December 3rd, 2006~
Magu: Sunday, 10th Dec, Wet 'n' Wild Resort...
Me: Cool...But it's gettin colder every day...And spending the whole day in water...Don't you wanna rethink?
Magu: That's the fun...No more discussions...We are goin'!
Me: Okay...As you say!
A couple of days later~
Me: Meghad, I happened to bathe with cold water today...And trust me, it wasn't fun at all!
Magu: He He :-D Suggest some other place to go then...
Me: Let's go to Neemrana Fort...I've heard a lot about it.
Magu: We were once planning to go there but it never materialised...We can think about it. Get me all the details.
Me: Yeah, I'll do that.
Me: Neemrana Fort Palace...Delhi-Jaipur highway...180 Kms!
Magu: Suits me! I'll ask the rest.
Me: Who'll arrange for the transport?
Magu: Shweta will.
Me: Alright then...Confirm with everyone 'n' lemme know!
Later in the day~
Magu: Everyone's cool about it...Let's go!
Me: Did you enquire about the taxi?
Magu: Yeah...Rs.9/km for the Qualis and Rs.11/km for the Innova.
Me: Too much!
Magu: I know...You check out with the one near your house.
Me: I'll do that.
Me: Rs.7/km for a Qualis/Tavera and Rs.10/km for the Innova + Rs.100 & the meals for the driver!
Magu: Super! Get it done!
And the next day, I booked the cab that would take us to the Neemrana Fort Palace the following day.
A cold Sunday morning...Had to get up at 6.15 A.M...Seemed no better than a regular weekday, but the hope for a perfect weekend getaway! The cab arrived at my house at 6.45 A.M., a bit earlier than I had expected. I was getting late with every passing minute and with every failed attempt to wake Megha up! Finally, I started from my place at 7.30 A.M., an acceptable half hour later than we had planned.
I was so sleepy, I couldn't stop yawning till we reached Venkateshwara College to pick up Megha. We had to wait for 10 minutes at that place before I could see the "baby ali", dressed in all pink, knocking at one of the car doors, waiting to get in! We went on to pick up Shweta, Bose and finally Shuchi from Gurgaon!
We were on the Delhi-Jaipur highway at around 10 A.M., heading to our destination point! I settled comfortably in the designated "activity seat" with Shuchi 'n' Megha, and Shweta 'n' Bose were happy in each other's company in the "lovers' seat";-)
The journey was marked by the usual chit-chatting, munching on chips 'n' biscuits & clicking a lot of bizarre photographs.
Somewhere around the mid way, we made a long 1 hour halt to have breakfast and tea in a dhaba. The place had a number of tables and chairs laid out in a wide, open area, alongwith a small section, covered on the top by a shed made of straw. We got a table set up for us in there.
Hot gobhi 'n' aloo paranthas, cut into pieces which resembled slices of a pizza, with butter, they looked so delicious, it was hard to resist!
A few rounds of these great Indian delicacies, alongwith cardamom tea, good times started rollin'.
But as soon as we started from that place, we were faced with something so likely to happen on a road trip...a busted tyre! It took 15 minutes for the driver to replace it with a spare one kept under the backseat of the car. And we set off again...
After a smooth run for about 10 minutes, I saw the driver slowing down. I called out for him to enquire, and he smiled...One more time!
It was worse. There wasn't any other backup, so this one had to be repaired. The surroundings were full of small open kiosks, selling fruits, peanuts, biscuits and soft drinks. With nothing better to while away time with, we started clicking some random photographs. Everyone around must be wondering if it was our first trip to India...After about 40 odd minutes, we left that place, hoping to reach without any more hassles.
Finally, at 1 P.M., we were right in front of the huge entrance to the Neemrana Fort Palace, gazing at that enormous structure, dating back to the 15th century! An entry ticket of 200 bucks each entitled us to roam around in the fort, for a couple of hours.
Just at the entrance, there was a cart, which reminded me of similar ones shown in the movie Umrao Jaan. So peculiar, I'm still wondering why it was there!
After walking up for a while, we came across an open area, in the shape of a dial of a huge clock. All around this place, were beautiful flowers in colours of pink, orange and white. Shuchi went crazy seeing them and got so many pictures clicked with all of them.
A bit further, was the reception, which led to the five star rooms, ranging from 3-17 grand! We went further up to a corridor, which opened to an area where the lunch was laid out. It had been a long time since we had had the breakfast and everyone was starving for another meal. It was a lavish buffet for 750 bucks, a bit too expensive to suit our budget!
So we headed to the snack bar, just a few metres away. We were just about to settle down on a couch nearby, when Megha saw a staircase going up to a small terrace.
At that point of time, no one would have thought that it was where we would spend the rest of our day! The weather was just perfect. The sun wasn't too bright; a cool breeze once in a while kept brushing against our faces, leaving a queer twinge around the nose. It was simply awesome!
For a moment, I stood there, with arms wide open, taking a deep breath, wanting to absorb all that beauty around or maybe allowing myself to be absorbed in that picture, becoming an unseperable part of it all!
We ordered for cheese omlettes, a grilled sandwich, vegetable pakoras and french fries, accompanied by red wine, courtesy Shweta and Shuchi. I shared a beer with Bose. The food was decent, not great though, except for the cheese omlettes, which were absolutely scrummy!
We spent about 4 hours at that terrace before we decided to check out the local market. The sun was about to set, hiding behind the clouds. We moved out of the fort, heading for the nearby village.
Megha wanted some Rajasthani junk jewellery, something by the name of hasli! Weird name!
As we walked through those streets searching for them, a group of kids and shady men
kept following us. Any shop that we stopped at, they would gather there and stare at us as if we were from some other country or maybe a different planet altogether! The gals in the group kinda liked the unwanted attention. They felt like celebrities!
After spending about an hour, searching for something to take back home, all that we got were a few pieces of some 'hard as a stone', 'filthy looking' barfi that Bose bought from a sweets shop.
It was time to go back now...It was dark. From a distance, we could see the fort lit up with lights all over. It was a beautiful sight. With a desire in our hearts to visit that place again, we left for Delhi.
As we hit the highway, a milestone read: Delhi, 118 kms. And not 180 kms, as I had wrongly heard when I enquired about the place. :-)
The song of the trip was "Tere Bina", from the movie Guru; listened to it endlessly till Megha's phone battery finally gave out!
Shuchi's exclamatory "Bose ki Barfi" still sounds funny!
All in all, one of the best Sundays for me in recent times. A day to savour!
One must pay a visit to this place. With friends or family, you are bound to have a rocking time!