Not me, I say. Not me either, says, Niti, my friend and fellow traveller.
Then you wouldn’t be knowing anything about the city, I guess he says. We shake our heads in unison.
Then allow me to take you to a very special place in Kota later in the evening. I’m sure you wouldn’t have seen anything like that before. We happily agree to this suggestion. When we leave, it is past sunset and it is turning dark rapidly. There’s a delicious chill in the air and I’m looking forward to the evening.
A short drive later we are at a vast lake shimmering in the light reflected on the opposite bank. Manoj asks us to look around and tell him if we can guess what is it that we have come to see. I take a good look around and can’t see anything except for an unlit structure that seems to be floating in the lake.
This is the Kishore Sagar Lake and that unlit building is the Jagmandir Palace, says Manoj. But what you are going to see is across the lake. Take a guess.
Initially I can’t make out anything, till my eyes lock in on a pyramidal structure and then a tall tower. I can’t believe my eyes. Is that an Egyptian pyramid and that tall thing the Eiffel Tower?
Manoj beams in answer and says that there are more at the 7 Wonders Park of Kota and that is where we were headed to. 10 minutes later we were inside the 7 Wonders Park and getting our first sight of scaled down replicas of seven modern wonders.
The 7 Wonders Park is laid out on an elongated plot of land, which is beautifully landscaped with the seven wonders arranged at regular intervals beginning with the Colosseum of Rome and ending with Christ the Redeemer. Inaugurated in September 2013, the 7 Wonders Park of Kota was a Rs. 20 crore project of the Urban Improvement Trust of Kota. The sculpted replicas of the 7 wonders were executed by a team of about 150 sculptors and masons from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
A paved path meanders through the park leading to and connecting all the ‘monuments’ with one other. In addition, there is also a path that runs along the side of the Kishore Sagar and the perimeter of the Park and gives a good perspective of the way the Park is laid out. The Park is designed in a way that encourages the visitor to stop, go around, look, take photographs or selfies or both.
And that was what we did too. After the initial surprise at the rather touristy and kitschy park, we did what everyone else there was doing — have fun. We walked, we saw, we posed (or rather Niti made me pose), we photographed, and more importantly, we just relaxed. Not having seen any of the wonders, except for the Taj Mahal, for real made this a fun visit.
Here are the photographs of the seven wonders at the 7 Wonders Park. Now imagine me posing in front of each one of them (sorry, no photographs of those here), including sitting on a bench in front of the Taj Mahal ! 😛
Confession time. I must admit that when I first saw the 7 Wonders Park, I cringed at something so touristy, and balked at the thought of spending an evening there. But when I saw the other visitors (mostly locals) having a good time at the Park, I was deeply ashamed of myself and realised what I snob I was. Here was a public space, an outdoor space, that a city had taken the efforts to create, something that I always wish that our cities have more of. And also, how nice it was to see people enjoying a space like this instead of being in a mall — families, couples, groups of friends from different communities and economic strata. Clearly this was a space that was really meant for everyone.
I was also reminded of a conversation I had had with my friend Rupal about public spaces a few years back. She had just come back after a visit to Ahmedabad and was gushing about how the space outside Kankaria Lake had been turned into a public promenade with a garden, stalls, entertainment, etc. I wasn’t too impressed and told her just as much and that’s when we got talking about the need for a public space meant for every one. I didn’t understand what Rupal was trying to say then, but I do now. Sorry, Rupal.
So, that is how I ended up seeing seven wonders of the modern world in one evening at Kota. 😉
An evening that ended with a dinner of many flavoured pani puris.
An evening of fun and relaxation like no other.
PS: Tell me about fun times that you’ve had while travelling.
The Hadoti Trip Series: Dear Hadoti | Discovering Jhalawar | The painted rooms of Garh Mahal of Jhalawar | Bhawani Natyashala: The Opera House of Jhalawar | An evening in Jhalrapatan | The Buddhist rock-cut caves at Kolvi | The Gagron Fort at Jhalawar | An impact crater, a temple ruin and some discoveries | A fun evening in Kota | A safari on the River Chambal |