The plan that I conceived was difficult and pretty hectic. Now that the ambitious plan has been executed I will put it in black and white.
We started on 26th September 2014 on Pratap Express starting from Kolkata station at 2245 hrs and reached Bikaner on 28th September 2014 at arround 1200 hrs, six hours after the scheduled arrival time.
I had discussed with Shri Siddarth Singh, who kindly agreed to provide me with a Dzire for the entire tour, and courteously arranged for our accommodation at Hotel Sagar, at Lalgarh Palace Complex. It took us less than two hours to freshen up and finish a sumptuous lunch. We entered Junagarh Fort at 1445 hrs. After the fort and the museum we visited the Bhandesar Jain Temple and National Research Centre on Camel before leaving for Jaisalmer at 1830hrs.We reached Jaisalmer just before midnight and went to sleep after checking in at Hotel Moomal.
In the morning of 29th we started with the Jaisalmer Fort or the SONAR KELLA. The King’s Palace or RAJ Mahal, the Jain Temples and the Laxminath Temple were all very exquisitely sculptured. After the fort we went for lunch and then to the Havelis. We got tired and rested for an hour at Moomal. We then went to Lodhruva. On the way to Sam, we stopped at Maharaja Amar Sagar Garden. After seeing the sunset at Sam, we returned to Hotel. Dinner at Ridhi-Sidhi Restaurant was good as the lunch was at Bikaner restaurant and we went back to bed early.
We started at 0730 hrs on 30th, had a good breakfast again at Riddhi-Siddhi and went to Akal Wood Fossil Park. After the wood fossils it was time for Kiradu temples near Barmer. We took lunch at Raj Restaurant at Sanchor Road, Dhorimanna. After evening tea at Abu Road, we reached SRP INN, Mount Abu after 1930 hrs.
The first place we visited on 1st October was Guru Sikhar, the highest peak of the oldest fold mountain of India. After stopping at Achalgarh to see the remains of the fort built by Rana Kumbha, the Jain Temple and Achaleshwar Temple, we visited the Dilwara Temple. After the magnificent temple we stopped for lunch, visited the Nakki lake, and then went to Anadara point and Sunset point. After sunset we returned to SRP INN and watched DD Bangla live telecast of Durga Puja.
On 2nd October we started on our way down from Mount Abu before 0930 and reached Anand Bhawan Udaipur at arround noon. After checking in, we immediately started for Sajjan Garh Palace. A quick lunch at Sukhadia Circle brought us to next destination Saheliyon-ki-Bari. A leisurely walk around the garden was refreshing after lunch. A boat ride on Fatehsagar to Nehru Park gave us a close experience of the lakes of Udaipur. After having our afternoon tea on the island we moved to Rana Pratap Memorial at Moti Magri. As dusk covered the sky of Udaipur we got back to the comfort zone of Anand Bhawan Palace.
As we were a bit tired we started a bit late at around 1000 hrs to Dudh Talai on the morning of 3rd October. After seeing the Pichola Lake we went to the City Palace and Museum. We hastened our way through the palace and started for Chittor just after 1300 hrs. We reached Hotel Panna at 1430, checked in and went for lunch. After lunch we reached Chittorgarh Fort at 1600 hrs. Museum, Vijay Stambha, Padmini’s Palace, Meerabai temple and then Light and Sound at Rana Kumbha’s Palace, was mesmerizing.
4th was the most ambitious day of the travelling. But a water block in the hotel delayed our start to 0900 hours. We went to Haldighati to pay our homage, via Nathwada (could not stop there for lack of time) and then to Haldighati Maharana Pratap Museum. We stopped for lunch at the town of Kelwara 7 km south of Kumbhalgarh at Karni Palace Hotel at 1430 hrs. Then we reached Kumbhalgarh. It was huge. And we climbed on top of Badal Mahal, Maharana Pratap’s birthplace and the temples. When we got back on road it was almost 1700 hrs and I had given up hope of visiting Ranakpur as the temple close at 1700 hrs. Still Hassan bhai told me he will take us to Ranakpur at least to see the temple from outside. We reached Ranakpur after 1800 hrs and the temple was still open. It was some special day and so we visited the temple lighted with candles creating an auspicious atmosphere. We stopped once on our way to Jodhpur for tea and reached Jodhpur at 2200 hrs. After a few futile try we settled at Galaxy Hotel near Nai Sarak. Next day we visited Umaid Bhawan Palace, Meherangarh Fort and Rao Jodha park. In the evening Rajasthan Emporium fulfilled our shopping needs. We boarded Jodhpur Howrah Express and started our homeward journey to reach Kolkata on 7th morning.