A holiday at The Bungalow on the Beach in Tranquebar

When I arrived at The Bungalow on the Beach in the sleepy coastal town of Tranquebar — or Tharangambadi as it is locally known — around 11 am on that humid and muggy August day last year, I was in a bit of a funk.

My train to Karaikal (the nearest railway station) from Chennai had arrived nearly 4 hours late, which meant that I had missed breakfast (my most important meal of the day) and also a morning’s worth of exploring Tranquebar. Not only was I hungry, I also had the beginnings of a migraine which, I knew from past experience, had the potential to ruin my holiday.

My mood did not improve over the peaceful drive from Karaikal to Tranquebar or the first sight of the blue-green waters of the Bay of Bengal or the beautiful heritage Bungalow that was going to be my home. The warm welcome at the Bungalow did make me feel a little better, but by that time all I wanted to do was to do was to sleep off my migraine.

But when I was ushered into Princess Louise, which is what my room was called, all thoughts of sleep vanished. 🙂

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Hadoti Map, road Trip, Travel, Rajasthan, Hadoti trip, Google Map, Travel Map, Places I Travelled to

The Hadoti Trip Planner

The Hadoti region of Rajasthan covers 4 distrcits — Bundi, Kota, Jhalawar and Baran — and till I visited it in November 2016, this was the only region I had not explored in the state. It was a much awaited trip, one that threw up many surprises and one that left me with a “why didn’t I visit before?”. It was a trip of many firsts as well, including the first time I travelled with One Life to Travel (OLTT), and one that will rank in my list of memorable trips.

In fact, when I look back at my Hadoti trip in November last year, the word that comes to mind is ‘serendipity’.

How else would you explain a trip that started off as as a Bundi trip but ended up being a JhalawarJhalrapatanKolviRamgarhKotaBijoliaBadoliBundi trip? How else would you explain a 3-day trip becoming an 8-day trip? How else would you explain the said 8-day trip leading to so many (19 at last count!) blogposts? How else would you explain connecting with people you’ve never met before and becoming friends?

Its been almost 9 months since my return and I have been reliving the Hadoti trip since I started blogging about it here in April ! If I enjoyed writing about that trip, your response to the posts was even more so. So many of you wanted to know more about the trip and the places I visited — more than what I had blogged about — with regard to itineraries, tips, etc.

And so here I am with a Hadoti Trip Planner based on what you asked via blog comments/ mails/ messages. 🙂

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Stepwells of Bundi, Indigenous architecture, Art and Architecture, Baoris, Stepwells of India, Rajastham Bundi, Hadoti Trip, Hadoti, Vernacular architecture

The stepwells of Bundi

This post is dedicated to Kukkiji without whom, it would probably never have been written.


It was past 8 in the evening and our OLTT travel group had just returned to our hotel in Bundi after a day’s exploration of temples and palaces. It had been a wonderful, but long, day and I was tired in the best possible way.

It was also the last day of our Bundi trip and we would all be returning home the next day — most would head off to Delhi in the morning, while Niti (my friend and co-traveller for the Hadoti Trip) would leave for Mumbai in the afternoon.

Saraswati

As I was getting out of the vehicle, Kukkiji, our guide stopped me. [1]

“Sister, one minute. Don’t go for I want to show you something.” Saying this he passed his cell phone to me which had a picture (left) on its screen.

“Where is this?” I asked in wonder.

“Here. In Bundi only. Just a couple of kilometres from your hotel.”

“Which temple is it in?”

The response was broad smile and a “It is not in a temple; this is at the entrance to a baori (stepwell).”

Baori? You mean there are more baoris in Bundi? More than the four you showed us?

“Sister, Bundi city alone has around 52 baoris and there are more outside the city limits. I knew you would be interested in them; that is why I showed this photograph to you.”

“I want to see this, Kukkiji. I have to see this. I want to see all the baoris.”

“Meet me outside your hotel at 9 am tomorrow. You can’t see all, but you can see some of the baoris before you leave,” said Kukkiji.

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The painted rooms of Bundi Palace

When our group arrived at the ticket counter for the Bundi Palace on that November morning in 2016, the sight before me took my breath away. A path ascended and disappeared seemingly into nowhere, while part of the Palace loomed up above me, soaring up to the skies. In the distance, walls of the Taragarh Fort snaked away, disappearing into the mountainside it was built on.

Taragarh Palace, Taragarh Fort, Bundi Palace, Art, Painted Rooms of Bundi Palace, Royal Wall Paintings, Bundi School of Painting, Travel, Rajasthan, Incredibl India

If I had been awed by that first sight of the Palace and Fort when I had arrived in Bundi, I was spellbound now. I couldn’t help but recall Rudyard Kipling’s words when he first saw the Fort and the Palace at Bundi in the winter of 1887.

such a Palace [is] … the work of goblins rather than of men. It is built into and out of the hillside, in gigantic terrace on terrace, and dominates the whole of the city.

Our group was at the palace to see the paintings within and our explorations weren’t too different from Kipling’s. Like him, we too walked up a steep, stone-paved path and entered the Bundi Palace Complex through the Hathipol, and then explored its many corridors, rooms, halls, etc. with a guide authorised to unlock the many closed areas and tell us stories about them. [1]

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Bundi, Boondi, TRavel, Rajasthan, That and this in Mumbai, Non-touristy, Relaxing in Bundi

That and this in Bundi

When I arrived in Bundi, the last leg of my Hadoti trip, I had been travelling in the region for 4 days with my friend, Niti. That first sight of the imposing Taragarh Palace from the road was a sight to behold.

We were to join the group from One Life to Travel (OLTT) in Bundi, a place that had long been on my list of places to travel to. Thanks to OLTT, I was finally in Bundi looking forward to exploring it over the next couple of days. And yet… something was not quite right.

I was overcome with a sense of fatigue — not physical, but mental. Actually, fatigue is not the right word for what I was feeling; overwhelmed would be a more accurate term. Overwhelmed from all that I had experienced in the last four days — temples, museums, palaces, a fort, rock-cut caves, etc. all of which had been unexpectedly beautiful, enriching and thought-provoking. If you have been following my posts on this trip, you’ll know what I mean.

As I sat, listless and lethargic, having my evening tea in the lawns of the hotel we were staying in, I wondered what to do. I had the evening free for the rest of the OLTT group would be arriving late that night. Should I go to bed early or should I read a racy thriller I had with me or should I just sit in the lawns and listen to some music?

Let’s go for a walk and wander around in Bundi, suggested Niti.

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Badoli Temple, Baroli Group of Temples, Temples of Rajasthan, Temples of India, Indian Art, Indian Architecture, Indian Aesthetics, Travel, Rajsthan, India

The temples at Badoli

My visit to the temples at Badoli in November last year turned out to be a memorable one.

First, my camera battery died on me suddenly and without warning. Then my iPad camera stopped functioning, and if that weren’t enough my temperamental cell phone decided to be on its worst behaviour. Talk about bad luck coming in threes ! The result? I have a total of 28 photos from all these 3 devices of the visit to the temples at Badoli.

Second, the temples at Badoli itself for there were many little surprises and discoveries waiting for me. Since I hadn’t read up or researched on the temples prior to my visit, everything about the place was unexpected. Of course, I read the information board placed at the entrance for some guidance, but we all know how detailed those are ! For example, the opening lines of the information board say that the:

Badoli Group is a cluster of nine temples that is stylistically dated to circa 10th-11th century AD [sic]. These temples are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Mahisasuramardini and Mataji, etc. [emphasis mine]

It then goes on to talk about the main Shiva temple there — the Ghateshwara Mahadeva Temple. As I was to find out, and you will too when you read the rest of the post, some of the most interesting and significant features of the Badoli temples were not mentioned in the board at all, unless we assume that the word ‘etc.’ in the lines above was meant to encompass everything else. 😛

Badoli Temple, Baroli Group of Temples, Temples of Rajasthan, Temples of India, Indian Art, Indian Architecture, Indian Aesthetics, Travel, Rajsthan, India
The temples at Badoli

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