As the incredible Rajasthan always welcomes with the warm “Padharo maahro desh”, we keep coming to the princely state for more History, culture, art and adventure. So here we went on exploring more of Udaipur on the second day of our trip.
We reached Sajjangarh Biological Park (sanctuary) as suggested by friends. .
|Left gate for Zoo, right one for palace|
The entry tickets has a separate counter fifteen meters away from the main gate. Ticket costs Rs 30 for Indians and Rs 300 for foreigners. Still camera charges are Rs 80 and Video Camera charges are Rs 200.
Timings- 9 to 5:30 pm daily, closed on Tuesday
Spread over a total area of 36 heactares, this park was established with the objective of conserving endangered flora and fauna and developing among visitors an empathy for wild animals. The zoo is flagged with boards on wildlife conservation and protection.
You can tour the park on foot. I do not recommend it, since its too tiring and hot under the sun right on your head. The walking paths are without shades.
Or else you can buy tickets for Golf Cart at Rs 50 each for a 90 minutes ride. The carts that accommodates 6 people in one go, are noiseless and battery operated, hence cause no pollution or disturbance for the environment. The only limitation- The cart moves only when full. The management might convince you to pay Rs 60 in case you want to make it move early.
The third most exciting mode of travelling is bicycle. These non fancy-no gear-manual cycles can put you through a real endurance test. They charge Rs 20 per hour. One can cycle through the whole sanctuary in less than two hours. We chose to cycle in the Zoo.
The only mistake by us- We did not cover our heads.
Advisable- Carry a hat/stoll/cap to protect your head from direct sun, lest you should be dehydrated/get headache.
|Cycle ki sawari|
The pathways are beautiful and very well maintained. Sajjangarh Zoo is a polythene free area dotted with bins and banners that discourage people from littering.
Some treks were steep where we had to drag the cycles along. The whole cycling experience is just wonderful.
- Wear shoes else cycling or walking would be difficult.
- Carry water with you. Though the zoo has water coolers at short distances, your golf cart may not stop everywhere.
- Please maintain silence lest you should scare the animals.
|Monsoon palace view|
The Monsson Palace, on the adjacent road is also visible from the zoo. The heat slowed us down and we kept taking short breaks under trees. By the exit time, we literally fled with our cycles without looking at the animals since it was too hot! I don’t remember how many time we refilled our water bottles. Sweating and tired we returned the cycles post two hours of adventure.
As we exited the Zoo with bagful of memories and camera full of pictures, we considered whether or not to visit the Monsoon Palace. The zoo and palace entry gates are adjacent to each other. We agreed to give the palace. There is no point in missing a location after going that far!
Sajjangarh Palace or Monsoon palace is built at a hill top which was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1884 to watch the monsoon clouds. The palace offers panoramic view of the city and lakes.
Entry ticket to palace- Rs 50 each
You can drive to the palace in your own vehicle- Parking charges Rs 100 for cars, Rs 30 for two wheelers
Or else hop into the jeeps ferrying to the palace at Rs 90 for each seat.
The road to the palace is curvy, steep and prone to accident. Be careful while driving and brace yourself if in car.
Advisable to hop into the jeep or hire a local driver for the risky road.
As you hop out of the vehicle in the parking area, you would see the place swarming with Langurs. Harmless most of the times, they only attack if they find you threatening them.
|Palace facing entrance|
Purging our dizziness, we walked into the Monsoon Palace soaking in the beautiful view. A flight of stairs takes you to the vacant palace’s ground floor, now full of hoardings, indicating the flora and fauna around.
|The ground floor|
Half the palace was under renovation. The exit door of the ground floor leads you to a vast space from where the surrounding forests, mountains and civilization is viewed. The canvas is mesmerizing indeed. This place offers great sunset views.
Due to its location on hill top, the palace is windy. The heavy air currents cooled the heat.
|Panoramic view from ground floor|
The first floor looks beautiful. Sun shines generously, filling in the balcony with bright warm light. Only the walls are in dire need of repair.
Love couples sneak in the quiet corners to steal some private moments. A langur appeared from one window and disappeared through other.
Oh I forgot the palace is their home now :-)
|View of the city from outside the main gate|
If maintained properly, Sajjangarh palace is indeed exquisite. It needs lot of renovation and restoration though.
After paying Rs 140 each (Ticket cost Rs 50 and Jeep fare Rs 90), Monsoon Palace turned out to be a bit disappointing. Blame it on the location, the ruined aesthetics, or nothing-much-to-see-here factor, it did not appeal much to me.
Advisable- Wear shoes. You gotta walk a lot here.
The first half of the day ended with lunch at Natraj Restaurant where we savored Gujarati Thali.
The two must see places in Udaipur where we went next were-
· Lake Pichola
· Dudh Talai
· Deendayal Upadhayay Park, also known as Sunset Park
Stay tuned for these in next blog post.