Monday, August 25, 2008

Jodhpur – India’s Sun City

Jodhpur, one of Rajasthan’s premier cities, is named after King Rao Jodha. King Rao Jodha holds the credit for establishing by laying the bricks and fostering Jodhpur.

Jodhpur on Google Maps

Umaid Bhavan Palace of Jodhpur in India Umed Palace novelty of Jodhpur was built by Maharaja Umed Singhji. Majority of Umed Palace is now a Seven Star hotel. Umed palace has been royal host to many celebrities; Liz Hurley’s wedding being one of the recent ones. Museum of Umed Palace is very brief and incomplete glimpse of the place, but offers short view for people not staying in hotel for INR 15.00. Like the fort, Umed Palace too is located on hill top and after dusk it turns glowing damsel due to impressive lighting

Jodhpur, though not very big city, but its huge richness of in history, art, culture & tradition begins to unfold right from the Jodhpur train station. Possibly, even before one can reach the train station.

Mighty Mehrangarh fort is visible from the train. Its hill top location historically was of strategic importance, but now its moderate display of regality. Mehrangarh’s beautiful architectural structure and location tell vociferously about the fortress.

Indian Railway office at Jodhpur in India Jodhpur’s train station itself has a beautiful red bricked clock tower as office of Indian Railways. From the railway bridge one gets a partial but beautiful view of Mehrangarh citadel.

Artistic Building of Jodhpur in India Less than 10 kms from train station is the heart of Jodhpur's market. Located at foothills of Mehrangarh fort, its an experience to walk through the ultra narrow streets. The market is so congested and dense that though the ascending and descending streets are owed to the hill of the fort, but once you enter it’s almost impossible to see the fort.


Narrow bypass of Jodhpur's market street

Traffic congesion on market street Jodhpur

Pungal Pada area of Jodhpur offers best of market area– ascending narrow streets densely fenced by moderate houses made extravagant by traditional and intricate Indian artwork. Some of them are so splendid that it’s hard to accept that all the historical treasure is all available for free sight. Pungal Pada area of Jodhpur is also home to world famous super delicious Indian sweet shops like Mohanji’s sweet shop and Mulji’s restaurant. Their high reputation can be heard from many Indian sweet shop owners across the globe, e.g. Sukhadia’s of New Jersey, USA.

Mirchi Wada preparation of Jodhpur India Apart from teeth breaking, yet unstoppable, sweets; Mirchi wada dish (Spicy fritters) is specialty of Jodhpur. Try it at Mulji’s hotel. Owner mistook me for a food inspector while capturing the ingredients of Mirchi wada.

School Building of Jodhpur in IndiaIt’s truly a thrilling and enchanting experience to stroll and witness the historic and traditional city of Jodhpur.

Flatiron building of Jodhpur in IndiaJodhpur ain’t all about history. Like Manhattan, Jodhpur has its own Flatiron building. Though not as big as one in Manhattan, but miniature structure is good reminiscent of New York like setup including intersection of Broadway and 5th Ave.
Jodhpur is shopper’s paradise for Rajasthani style Indian artifacts, craftwork, clothing, gifts and souvenirs. Many five to seven stars luxury hotels of the world use these items for interior decoration.

Another hotel of Jodhpur in India

Clock Tower Market of Jodhpur in India Clock tower (Ghanta Ghar) market of Jodhpur and National handloom house offers another option to buyers Being major tourist attraction there are plenty of hotels available for accommodation.

Hotel area of Jodhpur in IndiaPaanch Baati rotary has many hotels, as shown above, Umed Palace is very close to this area

Jodhpur is a very safe city with very lowcrime rate. Though summers and winters are extreme, I prefer to travel during winter.
Food and sweets are too delicious to avoid, please visit when not on diet.
Culture of Jodhpur is very religous and traditional with lot of respect for local royal families.

Nearyby Places:
Jaipur, Udaipur, Mehsana, Mount Abu. Medta Road .... just too many

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Glowing Evershine of Kandivali

Fountains of Evershine park at Mumbai in IndiaEvershine Park of Kandivali on Google Maps

Tall fountain of Evershine park at Mumbai in India
Thakur Village township of Kandivali (East), Mumbai, provides a quick summary of India’s economic success and change of attitude. Impressive thing is that 15 years ago this area was a flat barren land. Today it’s an Independent Township with multiple skyscrapers of 20-25 floors, luxury shops, malls, restaurants, cinema halls, schools, Engineering, Medical institutes, hospitals and of course lots of parks.

Evershine park slider at Mumbai in India Evershine Park, a small park, is one of the most impressive of all parks. It’s mainly for small kids and many options provided for their enjoyment like regular swings, sew-saw, sliders etc,

Train station of Evershine park at Mumbai in IndiaA mini train its own train station is also one of the prime attraction, however, it’s a automobile with multiple open coaches

Dias of Evershine park at Mumbai in India A raised platform offers good view of the park and can serves dual purpose of a performing stage as well. The dual castles on the dias reminds of entrance of Disney Land.

Open terrace of Evershine park at Mumbai in India Symmetrical Park’s has two open terraces as well, offering good view of the dias itself.

Dome Fountain of Evershine park at Mumbai in India Colored fountains are the most impressive offerings of Evershine park of Kandivali. All over the park one can see dynamic and multicolored fountains of different patterns. It’s another good item which not only small kids but also grown-ups enjoy.

Small sections with green grass and the periphery of the park caters to people looking for jogging and relaxing on turf.

Mismanaged local cafeteria is one weak point not only due to its poor quality but also the price for the sub-standard quality.

Nirvana Vegetarian restaurant near, Evershine park of Kandivali, is one great restaurant in the area which is about 7-10 minutes walking distance. After long time I really savored restaurant food. In INR 900.00 five adults and a small kid had sumptuous dinner.
Domino’s pizza is also good option, plus there are other street vendors as well

Nearby Places:
Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai is hardly 15-20 minutes away, local malls, theatre, restaurant, small parks

Time to Visit:
Regardless of month, ensure that you visit around 4:30-5:00 pm, because fountains are switched ON only after dusk. If you go too early you would miss on the colorful spectacle.
I would avoid summers, since Mumbai’s weather is very humid and one gets drenched in sweat too quickly

Once in Mumbai, take local train till Kandivali and board auto-rickshaw from the East of Kandivali. In 30 minutes, you can reach the park after crossing the Western Express highway. It should cost you around Rs. 30-40.
Park entry fee is Rs 5.00 per person and additional charges of Rs 50.00 for camera.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Empress Botanical Garden of Pune

Empress or Queens garden is one of the unique family park of Pune.
Don’t know why the garden is called so, however, it does have meaningful name – Botanical garden.

Stream in Empress Garden at Pune in IndiaWhat a treat it is to spend 2-3 hours in the park, this sizeable park is grand display of nature’s unimaginable variety and beauty. Kindly bear with my limited knowledge of scientific terms related to trees but the actual park does have tree’s correct names.
Entry is Rs 5.00 and no charges for parking.

Uprooted Tree in Empress Botanical Garden at Pune in IndiaLike most other parks it has section for young kids apart from nature lovers. On entering start towards the right to see two in one beauty a small stream overpowered by big tree with hanging stems. One such big tree got uprooted and is put for display; this would force you to check the sky above and all you will see are the tall trees. No they aren’t as tall as the mighty Redwood trees but are taller than average.

Exotic Flower in Empress Garden at Pune in IndiaOn walking further came across this striking plant with red flower or fruit. Take a pick yourself!

Next to it is a motherly tree with its stem extending in curvilinear manner to form an almost perfect circle for family photograph.

Knotty Tree in Empress Garden at Pune in IndiaWe then skimped through the little section due to most unusual tree. Tree so passionate, that it tied knot to itself. Indeed a true masterpiece. Ground below is full of red colored exotic insects, but their population does give a scare.

In the mid section you will see variety of trees one of them is extra wide banyan like tree. This was one of the trees which reminded me of gigantic trunks of Redwood tree.
Beaky bird at Empress Botanical Garden in PuneRight of it was a tree with two uncommon birds with shrieky sound, but their beak was an artwork.
Webby trunk tree in Empress Botanical Garden at Pune in India

Bouquet Tree at Empress Botanical Garden in PuneFurther round the park you will see a tree with web like base trunk, trees in natural bouquets and a chauvinist tree coiling to make the other tree look meek.

Hugging Tree in Empress Botanical Garden at Pune in India

Birds in Empress Botanical Garden at Pune in IndiaBack portion of the garden is more like a mini forest, where in one area we spotted white birds.

Back portion of park has many insects and snakes. But more repulsive is likelihood of some anti-social elements, security guards strictly advised against entering the back zone.

Nearby Places:

Saras Baug or Swans Park
. Peshwa Park. Bund garden . Pune Race course ground, Parvati Hill . Beautiful Gurudwara made of white marble. Sambhaji Park JM Road .

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Located in Pune camp area hardly 2 kms from Pune race course ground. Roughly its 7-10 kms from Pune railway station.
For mall junkies its very close to Big Bazar mall of Bhairon Bha Nalla area.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bund Garden AKA Mahatma Gandhi udyan of Pune

Bund garden bird country at Pune in India

Bund Garden of Pune on Google Map

Bund gardens Mula river bank at Pune in India
Bund Garden a.k.a. Mahatma Gandhi Udyan, is very small family park on the banks of Mula river in Pune. no its location is not secluded. Park is part of the busiest road junction of Pune.

Inspite of its urbanish location in a city where real estate prices have already sky rocketed, it does cater to different sections of society kids, parents, youths, casual bird watchers and health conscious individuals as well.

A small section of park is dedicated to kids with swing, see-saw etc. Most of the park is covered with green grass and has benches for comfortable seat. But the noise pollution of the busy junction drives you towards the fence overlooking Mula river.

Ahmed Nagar Rd bridge at Pune in India

View from Bund garden at Pune in IndiaIf you visit mid monsoon, i.e. July – Aug onwards, you would enjoy the sight of gushing flow of water in otherwise dry tributary of Mula river. Park‘s trees house variety of birds nest like sparrow, mayna, crow etc. Deccan College road leading to Khadki is located on the other bank. Shiv mandir on a small hill of Deccan College road is good view. On the right of the park is the AhmedNagar Rd bridge.

Bund garden's Ugly duckling at Pune in IndiaWe visited just before dusk ~ 6:30pm, birds were so active that their noise had overtaken the traffic noise. Park also has a center fountain, but due to renovation it was closed.

Paying Rs 5.00 parking charges is good means securing your vehicle in isolated area instead of leaving aside on main road and bear the brunt of exhausted Pune motorist eager to reach home or other destination.

In parking there is a ghat leading to Mula river, where historically some boating activities were carried out. Now there is no sign of any boating. Parking area is very dirty and poorly managed area. Thankfully there is no human filth.

Bund garden Jogger park at Pune in IndiaOpposite the park is joggers park of Rotary Club of Pune, entry is Rs 4.00 per person, but since it was almost dark we skipped the joggers park.

Bund garden is place one can easily skip as there is very too much price paid for its little offering. But if you are mall junkie then there are two malls a stone throw distance of the park

Nearby Places:
Pune Central Mall on RTO road, Satgurus mall for ethnic and luxurious gift items, Osho ashram at Koregaon park., JM Road and Sambhaji Park.

Saras Baug or Swans Park
. Empress or Queens garden

Park is within 5 kms of Pune railway station. One has to come on Ahmed Nagar road where RTO office, famous Ruby Hall Clinic and Jehangir Cancer hospitals are located.
Auto rickshaw is a good option.
If you are coming from Swargate, then you have two options - either get onto overcrowded JM Road or drive through Pune Army's camp area which gives respite from crazy evening traffic.
If coming from Aundh, Kothrud then reach Sancheti Hospital via driving on University Road. From Sancheti turn left and then turn right towards RTO / Le Meridien hotel.
Right next to Pune Central mall and opposite KBC (Kumar Builders) tower.

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