the glories of mewar: impregnable kumbhalgarh and exquisite ranakpur

There was an invincible grandeur associated with the Kingdom of Mewar in Rajasthan, of which Udaipur was the capital. Traits which reflected in not just the larger-than-life personas of its rulers but its impregnable forts and exquisite places of faith too.

Deep in the wooded Aravalli Hills are two such places: Kumbhalgarh and Ranakpur. Whilst one is a fort of a king remembered to this day for his valour and indomitable spirit, the other is a temple carved out of marble to give shape to a divine dream, with the blessings of the same king.

The route leading to them is treacherous in parts, cutting through the dark, unlit, uninhabited jungle in the form of a rather worn-out pot-holed narrow road. At others, it rises and falls in tune with the hills, passing tiny hamlets and endless herds of livestock. But the rewards for this journey are priceless.

Come, let me show you Maharana Kumbha’s Mewar. ❤ Continue reading

11 reasons udaipur needs to be on every travel bucket list

Udaipur. The very name is evocative of ethereal clear lakes and romantic palaces, encircled by a ring of lush hills.

Known by various monikers such as City of Lakes, White City, and Venice of the East—all equally valid—it is unlike any other city in the State, or even the country. It is also Rajasthan’s most popular tourist destination so be prepared for the crowds.

Udaipur was founded in 1553 by Maharana Udai Singh II, ruler of the Mewar Kingdom, who named it Udayapura. Chittorgarh, the old capital had been laid siege to by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. A new capital was needed. What better place than the hilly banks of a medieval freshwater lake in the midst of a fertile valley, separated from the Thar Desert by the Aravalli Range.

To protect his city, Udai Singh II built a six-kilometre-long wall punctuated with seven gates around it. Within were palaces, temples, havelis and courtyards, which still stand, largely intact. The precinct today is called the Old City.

Mewar has always stood apart from other Rajput States with its insistence to not bow down before the Mughals or for that matter any other kingdom. The few times treaties were signed, it was always on Mewar’s terms. Stories of its heroes’ bravery and sacrifices echo throughout the city. Maharana Kumbha, Maharana Sanga, and Maharana Pratap are household legends. But more of them in later posts.

For now, let me share with you the wonders of Rajasthan’s jewel. Have you been to Udaipur? If not, here are 11 reasons why it should be on every travel bucket list. ❤ Continue reading