Udaipur #01 Ahar Cenotaphs

Khamma Ghani!
Grand palaces , peaceful  lakes , decorated doorways and mouth melting food are just some of what one can expect in Udaipur. This trip was a family vacation and any time you caught a glimpse of us, you’d find us either eating or relaxing. Isn’t that the essence of vacations anyway?

This was my very first trip to Rajasthan and I was thrilled to experience the real culture and people that made this beautiful city! Our trip was 6 days long and involved a small travel from Udaipur to Kumbalgarh towards the end.
As we made our way from the airport to our resort (Club Mahindra located on the outskirts of the city) the very first thing that I realised was, the city traffic here is no different from that in Pune! Our very polite cab driver , drove us to our resort through all the opposite lanes dodging the incoming cars ,trucks and cows! The Club Mahindra resort is a bit far from the city, but its quite a beauty!


The first day ended with sumptuous meal that paved way for a good night’s sleep.
Our very first visit in Udaipur, was to a place very people know of.
It was the Ahar Cenotaphs!

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Such a beautiful place, Ahar Cenotaphs .

By far my favourite place in Udaipur! Picturesque , magnificient and beautifully built! Ahar is a town located about 2 kms east of Udaipur.  This site contains more than 250 cenotaphs of the Maharajas of Mewar. A small area with the recent few cenotaphs is open for public viewing.

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250 cenotaphs of Maharanas and Queens of Mewar forming a spectacular city of domes built over 400 years. Nineteen maharanas were cremated here, and the most striking cenotaph is that of Maharana Sangram Singh (r 1710–34). The newest, erected in 2004, is that of Udaipur’s last maharana, Bhagwat Singh (r 1955–84), father of the current head of the ex-ruling household.

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Yup, that pink human twirling at the top of the temple is me!

We spent a good long hour at the cenotaphs and not another tourist in sight! The Ahar Cenotaphs is not a popular spot. If only it was maintained better and kept clean, tourists would be flocking for pictures here!
A lesser known fact , Ahar was also the site of ancient settlement that predated Udaipur by three-and-a-half millennia. Just 150m along the road from the royal cremation ground, the Ahar Government Museum contains copper and pottery objects more than 3300 years old, plus sculptures of Hindu gods and tirthankars (great Jain teachers) from the 8th to 16th centuries AD.
AHAR CENOTAPHS ARE A MUST VISIT!!!

Next on our list of ‘places to see’ was one of the popular tourist spot.
Yes, none other than “Saheliyon-ki-Bari” that literally translates to “Garden of the maidens”. This garden was laid for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry and designed by Maharana Sangram Singh himself. Speaking of charming your wife, men take a hint 😉

 

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Saheliyon ki Bari was also where I bought my selfie stick! look at the 3 of us co-ordinated in black 🙂 And yes, that is a fountain and a pond full of lotuses behind us!

 

 

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Look at this tree! Its just one of the  beautiful green sights here!

 

What’s fascinating about this spot is the number of different fountains that were built in different sections, with beautiful inspirations in the 1700s! The mechanism and technical know how that went into creating this masterpiece during that era is commendable.

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Next on the list was Shilpagram.
The Shilpagram Mela in December is a fantastic spectacle with hundreds of rural artists from all over the country and tourists visiting this place for performances and artifacts. Outside the tourist season however this place is quite deserted with only a few tourists in sight.

There are 26 traditional village houses from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra, some with glittering mirrored interiors, and craft exhibits.
The huts are constructed around an interlocking occupational theme. In this integrated pattern are five huts from Rajasthan, representing the weavers’ community from Marwar, pottery from the hilly areas of Mewar and the tribal farmer communities of the Bhil and the Sehariyas .Apart from the state’s own representation, there are seven representative huts from the state of Gujarat, five from the state of Maharashtra and five featuring the arts and crafts of Goa.
As we moved from one house to another, seeing the subtle but visible differences in the construction of each house, we came across beautiful art all the outer walls of the houses. The artisans and craftsmen living here repaint and repair the house themselves every year before the mela.

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We had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Narsingh who was kind enough to take us through the entire process of creating a shawl with various colours on this loom. He spent half an hour explaining to us the smallest of details and answering all of our questions.

We only tried to appreciate his kindness by buying a few of these beautifully handcrafted items (at a very affordable cost!). Thank you Narsingh ji!
There is an entire market of handcrafted jewellery , handmade clothes , clay  and marble items etc. where you can buy beautiful pieces at very affordable cost if you visit off season!
But then again the state of Rajasthan is known for its beautiful handicrafts and you can practically find a few at any chowk!

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Unleash the goddess within! This is one of the many paintings and beauties awaiting you at Shilpagram.

One must visit this place especially if you are travelling with kids. These different cultural representations are sure to put their curious minds at work!

Thanks mom and  dad for being beautiful photographers and helping me document this.

There is a lot more to share and tell about this beautiful trip to Udaipur, that I will try and sum up in the next two posts.

Until then ,
Much love,
Rucha

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