Fish Therapy at Jaisamand Lake

When an escape is required from the monotony that mundane routine life has to offer, we try to go off for a quick day trip from Udaipur. With the summer sun gradually but surely embracing the days, it was a point of contention amongst us, where we should be heading to. Besides the sun, the exams of my 9 year old son that were starting almost immediately turned the tables on many other options and we headed for Jaisamand lake, a place that has given us much pleasure umpteenth times, previously.


The road leading to Lake Jaisamand with Mona restaurant on the right

The drive to the second largest artificial lake in Asia has always been enjoyable and this time too it was no exception barring the bottlenecks and diversions that the work in progress of the construction of the broad gauge railway line from Udaipur to Ahmedabad have created at the peripheral junction of the city of lakes.



Soaking in the beauty of the lake

We were visiting the lake after a hiatus of maybe six months or so and this time we found that the place leading to the embankment of Jaisamand had been enclosed with wire mesh surrounds and a ticket counter had cropped up. Now for an entry to the “Paal’ of Lake Jaisamand, you needed to dish out a nominal Rs10 per person as an entry fee. As we were entering, voices of dissent from the public was heard but if the money collected from the public is really put to good use for the beautification and adding of facilities at the embankment, then nobody would be complaining.


School of fish savoring the corn kernels

My son as always bought Rs10 worth of corn kernels to be fed to the fishes that are found galore in the lake. The splashing of water by the movement of school of fishes as they scamper to savor the corn kernels is a sight to behold. After the feeding session was over, it was now time to laze around and soak in the beauty of this magnificent tranquil lake. We contemplated whether a boat ride could be fitted into the agenda but decided otherwise as feeding the fishes had given rise to pangs of hunger within us.

Wood Fired Kitchen

The no ambiance open kitchen of Mona Restaurant

We searched for any cabin that served fresh fish nearby but in vain. Thus we came down from the embankment and zeroed in on a ‘fishy’ looking road side restaurant by the name of Mona that proclaimed that it served Fish Fry. With no ambiance to speak of and an open kitchen on top of that, was enough to dissuade us initially but the gastronomic grumblings got the better of us and we ordered a plate of Jaisamand lake fresh cuttle fish fry for Rs150.

Raw Fish

The freshly marinated fish

Fresh fish, freshly marinated was fried in front of us in the wood fired traditional hearth, ‘chulha’ as it is locally called. The cheerful owner who also doubled as the chef as well as the attendant told us stories about how he started this restaurant nearly two and a half decades back as he continued frying the fish.

The Craftsman at work

The owner honing his craft

The fish pieces when fried to a golden brown was served with a red garlic chutney and freshly round cut onions slices. The owner on his part insisted that we also try a gravied version of his fish and gave the gravy complimentarily along with a local fish which was fried to a crisp.


The Fish Therapy

The cuttle fish fry was divine and the red garlic chutney complemented it to perfection. The fried local fish also packed a crunch and was delicious. The gravy though was more like a spicy water concoction, nothing much to write home about.
With our hunger satiated and mind rejuvenated it was time for us to again get back home and start a new week afresh, fresh from Fish therapy at Lake Jaisamand, albeit a gastronomic one.


Serene & Scenic- Lake Jayana Sagar, Badi

The epithet “City of Lakes” amply describes Udaipur and justifiably so, as the city is home to world famous lakes like Lake Pichola, Lake Fateh Sagar, Lake Swaroop Sagar, Lake Udai Sagar, Lake Rang Sagar and a little further off Lake Jaisamand to name a few.


Serene & Scenic- Lake Jayana Sagar, Badi

Lake Jayana Sagar situated about 12 kms north-west of Udaipur near the village of Badi might not be that well known a name but the lake exudes a surreal charm and serenity that overwhelms one and amplifies mankind’s insignificance in front of Mother Nature.

Locally, the lake is known as Badi ka Talab meaning The Pond of Badi, because of its proximity to the village of that name.  It is by this name that the Lake is more widely known and the name Lake Jayana Sagar, might not ring a bell in many a mind both local as well as among visitors.

A devastating drought hit the erstwhile kingdom of Mewar during the 1660s AD. Maharana Raj Singh-I who was the king of Mewar during that time constructed the fresh water lake as a famine relief project in a bid to counter the effects of the drought. The construction of the lake started in 1662 AD and the lake was formally opened for the public on 15th November 1664 AD and was named Jayana Sagar or Jiyan Sagar, after the name of Raj Singh-I’s mother Jana Devi. Six lac Indian rupees a princely sum for those days was the total cost of building the lake.


The embankment of Badi Ka Talab

The lake and its catchment area are spread over an area of 60 square mile. A 180 metre long and 18 metre wide embankment that has pavilions and steps that also have half submerged pavillions that lead to the water of the lake are the main attractions. The view from the pavilions especially during the sun set is spectacular. A few shikaras or small rowing boats plying on the waters augment the scenic magnificence of the lake.


The factually incorrect information stone at the entrance to Badi ki Pal

Recently, Badi ka Talab has been brought under the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary that is nearby and is being promoted as an eco destination. The once free access to ‘pal’ or the embankment of the lake now costs rupees 10 per person as entrance fees.


Invigorating drive around the lake

A serene drive around the lake through the lush winding road that links it with the village of Gorela at the foothills of Sajjangarh- the Monsoon Palace, nourishes the body and mind and acts as Mother Nature’s own detoxifier and releases one from the clutches of the materialistic world, albeit momentarily.

Tajpur- Sun, Sand and Serenity!

On a family vacation to the City of Joy, Kolkata, the capital of the East Indian state of West Bengal, it was my father who zeroed upon the coastal hamlet of Tajpur, on the Bay of Bengal, in Mednipur district.


Teeming humanity at Digha Beach

About 180 kms from Kolkata, Tajpur is a less visited sea shore destination though the famous sea town of Digha and Mondarmoni are located at a stone’s throw away from it.


Howrah station


We took a morning 11.15 am Duronto Express from Howrah railway station which raced past scenic meadows, villages, water bodies and lush green vistas. We were served a sumptuous non-veg lunch pack on board and by 2 in the afternoon we were at Digha, the terminal point of the train.

From Digha, Tajpur is about 20 odd kms and waiting for us at the station was a mini van sent by the resort that we had booked for our stay at Tajpur, the Mallickaa Resort.


Fish farms enroute to Tajpur

Our journey from the Digha railway station to the Mallickaa  Resort took us about half and hour and during that period we could gauge that we were gradually getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and a huge wave of humanity to something that was quieter, less uninhabited, something that promised, bliss.

From the main highway, our van took a turn onto a narrow road that had fish farms lined on both its side. We soaked in the beauty of the place and breathed the freshness of the air and before long we were at the gates of the Mallickaa Resort.


The resort in itself was pretty amazing with ample flora and fauna within it precincts. Turkeys, swans, pigeons, hens, rabbits, guinea pigs all roamed around freely in the vast greenery of the resort. It did not have a swimming pool but to compensate for it, it had a pond in which one could go boating. The pond also acts as the breeding ground for the fresh water fishes that adorn the menu of the restaurant of Mallickaa.


The pond in the resort


Boats at Mallickaa Resort


Turkeys on the ground


Guinea pigs

We checked into cottages that had their own unique names and were comfortable with all basic amenities in place. A cat nap later we were ready for our tryst with the sandy serene shores of the Tajpur beach.


Uniquely named cottages


The wooded road to Paradise

An unpaved, about half a kilometer long, road from the main gate of Mallickaa resort through Casuarina groves and dense shrubbery leads you to inverted crescent shaped beach of Tajpur. Oh, What a sight it was to behold! A few shacks scattered around and with hardly a soul around, the sea shore was an epitome of serenity, a place that washes away all your materialistic worries and detoxes you and uplifts you spiritually. The noise of the sea crashing on to the shore, adds to the surreal experience. One could spend hours and hours together in the very lap of Mother Nature, far from the maddening crowds.


The Tajpur Beach


Sun, sand and serenity


Fun on the run


Detoxing effect


A fisherman at his trade


Toto-the electric rickshaw

Though we year marked a shack that offered food and drinks on the beach itself, the grumblings of the gastronomic variety forced us back to our temporary dwelling within the confines of Mallickaa resort. The resort provides the services of a Toto, an electric rickshaw for a charge, for guests who desire so but we walked our way back through the delightful wooded road.


King sized-Breakfast


ABC-Authentic Bengali Cuisine


Up and close


Crab Masala

At Mallickaa resort, the farm fresh vegetables, fish and poultry made our gastronomic indulgences even more satiating. For breakfast we had loochi (a fried Bengali bread made of flour), begun bhaja (fried brinjals) and aloor torkari (a potato dish). Lunch was an Authentic Bengali Cuisine affair with bhaat (rice), dal (lentils), aloo bhaja (fried potatoes), lau chingri (a prawn & bottle gourd dish), shorshe parshe ( mustard fish), chingri maacher malai curry (a prawn delicacy), topping it off with a nolane gurer rosogolla (a spongy sweet filled with jiggery). For dinner chicken korma (white gravied chicken dish), butter chicken, fried crab masala, dahi chicken (chicken in yogurt) and rotis (Indian bread) were the star attractions.


The misty morning


Dew drops from the foliage breaking the silence enroute to the beach

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, we were off again to absorb the beauty of the Tajpur beach. It was a misty morning and that augmented the tranquil magnificence of the whole area. An overwhelming calmness reigned all over, periodically broken by dew drops sliding through the dense foliage making an eerie noise that got amplified in the hushed environment.


Mist overpowering everything else


Fog all around

The sea was hardly visible even from the shore. The fog and mist had truly embraced it in their bosoms. A biting cold wind swept through the large expanse of sand and sea. No animal was in sight let alone humans. Gradually, the sun started overpowering the prevailing murkiness. Resilient village folks started trickling out, doing their daily chores, facing the challenges that a brand new day had on offer for them.


Resilient villagers trickling out


Brown crab

Sea creatures too started coming out of their hiatus. Red crabs, brown crabs and other varieties of oceanic life forms could be spotted on the beach.


Red Crab


Sea Creature

Our explorations on the beach had made us hungry and we made our way back to our designated base camp, the shack that offered food and drinks.


Food at The Shack


A most pleasurable breakfast

Breakfast at the shack was a simple one but one which provided us with utmost pleasure. Loochi, aloo kopir torkari (potato with cauliflower), double egg omelet, sipping piping hot coffee, soaking in the visual gems that Mother Nature had on offer, ah life indeed was heavenly on that wonderful morning in December.


Good things happen over a coffee

But as with all good things in life, our trip to Tajpur too came to its conclusion but not before we had energized ourselves and filled our minds with memories that we would be cherishing for life.



A trip to the twin Holy Cities of Ajmer and Pushkar (Part2)


On reaching Pushkar, we had the option to check into either Hotel Sarovar, in the heart of the town or the Tourist Village, a cluster of huts for the tourists, both managed by the RTDC (Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation). We checked into the former. The hotel was beautiful but as is the case with most government run hotels, in dire need of maintenance. The area that it covered was sprawling with a variety of trees and lush green lawns. It even had a swimming pool, which alas had no water in it.


Built in a colonial style with ample balconies and a long corridor, the plaster from the wall, alas was peeling in many areas. Despite all the shortcomings what clinched the deal for us was the wonderful view of the hills that the balcony gave from the rooms and the overall serenity that seemed to engulf the hotel.


The rooms were comfortable and we had a blissful night’s sleep after having a light dinner, courtesy the heavy lunch we had at Guddan ka dhaba. The cacophony of birds woke me up, the next morning and as I strolled off to the balcony of the room, a view of pure magic awaited me. The adjoining hills of the Aravali ranges were trying desperately to stop the sun from rising and the sun, slowly but surely was winning the battle. Mother Nature was painting her canvas with colors of all hues and shades and the resultant “piece of art” was Pure Magic.


We had to go down to the restaurant for our bed tea as the personnel (or was it just a single chap as I now recollect) seemed oblivious to the ringing of the intercom. Anyway, the restaurant was airy and clean. Airy, because the place where one of the air conditioners should have been, now contained just the frontend of an AC. The back thus missing, threw in the cold winds that were sweeping Pushkar that day, into the restaurant. We even had a sparrow for company which had accidentally come inside through the hollow air conditioner. After having our tea, we ordered breakfast. Hot puris and paranthas along with aloo ki sabzi and curd came along, which were delicious to say the least and we forgot our anguish of not having been served our bed tea in bed.

After breakfast, we felt the day truly had begun on a bright “gastronomic” note.

Corridor of Hotel Sarovar

Corridor of Hotel Sarovar

The entrance of RTDC Hotel Sarovar at night

The entrance of RTDC Hotel Sarovar at night

The beautiful colonial designed Hotel Sarovar at night

The beautiful colonial designed Hotel Sarovar at night

The airy restaurant of Hotel Sarovar

The airy restaurant of Hotel Sarovar

The bright lobby of Hotel Sarovar


Explore like never Before- (part2)

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!

Not a soul at the Health Centre, Parshad

Not a soul at the Health Centre, Parshad

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.

The imposing treasury in ruins!

The imposing treasury in ruins!

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 gastronomically delightful Street Food

The gastronomically delightful Street Food

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.

The temple at the centre of the road, Semari

The temple at the centre of the road, Semari

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.

The beautiful pond

The beautiful pond

The submerged ancient temple

The submerged ancient temple

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.

The beautiful new Jain Temple, Rishabhdeo

The beautiful new Jain Temple, Rishabhdeo

Temple surrounded by white marble elephants

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.

Lake Gap Sagar, Dungarpur

Lake Gap Sagar, Dungarpur

The ancient Shreenath Temple, Dungarpur

The ancient Shreenath Temple, Dungarpur

The blackstone keeper of the temple

The blackstone keeper of the temple

The presiding deity, Shreenath Temple, Dungarpur

The presiding deity, Shreenath Temple, Dungarpur

Divinity-Up and close

Divinity-Up and close

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.

The Sun sets on a beautiful day.

The Sun sets on a beautiful day.