Our getaway to Devi Garh, Kumbalgarh Fort, and Ranakpur Jain Temple (outside of Udaipur)

Devi Garh Palace & Fort at sunrise.

Devi Garh Palace & Fort at sunrise. More Photos

The more I see Rajasthan the more I want to see this state of India engulfed in sand dunes on one hand and palaces and forts topped lush hills on the other.  

This time around our visit to Rajasthan was not planned yet immensely enjoyed.   Devigarh Fort (in the village of Delwara near Udaipur) was our primary destination - and what a destination it was!

We took a flight to Udaipur from New Delhi.  A gentleman named Jamil was waiting to receive us from Devigarh fort. While he was sharing his knowledge on the history of Udaipur, which was named after the king Udai Singh and how his son Rana Prathap Singh fought for their kingdom against the moghuls who tried persistently to invade the beautiful city, the city of lakes and palaces and beautiful people, I was smitten by the ever green landscape.

Our picnic spot for lunch with a beautiful view of the majestic Kumbalgarh Fort in Rajasthan.

Our picnic spot for lunch with a beautiful view of the majestic Kumbalgarh Fort in Rajasthan. More Photos

We were in the area of Rajasthan, near Udaipur, during the monsoon rains and the Aravali mountain range and the fields were all lush and green - the weather was perfect.  With the monsoon, the people seem to be very happy than usual.  Our good hosts, told us its been raining good after four years of scattered or no rain at all.  The farmers where showered with energy and vigor now, since the rain seems to be happy to stay, atleast for a while.  

The stunning Devigarh Palace and Fort was hidden and did not reveal itself unless you came to a tiny village called Delwara. It cradles between the Aravalli hills glimmering like a pot of gold at dawn.  It’s a village of a few peasants and few whose ancestors served the King for many generations.  The fort is majestic, proudly facing the vast landscape. You could feel the ghosts of the vibrant and splendid past’s uncanny presence.

I have traveled around and make it a point to digest every bit that comes my way and I don’t think I ever encountered a shower of bright pink rose petals welcoming you as you walk the steps to the main lobby. 

Every wall, every courtyard, every painting has a story to tell, it was very easy to envision the queen grandmother sitting in her laid back cot, with colorful cushions around her, eating her pan in her outdoor room overlooking the Aravalli hills and telling well knitted stories of the great Rajput kings to her grand children. 

Rajasthani women visiting the Ranakpur Jain Temple

Rajasthani women visiting the Ranakpur Jain Temple More Photos

The staff of Devigarh presented themselves as family, extremely devoted to their duties of taking good care of their guests.  As a vegetarian I relished ker sangri, a local dish and to my astonishment I was delivered a copy of the recipe to my room, which I had unassumingly asked for while I was eating.

We used Devigarh as the base from which to explore nearby destinations in Rajasthan including Ranakpur, Kumbalgarh. 

One interesting episode during our trip was a picnic, the spot was over looking the Kumbhalgarh Fort from a good distance. It was a birthplace of Maharana Prathap Singh, who was the heir to the king Maharana Udai Singh, the founder of Udaipur.  The walls stretched like arms around the Aravalli sanctuary, well hidden by the topography.  It was a shame we could not wait until dusk to watch the fort lit up. 

There are some magnificent temples close by.  One of them was the Ranakpur Jain Temple.  This truly spectacular temple has 1,444 pillars and each pillar is one of a kind with intricate details.  The priest of the temple is a descendant of the original priest who dates back to the 15th century.  One of the sons of the present priest showed us around.  It was a bit quite this time of the year but is in full buzz around Mahavir Jayanthi. 

The other temple was the Eklingji.  It was filled with passionate pilgrims chanting praises to the holy god squeezing their way in, to get a quick glimpse of the Him before sunset. The air was filled with songs sung by the local people for the 108 Gods and Goddesses. The culmination of inscent sticks, flowers and the music got my senses clogged with nostalgia.

The initial view coming inside the Ranakpur Jain Temple in Rajasthan. The exterior belies the stunning beauty inside

The initial view coming inside the Ranakpur Jain Temple in Rajasthan. The exterior belies the stunning beauty inside More Photos

Finally, we also the Sas-Bahu Temple, located in Nagda (a small village close to Eklingji) that dates back to the 11th century.  While ravaged by Mughals, the temple - located next to a beautiful lotus pond, is still in a relatively good state of preservation and well worth a vist.  

Our trip was for 2 nights / 3 days.  We saw a decent amount yet felt fully relaxed.   We didn't really see much of Udaipur - have to save that for another trip - except we did get to see the beautiful City Palace in Udaipur before heading off the the airport for our return trip to Delhi.


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