bazaar- You can buy all sorts of jewelry, women’s clothes & bangles etc here.
  3. Thatheron Ka Raasta- A lane home to the utensil makers.
  4. Maniharon Ka Raasta – For Lac jewelry & other stuff made of Lac
  5. Khazanewalon Ka Rasta- Marble stone carvers lane.
  6. Raja Park Market- A micro Punjab in Jaipur
  7. Sonthliwala Ka Rasta- For all things Namkeen
  8. Choti Chaupar- silver jewelry. Rosted Namkeen at Vijay Store. Mithai at Bhagat ji.
  9. Bari Chaupar- Flowers, Bangles.
  10. Rajasthali at Ajmeri gate. A state government (RTDC) showroom offering all goodies Rajasthan is proud of.

Birding At

  1. Simriti Baan on JLN Marg
  2. Chandlai Dam30 km from Jaipur ahead of Sanganer. Home to the Flamingoes visiting Jaipur.
  3. Man Sagar Lake on Amber Road.
  4. Central Park in C-Scheme

Zoo

1. Jaipur Zoo Ram Niwas Garden

2. Animal rescue centre at Nahargarh

3. Deer Park & Duck Pond are located in the C-Scheme. Nice place for a visit with children or a date.

Library

  1. Maharaja Library 1st public Library of Jaipur home to many rare manuscripts.
  2. Radhakrishna Library Located off  JLN Marg. Popular among the students preparing for their exams.

Activities

  1. Morning Walk in the Central Park
  2. Shopping
  3. Clubbing
  4. Golfing
  5. watching Polo
  6. Camel/Jeep/Horse Safari in the dunes
  7. Attending A Conference
  8. Fine Dining
  9. Judicious Street Food Sampling
  10. watching Bollywood Potboilers
  11. Cycling
  12. Photograph Monuments of Jaipur
  13. Photograph the people of Jaipur
  14. Sightseeing
  15. Birding
  16. Going on Excursions
  17. Fly Kites
  18. Learn to cook Indian cuisine
  19. Learn a language like Hindi or Rajasthani
  20. Write a journal about your Jaipur trip & share it on the Net
  21. Bar hopping
  22. Sampling Heritage liquor & learning its legends
  23. Learn how to tie a turban & its history
  24. Learn how to tie a saree
  25. Learn how to wear a Dhoti
  26. Go for a ride in a Cycle Rickshaw or a Horse drawn Tonga
  27. Go for a ride in a Vintage Car.
  28. Get Mehandi applied to your hands & feet
  29. Learn Indian Classical music at Naad Sadhna www.nadsadhna.com

Interesting Facts to Know.

1. State Tree of Rajasthan – Khejari

2. State Flower of Rajasthan – Rohida

3. State Bird of Rajasthan – Godawan or Great Indian Bustard It is pretty rare now.

4. State Animal of Rajasthan – Chinkara (an antelope)

The Salt Lake of Sambhar

Sambhar,SaltLake

About 65km from Jaipur the city of Sambhar with the salt lake & the migratory birds it attracts and the holy places of Shakmbhari Mata temple & Devyani Tank is an ideal spot for a day trip excursion out of Jaipur.
Sambhar,SaltLake

Sambhar Lake is the largest salt lake in India. It has produced salt for more than 700 years. Three small towns of Nawa, Sambhar & Gudha are located on the banks of this lake & all are engaged in producing salt. The salt produced from the Sambhar Lake water is much more salty than the salt produced from ocean water & it comes in three different colors, ordinary white & pink & grey.
Sambhar,SaltLake

In 1876 this area was connected by narrow gauge train. Trains were a boon to this area as the lake is spread over an area of 190 sq km. The trains not only connected the area effectively but also were a big help in shifting the salt from one place to another.You can see these trains or trolleys in use even today.
Sambhar

A.O.Hume, the founder of Indian National Congress (INC), was the first commissioner of Sambhar Salt. He was also a keen ornithologist.
Sambhar,SaltLake,Salt Museum

There is a detailed report on the method of salt production in a historical account written during the time of the rule of Aurangzeb. Abul Fazal has also mentioned Sambhar in accounts written by him.

The Circuit House of Sambhar was built by the British in 1880. There is a salt museum housed in a heritage building nearby, also.
Sambhar

During the monsoon the fresh water of the rains attracts a lot of migratory birds. But they fly away once the weather starts getting hotter and the lake water starts becoming salty.

You should take packed lunch and lot of water and cold drinks with you. You can get ice and softdrinks at the Sambhar Bus-stand, also. If you like eating dhaba food, the dhabas at the Nawa bus-stand are a good option. Sambhar is also famous for its feenees, a sweet dish.

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To Sariska-By Road-An Album

These pictures are from the overnight visit Madhav, a cousin, and I took with our sons to Sariska Tiger Reserve & National Park & Alwar.
Sariska is some 110 km from Jaipur. We went on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway till Shahpura where we turned for Thana Gazi & The Fort View Camp. This camp site is managed by Club Mahindra. It is located quite near to the gate of the jungle.

Tea Break

On the way to Sariska,this is where we broke our journey to have some tea.
If for some reason the White House was located in Rajasthan I am sure the locals would have called it ‘Dholi Kothi’.

On the way

Fort View Camp at Thana Gazi

Fort View Camp at Thana Gazi

Fort View Camp,Thana Gazi,Sariska

Fort View Camp,Thana Gazi,Sariska

This is the view of the dining hall from the reception area of the Fort View Camp Site.The food served in this picturesquely located dining hall was excellent.

Fort of Thana Gazi

View of the Fort of Thana Gazi from the Campsite.

The Map

The Location Map of the area.

The Trail

The Trail

Paddy Bird
Paddy Bird

Machan

This Machan faces a stepwell where wildlife comes to drink water. As Sariska Tigerlands were a hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Alwar the Alwar Royals used to hunt wildlife from this Machan.

A Badly needed drink of water

A badly needed drink at the stepwell facing the Machan.

Sambhar Deer
Sambhar, the jungle guides call it the food of the tiger.

The Jungle

The Jungle

Neelgaya

Neelgaay

Paw Print of ST-1

This is the Paw print of ST-1 ( Sariska Tiger No.1)

Cenotaph

As we wanted to photograph the Cenotaph, Moosi Rani Ki Chatri, we drove on to Alwar.

The Boys
The next generation.

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An Evening At The Jal Mahal Palace

Jalmahal

These are some of the photos of the newly renovated Jal Mahal Palace in the Man Sagar Lake,Jaipur. It is a huge project as you can see and a lot of work has been done. But  a lot of work needs to be done yet though the buzz is they are going to open it to the public in the near future.
Jalmahal

Jalmahal

I have been to the Man Sagar Lake a lot of times but have only seen Jal Mahal Palace’s  view from the Amber Road side. It was a novelty to view it from another angle while sitting in a boat, no less. They have put in a lot of research and effort to faithfully reproduce the finer details as they must have been in the past. The look of the boats has been copied as they were depicted in paintings of days gone by when the boats of Royalty used to ply on the Man Sagar Lake. The top floor has also been faithfully preserved or reproduced as it was in ancient times. There are fountains and marble flooring and lights. The chatris you see from the Amber Road have been painted with murals. A gallery  is also being developed on the floor below the top floor. Original ancient paintings are being blown up and each detail is being reproduced as per the original drawings. I think the artist is going to have his work cut out for him as he will have to maintain them in pristine condition as the moisture from all the water in the lake is going to play havoc with the murals.

They are also  trying to save trees threatened with extinction because of various reasons by transplanting them at great cost in the campus here.

A recent Time Magazine article suggests it is one of the top reasons to visit Jaipur.

All in all this project is a winner and it was an evening well spent.

Jalmahal
I must thank JPC – Jaipur Photographers Club- for organizing this  photo shoot for the photography enthusiasts of Jaipur as one of their weekly photo walks.

Jalmahal

Jalmahal
Jalmahal

Whats Free In Jaipur?

Collage

My father used to remind us time and again that nothing in life was for free but he also said that the streets were paved with money and one only had to pick it up.   His implication was that a little work would see to it that our pocket were full of money. He was right naturally but don’t  we move mountains to get some thing for free or relatively for free.

This is such a list!

A list of  things one can enjoy for free or relatively for free in Jaipur.

This list assumes that you have your own transport to get around the city and a little money.

If you can wake up before day break get your digital camera out and go for a walk. You can photograph Jaipur in all its moods. You can make a photo feature on a day well spent. Some examples of where to go for a walk would be, the Central Park of Jaipur or  lake shore of  the Man Sagar Lake or the quite streets of the city.

If you are into Yoga & laughter therapy there is a session in the Central Park you can join.

Read the local newspaper. Around 5.30 am to 6.30 am you will see the newspaper boys on their way to delivering the morning papers to different houses of Jaipur. You should get one and find a quite place to read it.

Drink a cup of tea at the Sahu tea stall in walled city.

If you do not mind a snack early in the morning you can get a Kachori  near the panch batti circle or at the Rawat Misthan Bhandar.

Or in summers you can have a lassi at the Lassiwala on the M.I.Road.

Time to head home for a shower a change of clothes  and some breakfast.

At 10 a.m you can go for birding & a nature walk in the Simriti Ban on J.L.N.Marg. They also have a museum here where they have displayed the photos of the birds and plants and flowers found in the  area.

If the local handicrafts are your thing, you can head for the Jawahar Kala Kendra for a look. There might be a mela on .While there you can visit the museums and the art galleries  too. More often than not there are painting exhibitions and plays being put up  during the course of the day. These fixtures are not to be missed. Another such venue is the Ravindra Manch and the open air theater there.These two places are the hot bed of cultural activity in Jaipur.

Time for lunch. You can have Dosa & Coffee in the canteen of JKK  managed by the India Coffee House & head home for a  siesta.

At 4.30 pm you can go for birding in the central park.

Once a month weather permitting there is a classical recital in the Central Park by a famous artist.

Every year from 21 to 25 January a literature featival is held where you can hear  the writers talk about their books and even get their autographs.

Two book fairs are held in the second half of the year for the book lovers of Jaipur by the two local papers.

Jaipur was also known as Choti Kashi in the days of lore because of the huge number of temples here.You can visit Galtaji or Birla Mandir or Ganesh Mandir at Moti Doongri or the Kala Hanuman Mandir for divine blessings.

On Diwali you can go around the walled city markets to see the hustle and the bustle and the city dolled up  with colorful lights and ‘jhankis’ and decorative gates.

On Holi Chaugan stadium is the place to be where, every year, an Elephant festival is held by RTDC.

On 14th January, Sankrat, watch the city go crazy over some kites and string.

Watch Teej maata’s Savari on Teej Festival.

Get photographed in front of the magnificent Hawamahal or the Sculptures in The Central Park or The Amber Fort.

You can climb to the top of  the Isar Lat for the view.

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Photos Of Some Common Birds Found In The Parks & Gardens Of Jaipur.

OWL

Spotted Owlet (Athene brama indica)

Recently a cousin of mine,Madhav Rathore, an experienced, enthusiastic birder, bought a  Canon EOS 7D with a huge telephoto lens. When I kidded him about buying   such an expensive  camera he insisted on taking me birding in  the Central Park one evening. That is when the use of the camera became apparent to me.  He was shooting birds perched at the top of tallest of trees where as I was limited to shooting squirrels and birds sitting in front of me in the grass.

But I got hooked to birding that day. I am no expert birder but by my own experience it is far easier to watch birds today. I take a picture of the whichever  feathered friend which dares to cross my path and later on I put an ID to it with the help of a couple of Books. Where the books fail The Net comes  to help. This method helps to engrave the names of the birds in the mind too. So the next time I come across the same bird I  say smugly,” That is Brahminy Mayna you know !” and so on…

One thing you will notice is the exotic names of the birds.  I can bet you powers that be who gave names to the birds put more thought in naming the birds than in naming their newborn sons. They have names like starling,Black  Drongo,Grebe,darter etc. And each bird has its own charm. Own uniqueness which will hold you in thrall.

I have been to the Central Park many times before the day we went birding but I  did not notice the birds before that day. Oh I could see the pigeons and the doves but the other beauties were hidden behind a muslin curtain as it were. Somebody had to  point the birds out to me. Do you know  usually we see two types of Doves in Jaipur one is Laughing Dove and the other is the Eurasian Collared Dove. And that the house sparrow may be endangered soon enough! Who would have thought of it!

I have been posting photos I take around Jaipur to www.flickr.com for some time now. If you see the stats on the photos you will realize that people like photos of flowers and plants more than photos of birds. I do not know why that is so but we have to be more aware of the beauty surrounding us in the form of birds more. Birds forage in the early morning but people go for their morning walk just then too. So the birds perch themselves on the highest branches of the trees. I suppose they come down later. I do not know.There are some birds which do not mind people at all and are all over the grass in the Park.

Now a days in every home there is a computer and a digital camera. All you have to do is to buy a beginners guide to birding. Be sure to buy one which has photos of the birds & not sketches. You can graduate to the books with sketches  later.

Now find some time for yourself and the birds and go for a walk in the nearest Park or garden. Happy Birding.

I am posting  some photos of the Birds I found.

Brahminy Myna/Starling

Red-vented Bulbul

Black-Rumped Flameback

Black Drongo

Bank Myna

Asian Pied Starling (Pied Myna) - Adult

Green Bee Eater

Asian Koel Male

Rufous Treepie

Partridge

Purple Sun bird female

Eurasian Golden Oriole

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