YP Original || Matheran: A no-honking hill station by Abhimanyu

What can be a better escape on a rainy weekend from Mumbai or Pune than Matheran?

Matheran is the only hill station, where vehicles are banned and you can clearly listen the sound of breeze rustling leaves and the sound of the horse shoes. It is the one hill station that is so close by that one can visit it at the drop of a hat. One can commute and explore the hills either on foot or on  horseback. This is a perfect place for Digital detoxification as one can call it, to enjoy in the lap of mother nature.

As far as travel to the hill station is concerned, Matheran can be reached by road from Mumbai or Pune via Road or Train with ease.

We stayed at very calm place and fits in budget. It  is a heritage building and is about 100 years old. The rooms were very spacious, the washrooms were okay but the food was really good. Even though they do not serve any non vegetarian food or alcohol, still I would say that the quality of food and variety was good.The rent on a weekend for a single night was Rs 3000/- for a double occupancy room, inclusive of all meals.

As for tourist activities, Matheran has about 22 points which are listed below. These were all developed by Britishers.

Important points are Alexander Pt., Rambag Pt, Little Chowk Pt, Big Chowk Pt, One Tree Hill Pt, Belvedere Pt, Olympia Race Course, Lords Pt, Charlotte Lake,Celia Pt (a water fall mouth), Echo Pt., Porcupine Pt (Sun Set Pt), Panorama Point (Sun Rise Pt), Khandala Pt, Madhavji Garden & Point, Matheran Railway Station, Louisa Point, Mayra Point, Pisarnath Temple.

It takes about 3 days to cover all the points and since we had a time constraint we decided to visit only the important places. We decided to visit all the scenic points but if you are an adrenaline junkie, you can try Valley crossing from echo point. High on the hills, when you witness the fog snd feel the cold wind against your face nothing can taste better in that weather than hot maggie and corn. Its advisable to reach back your resort before it gets dark as the hill terrain is not equipped with street lights. So to reach in time, we decided to hire horsebacks with funny names such as hawa hawai. After sound night’s sleep and a  delicious morning breakfast we left for Mumbai. Took a Toy train (15 mins journey) from Matheran to Aman Lodge, then shared taxi to Neral and then Local train to Thane and finally back home after experiencing a much needed Digital Detoxification.

It is a calm hill station, with no vehicles at all which makes it peaceful. One only has nature to enjoy and be as adventurous as one wants to be.
Story by – Abhimanyu

Trimbakeshwar & Sula vineyards

It was our 1st road trip in my new I-10. We started off early and straight hit the Nasik highway from Ghansoli. 1st hault taken after about an hour for breakfast (vada pav and Chai) on a roadside Tapri. The taste was good as the vada’s were served to our plates straight from kadhai.

While on the way to Trimbakeshwar temple near Nashik, we saw a huge water body and were fascinated to go there. It was Lake Vaitarna, serene and a landscape worth capturing.

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We left for the ancient temple of lord Shiva again, which is of great mythological importance and 1 of the 12 Jyotirlingas. Kusavarta, a kunda (sacred pond) in the temple premises is the source of the Godavari River, the longest river in peninsular India. The current temple was built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao (Nanasaheb). Finding a parking space close to temple entrance was a tough task as it was a weekend. After reaching the temple gate we found out that the entry was closed as it was already too crowded. Then 1 of our hyper exited friend went on a pass search mission and came back victorious. There we were in the queue for darshan and came out in about hours time. The temple is made of black stones.

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Our next destination was Sula vineyards in Nasik. After entering this place you will feel as if you have reached some vineyards in Switzerland. Widespread grape farms and breeze rustling through the leaves will leave you mesmerised. Hurry up and register for the next wine tasting tour, which allows you to see the wine manufacturing process and also taste some of the finest wines produced in the Indian sub-continent. White harvest and Dindori are must haves. Also they have an excellent restaurant serving stuff with cheese as a prime ingredient because as they say, wine tastes best with cheese.

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Sula vineyard also provides staying options but being frugal we did not opt for it. Sula fest is an annual music fest and a must visit.

While returning back we had enjoyed a tasty Maharashtrian meal comprising of bhakri, pithla, dal, jwari, kadhi and bhaat.

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Matheran: A no-honking hill station

What can be a better escape on a rainy weekend from Mumbai or Pune than Matheran. Matheran is the only hill station in India, where vehicles are banned and you can clearly listen the sound of breeze rustling leaves and that of the horseshoes.

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It is the one hill station that is so close by that one can visit it at the drop of a hat. One can commute and explore the hills either on foot or on horseback. This is a perfect place for Digital detoxification as one can call it, to enjoy in the lap of mother nature.

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As far as travel to the hill station is concerned, Matheran can be reached by road from Mumbai or Pune via Road or Train with ease.

We stayed at Hotel Cecil which is a very calm place and fits in the budget. It is a heritage building and is about 100 years old. The rooms were very spacious, the washrooms were okay but the food was really good. Even though they do not serve any nonvegetarian food or alcohol, still I would say that the quality of food and variety was good.The rent on a weekend for a single night was Rs 3000/- for a double occupancy room, inclusive of all meals.

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As for tourist activities, Matheran has about 22 points which are listed below. These were all developed by Britishers.

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Important points are Alexander Pt., Rambag Pt, Little Chowk Pt, Big Chowk Pt, One Tree Hill Pt, Belvedere Pt, Olympia Race Course, Lords Pt, Charlotte Lake,Celia Pt (a waterfall mouth), Echo Pt., Porcupine Pt (Sun Set Pt), Panorama Point (Sun Rise Pt), Khandala Pt, Madhavji Garden & Point, Matheran Railway Station, Louisa Point, Mayra Point, Pisarnath Temple.

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It takes about 3 days to cover all the points and since we had a time constraint we decided to visit only the important places. We decided to visit all the scenic points but if you are an adrenaline junkie, you can try Valley crossing from echo point. High on the hills, when you witness the fog and feel the cold wind against your face nothing can taste better in that weather than hot maggie and corn. It’s advisable to reach back your resort before it gets dark as the hill terrain is not equipped with street lights. So to reach in time, we decided to hire horsebacks with funny names such as hawa hawai. After sound night’s sleep and a  delicious morning breakfast, we left for Mumbai. Took a Toy train (15 mins journey) from Matheran to Aman Lodge, then shared taxi to Neral and then Local train to Thane and finally back home after experiencing a much needed Digital Detoxification.

Matheran says,”Horn NOT OK Please.”

Photo Courtesy: MTDC website and Abhimanyu

www.maharashtratourism.gov.in

PS: Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media. 

Story By

Abhimanyu

Edited By

Utkarsh

Conquering Kundalika – River Rafting in Maharashtra | Yatripandit Original

Rafting is like romancing with a River. It expects respect, understanding and commitment as any other relationship.

We started off from Ghansoli, Navi Mumbai at 8 am, I know its a bit late for a summer road trip! This time we didn’t plan anything but the destination. We didn’t know what to eat, whom to book rafting with, where to stay or whether to stay overnight or return back the same day?

Reached Kolad by 12:30 noon and then the real task of finding a good stay begun. After a few phone calls and referring a number of websites, we found a place called “nature trails” (But didn’t book) which had luxury tents to offer but it was a bit out of budget as the tents were designed for 4 and we were only 2 of us. Nature trails can be booked from www.naturetrails.in . We failed in a couple of other places too as it was a weekday and most of the stays in Kolad operate only on weekends only.

Tired of hunger and burnt of heat, we decided to have lunch first, while having lunch I found a place called “Wilder West” which was very close by had good reviews on google.

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Wilder West Resort

We were there within minutes and got our cottage type room booked. Rent – 5900/- for 2 pax. 1-night stay, all meals and 4 adventure activities. The resort was situated right on the bank of the river and clear water was just a dive away.

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View from Cottage

4 Activities included – Kayaking, zipline, river crossing and WHITE WATER RAFTING.

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Kayaking in Kundalika River
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Fun during Zipline
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Kayaks

The 1st 3 activities were performed on the 1st day evening. Specially Kayaking is a must try. I enjoyed it and was able to learn it quickly.

The dinner was typical Maharashtrian cuisine and full of taste.

The next day morning was so pleasant besides the river that one can keep watching the water gush and listen to melodious birds humming for hours forgetting all worries, sorrows and griefs.

2nd Day, 8 am we left for the much-awaited adventure sport, white water rafting. The start point of the rafting is about 25 kms uphill from Wilder West resort. The rafting in Kundalika river depends on the release of water from Mulshi dam. Our rafting instructor Rajesh was pahadi, who hailed from Rishikesh.

Rafting
Image Credits – https://www.whitewatermag.com/
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Rafts

Note: Listen to the instructions carefully before setting in for rafting, as this sport can be ferocious and life threatening.

White water rafting is a sport where your adrenaline will be on the highest level and there are a few rapids which will give you the desired thrill.

The river has a calm flow after the rapids, wherein you can jump into the water and just keep flowing with the current and your raft.

The duration of rafting is about 2.5 hours but you will surely remember this for the rest of your life.

PS: – Rafting in Kundalika is fabulous for 1st timers and it is the only place to experience rafting in Maharashtra.

Cheers,

Yatripandit

Credits

Story By

Abhimanyu

Edited by

Utkarsh

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Camping by the lake side @ Pawana Lake INR 1300/-

You will agree that we all are fascinated when we see a traveler carry a tent in his/her back pack and always wish to do something of similar sort. Isn’t it?

Find a calm and clean place besides a water body, pitch our tent, cook some food, talk to ourselves, sing to the acoustic guitar and sleep peacefully under the sky full of stars.

But the next moment this wonderful dream breaks and we realize that we are corporate dogs who do not have the liberty to do all this. Leave this dream apart; we do not even own a bloody tent!! I know how bad it feels, but don’t you worry  at all, Yatripandit has found out a fabulous midway. Read on!!

Do not own a tent but still be able to camp out in the nature’s lap!! Sounds fun right!!

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The crazy corporate employees in Pune / Mumbai surely have heard of Pawana lake. This amazing place is about a 70 KMs drive from Pune, off Pune-Mumbai old highway in Lonawala. You may follow google maps.

It’s better to reach the venue around 5pm so that you do not miss the beautiful sunset and the snacks served with tea by the property owner and organizer of Pawana camping, Mr. Vijay.

We suggest carrying booze and snacks along with you because there are no liquor shops nearby.

As the sun sets, you also may settle down, relax and unwind yourself in the natures lap.

Package details are listed below:-

  • Cost – Rs. 1300/- Per person
  • Evening snacks, dinner(veg and Non-veg – Must be informed beforehand), and next morning breakfast
  • Includes – Double/triple occupancy tents – Will be pitched by the us
  • Blankets, pillows and mattress inside the tents, to enjoy a cozy night
  • A table to dine and chairs
  • If you are a group of more than 20, you may also indulge in water-sports, but we suggest to ignore this and just enjoy peaceful camping experience
  • BONFIRE – Separate bonfire for every group shall be lit around 10 pm and will last for approx. 2 hrs
  • Neat and clean western/ Indian toilets
  • Barbecue can also be arranged on prior information on Per KG Rates i.e. Mix Veg Rs. 600/-, Paneer Rs. 800/- and Chicken Rs. 700/-

You may also carry Bluetooth speaker but do not blow it too loud to disturb the mountains and serene water in the lake.

Yatripandit is happy to help you plan this one of a kind camping experience.

You may call/whatsapp us on 9975712713 or fill the below form

This can be planned on any day of the week. Discounts on large groups on weekdays.:)

As Coldplay says, “Cause you’re a sky, ’cause you’re a sky full of stars, I wanna die in your arms”

By : Abhimanyu @yatripandit

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Mulshi Surroundings – An Unexplored Hill

Needless to mention, Mulshi have been a second home for Punekars for years. We just can’t have enough of Mulshi for it’s alluring beauty. While some can afford a stay at Malhar Machi which is a five star resort on a serene hill near Mulshi dam, others prefer a short roadtrip that won’t take more than six hours(start to start). Just like we did. 😉 Those who can afford a stay in Malhar machi resort MUST NOT continue reading and the ones who can’t — MUST read through.. 🙂

 

Saturday monsoon, Pune weather, yatri pandit friends from Hyderabad and Mumbai and a car. What else do you need to plan a short road trip? We left from my place for Mulshi dam around 3 in the afternoon, we were just quarter way through and decided to detour from the usual crowded Mulshi to an unknown hill.

The decision shaped up perfectly, as we drove uphill through the clouds and drizzle to discover a small restaurant (name unknown) besides the road.

By then it already started drizzling, and we just couldn’t wait to get out of the car and behold the panoramic landscape which has the calm and alluring Mulshi lake, that lays in the middle of mighty mountains and clouds. The sound from a small pious stream flowing downhill was definitely a synonym to serenity.

Taking a deep breath we all must have felt, “we couldn’t have asked for more.”

The garma garam chai, pakode and omlette was a perfect icing on the cake.

Getting our tummies filled, we decided to walk and explore the place around. There was a Shiva temple right opposite the restaurant. We kept walking around the area to discover that the village’s name is Samvade. The place is beautiful and calm to the extremes. A must visit getaway from Pune during monsoon. To be honest, one can get used to this place! And, so did I.

Total distance traveled – 90 Kms

Duration (start to start) – 6 hours

Cost – 500 for snacks, fuel extra.

– Abhimanyu@yatripandit

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Saarr Some Idli and Filter Kaapi Pleeeeej !! – Yercaud

What vadapav is to Maharastra, Idli is to Tamil Nadu !!…

I was in Bangalore for an official tour and could not miss the opportunity to go on a day’s road trip to a not so famous hill station called Yercaud. It’s in Salem district about 4 hour’s drive from Bangalore. This hilly town is located in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats.

We were a group of 4 school time friends who successfully hijacked one of our friend’s sister’s car for this trip.

Planned to leave Bangalore at 4 am but left 2 hours early as our excitement overpowered sleep.

4 Friends out of which 2 could driver, 1 hatchback, unlimited kickass music and Infinite chats is all what you need on a road trip. The roads were smooth and we easily cruised at approx. 80 Kmph.

Bhookh (hunger) alert !! If you are a person who cannot sustain hunger at all and fear that you might die anytime when you are hungry, please eat something/ pack some snacks before you are traveling in Karnataka highways during night. Because you will not find any 24*7 food courts/ tapris or anything till the dawn breaks.

Uphill journey from Salem to Yercaud is picturesque and there a about 20 Hairpin bends till you reach your destination.

The pleasant morning sun welcomed us with wide open arms when we reached Yercaud on time, sleep deprived and declared dead of hunger. My hungry eyes located a café (don’t remember the name) right on the Yercaud circle and we barged in. Café served lip smacking idli sambhar with 2 varieties of chutneys on a fresh banana leaf. The idlis were so soft that they melted in mouth before even before chewing. Yearcaud has many Coffee estates and nothing beats the taste of hot brewing filter coffee aka Kaapi after those priceless idlis.

We were all fresh and there was no trace of sleep deprivation in our eyes. 1st we went to The Servaroyan Temple situated atop Servaroyan hill, the temple is a narrow, cool and dark cave having the God Servarayan and the Goddess Kaveri inside.

The hilly roads are surrounded by aromatic coffee estates, some of them are even a century old.

There is a Pagoda point to see and also a beautiful lake to boat on.

Best time to visit – Monsoons and winters i.e July to January

Road trips are about journey and not about destination, but when you reside in Bangalore and have visited Nandi hills for infinite times Yercaud is definitely an option to be on top of the list.

Picture Courtesy – Sangeet Khandait

– Abhimanyu @yatripandit

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Bamnoli – Peace lovers Paradise

Are you a peace lover? Do you live in big and loud cities like Pune or Mumbai? Are you fed up of visiting Lonavala and Mahabaleshwar for umpteen times? Do you want to reconnect with Natures lap? Does our job not allow you to take long leaves?

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If your answer is a “yes” to the questions above then come along to Bamnoli – Tranquility at its best.

Bamnoli is a small town located in the valley of Kaas plateau in Satara district of Maharashtra.

It’s about a 3 hour’s drive from Pune and about 5 hour’s from Mumbai.

This serene village has nothing much to offer is you are looking for exotic resorts, beaches or white water rafting. Neither it has some adrenaline pumping mountain adventure sports nor does it offer under water stuffs as scuba diving. But if you are looking to relax lying down beside a beautiful lake and getting mesmerized by the infinite stars in the sky – Bamnoli is the Place !!!

There are no hotels and zero commercialization of this lovely place.  The village is a like a close knit family of around 50-60 odd houses.

There is a homestay available which is owned by Mr. Ravindra who can be reached on 09421208734. The best part is only BSNL network works in Bamnoli. Ravindra also has a canteen which serves delicious Marathi cuisine right beside the stay.

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The lake is just a stone’s throw away from the stay and the only commercial attraction is boat club. You can get a family boat to cruise across the lake to an old temple and back.

Many biker’s gangs can be easily spotted camping on the lake side. The nights are usually cold and the air to breath is eternally pure.

It is surely a great retreat away from hush bush of town
Peace love travel

— Abhimanyu @yatripandit

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Pink City Jaipur

“A city of colors, the city charms its admirers and visitors with it confluence of terrains, colors, and cultural heritage”

Palaces and forts has always excited curious minds and explorers, I always wanted to explore history and mystery of India and one of the best thing (apart from awesome food !) about getting married to a Rajasthani girl is you get to visit this amazing place at least once in a year. If you think one have to be born in royal family to feel like a King or one has to be a princesses to  get the feel royalty of Queen then you should visit Jaipur to prove it wrong.

So if you haven’t explored this awesome city,  pack you bags and hop on!

Me and my wife were travelling to Kota in Haduti region of Rajasthan to attend a marriage ceremony. We were left with 3 days after the marriage and we had our flight back to Hyderabad from Jaipur and as Lao Tzu has said “A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

Day 1

We left for Jaipur from Kota around 6:30 AM and reached Jaipur at 11:30 AM. I had some Redfox Hotel reward points left from my previous business trip. We checked in and tossed our luggage in our room and left for Johri Bazzar for awesome Lassi and Dahi Bada at  LMB.

LMB, is a well-known restaurant and sweet shop amoung local people in Jaipur Established in 1954 it is most known for its restaurant and mithai shop (sweet shop), which are a popular tourist attraction, serving traditional sweets like paneer ghewar, and the sweet lassi, apart from snacks, like samosa, chaat and Aloo tikki.

Next thing on our list was Pride of Asia Rajmandir cinema opened on 1 June 1976 designed by architect W.M. Namjoshi in Art Moderne style. It has a meringue-shaped auditorium which is metaphor of design and architecture. The main attraction of Rajmandir is at the beginning of the movie when curtains are up.

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We watched Neerja movie, after which we had some street side food at Panch Batti Square.

Since we were already tired we went back to hotel room and crashed.

Day 2

Next day morning we wake up @ 8 AM had breakfast and left for site seeing. A cab which was arranged by Hotel was waiting for us in the parking lobby.

Our first pit stop was Amber Fort 

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One of the principal tourist attractions in Jaipur, located high on a hill. Amber Fort Was Built By  Raja Man Singh I. Amber Fort is known for its artistic style, blending both Hindu and Rajput elements. With its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks the Maota Lake, at its forefront.

Main attractions at Amber Fort is ‘Sheesh Mahal’, ‘Diwan-i-Aam’ and ‘Sukh Mahal’.

Don’t miss the royal elephant ride while you are at it!

While coming back from Amber we saw most serene sight amidst the chaos of Jaipur the beautiful Jal Mahal it appears to float in the centre of Sagar Lake.

 

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constructed from pink sandstone and follows the classical Rajput symmetrical style which is found throughout of Rajasthan.

Madho Singh, who constructed the Jal Mahal in 1750, simply wished it to be a lodge for himself and his entourage during his duck hunting parties. Madho’s son Madho Singh II greatly enhanced the Jal Palace during the 18th century interior of the palace adding the courtyard grounds and much of the exterior as seen today.

After spending some time with scenic beauty of Jal Mahal we left for Royal Residence The City Palace of Jaipur

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Right in the centre of the Old City the palace has been enlarged and adapted over the centuries. Outer wall was built by Jai Singh. There are buildings from different eras, some dating from the early 20th century are a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Palace reflects Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles although the palace was designed to Vaastushastra treatise, walls and gates are ornately designed to Mughal style, with various murals, lattice and mirrors adorning them from sides.

A complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings, the impressive gates adheres to
the royal heritage of the City Palace.

Awe-inspired by City Palace we left for our last stop of the day, Albert Hall 

“…That’s why we have the Museum, Matty, to remind us of how we came, and why to start fresh, and begin a new place from what we had learned and carried from the old.”
― Lois Lowry, Messenger

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Completed in 1887 by the architect Samuel Swinton Jacob

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The foundation stone of Albert Hall was laid during the visit of the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward

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Indo-Saracenic architecture and stone ornamentation, became a source of reference for varied classical Indian styles of design from Mughal to Rajput. Even the corridors were decorated with murals in a variety of styles including the Ramayan, reproducing paintings from illustrations in the Persian Razmnama prepared for Emperor Akbar. European, Egyptian, Chinese, Greek and Babylonian civilizations were portrayed in the other murals to enable the people of the region to compare and contrast them with their own and develop their knowledge of history and art.

Albert Hall became a centre for imparting knowledge of history of civilizations, inspiring artisans to improve their skills, and preserving & developing traditional Indian arts, crafts, architectural forms.

Albert Hall has one of my favourite architecture of any building in India.

After spending Quite and peaceful evening in Albert Hall museum we came back to Hotel had King Size Dinner and crashed on to our bed.

Day 3

We had our afternoon flight back to Hyderabad. We had very little time left we quickly went to Govind Dev Ji Temple and from there we left for Airport, promising each other that we will come here more often to witness gallantry of our royal past and amazing hospitality of our wonderful present.

 

-Utkarsh@YatriPandit

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