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Rann of Kutch

Rann of Kutch, Gujarat – The white desert, an enormous stretch of natural salt pan

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Rann of Kutch is a geographically unique landscape that was once an arm of the Arabian Sea. The land separated from the sea by geological forces and became a vast, featureless salty plain that gets flooded with water during the rains. It is a seasonal salty and marshy land located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat. The place is a blend of sea and desert and spans over an area of 7,505.22 sq.km. This is the largest salt desert in the world. It is said often that without visiting the Rann of Kutch your “Bharat Darshan” remains incomplete. Little Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh located near the Great Rann of Kutch.

Places to see at Little Rann of Kutch: The whitish sandy cracked horizon of little Rann consists mainly pricked cactus bushes. Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary also known as the Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary is primary attraction in the Little Rann of Kutch.  It spans over an area of 4954 km² and is the largest wildlife sanctuary in India. The sanctuary was established in the year 1972. It is the last space in the earth where the endangered wild ass sub-species Indian Wild Ass that belongs to the species of Asiatic Wild Ass Onager can be spotted. The two entrances to this sanctuary are Banjhana and Jhinjwada. Apart from the wild ass the Nil gai and various species of bird can be spotted here. The local and migratory water birds like cranes, ducks, pelicans, flamingos and land birds like sandgrouse, francolins and the Indian bustards will be visible to you in this wide area of Rann. The avid bird lovers will be specially attracted by the sight of MacQueen’s bustard and Sociable lapwing. It is also home to various unique mammals apart from wild ass and Nilgai, such as the Indian wolf, desert fox.

Things to do in Little Rann of Kutch: In the little Rann of Kutch you can enjoy the Cross desert horse ride and Camel safari (specially in the mesmerizing moonlit night).The unique handicrafts of Kutch are world famous. These are different types of embroidered cloths. Do carry atleast one specimen with you. The Rann Ustav festival organized by the Gujarat Tourism in mid December is a major attraction here. Hundreds of luxury tents are set up near the Gateway to Rann Resort at Dhordo for visitors, along with rows of food and handicraft stalls. Try to organize your trip during this time to get an authentic touch of the hospitality of Gujrat.

Best time to visit Little Rann of Kutch: The best time to visit this place would be between November and March. Woolen cloths in sufficient numbers are required during the winter months.

How to go ?

By Air

Ahmedabad Airport also called the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is the nearest airport from the Rann of Kutch. Airport is connected with all major cities in India and also with many cities in abroad. Ahmedabad is only 90km from the Rann of Kutch. Private cars are available on hire from the airport.

By Train

Ahmedabad railway station is connected to many major cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar etc. Ahmedabad is only 90km from the Rann of Kutch. You can hire private cars to reach the destination.

By Road

The closest metro is Mumbai. Bus services are available from Mumbai and also from all major cities in Gujarat.

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Where to stay ?

Very few but luxurious accommodation options are available for staying. Some options are:

Rann Riders: +91-0 2757 280257, 280457 Website: www.rannriders.com
Kutch Rann Resort: www.kutchrannresort.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan – The Golden City

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Jaisalmer “the land of the golden fort” lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. The name Jaisalmer evokes utter magic and vibrancy of the desert. It’s straight out of an Arabian Nights fable. Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, after whom the city finds its name, founded Jaisalmer in 1156 AD. During his rule this very fort was constructed.  Crowning the Trikut Parvat this fort is made up of yellowish sandstone. It consists of Jain Mandirs and Havelis. Even today the localites have their residence inside the fort. The fort has four entrances namely Akshay Pole, Suraj Pole, Ganesh Pole, Hawa Pole. The City Palace is also located inside the Fort. The intricate designs of the palace with unique Jharokhas really cast a magic spell on you.

Ages have gone by and the monuments of Jaisalmer have withstood the buffeting winds of the desert all through. Jaisalmer is a paragon of beautiful culture and harsh climatic conditions; these together leave a lasting impression on the visitors. The old city was completely encircled by a wall but much of it has crumbled sadly for want of building material in recent years. The massive golden fort, which is the essence of Jaisalmer, is entered through First Gate; is a burrow of narrow streets with JainTemples and old palaces. The main market, the Sadar Bazar is right below the hill. The bank, offices and several shops are also located near the Amar Sagar Gate to the west.

Places to see in Jaisalmer: The prime attraction of Jaisalmer is the Jaisalmer Fort also known as the Golden Quila. The setting sun in its most colourful shades gives it a fairy tale appearance. The place is also frequented with numerous other sight seeing locations.

Government Museum

Established by the Department of Archeology and Museum. It is another prime attraction for the visitors to Jaisalmer. The trophy of the state bird Godawan – the great Indian bustard, is the most eye catching spot. Traditional house-hold items, rock-cut crockery and jewellery recreate the atmosphere of a by-gone era. A look at the statues of 7th-9th century AD creates a scenario of rich cultural heritage of the time.

Deewan Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Two architect brothers built it in the 19th century. Interestingly, while one concentrated on the right, the other concentrated on the left and the result is a symphony epitomizing the side-by-side symmetry during construction. Paintings in miniature style monopolize the walls in the interior. Mighty tuskers carved out of yellow sandstone stand guard to the haveli.
It is a private property.

Deewan Salim Singh Ki Haveli

This haveli is actually worth seeing from outside only. It was built in the first half of the 18th century and a part of it is still occupied. Salim Singh was the prime minister of Jaisalmer a princely state in 19th century AD. The mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of peacocks. It is just below the hill near the fort. It is said that once it had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the Maharaja’s palace, but the Maharaja had the upper storey demolished.

Patwon-Ki-Haveli 

A group of apartments, this is one of the largest and most elaborate of Havelis in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. It is five storeys high and is extensively carved. A part of this beautiful building is owned by the Department of Archaeology and Museum. There are remnants of some paintings on the walls inside as well as some mirror work. This has been the star attraction of Jaisalmer.

Mandir Palace (Badal Mahal)

The delicate pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (CloudPalace). Rising in its five-tiered splendour, with each storey graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance. Muslim craftsmen built it in the shape of a Tazia (A float taken in procession Muharram) as symbol of their religion in the town for royal patrons. Half portion of this palace is converted into a heritage hotel named MandirPalace and another portion of the palace as Badal Vilas, the residence of the ex-ruler’s family.

Desert National Park

The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the eco-system of the Thar Desert and its rich fauna. The Sudashri forest post is the most ideal place for observing wildlife in the Desert National Park. Its inhabitants include the blackbuck, chinkara, wolf, Indian fox, desert fox, hare and desert cat. Flights of sand-grouse start coming to waterholes from sunrise onwards. One can also hear the morning call of the grey partridge. Blue tailed and green bee-eaters, common and bush quail and Indian rollers are birds, which are commonly found around waterholes. The park is also home to the great Indian bustard – the state bird of Rajasthan.

To visit the Desert National Park enclosure at Sudhasari, prior permission is required from the Desert National Park office and office of the District Magistrate, Jaisalmer. Contact No. +91-02992-252489.

Akal Wood Fossil Park

Just 17 Km from Jaisalmer on Barmer Road are fossilized wood of 180 millions years old forest.

Gadsisar Lake

This is a rain water conservation lake built by Maharawal Gadsi in 14th century. It was once the main source of drinking water for the entire town of Jaisalmer. Now a tourist spot, there are many small temples and shrines around it. A wide variety of water birds can be seen here especially in winter. This is the most popular point to take photographs of Jaisalmer fort early in the morning when the fort looks golden with the first rays of the Sun.

The beautiful gateway known as Tillon ki prol, which arches across the road down to the lake was built by a royal courtesan named Tillon at the end of 19th century. An idol of Lord Vishnu was installed in the year 1908 AD on the gate by a courtesan and declared Krishna Temple to save it from demolition by the then Maharawal.

Nearby Attractions from Jaisalmer: From Jaisalmir you can make a trip to the places like

Pokran

It is located at the junction of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner Road. It is en route to Jaisalmer and is also a fort town though the fort is not of the same dimensions as those of Jaisalmer or Jodhpur. Pokran came into limelight in the wake of India’s first underground nuclear explosion. Pokran is also renowned for its furniture and crafts for interior decoration. The fort is located about one and a half kilometres from the bus stand and has a miscellaneous collection of weaponry, brocade clothes and various games of dice and dominoes on display. FortPokran also offers accommodation with a rugged heritage appeal.

Barmer

Barmer is a desert town just 153 kms from Jaisalmer and has a fortress to boast off. This place is primarily famous for its woodcarving, furniture, items of interior decoration, carpets, block printing and embroidered items. The centre for embroidery is the Sadar Bazaar and woodcarvings are found along the Station Road. It has a RTDC Hotel and for private hotels too.

Luderwa

16 kms. Northwest from Jaisalmer, Luderwa is the old capital of Jaisalmer. Now a silent city, the only witness to its former splendour are the Jain temple, toran (ornate arch) and artificial divine tree (Kalptaru). Ruins of the deserted capital and the remains of an apartment of Princess Moomal still recall the famous love legend of Moomal-Mahendra.

Sam Sand Dunes and Camel Ride

Some 45 kms towards the west of the Jaisalmer city are located the barren yet beautiful shifting sand dunes adjoining the village Sam. Here one can have a ride on camel – the ship of desert in the desert sea. Beautiful folk dancers enrich the visitor’s experience with traditional flavour of joy. Sam Dhani, a typical accommodation in the shape of fortress provides the visitors with warm welcome, board and lodging. Herds of camel and cows are attractions on the way to Sam. There is regular bus service that runs from Jaisalmer to Sam village.

Khuri Village & Sand Dunes

Khuri is a village 45 km south west of Jaisalmer. It is a delightfully peaceful place with mud and straw decorated houses. One kilometre away from the village, patches of sand dunes are additional attractions for the tourists. There is regular bus service that runs from Jaisalmer to Khuri village. Villagers in their rural world can be seen on the way to Khuri.

Things to do at Jaisalmer: Explore the immense desert area of Jaisalmir. Apart from sightseeing if you visit Jaisalmer during the month of February you will enjoy the flavour of the real Rajasthan by being a part of the Desert festival of Jaisalmer. Once a year in winter and in the middle of the continually rising and falling stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival.

Best time to visit Jaisalmer: The ideal time to visit Jaisalmer is from October to the month of March, although the city remains bustling with tourists through out the year. If you are here not for mere fun but to try for adventures then Jaisalmer is worth visiting round the year.

How to go ?

By Air

Though Jaisalmer is not directly connected to Airways as such, Jodhpur airport is 300 Km away. Jodhpur is connected to all the major metros of India by government owned as well as private airlines. From Jodhpur you can hire Cabs or take a train journey according to your wish and preference. 

By Rail

Jaisalmer is connected to major cities of India through broad gauge as well as meter gauge railway tracks. Direct trains from Jaisalmer are available to Jodhpur as well as Delhi. Jaisalmer is connected through both ‘Broad gauge’ as well as ‘Meter gauge’ tracks.

By Road

Jaisalmer has good road connectivity with various cities of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Several state transport and private buses ply on the routes between these cities. 

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Where to stay ?

Jaisalmer is loaded with hotels suitable to all budgets. Some options are:

Hotel Moomol (RTDC) : +91- 02992- 252 392
Hotel Golden City: +91- 02992- 251664, 254565 Website: www.hotelgoldencity.com
Hotel Samdhani (RTDC): +91-02992-2212 8993
Hotel Priya: +91-
02992 – 252755, 250577 Website: www.priyahotels.com 
Payal Safari Camp:
+91.9982634632, 9928263649 Website: www.payalsafaricamp.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Barmer

Barmer, Rajasthan – The land of rich architectural grandeur

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Barmer is a centre of folk architecture and handicrafts. Located at a distance of 153 km from Jaisalmer, Barmer was previously known as Mallinath. The name of Barmer became famous after 18th century with the frequent use by the British. The place is famous for the wood carving, carpet making, embroidery and block printing. Barmer is beautiful and livelihood place and an attractive tourist destination.

Places to see in Barmer: Being the seat of architecture and handicrafts the place has some exclusive tourist spots.

Barmer Fort

The tourist attractions in Barmer are the Barmer Fort. Actually the Barmer town sits atop a rocky hill, where one can find the ruins of the old Barmer Fort scattered all over.

Balark Temple

The Balark Temple, dedicated to Balark (the Sun God) and the ancient ruins of Juna Barmer are other interesting tourist attractions in Barmer.There are three Jain temples, an inscription of 1295 AD and a massive pillar in the hall of the largest temple of Maharaja Kula Sri Samanta Sinha Deva, a ruler of Barmer, which are worth visiting.

Kiradu

Just 35 km from Barmer is a group of five temples in Solanki architectural style at village Kiradu.Once the capital of Punwars, Kiradu was previously named as Kiratkoop, that is revealed by the inscription of the 1161 AD. The ruins of five ancient temples-one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and other four dedicated to Lord Shiva are of major interest to archaeologists and art lovers, alike. The SomeshwaraTemple with a multi-tier spire is the most impressive.

Nearby attractions from Barmer: From Barmer you can make excursions to places like:

Khed

A historical town has an old Vishnu Temple of Ranchhriji, bounded by a crumbling wall, and an image of Garuda (the eagle) at the gate attends the complex. Other temple attractions of Khed include Brahma, Bhairav, Mahadev and a Jain temple.

Jasol

Once a principal state of Mallani, the ancient ancient village of Jasol has a Jain temple and a Hindu temple, both of which are worth visiting. Meva Nagar on the slope of a hill called Nagar-Ki-Bhakarian has three Jain temples, the biggest of these is the one dedicated to Nakoda Parsvanath.

Things to do at Barmer: Barmer is the shopper’s paradise. This place is famous for the vibrantly coloured embroideries with excellent mirror work. Also famous are beautifully embroidered fabrics and pouches often patterned with tiny mirrors. Traditional rugs, blankets, shawls, carpets, “Pattius” Dari in typical Barmer colours and weave are speciality of the district. The shopping spots include the tiny shops along the narrow lanes of the colourful and lively Sadar Bazar. Don’t forget to bag this antique items as these products are worth a keeping. Various fairs like Tilwara Cattle Fair (March – April), Nakoda Parasvanath (December – January), Veeratara Mela, Khed Fair (August – September), Mallinath Fair taking place in Barmer also a tourist attraction.

Best time to visit Barmer: The best season to visit Barmer is the winter season. The temperature remains comfortable and is apt for visiting the monuments and other places of interest in Barmer.

How to go ?

By Air:

The nearest Domestic Airport is Jodhpur Airport, roughly three and half hour drive from Barmer. The nearest International Airport is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad, roughly 375 Kms from Barmer. The Airport is well connected with major cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune and Ahmedabad and is also connected with Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madras and Jaipur, Mumbai, Delhi, and Pune.

By Road

Barmer is 68 Kms from Sindari, 87 Kms from Tilwara, 159 Kms from Jaisalmer, 207 Kms from Jodhpur, 239 Kms from Palanpur, 355 Kms from Udaipur, and is connected through Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) and some private travel services.

By Train

Barmer has its own Railway Station named as Barmer Railway Station which is connected by numerator conjecture rail to the major city of the state and other cities like Jalore, Jaipur, Agra, Munawa in Pakistan, Delhi, Kalka, Haridwar and Guwahati through Ghy Bme Bkn Express, Dli Jsm Express, Hw Bme Link Express and Klk Bme Express.

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Where to stay ?

At Barmer there are various accommodation options suitable to budget. Some are:

Hotel Khartal (RTDC): +91-02982-6450-7178
Hotel Krishna: +91-09783305054 Website: www.hotelkrishnabarmer.com
Hotel New KK & Restaurant: +91-02982-221087/221088 Website: www.newkkhotel.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Bikaner

Bikaner, Rajasthan – Dotted with scores of sand dunes, this place still reflects the glorious culture of the Middle ages

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Lying on the heart of Thar Desert, the town of Bikaner was constructed in the year 1486 by Marwar king Raja Rao Bikhaji. The city is dotted with scores of sand dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval grandeur that is reflected in the city’s lifestyle. Bikaner was the most important commercial city among the west and central Asia. At that time the whole city was fortified with walls. There were five doors made for the entrance of the city. This city also called the camel country, is distinguished for the best riding camels in the world and hence boasts of having one of the largest Camel Research and Breeding farms in the world. The ship of the desert is an integral part of life here.

Places to see in Bikaner: There are many sight scene spot at Bikaner. Some of them are as follows ..

Junagarh Fort

This fortress built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh, remains unconquered and is one of the most distinguished generals in the army of Emperor Akbar, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat. The main entrance to the fort is Karan Pol [gate] that is facing east. Next to it is the Suraj Pol meaning the sun gate. In the fort complex are some magnificent palaces like Anup Mahal, Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal or palace of pleasure. The Har Mandir is the majestic chapel for the royal family for worshipping their gods and goddesses. These palaces, constructed in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure. The premises also house a museum, which has an array of rich collection.

Lallgarh Palace

This grand palace is an architectural masterpiece in red sandstone, and was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the memory of his father Maharaja Lall Singh in 1902. Sir Swinton Jacob designed this oriental fantasy. This architecture is a fusion of  Rajput, Mughal and European architecture. The exterior contrasts dramatically with the oriental interiors and amenities. The palace has beautiful latticework and filigree work, which are the hallmarks of great craftsmanship. The Palace has an amazing collection of well maintained paintings and hunting trophies. Sprawling lawns with blooming bougainvillaea and dancing peacocks make for a visual extravaganza.

Bhandeswar Jain Temple

It is a fifteenth century temple and is the oldest monument of Bikaner. The temple is decorated with rich mirror work, frescoes and gold leaf paintings. Havelis are ancient mansions of the noble and wealthy. They are known for their opulent lifestyle and intricate carvings and craftsmanship along with sprawling courtyards. Bikaner is full of such havelis and the notable amongst them belong to Kotharis, Rampurias, Vaids and Dagas. To view these havelis, the suggested route is Gogagate, Daddhon Ka Chowk, Rangari Chowk, Assanion Ka Chowk, Mohta Chowk, Binnanion Ka Chowk, Daga Chowk, BK School and Jassuar Gate.

Ganga Government Museum

Popularly described as the best museum in the State, it displays a rich array of archaeological discoveries from prehistoric Harrapan and early Gupta period. Separate sections put on view paintings, arts and craft, terracotta, pottery, carpets, coins and ancient Rajput weaponry.

Devi Kund

The royal crematorium has several exquisite cenotaphs (Chhatris). Each Chhatri is dedicated to the memory of a ruler of Bikhaji dynasty and issituated on the exact place where each of them was cremated. The Chhatri of Maharaj Surat Singh is a fine example of architecture. The ceilings of the Chhatris display some delicate Rajput paintings.

Nearby attractions from Bikaner: Just 10 km from Bikaner is the camel research centre. Spend a day with the indispensable ship of the desert at the camel research and breeding centres which is only one of its kinds in Asia. The farm extends over 2000 acres of semi arid land and is managed by the Government of India.

Deshnok

Deshnok is a small village situated 32 km south of Bikaner city along the Jodhpur Road. It is connected by national highway and rail. It is a pilgrim centre of Karni Mata –said to be an incarnation of Goddess Durga-who lived here in the fourteenth century and performed many miracles. Originally, the village was called ‘dus-nok’ meaning ten corners as it was formed by taking ten corners of ten villages. In front of the temple is a beautiful marble facade, which has solid silver doors built by Maharaja Ganga Singh. Across the doorway are more silver doors with panels depicting the various legends of the Goddess. The image of the Goddess is enshrined in the inner sanctum.

Things to do in Bikaner: Don’t miss the camel ride in midst of vast desert in Bikaner.

Best time to visit Bikaner: The best season to visit Bikaner is from October to March.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest airport to Bikaner is Jodhpur, which is nearly 250 km away. This is a domestic airport, connecting to metros in India and some few other cities in North.

By Rail

The city has two railway stations, namely, Bikaner Junction and Lalgarh Railway Station. This railway station is well connected to all major cities of India.

By Road

Plenty of bus services are available from Bikaner to Delhi, Jodhpur, Agra, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Udaipur and Kota.

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Where to stay ?

There are plenty of private hotels and lodges available in Bikaner. Some options are:

Hotel Dholamaru: +91-0151-2529621 Website: www.hoteldholamaru.com
Hotel Marudhar: +91-9828142686, 9351828900 Website: www.hotelmarudhar.com
Hotel Sriram Heritage: +91-0151-2212-8993
Bharat Palace: +91-9831125446 Website: www.hotelbharat.com
Hotel Heeralal: +91-0151- 2205551, 52, 53, 54 Website: www.hotelheeralal.com

Note: Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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