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Showing posts from March, 2016

Backpacking Ratnagiri In One Day

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Introduction
Citing the occasion of my 27th birthday, I set off on a solo one-day trip to Ratnagiri and nearby areas. I had first visited the region for my 25th birthday, and then thrice repeated for good measure. This would be my fifth trip to the region and hence a good trial-room of sorts for my first true solo backpack trip.
Now, usually this region deserves at least two full days. I had a constraint of one. This post is about possible ways to overcome that constraint for a solo backpacker. Information for two day trips and places of interest in the region is easily available and can be covered in a different post.
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Getting In – Konkankanya Express
The distance between Mumbai and Ratnagiri is more than 300km one way. The best way to cover this distance is by train. The 10111 Konkankanya Express departs CSTM at 2305 hours every night and reaches Ratnagiri at 0630 hours the next day. This coupled with typical Konkan Railway delays will mean an actual arrival time of 0700-0730 …

Gagron Fort & The Ambush At Jhalarpatan

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Introduction

I spent my last day of my Rajasthan trip exploring places around the twin cities of Jhalawar and Jhalarpatan. Collectively these were a part of the former Jhalawar princely state in the Hadoti region of Rajasthan. The old princely state now makes up the namesake district that borders Madhya Pradesh to the south.

What promised to be remembered as a beautiful day of fruitful wandering suddenly crashed near the end and ended up as a major lesson for my solo trips.

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Getting There

I was based in Kota, and took the 9:30 am Kota-Vadodara Passenger to alight at Ramganj Mandi in an hour. From there, took a shared jeep to Suket and then another one to Jhalawar. Jhalawar has a rail-head direct connected with Kota, but the train timings were not so convenient.

On the map
I made an attempt to catch a direct train for the return journey, but the train was delayed by an hour and I was in a hurry, so had to discard it. The buses ply regularly to Kota from the New Bus Stand.

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Baroli Temples & The Hadoti Countryside

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Introduction

I'd arrived in Kota at 11 in the morning of Makar Sankranti (15th January) from Bundi. Kota has its share of things to do - most notable being preparing for IIT - but I decided to chuck them in favour, of Baroli Temples, located about 50km away on the road to Rawatbhata (Atomic Energy Station). Rawatbhata being close by, I thought I would be able to spend the rest of my day there.

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Getting There

My hotel was near the Kota Junction Railway Station. From there, I took a rickshaw to Ghodewala Circle. Frequent buses depart for Rawatbhata from this point. A ride of 45km till Baroli lasts about an hour and costs Rs. 50. Rawatbhata is further 5km away.

First things first ... immediately to the right after the entrance
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Baroli Temples

The Baroli temples (pronounced as Badoli) belong to the 10th century and are among the earliest ones in Rajasthan. The temples are made out of soft sandstone (similar to that used in Chittaurgarh's Vijay Stambh) but the architectu…

Bundi - Of Havelis, Kites & Bandar-Log

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Introduction

"Sir, furst time Bundi?", the bus conductor asked as we left the Kota Highway onto the deviation for Bundi. I nodded my head and he continued, "Bahot badhiya jagah hai, Sir. Verry butiful." I smiled and beamed inwardly. And sure enough, as we rounded the bend, the towering Taragarh fort and the city spread at its foot was truly a sight to behold.

The Taragarh Fort dominates the skyline here
So, finally I was coming to Bundi, the founding city of the Hadoti region and the much revered land of step-wells, lakes and palaces vaguely mentioned in traveler forums. It was almost 5pm and the long day of traveling through the Mewar countryside was finally coming to an end. Yes, I was tired, but I had a lot to look forward to.

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The Streets Of Bundi

Bundi, in a broader sense, is like many old towns of India with narrow streets lined by short blue buildings on either side and electric cables looking like random lines that dissect the blue sky. Much of Bundi&#…