Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Sariska

Alwar-Sariska belt is an exquisite place for its variety of offerings. Of course, there is Sariska National Park, which remains on top of the list of any visitor or nature lover alike. Then there are famous palaces in Alwar that everybody knows. Surrounded by rugged hills of Aravali. there are many things, which are yet to be explored. On my recent trip to Alwar, I discovered few of them. Initially, I thought about Siliserh lake palace, Marble mines of Aravali and Neelkanth Mahadev Temple situated in Tehla village, which comes under the buffer zone of Sariska National Park.


The time before I actually get on wheels is always difficult to me. I always feel butterflies on my stomach, and it never let me sleep before journey. This time one of my friends was going along, and he is such a late riser whom I don’t want to get sleep so I convinced him that you can do sleep in car while I’ll drive. So finally at 12 AM I decided that it’s the time to start, I’ll try to drive slow and will reach Alwar by dawn. However, the road condition turned out to be so excellent that from Ghaziabad, I reached Alwar in flat three hours without any fast driving. It is highly recommended to take this route if you are going to Alwar. Drive via Gurgaon- Dharuhera (Keep looking for left turn at Dharuhera)-Tijara- Kishangarh- Alwar, avoiding rush of NH-8. The entire stretch was properly divided and well built, with only state transport buses or few private vehicles to accompany. Finally, I reached Alwar by 3.30 in the morning and to Siliserh palace by 4.00. The palace gate was closed, and we had no other option than to sleep in car. I tried to avoid my friend who continuously scolded me for such a situation and tried to get some sleep.

I wake up with a bang; no it was not him but somebody from outside. I guess it must be around 5.30 or 6 and there were dozens of monkeys and languor of all shape, and sizes were busy in checking the intruders of wee hours. We did what one should do in such a helpless situation, i.e. no movement….no eye-contacts with mighty enemies…not making them angry…and remember God. After half an hour with no potential threat at the sight the troops started to disassemble. Now it was time to check the damages, but thankfully, it was not much except few minor scratches who can be easily washed out in rubbing.

However, this was just the start of torture of my beloved car. After two years of love that I gave to her, I snatched all of it that day without any mercy and that too unconsciously. If someone owns a vehicle either a car or bike before marriage, then it’s always a first love. And I too was not happy with my stupidity. Until then, the palace get was wide open and few guests were coming out for taking photographs, etc. We didn’t pay attention to their curiosity and smile. We used the outside wash facility of palace and moved out as it was not at all looking promising for a quick visit. First had a tea to get our mind on track, clicked some pics and then moved to Sariska National Park. Nevertheless, again, our luck was not in favor.

Had a hot cup of tea here...

First, a good news that we actually didn’t like at that time, Sariska Natioanl Park is now a properly maintained park, with fixed visiting hour, i.e. 7-12 in the morning and 2-6 in the evening; no private vehicles are allowed except Tuesday & Saturday (due to Pandupole Hanuman temple), and can be visited only by authorized vehicles that are very few in numbers.


Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Alwar, Rajasthan

It is a protected monument by ASI


Excavation has revealed many secrets here...

It was already 8, and the next shift was from 2 in noon. So, we decided to stick to our plan and moved towards Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. Since SC has banned all construction activity around Sariska National Park, so I guess it has been auto implemented on roads also. The entire stretch from Sariska to Thana Gazi is so pathetic that you force to drive at first gear. Then it was ok until 3-4 km and then again, until Bhangarh it was too bad. Since we came so far that returning was not seemed to be a good idea. After Bhangarh, road was ok somehow for few kms but again came in its worst avatar. What was most challenging that we had to cross Aravali hills as the temple was behind the hills. It was worst driving experience of my life and strongly suggested that without a SUV one should not get on this route. We were like since we came this far so let’s cross it. There was a horrific sound of stones striking on the chassis of the car. Somehow, we managed to reach at the temple.

Now it was time to cheer.

Around the temple...


The temple was a kind of discovery for us. It was like a Khajuraho in Rajasthan. Besides someone like us this place is regularly visited by four-footers.


Neelkanth Temple is also called Khajuraho of Rajasthan

Eternally satisfied we started back and visited marble mines. There were a number of trucks loaded with the huge piece of marbles. We didn’t allow to click around mines, but we saw the process of extraction of marbles from mines. It was indeed an experience.

This part of Alwar is connected through Rajgarh, which will again put you back to the Delhi route. The road condition was comparatively ok.

Again, we took the same route and reached Delhi by 10, satisfied with our discovery.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sultanpur National Park

Sultanpur National Park is located in close proximity of Delhi. It is just 20-25 km away from IFFCO Chowk Gurgaon. In January 2011, I visited this place which was declared a Bird Sanctuary in 1972 and later a National Park in 1989. Though I am not an avid bird watcher but the word National Park was enough for me to explore this place. It is around 60 km from my place (Sahibabad). I took the route of Dilshad Garden-Nizamuddin-Mathura Road-Chhatarpur-Gurgaon and then followed easily available Indian GPS system till Sultanpur. I reached around 8.30 AM and the ticket window was open with no body at sight except the staff. Next to National Park gate there is a food joint managed by Haryana Government which turns to be pathetic and costly at the same time. But overall it was pleasant till that moment. A perfect winter morning of Delhi, a hot cup of tea with some puff and about to enter in a National Park….my restless soul was started to getting some much needed peace. More pleasure came my way when I saw just two cars in the parking area. Happily I got the ticket and carried my binocular, digital camera and a bottle of mineral water to the park.


That moment was the end of my honeymoon period and what lies ahead was harsh reality of life. Till few meter the road was well paved which I somehow didn’t like. Nobody needs concrete in a supposing national park. Let it be ruined by pristine beauty of nature. But it was just the start few meters ahead full on construction was going on.


Sultanpur National park consist a lake which is centre of all avian activity and the construction work was going along circumference of the lake to make it well paved. The circumference is around 4-5 km and it takes around 2-3 hour to complete a round. One can step down to get close to lake. Probably this year if one would go there then they might witness a lake with less avian activity and a marine drive like structure around the lake.


It was around 10 when I heard an unbearable amount of noise that those tiny-miny creatures would not be able to make under any weird circumstances. There were hundreds of people loaded with every sort of equipments necessary for a picnic. In few minutes the place was over crowded with activities not at all suited for bird watching. Most of them were teenagers  from neighborhood area and they were utilizing the bird-watching  machaan for their own love story. So, the do-hanso-ka-joda kind of were easily and conveniently available at the cost of others convenience.


Somehow I completed my round and when came back to parking lot there were around 200 cars instead of just 2 in the morning, and I was assuming that this could be a place less known to others. I was complete dumbstruck with no clue that how to get out from here. Luckily after half an hour few visitors returned and I managed to get my car out.
So, first and foremost lesson to visit this place is parking your car at a point from where you can take it out easily. Sacrifice a little and visit early because this is a favorite place for picnic dwellers around Gurgaon. In outer area of the park you’ll see kids playing around and parents busy in taking brunch that is quite annoying. The Government restaurant is not ideal and costly at the same time so it is good to carry light food with you. Every year the number of migratory birds is decreasing but still it is a good place to visit. Last advice if possible avoid Sunday.