Showing posts from February, 2016

There Are Pandas In Udaipur


Udaipur was the second stop of my backpacking trip through Mewar and Hadoti regions of Rajasthan, done in the second week of January 2016. Udaipur - the erstwhile capital of Mewar - is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, and for a good reason too. The city-scape defined by the two lakes - Pichola and Fatehsagar -, the beautiful palaces, temples and the ghats is beautiful in its own way. The narrow lanes of the old city are abuzz with tourists and the shopkeepers selling myriad articles greet you in smooth harmonic "Hello's". It looks like a fun place to be.


Getting In

My bus from Mount Abu dropped me at Fatehpura, close to my Hostel in Devali, after a four hour ride. My contact - nay, friend - from Couchsurfing also decided to join me and stay at the same hostel. We stayed here for two days (three nights) and covered a bit of Udaipur and Chittaurgarh.

The map of Udaipur
Udaipur is connected by road to most major places in Rajasthan, …

Jugnoo - Simplifying Urban Auto-Rickshaws

No Auto-Rickshaws Please

I'm always wary of commuting by an auto-rickshaw when I'm outside Mumbai. The working meters make it a bit simple in Mumbai - the catch being that one must insist on using the meter and even then there have been attempts to fleece near airports and railway terminals. One needs some thick skin to ensure that the right fare is being charged.

Outside metros though, working meters are a rarity. And when a person strolls in with a ragged t-shirt and a backpack - typical backpacker/tourist wear - one can literally sense the rickshaw-wallahs drooling at the sight of an easy prey. So, I'd prepared myself to haggle strongly as I set off for my trip through southern Rajasthan in early January of  2016.


Chalo Jugnoo Se

Our hostel manager at Backpacker Panda Udaipur introduced me to this app - Jugnoo. Apparently I've been living under a rock for a while, as this app has gained quite a buzz. The idea is as simple as the regular Ola/Uber cab hailing s…

Mount Abu - A Quickie Visit


Mount Abu was the first stop of my backpacking trip through Mewar and Hadoti regions of Rajasthan, done in the second week of January 2016. Mount Abu was never in my initial scheme of things, but it made through on the basis of train ticket availability. I expected Mount Abu to be like any regular hill-station, albeit with a distinctive Gujrati flavour and it did not disappoint. My plan was to reach Mount Abu by lunch-time, take a hike in the evening, explore the place the next day and depart for Udaipur.


Getting There

I took the 19065 Bandra - Bhagat Ki Kothi express on Friday night - almost Saturday midnight. The train reached Ahmedabad with a 30 minute delay the next morning and held on to it as it negotiated the single-line after that till Abu Road. The train reached Abu Road by 1300 hrs.

On the map
From Abu Road, I took a Rs. 50 shared cab ride till Mount Abu. The cab was filled with local college students out to have a good evening. For a Rs. 100 extra, the ca…

A Misadventure In Lonar


I had high expectations from this trip of Lonar. For starters, Lonar is Maharastra's - and also India's - only hyper-velocity meteorite impact crater lake. The circular crater has a diameter of about 1.8km and the lake in the middle has some highly alkaline water. The crater - like all things celestial - has been given some amount of importance in the Hindu mythos which can be judged by the number of temples that surround the lake - 27 in all.

The Lonar Crater and Lake
This trip was done around the second weekend of September, 2015. That's almost near the end of monsoon. Tejal had joined me for this trip. The plan was to reach Lonar via Jalna, spend the day there, then cover Sindkhed Raja - birthplace of Shivaji's mother, Jijabai - the next day and return to Mumbai via Jalna.


Trip Starts

The 17057 Devgiri Express departs Mumbai at 2110 hrs everyday and reaches Jalna by 0500 hrs. This train is usually full and ends up bearing quite a lot of unreserved…