Travel in Rajasthan, India
A Rajasthani Kid is playing "Ek Tara"
Thar Desert Jaisalmer in Background, Rajasthan, India

Udaipur Tourist Places

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Saheliyon Ki Bari
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Around Udaipur

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Rajasthan Tourist Destinations

  Jaipur
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Wildlife Sanctuaries

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Fairs & Festivals Rajasthan

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Tourist Destinations of Rajasthan

Udaipur

Deogarh

Deogarh is a small town in Rajasthan, famous for the Deogarh Mahal.

Deogarh lies in the Rajsamund district, in Southern Rajasthan - 150 kilometres from Ajmer, off National Highway No 8, running from Delhi, through Jaipur and Udaipur.

THE PALACE AND LAKES
The regal welcome certainly works - I almost felt like a war hero. The Deogarh Mahal is a 17th century palace built by Rawat Dwarka Das, a Rajput Jagirdar. He received Deogarh and its neighbouring areas in a land grant from the Maharana of the mighty Rajput kingdom of Mewar. Today the Deogarh Mahal is a Heritage Hotel run by the direct descendants of its builder.

The palace stands at a height of 2100 feet amidst lakes and the enchanting Aravalli mountains. The bulbous domes and pretty arches make the mahal look like something out of a storybook.


Apart from the medieval courtyards, hallways and rooms, the palace has a few curious places, for instance the enclosure where elephants were once tethered, is now home to a different sort of beast - it's now a garage!

222 CHUGS ON
You hardly realise how high this part of Rajasthan is, one way of finding out, is to take a little known train ride to a dusty, quaint station called Phulad. You could catch the train from Deogarh, but if you want that charming, in-the-middle-of-nowhere kind of feeling, try Khamli Ghat a few kilometres away.

The metre gauge line runs from Udaipur to Marwar junction, a distance of a little under 200 kilometres. The train doesn't have a name. It just has a number - 222. It's a little passenger train and takes you through some pretty rugged terrain, some stunning and indeed very cinematic landscape. The section between Khamli Ghat and Phulad is the prettiest and takes a couple of hours, at a leisurely pace. This is also the highest track on Western Railways. The train trip came as one big, beautiful surprise!

SIMPLE PLEASURES

A strange fragrance awaited me as I returned to the Deogarh Mahal.
I soon discovered what it was - some crystallised plant resin is put over hot coals producing smoke that gets rid of flying insects and it smells good too. The Googal, as this local recipe is known, is taken through the mahal each day. It makes for quite an interesting sight and smell for that matter!

There are 27 rooms at the Mahal, ranging from 1500 - 3500 rupees a night. Interestingly, no two rooms are alike and each has been named after its original occupant and kept in much the same fashion as originally intended, centuries ago.

I was told, evening is a good time to go out driving. Shatrunjay, who runs the Deogarh Mahal, got behind the wheel and we were off. Our mean machine was a customised ex-army one ton. I thought it was a funny old thing to be seen driving in until I discovered what kind of drive it was. The mechanical monstrosity went up and down the rugged, rocky terrain with the greatest of ease.

Shatrunjay has an eloquent title for this safari of sorts - the "Rural Ramble". Its bizarre, bouncy, bone jarring fun, with a moment of peace thrown in, at no extra cost.

Once back at the Mahal, we settled down to some tribal dance and music. The tribal Bhils have had ancient ties with Rajput clans, serving mostly as warriors. Even today one finds much of the feudal past alive. Their performances, as I witnessed that evening, are full of energy and skill. The dances are usually an enactment of incidents in a legend, a devotional ritual or battle. There are a few cliches too, like the flame-throwers, quite literally spitting fire and the occassional gun-shot from an ominous looking double-barrel. The colorful costumes, strong beat and fast pace make the performance a wonderful experience, a great way to end an eventful holiday.

 

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