When we reached the main medical centre of Parshad, it looked as though some sort of curfew had been imposed on it. Not a soul was to be seen anywhere in the vicinity of the place besides some patients, who were waiting patiently in the soothing sun for the doctors to come. The notice board at the centre said that the winter timing of the centre was from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm but even at 10.20 am there was nobody to attend the patients. The patients instead of sullying over the matter seemed to be enjoying chit chats amongst themselves quite oblivious to their own ailments, enjoying each other’s company besides the warmth of the sun. Truly Incredible India, this!
From Parshad we moved on to the historically important town of Chawand. It was at this place that the heroic Rajput king Maharna Pratap breathed his last, after a fatal hunting accident. The town has a memorial in honour of the great king, which unfortunately lies in utter neglect, today. The landscape in and around the town is dotted with remains of a glorious era, gone by and I, for one was taken aback by the sheer beauty of a small castle on a hillock on the Chawand – Sarada road, whose historical significance, none of the people I encountered seemed to know, besides the fact that one time or the other in history, it acted as the treasury for Maharana Pratap.
At Sarada, the main medical centre was abuzz with activity and the doctors were efficiently tending the patients. It was here that we had a plate of crisp crushed samosa dipped in hot “kadhi” sprinkled with “sev” and garnished with chopped onions and chillies. This street food from a street side shop was a real gastronomic delight, the perfect antidote on a winter morning.
The next haunt was Semari and the first thing that strikes you when you enter this hamlet is the temple of the Mother Goddess that is located right in the middle of the main road of this town. The cattle jostle with mechanized vehicles for supremacy of the road aided by the “divine intervention”, as mere mortals like me just look on in awe. But in spite of seemingly so much chaos, the harmony and a pleasant flavor of rural India that the place bestows on you, is just overwhelming.
From Semari we went to Kalyanpur and the road though narrow and winding was pretty amazing. It took us along idyllic villages and scenic ponds. We came across a very big pond which was host to a large flock of migratory birds. Cranes, swans and kingfishers were there in galore and their chirping and the sound of their flying was purely divine. The pond even had an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva partially submerged in its water which seemed to signify the fine blend that exists between divinity and nature.
Rishabhdeo or Kesariyaji , a place that is holy not only for the local tribesmen of the area but also for the believers of the Jain sect, was our next stop. It has the famous temple that houses a black stone idol which is worshipped as Adinath by the Jains and as a form of Lord Shiva by the tribals. But this was not the place we went. My colleague told me that a newer temple was being built very near to the ancient temple and the trust which was building the newer temple also served wonderful Jain lunches. Since, it was well past 1.30 pm we decided to go there. The approach road to the new temple was very narrow and the façade was highly unimpressive. But lo as you enter the gates of the temple, the beauty of the exquisite work in progress marvel, just strikes you. The white marble temple that is surrounded by large life like white marble elephants is full of highly intricate carvings and would surely be a great tourist attraction once it is fully complete. The lunch as promised was simple, hot and delicious.
After a very satisfying lunch, we went to Dungarpur via Kherwara. After completing the official job at hand, we went to the embankments of Lake GapSagar. The bank of the lake is a host to a flurry of activities. You can find shops selling branded cloths wear, accessories and glares on one hand and on the other there are vendors who sell you fresh farm produces along with many stalls and carts that sell street food. Also on the bank is the ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shreenath ji and incarnation of Lord Krishna. As you enter the premise of the temple you are suddenly enveloped by a serenity that is way beyond words. Leaving behind the humdrum of the big bad world, the temple offers you an oasis of serenity and complete bliss. The presiding deity and his consort and the keeper of the temple, the mighty winged demi-god Lord Garura leave an indelible impression on your mind.
With the sun fast setting, it was time for us leave, back for home. Capturing the sun setting among the cactus that guarded a lush sesame field on my 3 Megapixel Samsung mobile camera, rounded off a wonderful day for me, in which I explored places which were off the beaten track, all around Udaipur.