Dear travellers and vacationers,
I've been to Rajasthan several times but I had never been to Ajmer or Pushkar before. I've become used to expecting nothing and hoping only for the best, when I travel to any place for the first time.
Sometimes, the universe has the most amazing plans lined up for you; so like me, just go with the flow, pack your bags and leave for an adventure into the wild. Mother nature is always calling out to beings like me and you.
I'm sure you're going to enjoy reading this review and browsing through most of our spectacular moments, captured by Snehsha Tank and edited by her talented team Lensplate.
|< 30,000 feet up in the air, moments before our touchdown at Jaipur airport >|
We departed on a flight from Mumbai on 6th September at 9:40 AM, which landed in Jaipur 2 hours later at 11:45 AM. We were comfortably transited to Ajmer in our luxurious Innova cabs sent by the hotel, driven by well-dressed and well-trained chauffeurs; who shared essential information about Ajmer and Pushkar, on our way to the property.
After a long drive that lasted for 3 hours, we finally arrived at our destination around 3:30 PM: The Gateway Resort located on the Ajmer-Pushkar Bypass road.
|< Our welcome made us feel like a royal Rajasthani indeed >|
Located in the middle of a mesmerising and picturesque oasis, with the Aravalli hills as its backyard, the staff waiting for us at the resort welcomed us in traditional Rajasthan ethos, including flower garlands around our necks, enchanting us right into its cultural milieu, immediately after our arrival.
< Gateway into the arms of nature >
|< Where we enjoyed our welcome-drink & some deserving panoramic photography too >|
|< Getting introduced to the General Manager, Nagendra and his team >|
< Fresh and spicy chicken and paneer kebabs from the tandoor >
< Our hearty and wholesome first desi meal in Ajmer >
|< Did you notice that swing next to our bed? Yes, we had a swing in our room! >|
After lunch, we were given the choice of either quickly gearing up for a trek to a uphill spot nearby, or rest for a couple of hours until sunset. I was happy to see the collective enthusiasm for some physical activity amongst our group of travellers. Almost all of us decided to pick the former and follow Nagendra for a trek to a serene spot on top.
|< Trek mode: ON >|
|< Our trek ended with a surprise waiting for us: high-tea in the valley! >|
In the morning we all decided to catch up on some more sleep, skip breakfast and meet directly for lunch at the restaurant instead. Nikhil Merchant joined the kitchen crew and helped Nagendra cook up a huge portion of Junglee Maas made with lots of ghee, which was enjoyed by one and all equally.
|< You can find the recipe of this delicious Rajasthani dish here >|
Our itinerary for day 2 was focussed on exploring Pushkar: one of the oldest cities in India, offering a prominent Hindu pilgrimage even today. We began our pilgrimage by on-boarding cable cars to Savitri Temple: which is renowned for its architecture and a beautifully scenic view for tourists like us.
|< A return trip costs only Rs. 100! >|
|< View from the temple, of the beautiful lake and the surrounding villages nearby >|
That request to offer ahuti was denied by angry Savitri, who then cursed Brahma saying that he would be worshiped only in Pushkar and nowhere else in the whole wide world. Brahma Temple of Pushkar is also known as Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, located close to the sacred Pushkar Lake. Although now it does not remain as the only Brahma temple, it is still one of very few existing temples dedicated to Lord Brahma in India.
We visited that temple too, which was right behind the Savitri temple but sorry, photography was strictly prohibited out there.
|< Sunset at Pushkar Lake, also known as Gau Ghat >|
People in thousands had assembled for this aarti and as the chants began, the atmosphere got filled with the fragrance of incense sticks and roses immediately. The sound of ringing bells and the chorus from everyone surrounding the lake; while the evening sky filled itself with the gold of the setting sun. The lake looked gorgeous with numerous floating diyas; this aarti at Pushkar was an inexplicably elevating spiritual experience for me.
|< An aarti to remember forever >|
|< Mehfil ban gayi sufiana! >|
|< Aye chorri ne toh dil jeet liya! >|
|< The best part about dinner that night, were garma-garam jalebis for dessert! >|
|< The breakfast buffet at The Gateway Resort has many options for vegetarians as well >|
|< Rajasthani Mirchi Bhajjiya was the most delicious dish served for breakfast that day >|
|< The lane of Ajmer Sharif Dargah >|
< What would you pick? >
|< This is the main gate of the mosque, followed by the Shahjahani Gate: erected by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan >|
|< Devotees singing prayers together inside the mosque >|
Modern Indian highways were built roughly on the same route, marked for the future in the Mughal era. Around a lakh and half pilgrims visit the shrine inside Ajmer Sharif Dargah even today.
|< Kishangarh Fort, Ajmer >|
We managed to click many pictures during our tour inside; hope you enjoy viewing these very few shortlisted for you as follows:
|< Picture captured while we entered Kishangarh Fort >|
|< Stairway to heaven? >|
|< Ancient weaponry always fascinates the inner child in me >|
|< The fort has witnessed many patronising deeds of its rulers towards art, architecture, music and poetry >|
The 9 different turreted areas of the fort encompasses a large scenic landscape, with scars and shades from its several battlements, jails, granaries and many untold tales from that ancient era.
|< The Phool Mahal Palace, Ajmer >|
|< Meet his and her royal highness: Mr. & Mrs. Maharaja BRAJRAJ SINGH Bahadur >|
Our third day in #Rajasthan was spent well today, starting with an unforgettably calming visit to #AjmerSharif #Dargah, followed by an exclusively organised tour of a huge beautiful heritage fort called #Kishangarh; which ended with a relaxing lunch experience at Phool Mahal, in front of this magnificent view of Gundalao Lake. Thank you for serving up mutton masala, jeera aalu and lipsmacking #biryani, team of The Gateway Resort. Our stay has been perfectly rejuvenating for us so far. #indianfood #ajmer #kishangarhfort #heritageproperty
We left Kishangarh to enjoy a relaxing sundowner back at The Gateway Resort and got ready by 8 PM that night, for what was probably the most fun I've had during dinner on any trip recently.
< A bonfire to keep us warm and cozy >
Nagendra Hada was full of surprises throughout our stay, and all the guests loved and respected him tremendously for his kind hospitality. Since it was our last night, he organised dinner for us into the wild, at the Ajmer Development Area (ADA) nearby, starting with a live performance by an extremely talented bagpiper, and his dear friend named Jamal.
|< Meet Jamal, the bagpiper who really enjoys what he does >|
Our trip ended with enjoying cocktails into the woods, accompanied with a huge spread, including this delicious and authentic recipe of Khad Murg: usually a spiced mix of minced lamb and potato layered with phulkas or rotis, cooked below the ground in an earthen pit; which was replaced with chicken by the talented chefs of The Gateway Resort that night.
|< Khad Murg: a traditional baked meat recipe from the history of Rajasthan's royalty >|
The property is located perfectly to qualify as nature's paradise in Ajmer.
The swimming pool is beautiful but usually not completely clean,
especially during early morning hours.
especially during early morning hours.
Have fun in Pushkar & Ajmer!