Of Drives, Sand, Sparkles and Spears – A Road trip to Rajasthan from Bangalore
One lovely morning, on the way to office, in middle of the impenetrable traffic on the KR Puram Bridge, I floated an idea to Neetan – the idea for which I cursed myself for the next 3 months, but would thank myself for a lifetime. I still am glad that those thoughts flew out of my mind, which completely changed the way I looked at life, or in specific, the way I perceived travelling. The conversation goes like this:
Me: How about Udaipur for our first anniversary? A walk by Lake Pichola is absolutely dreamy and a romantic dinner, overseeing the ‘Lake Palace’ whose reflections sparkle upon the serene waters of Pichola. In the middle of the lake with fireworks around, wouldn’t that be magical!
Me: (In my mind) Look at him! NO REACTION. Aahh! Why did I even talk!
Lot of cuss words (in mind, of course!) and 20 minutes later, he parks the car near my office and turns towards me. I see his eyes gleaming like moonlight and smile beaming like the baby.
He: That would be a nice idea! How about exploring Rajasthan, than just Udaipur?
Me: Awesome! Wait a minute; I shall check the flight rates.
He: Wait! I said we shall do Rajasthan, when did I say we’ll go by flight??
And that’s how the novel idea of our 6000 odd kilometres, epic road trip to Rajasthan from Bangalore was born. I was undeniably reluctant with that idea and was prepared to book the flight tickets even on the day we started the trip. My mind was all like, why not go by flight, or at least by train. But, those of you who know Neetan will also know that he is quite obstinate with his decisions and his ideas. I was forced (Yes, forced!) to research about places to see, stay and eat. I was really scared and worried, to say the least.
Though I was utterly reluctant to embark on a trip like this, I was vehemently nominated by Neetan to plan and execute the hotel bookings, to take care of itinerary, get familiar with the route maps and hunt for appetizing places to dig in. Well, once you start to do something and pour out our heart into it, you will eventually start liking it. But, it is at that point, when you start loving it, is when you have found your passion and I was nowhere near that!
A day before the Road trip:
So, the first Valentine’s Day after marriage was nothing special except a big bar of chocolate, a lunch, which was far from being romantic, as we were in a rush to escape the traffic madness of Whitefield and reach home before 3 PM. Valentine’s day quite literally turned out to be stressful with all the packing for the big trip, ticking off the items in checklist, some last minute inspection of the car, dumping a mini wardrobe, a mini restaurant in the boot and some essential tools, just in case our beloved Punto gets a fever!
As you might have guessed by now, we started our journey on Feb 15 (Yeah! You are smart!). Once we started the journey, I slowly started to like it, bit by bit – the changing terrains, the varying colour of the soil, the people, the roads, everything was changing; It was like seeing a different movie every kilo mile. But, THE ONE thing I was thoroughly happy was – for once, Neetan was listening to me, he was following my orders (Yes, orders!!), after all he had no choice – I was the one with Google maps and he thought my voice and orders sounded sweeter than the Navigation ladys’!
Our itinerary was done after tons of hours of research and we are glad we could pull it off in the fashion we wanted to. We had Plan A, Plan B and Plan C too. Our Plan A looked like this:
Day 1: Bangalore – Ghodbunder (just after Mumbai)
Day 2: Ghodbunder – Palanpur (almost Gujarat – Rajasthan border)
Day 3: Palanpur – Jaisalmer. Check out Jaisalmer Havelis and evening sunset at the desert.
Day 4: Jaisalmer – Jodhpur. Visit Jodhpur palace and forts and do some shopping.
Day 5: Jodhpur – Jaipur. Dinner at Choki Dhani Jaipur.
Day 6: Jaipur sightseeing
Day 7: Jaipur – Agra – Jaipur
Day 8: Jaipur – Udaipur
Day 9: Udaipur – Kumbalgarh – Rankapur – Udaipur
Day 10: Udaipur – Ghodbunder
Day 11: Ghodbunder – Bangalore
Might seem like a child’s play as of today, but in February of 2012, when we did this, there were just a handful of people who did this circuit, whom we did not know! It was our maiden attempt at something like this. But as the cliché goes ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’, we found a way to contact this gem of a person, Mr.H.V.Kumar – The human GPS of India(If you are in Indian motor scene and don’t know about him, then you are missing something!). His inputs and suggestions played a major role in this endeavor.
What was Rajasthan Road trip for us?
Rajasthan, as we discovered, was a little more than barren deserts, magnificent forts, stunning havelis and exquisite royalty (Though these are nice too!). Every day was in a new city – the people changed, the culture changed, the ambience changed, the culinary changed, the terrain changed and we changed too. This journey thought us a lot, it knocked us off our cocoon and gave us the strength to brave the odds – odds that I never thought could be overcome. We were overwhelmed and complacent of what we did, which can be termed as our first baby step in this fascinating, resplendent and bewitching world of travel, which definitely left us lusting for more!
Watch out this space for more travelogues from Rajasthan!
Also read: Haldighati – A beautiful detour from Udaipur
Have you embarked on a major road trip ever? Or you want to in future? Felt jitters like how I felt? Let us know in the comment box below!