Journey through Food and History : Bundi, Rajasthan

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2015 was when I had found about the Bundi festival. Although I did not attend the festival, I did plan a visit after 3 years, Dec 2018. Bundi is known as a hidden Gem of Rajasthan. When we stayed there a couple of nights, we were sure it is a gem and less explored destination

How to reach Bundi:
There are no direct trains to Bundi
The fastest and best train from Mumbai is the 22209 : Duronto Express. It leaves at 11:15 pm from Mumbai Central and reaches Kota Junction at around 10:30 am
Take an auto rickshaw from Kota railway station to Nayapura Bus Stand. Buses to Bundi leave from Nayapura Bus Stand (near Chambal River) in Kota
Inform the auto rickshaw driver that you need to go to Bundi. He will charge you around INR 60 – 70. He will take you exactly where the Bus is waiting. The Bus will drop you at the State Bus Stand in Bundi

The road from Kota to Bundi is in good condition. As of Dec 2018, Bus ticket price: INR 30 for Female / INR 40 for Male ( Yeah, they’ve got INR 10 concession for ladies 😀 )

From Bundi Bus Stand, if you are not so tired, instead of taking an auto rickshaw, you can opt to walk to your hotel. He will charge you around INR 50
If you are here in Dec – Mar, you should definitely choose the walking option

Airport:
The nearest airport is at Jaipur. However IGI, Delhi is a better option with more flights from many Indian and International cities
From Delhi, you can take a train or bus to Jaipur. From Jaipur, direct buses to Bundi are available

Why go to Bundi instead of any other well known place in Rajasthan?
If you have never visited any place in Rajasthan before, you will surely like Bundi the moment you step in

However, if you been to Udaipur or any of the “J” cities of Rajasthan, your first impression of Bundi would be – I am feeling alone. We came here in December, just at the start of the tourist season and we saw around 5-6 tourists. That too Firangs. So we can say there are just 8 non Bundi people in Bundi that weekend. Indian tourists were only seen on Sunday and they were here for a day picnic

So should you still visit Bundi?
Yes, you should. Give Bundi some time. Roam the streets. Have Lassi or Tea somewhere. Breathe the fresh air. Look around. Check the beautiful yet simple houses. Find the small temples at almost every corner. Click some photos of the reflections in the Nawal Sagar or Jait Sagar. Wonder at the paintings and murals in the Palace. Walk the streets. Encounter many cows on the narrow streets. Take a selfie with them. Have lunch on a roof top restaurant. Talk to locals and then, only then you will fall in love with Bundi, wanting to stay more, at least; 1 day more

If you come here as a tourist looking for quick and super duper services, this is not the place for you

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Historically Bundi was known as the Kingdom of Bundi. This is the Hadoti region of Rajasthan. Many wars had been fought here on the very streets where you might be sipping your tea/coffee. It can be considered OK if a ghost is sitting right next to you. The Kingdom was walled and it has 7 doors to enter

The months of Jan, Feb and Mar are the tourist season of Bundi or rather the best time to visit Bundi. Firangs from all over the world specially from EU come to Bundi for long duration visits

My plan is to find out why so many Firangs come to Bundi, I really want to. I want to eat the lovely local food and I want to spend a good weekend here

Let’s travel Bundi and Eat 😉 😛
Day 1:
We have reached Bundi Bus Stand and even though we are extremely tech savvy people, we didn’t bother to check how far the hotel is from the Bus Stand
The auto rickshaw guy charged us INR 50 to reach the hotel by an unnecessary bypass route
Our booking was at Haveli Katkoun
The hotel has a really good location. Every thing is nearby. Nearby as in hardly 2 min walk
The rooms are spacious with necessary amenities and hot water all day
It turns out we are the only guests in the hotel for the weekend. We have all the rooms to choose from. I decided on the Fort view room
Its 1:00 pm now and I am hungry
Post lunch we are going to visit Garh Palace. In that street, there were 3 Cafes. We went to Sawan Cafe for today’s lunch
Sawan Cafe – Vegetarian Place with options of Egg

We ordered the Special Rajasthani Thali. It had 4 Daal Baafle, Pulav, Sabji, 4 Churma Laddu, Dahi curry and Daal

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It was a long wait but the food was very tasty. The pulav and Churma laddu were the highlight of the Thali. We did our best and finished it all. Aunty does most of the cooking. They have 3 places to sit. Ground floor, Upper attached to the kitchen and roof top. I would suggest you to sit on the floor attached to the kitchen. Apart from the view, you also get to hear all the hustle and bustle in the kitchen 😀
You won’t believe but their Cafe can sit at least 35 people
Food every where in Bundi is prepared fresh. Be it Tea or lunch or breakfast, once you order they start preparing it right from scratch (read as: they boil potatoes when you order aloo parathas)
We are now moving towards Jait Sagar Lake. Walking is a great way to digest heavy food. I know we had planned for Garh Palace but we have lazed it to tomorrow 😀
The roads are narrow with good amount of vehicle and animal traffic. More than cars, cows blocked our way
After a good 30 min walk, we have reached a place: Smriti Kunj Garden also known as Chowpatty. This is a good place to click some photos

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On our way back we clicked some more photos of reflections and the Sukh Mahal palace

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The entry fee for Sukh Mahal is INR 75. Ridiculous! Considering its size and the “not-so-welcoming” look of it, we skipped this. Hopefully it was the right decision

While in Bundi, sightseeing should not be your prime objective. However, Chitrashala is a must. You don’t need Google Maps here. The Palace/Fort is visible from every corner. So even if you feel like you are lost, all you have to do is walk in the direction of the Palace

We have reached near our hotel. There is this place Sathi Lassi. It turned out the Lassi was toooo thick. Its Shrikhand in a glass. They should dilute it to at least 50% of the current thickness. Lassi is a drink and not something to scoop out with a spoon

Dinner was a toughie. I mean; to decide where to go was tough. There are pizza places right next to our Hotel. Skeptical about how the pizza in Bundi would be, we decided to take the risk. A place called Ben 10 (yes that cartoon) was lit with lights. Even though a dog was at the entrance, we jumped above him. Risking our lives for a pizza 😉
Ben 10 – Vegetarian Place with options of Egg

We ordered Indiana Pizza and tomato soup

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The pizza was delicious and so was the tomato soup. However, the quantity of the pizza was not enough for 2. Again the food took around an hour to prepare and 15 min to eat. We were still hungry but there was no option other than to go back to hotel and sleep.
If we had ordered any more food, it would have taken an hour more
If you go here and if you are very hungry, order more at the start
This again is a roof top place. They can sit around 20 people. If you come here for dinner don’t forget your jacket

Tip: If you want to utilize the waiting time, Place the order, Pay them and utilize the 30 – 40 min in doing some photography or roaming the streets

Day 2:
After a lazy wake up, we have headed out for breakfast
There are 2 more Cafes before Sawan Cafe. We decided to give them a try, however both were closed
Knowing Aunty at Sawan Cafe would cook good food, we went there again
This time, I will be smart. We have ordered 2 aloo parathas and a cheese tomato omlette with Coffee. Lesson learned from last night – Order more

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All of the food including the coffee was good. Parathas were soft but not thick. The potato filling inside was just the right taste. Aunty asked us to come again for a meal

Now its time for Garh Palace. The entrance ticket is INR 80 and INR 50 for Camera

Please Note: The walkways to the Garh Palace / Chitrashala / Fort are very steep and slippery. They are no railings or anything to hold
Take care of your children and ask them not to run when going down. The place is surely not for Elderly with Knee problems. Neither is it wheel chair friendly
It is must to wear proper footwear

Even with a fee of INR 80 and INR 500 for Firangs, the structure is not well maintained

If you have seen other forts and palaces of Rajasthan, the interiors of Garh Palace are not so appealing. If you really want to know a lot more and not miss anything, take a guide – seriously!

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View of Bundi from Garh Palace
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Tip: Some rooms of the palace get closed by afternoon. Make sure you go early in the morning

The major attraction was the Chitrashala. Murals and paintings from the 17th century. Not just old, they are beautiful. It is very necessary that these are maintained to their current state, if not renovated. The camera fees you paid are totally worth here
The paintings include Lord Krishna and his stories, Lifestyle of the Royal family, Beautiful women, Animals and even a layout of Nathdwara temple

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For maintenance work, Taragarh fort was closed. We craved for some fruit juice or something cold. There is this small place named Moon Cafe. This Cafe is run by a guy named Mohan. He requested us to try the Banana Lassi. Now this is how a Lassi is made. Perfect thickness and taste. Banana seems to create magic with curd or it might be the magic of Mohan 😀

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He is good to talk with. He has good knowledge of the area and the history of Bundi. If you want to spend an hour or two, go to his place and watch the time fly. If you are a history person and need to understand more on Bundi, I strongly suggest you to go to Mohan. Either just ask him questions or make a sightseeing tour deal with him. Everyone knows him and he knows well almost everything you need to know and see

We are now back to our hotel and my friend thinks we should have some food. It was a late lunch at 4:30 pm
Haveli Katkoun Restaurant – Veg and Non Veg Both

We enjoyed a spicy Sev Tamatar along with Rotis at the roof top of our staying hotel. It seems like given the time, every place in Bundi cooks good and tasty food
The restaurant of Haveli Katkoun is beautiful, spacious and provides views from every table

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We roamed about the streets of Bundi and came back to our hotel

At around 9:30 pm we started feeling hungry. Aunty at Sawan Cafe had asked us to come back. We obeyed

This time we have ordered Bundi Thali. This one has 4 Puris, Sabji, Daal, Dahi curry, Pakoda, Sweet Bhajiya and Rice

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Puris were the best Puris I have ever had outside my home and the Sweet Bhajiyas were too good; Crunchy and Sweet. Another tick in our list: What to eat in Bundi

The total cost at Sawan Cafe for all the meals we had here in these 2 days: INR 840

Day 3:
After check-out at our Haveli, breakfast was planned at Mohan’s place – Moon Cafe. As we were short of time, he served us Bread Slices with Ghee and a superb Tea. We have promised Mohan to return and have parathas made by him

We decided to walk to Bundi Bus Stand instead of taking an auto rickshaw. While on the way, I realized we can check out Raniji ki Baori (step well) without any detour

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Raniji ki Baori turned out to be a small place. Ticket to this place is INR 50
Though it is small but the architecture details are really good. Beware of Pigeon droppings

We have followed the same pattern of traveling back to Kota as we came to Bundi

I am not sure if I now know why Firangs come to Bundi but I am surely in Love with this place for reasons of my own

There are many more places around Bundi. You can rent a motorbike/scooter and visit all those in a 2 day trip. We had pre-decided to do this trip in relaxed mode and cover places on foot

Link to the photo album for images: Flickr Bundi Photo Album

Trip to Bundi was done as part of research for MovingMaratha
If you want MovingMaratha to arrange a backpacking trip for you and your gang to Bundi, feel free to connect with us


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