“Detours are the best thing that can happen to a road trip – Hopping Miles”
Waking up to the beautiful sunrise by Lake Pichola peeping through the window – we were charged up and ready to explore what Rajasthan had in store for us! So, the destination in the GPS was set to Kumbhalgarh Fort and Neetan thrusted the accelerator!
New day, new destination, a new journey! Battling through the extremely narrow lanes of Udaipur, Our Punto baby made it out of Udaipur – unhurt! If you have been following our blog, you will know that we had traveled to Rajasthan all the way from Bangalore in a Fiat Punto! A trip that spanned more than 6000km and countless memories!
The Blind Journey
I still remember the landscape – Initially, we were driving next to majestic cliffs and we climbed some altitude after which the road flattened. My eyes were seldom on the GPS and glued more to the lovely landscapes. Immersed in the scenery, I totally forgot to check which route the GPS has mapped. When Neetan found that I hardly looked at my phone, he alerted me to check the route. To my horror – I found that we were following the longest route with almost 1.5 hours more than the shortest route!!
Mistake 1: We had come so far that turning back would mean 1 hour of extra drive.
Mistake 2: I quickly rerouted and Google God showed a left turn after 15 km which would eventually take us to the road we intended to go.
Being the ardent google maps followers (at that time!) that we were – we blindly trusted the route and charged ahead. Finally, when the crucial time came to take that ever important left turn – we realize that – just like the way we turned blind and trusted Google – Google too turned blind and marked a non-existent road!! Horror!! We were too far to backtrack!
What did we do next?
Once a God, always a God!
Again, we turned towards Google God! Another reroute, another road! This time, the road looked better. More importantly, in that route, I found a name of the place which sounded familiar to me. All those hours of research started to make sense and I confidently announced that there was nothing to worry and we will have a bonus pit stop at Haldighati before taking on Kumbhalgarh! Little did I know what awaited for us later!
Maharana Pratap – Which Indian does not remember reading about him in the history books? The brave Rajput warrior who fought for his people, his state and his honor against the Moghuls until his last breath. The Haldighati Memorial is dedicated solely to Maharana Pratap.
Haldighati Memorial has an expansive display of Maharana Pratap’s lifetime achievements and the story of his birth until his death. Right from the time of his birth in Kumbhalgarh fort, to the time of the battle of Haldighati until his death – everything is shown in the form of paintings and murals. There is also a short movie shown in Haldighati Museum showcasing Maharana Pratap and the story of his life. The movie was heart-wrenching – especially the time when his horse Chetak dies in an attempt to save his master. Chetak fought the battle of Haldighati like a brave warrior!
Some Pictures of Haldighati Museum:
A Little History of Battle of Haldighati:
No Children, I won’t be taking a history class today. I shall just brief you so that you shall remember your history classes in school i.e. if you had attended one!! 😀
Akbar, the Moghul emperor was on a roll and conquering all the neighbouring states – either by war or by making them allies. But, when the time came to conquer Mewar – he knew it was a tough nut to crack! Coz that is where Maharana Pratap ruled. He made a smart move of making one clan of Rajputs as allies, so that they can convince their peers. After a futile attempt at this, he finally decided to wage a war against Mewar leading to the Battle of Haldighati.
Though Akbar had numbers, Maharana Pratap had passionate and skillful warriors who fought with pride and honesty. When the time came for Maharana Pratap to lead his camp while in distress, he charged ahead and attacked the leader of the opposite camp. While all this was happening, Maharana Pratap and his beloved horse Chetak was injured.
Immediately, Maan Singh Jhala, Rajput Raja of Amber took the silver chattra which is a sign of royalty from wounded Maharana Pratap’s back and placed in his back. This tricked the enemy camp from believing that they killed Maharana Pratap – which was far from truth. Chetak, though badly injured, took his wounded king away from the battleground thus saving his master. Sadly, Chetak fell into water while crossing a deep river and passed away like a proud warrior.
Who won the Battle of Haldighati?
Well, no one! By the time the enemy camp had realised their folly that the one killed was not Maharana Pratap and it was Maan Singh Jhala instead. Next day, when the enemy camp came back to wage a war, there was no sign of Mewar’s soliders and the war thus could not be completed.
Meanwhile, Maharana Pratap practiced guerrilla warfare and with the secret support of a couple of close Rajputs and tribal king, Raja Punja Bhil – he created a new army and won back most his lost territories. He couldn’t be conquered by Moghuls until he bated his last breath and died a natural death.
Haldighati Memorial – other nice things
- Apart from leaving a proud feeling and creating a soft spot for the faithful Chetak – Haldighati Memorial is set in a beautiful garden with small bridges under which water flows and is surrounded by green foliage and pretty flowers of vibrant colors.
- I don’t know if it is still around, but when we had been to Haldighati Memorial, there was this ‘Old School Sugarcane Juicer’ which works when Oxen move around in circles. A good exposure as to how things used to work before machines came into existence. I used to listen to stories from my grandmother about how Oxen is used to produce oil from seeds in what we call ‘Gaana’(ಗಾಣ) or the Oil-mill in Karnataka. Of what she explained, I could form a mental image – Oxen moved in circles and a machine like wooden thing in the center rotates, crushing the seeds thus producing oil. When I saw this principle being applied for the sugarcane juice, my joy had no bounds. I had become a little girl once again! See the picture below to understand what I am trying to explain.
- With all the route confusions and stress of rerouting, we had forgotten the fact that we had not eaten the breakfast! Only until the delicious smell of Aaloo Paratha hit the nostrils. The small café in Haldighati served us with some lip-smacking Parathas – definitely the best ones we had in our entire Rajasthan trip.
- Haldighati got its name from the color of its soil, which is yellow in color. Yellow translates to Haldi in Hindi, hence the name.
- Haldighati also famous for its Rose products – you can pick some genuine, locally produced Rose products like Gulkand, Rose water and Rose juice. The roses are in full bloom in the spring season of March-April or Chaithra Rutu(a name of month in Hindu Calendar) giving them the name – Chaitri roses. These roses are the source of all the Rose products in Haldighati.
- A couple of kilometres away from Haldighati Memorial is the Samadhi of the brave horse Chetak. There is a memorial like structure built as a tribute to Chetak to reward his loyalty and sacrifice for his master.
Bidding bye to Haldighati
After dusting off the inches of dirt in the part of the brain which is responsible to save history textbooks – we bid goodbye to Haldighati with fresh history lessons. Back on the road that beckons, the road that teaches new things, the road that thrashes misconceptions, the road that puts technology to shame, the road that is a lifeline to countless people!
Google Maps is notorious, isn’t it? How many times have we literally driven on mountains, through someone’s farm and somewhere in the air – where only the sharp triangle head shows that you sure are going ahead, but don’t know where! How many times have we waited keenly for the triangle head to approach something that looks like a road in Google Maps?
When the digital Google Maps failed, we resorted to the original Google Maps which breathes to live. Flagging down every walking and talking Google Map every 5-10 kms, we made sure that the road really does go to Kumbhalgarh. The local Rajasthani people were very cooperative and like elsewhere in India when asked for the route, the answer will be ‘Seedha jaayiye!’ (Go straight ahead). So Seedha we went and reached our destination! 😉
A Detour that overwhelmed us:
Haldighati was a surprise entry in our itinerary and a very welcoming one! After all, road trips mean – I shall throw on you such teeny weeny pleasures, make sure to make the most of it!
One the way back from Kumbhalgarh, we payed a visit to the splendid Ranakpur Jain temple and took the road which we intended to take when we started the day. It was a really boring highway!
Glad that mess up happened and led us into a detour. We drove into the real countryside of Rajasthan. Through the virgin desert wilderness – bald trees and thorny bushes decorating the desolate lands. Narrow bumpy roads just like a camel hump, stark brown barren landscapes, intolerable humid temperatures, roads that never seem to end, no vegetation or habitation for miles together – We experienced different Rajasthan which we hadn’t in the past 10 days of driving in the state. It is experiences like these which leave a permanent scar in the mind. A permanent yet beautiful scar!
Have you even detoured and found a beautiful place? If yes, then hit the comment button below and share your story!