The Ultimate Levitation @ Gurgaon-Sohna Road Ruins, Haryana, India

Sunday morning was never so unpredictable. Catching up with friends and driving down, not somewhere far off, to grab a bite was the only agenda. Little did we know what was in store for us as we cruised a bit aimlessly on the Gurgaon-Sohna road.

Lo and Behold! We happen to see a ruin up on a hilly terrain carefully perched a top on the edge of the raised land mass. Suddenly our express-o-meter went from Hmmmm to Wooaah!!! 🙂

Our mundane Sunday morning took a right turn and soon we saw ourselves facing a hill.

DSC04539The long winding road up the hill was infested with trucks carrying construction material, marble slates etc.


IMG_6384As we climbed a bit higher and looked back…we weren’t cribbing anymore. The view just kept expanding.




Soon we hit a flat, straight road. It didn’t seem that we actually climbed up a decent height to face a flat bed of gravel, which paved way for the green acres of land on it’s side.



We stopped by to seek directions. The locals were a bit amused to see us when we told them what brought us all up. For them it was an everyday affair but for us it was giving in to our wanderlust.

We got clicking a bit with the locals and the children looked really happy…Yeah! Their smiles were worth a shot.


And then we saw SUPER WOMEN!!!


While zipping closer to our destination we spotted something that at least I had never seen in my entire waking life. A massive bunch of yellow butterflies scattered over a kilometer. They were sooooo many. All over the place. It was just awesome to see the sun soaked butterflies glistening in the sunshine.



As we wished goodbye to the butterflies…we came across an ant hill…another first for me. Super working ants – The ultimate in colonizing their gigantic towers (from their perspective 😉 )


Finally! We started to feel the song ‘Up where we belong’. The beauty simply startled us. We couldn’t believe a land mass with such a view even existed near the most chaotic city – Gurgaon. We halted for a while to fill up our cameras with some neat shots 🙂




A heart shaped pond though riddled with algae looked fluorescent green.


As we drove further, we all started to feel happy. The mysterious ruin got us possessed and we simply felt drawn towards it.

The closer we got, the better we felt. The landscape started to change and the jagged rocks peeped from the green covered hill.


Finally, we had a face off. Our first impression was like…hmmmm. We parked our cars and wandered into its perimeter.



It was a watch tower. A remain of a fort. 



We climbed up the stairs without any expectations.



WHHUUUHHUUUU!!!! What struck us, simply blew our mind.

Jaw dropping view! The city was below us. We felt like super giants. The breeze was cool and a strange calm serenaded our senses.


Another watch tower lurked around the cliff but we didn’t see any remains of the fort.


After soaking the view, we started to explore the tower. Not much was there except an open area for that mesmerizing view and a wall that had some love lost etching on it.


As we relaxed, a crazy streak ran across our minds.Throwing caution to the winds, we climbed the edge of the tower wall and started to jump. We wanted to click some aerial levitating shots. Had we slipped? We would have experienced our souls pop! But after seeing the photos…we truly loved what we did. 🙂

A Leap of Faith >


The Sky Surfers >


The Rockstar Levitation >


An Air Suspension >


Oh My God! Our levitating act was sooo addictive…LOL! We had a blast for our photo shoot.

In all this adulation we didn’t even hear our grumbling stomachs. The food was for the mind and the body felt satiated. The hunger took a back seat.

As we prepared to leave…everyone of us had a beaming face. A sense of achievement. A feeling of discovering something new. A fabulous memory to cherish and one thing resonated among all of us – Always give in to your hunger for wander-lusting.



Part 4: Varanasi – Sarnath: The Lion Capital

Reaching Sarnath was an easy affair from BHU. You strike a banter with the auto rickshaw driver and keep looking out for the things going by. The visuals have a running commentary and you enjoy the audio visual just by sitting in the auto. LOL! 🙂

Entering Sarnath

The Lion capital of King Ashoka the Great as it is called has a profound connection with  Buddhism and being the national symbol of India. About 13km away from Varanasi, the road snakes along the greens rooted on its sides to reveal the mammoth heritage tucked within Sarnath.

Chaukhandi Stupa

This massive structure of red bricks is Humongous. Chaukhandi stupa is at the entrance of the city of Sarnath. There are mixed stories that are doing the rounds. Some say it was a Temple. Some say it was a structure made to greet a mughal king. The legend says that this structure was made to mark a place where Buddha met his disciples. But the best one was from my Auto Driver. He said this structure was since Ramayana times. This structure housed Sita, Ram and Laxman. It was called ‘Sita ki Rasoi.’ I almost fell off the running auto. 🙂

sarnaathDue to the paucity of time, I didn’t venture inside the premises. However, the magnanimity of the Buddhist culture wrapped in the mysterious calmness was about to be jolted by boisterous laughing, cacophony, honking and serpentine line of tourists.

The next one in line was the Sarnath Museum. On seeing the line of tourists waiting to get a glimpse of the prized Ashoka’s pillar, I heaved a sigh and moved ahead.

Dhamekh Stupa

The next stop was Dhamekh Stupa. Built of bricks and stones. This stupa has a historic relevance. It’s said that Buddha imparted his first sermon here. From outside, looking through the iron grilled railing, one feels that this massive structure can be caged.

100_2370Its only once you enter the compound, you are struck by its enormity.

IMG_2676A strange belief

There is a strange belief that surrounds this Stupa, I saw people wrapping a coin in a white cloth, praying or making a wish and throwing it on the Stupa. In the picture you can see the cloth resting atop the stupa. Higher the coin lands, sooner the wish comes true. This was intriguing for sure.

The Stupa has some beautiful carving and the typical geometric patterns.

IMG_2683IMG_2682Also known as the Deer Park, within it, was the place where Buddha rested. A meticulously planned discourse ground created by bricks is an absolute wonder to see.


It’s said that after getting enlightened, Buddha imparted the Eight Fold Path to his five disciples here.

Adjacent to this magnificent brick ruins is a newly constructed Mulagandha Kuti Vihara Buddhist Temple.

Mulagandha Kuti Vihara Buddhist Temple

IMG_2650If you have been to Gaya, this temple would be like a Deja Vu. Its known for its beautiful frescos and murals. Inside the temple rests a golden Buddha.100_2388Frescos

100_2385100_2386100_2393100_2398Outside the temple there is a huge carved bell.


The flags adorn the walls of the temple.

100_2388The five disciples getting the discourse from Buddha.

IMG_2658Then the final Booty… though a replica but worth a shot! The original is kept in the museum.

100_2405 All the structures are in the vicinity. I call it the Great Sarnath Strip. 🙂

Wow! What a Grand Finale to a fabulous trip on spirituality. Its historic to see the Ganges shimmer in cacophony at a Varanasi ghat, which is an absolute contrast to the spaced out silence of the brick ruins of Sarnath that weave the history from Gupta-Maurya period to Buddhism.

Part 3: Varanasi – Ram Nagar Fort: Challenge Your Expectations!

It was my last day in Varanasi. I had a packed day staring at me, a half day ceremony of my cousin and three different places to visit -The Benaras Hindu University (BHU), Ram Nagar fort and Sarnaath.

I was bit by the traveling bug and my cousin’s ceremony couldn’t contain me. Soon I sneaked out of the confines and found myself boarding the next bus to BHU. I love traveling in the local transport as it gives me a local feel of a particular place, it’s culture and the mindset of its people.


Armed with my information from the internet, I was at one of the oldest universities, which was established in 1916.

I took a walk inside the campus, which was loaded with yellow and red buildings, surrounded with trees. Soon, I started to crawl. The campus is spread in a humongous 1300 acres. You need a vehicle to be moved around. Phew!

This university has two campuses, 3 institutes, 16 faculties, 140 departments, 4 advanced centers and 4 interdisciplinary schools.  Whoa! On that intellectual note I saw myself scouting for the main gate to do what I do best…TRAVEL! 😉

Reaching Ram Nagar Fort

I boarded the shared auto rickshaw for Ram Nagar fort from an auto rickshaw stand which was just next to BHU.

Advisory: The downside of the shared auto rickshaw is that one has to wait till it’s loaded with people. However, once you are on, it’s fun to hear the local dialect.

I sat behind the driver, facing my back towards him and vroom we went bumping into each other. After narrow twist and turns we came to the river bank. In front of us was lying a pantoon bridge. Probably, one of the longest that I had ever seen.

IMG_2642The view of the river bank was worth it. However, I missed the view straight ahead. I couldn’t see the fort’s facade which was just next to the river bank.

IMG_2647Advisory: Be prepared for the DUST!

The moment the auto rickshaw reached the end of the bridge and took over the land, a dust cloud engulfed me. Before I knew it, my visibility dropped to zero because my eyes were shut. LOL! ;))

Ram Nagar Fort

After covering a distance of almost 10 km from BHU, finally I reached the fort. Hmmm…by the first look, this was my expression. The main entrance gate stands tall, guarded by the two canons. I went inside the fort. It was once the residence of the king, which is now converted into a museum.

I came across old swords, guns, tattered costumes, furniture, massive gold and silver palanquins, jewellery and antique clocks. I loved the vintage cars the most but sadly all were lying in a heap of dust and photography was prohibited. Alas! That was the only thing worth clicking.

I have seen many forts but this one was not kept well. It had a different architecture though. A mix of British castle styled walls with typical jharokas. It was a pleasant sight but nothing wow about it.


On entering the gigantic door…suddenly the green geometry over powers your senses.

IMG_2635IMG_2636Honestly I was a bit dejected. It has a nice view from the balconies facing the river bank…but…not worth a crazy ride. I heard one of the guides talking about the temples inside the fort but I guess I let it pass due to my expectations weren’t met.

Disinterested, I didn’t explore the fort much as I had to visit Sarnaath.

So I quickly moved out and patiently waited for an auto rickshaw to take me back to BHU. One of the locals asked me to try a lassi from the adjoining market. It was supposedly very famous but again with all that dust around I gave it a miss.

This time around I sat facing the main road. Armed with my camera we rolled over the dust and back to the pontoon bridge. What I saw simply caught me off guard. It was the traffic. The  way people were driving was insane.

It was like playing a video game. The traffic from the opposite direction really comes close before both sides of the traffic snaps away in a fraction of a second.


IMG_2645I reached BHU and took another auto rickshaw for Sarnaath.

My fellow cousins asked about the fort to which I said…despite not meeting my expectations there was something different about the fort. It was an unusual journey to the fort, that bridge, dust, architecture, artifacts, vintage beauties, the view of the river ganges. It was then I realized that if I had not viewed that fort from my expectations I could have seen a whole lot of things that I simply missed because I was dejected.

Aah! My expectations killed the explorer in me. However, I did return a wiser man. :p

In my next blog I will be exploring the Buddhist in Ashoka the Great! – Sarnaath

Part 2: Varanasi – The Shimmer Effect!

It was evening by the time I sauntered around the ghat. It was time for a fiery tribute to the holy river – The Ganges.

As I walked towards the ghat, I saw people swarming, huddling, running, pushing each other. Suddenly, the sound of conch shells echoed the surroundings, marking the beginning of the Aarti. The priests truly displayed their lung’s power. 😛

Soon enough the incense sticks billowed the fragrant holy smoke, which engulfed the praying dias.

I wanted to get a glimpse of the priests performing the larger than life Aarti (prayer). Dasaswamedh Ghat is known for it’s evening Aarti. However the crowd gets to you. It was jam packed with the devotees. I couldn’t squeeze my self in between the people, even if I wanted to. It was like a wall of people. Moreover, I am vertically challenged. Damn! 😛 I tried clicking by raising my hands up and ended up with such ghastly photos. 😉

I decided to hop on a boat and sail on the Ganges. The Aarti was on and I was still in the mid way.  I guess the time for Aarti is around 7 PM. It is usually a 1 hr affair. Man! It was a fabulous view. Everything about it was magnanimous. An orange hue enveloped the praying dias. It was almost like attending a rock concert. 😉

I realized, I was not the only one having my grey cells working. A boat sailing in front of me looked like this…

In the meantime, I started to chat with my boatman. I was curious about the ghats name so I probed him. He told me a rather startling revelation behind the name of Dasaswamedh Ghat. As the legend goes, Lord Brahma (Creator of the universe, as per Hindu mythology) sacrificed 10 horses on the banks of river Ganga to allow Lord Shiva mark his return to Varanasi. He was supposedly banished. Aah! I can’t recall why? This is what I like about mythology, there is a reason for every happening. Alas!

My boatman pointed towards the adjoining ghat as he rowed closer to the ultimate tribute. It was the Manikarnika Ghat. It is where the cremation happens. A ghat which liberates the soul from the cycle of birth and death. Now it was clear. I could instantly recall what I viewed while siting on those gigantic stairs near the banks – Life and Death in a single frame.

Snapping out of mythology, I inched closer to the yet so far tribute.

I looked around. There was a mad rush to reach to the praying dias. Hundreds of boats were  lined up in front of the priests. All the boats were fully loaded with people.

It was impossible to get closer to the priests or to the praying dias.

Advisory: My boatman told me, if I come around the second time to witness the Aarti, I should be near the dias before 6 PM in order to click the close-ups.

So, I made peace with it and started to click.

A great lineup of priests held the camphor lit fiery lamps. Smoke oozed out from them that added to the dramatic representation of the Aarti. These pious lamps were wildly gyrated and swayed to the sound of the manjiras (Indian hand cymbals). The loud spiritual chants of the sanskrit verses were let loose out in the open. All the priests were in sync with each other. It almost looked like a possessed performance. However, it was a well choreographed, rehearsed and coordinated act.

I kept requesting my boatman to keep looking for space to move forward near to the dias. I was glad as he obliged. 🙂

Wow! The Aarti was transcendental…in a way. This electrifying puja is a must watch. What showman ship, display of sheer power and sweat, pure faith, mesmerized devotees all gyrating into the grandeur of the Aarti. 

Once the Aarti was over, the dispersion began. In few minutes extreme silence pervaded. I was sitting and sailing through the calm waters absorbing the magnanimity of a spiritual belief. I spotted the shimmering Ganges. I had never seen something like that before. The light from the ghats shimmered its way to the Ganges.

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The devotees made a wish / prayed and floated an earthen diya on a leaf.

There were innumerable diyas floating at night, illuminating the holy river. As if the stars had come down for a swim. It was pure magic. Totally surreal. The attainment of peace accompanied by the splashing of an oar was worth the experience.

I couldn’t have asked for more. Once at shore, I quickly reached out to the praying dias where the priests performed the puja. The crowd, once under a spell was now in motion. I was glad because I could click! 😉


The burnt camphor was still oozing out smoke from the now blackened lamps, covered in soot.

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It was a welcome change from the cacophony of the city that sucked itself with loud blaring horns.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

While retreating to my hotel room, I crossed the holiest temple of Varanasi – The Kashi Vishwanath Temple. I was also told to visit many other temples like Durga Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Sankat Mochan etc…but now you know me well enough ;). For pure historical reasons, I went to view the Kashi Vishwanath temple, which was built by Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar.

A holy man was standing on the main road who offered his navigation skills to reach the temple. I merely followed him and went inside the narrowest lanes, fully loaded with shops on both the sides. I squeezed myself through the live army of people to reach the temple of the Lord Shiva. Some 300 meters before the temple, I had to take off my shoes and walk bare feet towards the temple.

Advisory: Please visit the temple at your own risk during the rainy season. Your feet might bite into slippery cow dung or filth.

This temple ranks amongst the highest in spiritual value. Man! I couldn’t fathom that a massive temple that speak volumes of it’s historic past was dangerously encroached by various concrete buildings that precariously surround it. The temple is extremely gray. Probably built out of grey mica stones. It houses the Jyotirlinga of Shiva.

Unfortunately the photography wasn’t allowed but it definitely had an old world charm. I have seen many temples but nothing like this one. The way the idols were kept, the deity room, the path ways. It was a great experience to live a life from the past.

In order to get out, I squeezed into the narrow lane and only faith could have got me out. 😉  I chose to walk my way back to my hotel by dodging the cows, bikes, cars, rickshaws and most of all the jaywalkers.

It was an experience worth living for. I found the city chaotic yet charming. I loved every bit of push, nudge, revelation, calmness, madness, serenity, spirituality that’s around this place. A historic city submerged in traditions, soaked in beliefs and afloat on faith is absolutely mind numbing yet insightful.

In my next blog I will be crossing the river Ganges to reveal the fort of Ram Nagar.

Part 1: Varanasi – Stairway to Heaven. Guaranteed!!!

The city of temples, the land of moksha, the city of lights, the oldest breathing city, the land of ghats (river banks). Yes! These are some of the most popular names that refer to one of the holiest city in India – Varanasi or Kashi or Benaras, whichever way you call it, they all mean the same.

Varanasi is the city that routes the holy river – Ganges and has an extreme importance in Hindu spiritual belief. It is a pilgrimage where Hindus takes a holy dip in the river Ganges to absolve their sins. The popular belief is that one gets free from the cycle of birth and death.

I loved the way the various names came into existence for this holy city. According to a legend, two rivers – Varuna and Assi originated from a man when the existence came into being. The land that came between these two rivers was named as Varanasi. Due to this legend the ‘oldest living city’ tag was coined.

The other popular name is Kashi. It means the ‘City of Lights.’ Dwelve into Hindu mythology and one can get a clear picture of what happened in the era of the Gods. The Lord Shiva’s (Hindu God of destruction of evil) Jyotirlinga (a fiery pillar of light) came through the earth and flared up in the sky. Therefore, the city is aptly named as Kashi.

There are many temples which are dedicated to the Lord Shiva. He is the savior and the protector of the Varanasi city.

Well, coming to Varanasi was more of a compulsion rather than seeking spirituality. Seeking moksha for my soul was not on my agenda and securing my afterlife didn’t  even feature in my belief system. I came to attend my cousins wedding. However, when I looked back, I realized the trip was simply worth it. Varanasi lets you attain a connection of a different kind.

I reached Varanasi by flight from Delhi. A modest airport greeted me.

The airport is some 20 kms away from the city. The taxis are easy to get by. The people seemed to be simple and offered a helping hand.

After attending one of the morning ceremonies, it was almost late afternoon. I decided to go and visit the ghats. Varanasi has more than 2000 temples and some 100 ghats.


There are various modes of transport like auto rickshaw, cycle rickshaw, taxi, bus and shared auto rickshaw. While going to the ghats, I preferred cycle rickshaw. It is the best transport option to wade through the narrow, choked lanes, in a slow motion that brings you near to the ghats.

Advisory – The people seem to love the horns here. They are extremely Horny when it comes to the Blow Job. (I am sure after writing this I will not be going to heaven…for sure. LOL! 😉 What I mean is, when it comes to blowing their horns, they simply press that darn button to produce that loud, blaring, ear ringing sound. You just…can’t…escape it!

While going to the ghats, I came across an interesting sign board.

Sheepishly I asked, “Where is the Baba (in hindi it’s a spiritual guru) Black Sheep?” LOL! 😉


Some of the popular ghats are Daswamedha, Manikarnika, Harishchandra, kabir, and Assi ghat. I guess I went to the Daswamedha ghat. The cycle rickshaw was not allowed to reach the ghat. I was dropped nearly a kilometer away from the ghat.

I walked and reached the giant steps leading to the ghat. One can find a lot of people, pilgrims, sadhus (holy men wrapped in orange garb), flowers strewn all around, temples, boats and eating joints. It takes a while syncing with the surroundings.

I sat on the stairs and looked around.

I saw life and death in the same frame. On one ghat, the dead bodies were being lit as they lay on the funeral pyre. On the other ghat, the beings with flesh and faith were taking a dip in the holy water of the Ganges, washing away their sins and almost booking a berth in heaven.

On one side the smoke billowed from the funeral pyre, emanating from the soulful departed. On the other side the smoke arose from pious prayer candles, diyas and lamps. It was such a stark contrast. There were some soaking the ashes in Ganges and there were some leaving a burning earthen diya on a leaf, praying for a secured future.

Absolving my sins was nowhere in the grand scheme of things. I grew up with Hindu sentiments. However, I guess when my mind out grew my pre-fed beliefs, I turned into a non-believer. When one starts questioning the faith and seeks a logic, the religion appears disconnected. All this and more made me seek a deeper insight into the frightful mind of a pious human being.

Is it just the fear of closing out on the doors to heaven? We beings have put our staunch faith in the deep rooted mythology, which was once told to each Hindu but was seldom explained the deeper meaning.

Suddenly, it all looked like an selfish act wrapped up in faith. The real prayer to God was for one self – Absolve “MY” sins, give “ME” a piece of heaven, for “MY” happy afterlife and so on. Where is the prayer to the Lord? The Geeta – A holy book of Hindus states, praise and pray to the Lord, for the Lord and not seek a personal favour.

Maybe I am missing a big link here. However, this is how I felt. In fact, come to think of it, almost all the religions guarantee heaven provided people pray in their respective diktats. Surprising, yet true!

Sadly, people take Hinduism as a lesser religion, probably the way it has been depicted to the audience. The Gods have been mocked upon in a stage performance. Their life stories have been twisted with humour in the Indian films. Mockery took to a new level when the comedy shows portrayed them as mere characters and so on. The deeper meaning is lost between the various mediums.

The dance of life and death did shake me a bit. I got up from the steps and zoomed out of my thought process to explore the ghat.

I took a long walk along the crowded ghat. It was a pleasure to view such a deep rooted culture and belief. I came across flower laden arches wrapped in saffron cloth. 


This was the place where the Aarti (prayer) was performed by the priests in the morning. I heard a lot about the Aarti. I missed the morning one but I made sure to witness the grandeur of the evening prayer. The lamps were shining clean, the oil was being poured into them. The preparation for the evening Aarti was in full swing.

All the ghats seemed to intermingle with each other. It looked like an eternal walk on the banks of river Ganges. They all look the same yet had different names. Just like the various religions of the world. They all preach the same thing yet have different names. How ironical! But again… have we really learnt what they preach? Or have we just outlined our understanding with boundaries of our beliefs? 🙂

While going back to the stairs, I accidentally stumbled upon an old construction which almost was like a ruin. I was intrigued. A local told me a surprising revelation. On the top laid an observatory, named as the Jantar Mantar.

The Observatory – Jantar Mantar

I climbed the monstrous steps to reach the observatory. It was probably four to five stories tall. It has a ticketed entry. The floor I entered into lead me to many well ventilated rooms, which had a spectacular view.

Unfortunately it also provides a refuge to the lovers sneaking into the not-so-obscured corners, indulging in PDA (Public Display of Affection). I climbed up to the roof top. There lay an observatory, a part of the Indian heritage, surrounded by mushrooming houses, almost camouflaging the historic piece.

The only saving grace was the color yellow and it’s larger than life design, which screamed to tell that the history was lying within the confines of the brick houses.

I had picked up a handout about the place from the ticket counter, which had a brief history mentioned on it. This structure was made by the king of Jaipur. He was the same man who was the brain behind the other famous Jantar Mantars. They all are well preserved in various cities like Jaipur, Delhi, Mathura and Ujjain.

The amazing fact was I had witnessed all of them. 🙂 Wow! I felt good about it. This is a technological marvel that solely survived on technique rather than any machinery. It tells the location of the sun, time, location of the planets etc. It is an astronomical delight for the astronomers.

Somehow, I felt the one that I saw in Jaipur is still the best till date. However, the roof top gave me the best aerial view of the ghats.

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Evening made it’s presence felt and the people started to throng around the grand prayer dias.

In my part 2, I will be covering the Evening Aarti by the Ganges.

Deeg Fort and Palace, Rajasthan: Part 4 -– Deeg Palace, An Engineering Marvel

This is the concluding part amongst the series of posts on Deeg Fort and Palace, Rajasthan.

My concept of disliking the refurbished palaces was about to get crushed and diminished. At the entrance of the Deeg Palace, the main gate showcased the beautifully carved lions.

As we passed through the gate, a bunch of arches hovering above us, led us inside the palace complex. Life suddenly became magnanimous and full of opulence.

We hired a guide and I truly recommend it. This massive engineering marvel has a lot hidden in its history, which needs to be revealed.

As we walked inside the grand complex, the guide told us that this was the summer retreat for the king. On seeing the entrance, I simply blurted ”What is so different about this palace, it bears the same heat?” The guide smiled and said “Welcome to the palace of gardens, bhawans (palaces), and fountains.” In my mind it was like ‘Yeah! Bring it on.’

The bhawans in the entire palace complex are named as:

  • Gopal bhawan
  • Sawan bhawan
  • Badhon bhawan
  • Suraj bhawan
  • Hardev bhawan
  • Kesav bhawan
  • Kishan bhawan
  • Nand bhawan
  • Purana Mahal

Out of all these, Gopal bhawan is the main palace that housed the king. Adjoining the Gopal bhawan were the two Sawan and Badhon bhawan.

To our right was the first bhawan – Sawan. We saw some steps going down and followed the man who was about to enlighten us with his historic revelations. We saw a massive water body surrounding the bhawan, bringing respite from the heat. It was amazingly relaxing.

I somehow got transfixed at the site of the railing. It was made of red sandstone and impeccably designed.

The railing led us to an open hall, which had special carved outlets.

We thought it was for the drainage. However, our guide told us something so amazing that it gave us our first glimpse into the engineering marvels of the palace.

When the rains lashed, the water fell down through these outlets out on the balcony. It must have been a pleasure site to see. It had two or three floors and one of them was perpetually submerged in water. We were completely in awe of the design and concept. Without paying the electricity bill, the architect was too smart to channelize the wind and the water resources to the king’s comfort. 😉

Soon we entered the Gopal bhawan.

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Photography was prohibited. The government has turned this palace into a museum. A gray colored marble fountain greeted us. Though it was not working but it was pretty big. This set the precedence of things to come. Magnanimity was the only thing one could see here. Gigantic halls, where all the artifacts were kept, which included Persian carpets, furniture, paintings, crockery etc.

The most fascinating artifact was the scent case of an elephant leg. If ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)’ had its way, it would have sued the king. 🙂 Lol! There were many staircases criss-crossing each other. They took us to various rooms, which had a splendid view. It housed English styled furniture and a billiard table. One of the rooms sported a concept that looked like a fan. It had an impressive detailing and functioning.

From Gopal bhawan the view of Char bagh (four gardens) was superb. Sadly, we couldn’t click from inside. We skipped Badhon bhawan, as it was styled similarly to the Sawan bhawan. Both the bhawans were designed to cool the palace in summer.


Adjoining the Char bagh, lay a Mughal designed arch made of white marble. It was used to support a swing also known as Hindola.

We were surprised and wondered as to how could this be a part of the architecture. It was then a sneak peek into the history revealed that the king was in love with the Mughal architecture. As a war trophy, the king brought many Mughal artifacts from Agra.

The view from  the swing was simply kingly.

Our guide told us that we will be pleasantly surprised, once we see the Suraj bhawan. We were intrigued and excited.

Inside the Suraj bhawan, the relics had a striking resemblance of the Taj Mahal designs. The king was so moved and inspired by the Mughal architecture that he wanted to build a palace as beautiful as the Taj Mahal. This palace sports white marbles neatly etched with colorful stones. The marble tiles had the similar ‘Buta’ styled borders and a geometric patterned marble floor design to complete the look.

Though it was nowhere close to the beauty of the Taj. But wow! What an effort.

One of the areas in the Suraj palace was cordoned off. So we had a crazy time enacting are best acts. 🙂

Behind Suraj Bhawan is the Hardev bhwan. We missed it.

Now it was time to view the Kesav bhawan. Our guide told us that it was the only engineering marvel that till date is in working condition. This palace is very different, conceptually.

One could read the detailed information on the slab of rock. The makers had envisioned the jets, sound effects of thunder and usage of small canals.

Our guide pulled a neat one on us. He said “What if all these fountains come alive and start sprouting water?” We were like whaaat?

It was then he took us to Kishan bhawan.

The guide told us that the palace has a roof on which lay a massive reservoir. The water was carried on bullock carts and filled into the reservoirs, if the rain failed to show up or delayed.  A mammoth network of pipeline lay beneath the ground. As per the guide, there are almost 500 fountains, which were being fed buy this reservoir.

Whoa! On listening to this our jaws dropped. Just think about it. In that era, to do something like this was absolutely insane yet so visionary. It required an absolute precision and perfection of executing an engineering skill. All the fountains come alive in the month of August for only one day when the rain gods shower themselves to fill up the tank.

The other bhawan is the Nand bhawan. Nand bhawan was a wrestling hall. It has raised boundary walls encircling a stage. This palace sported seven openings.

We did not visit the Purana Mahal (Old Palace). However, we could see the battlement fort – The Deeg Fort from the Old palace, which is next to a huge water body called Rup Sagar.

On our way out, we came across an amazing looking fungus oozing out from a tree. My friend Javid, captured it beautifully. It almost looked like a delectable exotic variety of food. Lol!

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I realized that Deeg was one of the most sought after battles for the Jats. Despite the fact, the King shifted the capital to Bharatpur. His undying love for Deeg made it a summer retreat. And boy! What an architectural marvel came into existence. The Deeg Palace may lack the magnanimity of the Jat architectural structure. However, the depth of detailing, love for art, and a spirit to get inspired from the Mughals to make their palaces a design supreme surpassed everything.

A vision to cool down a palace by building humongous water bodies around it, by designing a mesh of pipelines to sprout the sprinkling fountains, which work till date. Aah! It must be a magical site to live by under a rightful kingly pleasure dome known as the humble Bhawan. 🙂

*Special thanks to Javid and Devesh for sharing such lovely shots.  🙂

Deeg Fort and Palace, Rajasthan: Part 3 -– Exploring Deeg Fort

After chatting with the locals, now it was time to explore the Deeg Fort. We saw a path going up to the peripheral wall.

It led us to the watchtower. We quickly climbed up the path.

The view was enormous. We saw the bridge that we had crossed and the gate from which we had entered. It was an amazing fortification.

We swiveled the camera around and what we saw completely absorbed us.

In front of us was the Deeg Palace soaking itself cool in the green water.

We looked around and found that the fort was in a square shape with similar watch towers placed all over the fort. The Haveli was in the middle of the fort surrounded with thick foliage covering all the open spaces.

Technology had invaded the fort. There were gigantic telephone towers sprouting up all over the place.

We snaked our way up a narrow, dark, circular staircase to reach at the top of the watch tower. The moment we reached there, we became ecstatic. In front of us lay an abandoned canon. It was a huge one and not a speck of rust. We fooled around the canon and the telephone tower for a while.

We were dwarfed when we saw the world around us, perched high up on the watch tower.

We walked along the peripheral wall and a crazy thought ran in some of our minds. We saw a small mud hill and some of us decided to wade through the thorny bushes to reach to the hill top.

We took a short trek to the top. It was totally worth it. The constant drizzling made us slip often. However, everything was sparking green and clear.

The peacocks were right above us.

Once we reached the top and looked back…Boy! We had covered quite a distance.

There was a bright saffron coloured temple within the fort. We gave it a miss as we had to return the same day.

We met some ladies, wearing bright coloured sarees, plucking a small fruit from the shrubs.

They told us about the other canon placed on the mount. Soon we were on the other side of the fort. There laid a massive canon in its full grandeur, staring at the villagers’ houses.

We kept clicking along and were amazed by the architecture of the fort.

We were completely mesmerized by the forts sheer size and were glad to see its splendor enthrall us. I really wished that the Haveli be restored to its past glory and should be available for public viewing.

We were completely satisfied with our find and headed for the much talked about Deeg Palace.

In part 4, I will be concluding my journey by revealing the engineering marvel of the world – The Deeg Palace.

*Special thanks to Abhishek, Javid and Devesh for sharing such lovely shots.  🙂