On the afternoon of 27th July, 2012 I landed at Udaipur airport. It is also known by the name Maharana Pratap Airport or Dabok airport. The feeling was like walking through a oven after de-boarding the aircraft. At the airport tourist center I picked up the tourist brochure for free provided by Rajasthan government tourism department. As soon as I came out of Udaipur airport, I saw Prakash, driver from Club Mahindra resort, waiting for me with a placard of my name. Prakash was a lively person as was his colorful turban. Club Mahindra made it a very pleasant ride by providing an AC Mahindra Scorpio SUV.
Distance from Udaipur Airport to Kumbalgarh: 95 km
Approx Time to Travel: 2.5 to 3 hrs
Prakash, driver from Club Mahindra Resort, Kumbalgarh
Udaipur airport is located around 22 km away from Udaipur city. We did not enter the city and drove on National highway(NH) 8, part of the Golden Quadrilateral which connects Delhi (Capital of India) and Mumbai (financial capital of India). Little into the drive I started seeing small hills with hues of green cover on them. Prakash shown the fort wall of Udaipur city and the gate used in those times. The 4 lane highway separated by dividers were in excellent condition and driving was a breeze. The dividers has been planted with exotic flowers. I also saw a vehicle watering the plants which I believe is taken care by any government agency. Prakash made me aware that Udaipur as well as entire Mewar region is a hilly region formed by the Aravalli hills.
There are very few industries on the way. After sometime we had to get onto a smaller State Highway(SH) 49. While driving through the country side I realized that Rajasthan is not all desert. To see desert one have to go to Jodhpur and beyond. Prakash told few days before my visit they had rain which had helped sprout more green leaves. At some places it was completely green in a hilly valley and I was surprised, I was in Rajasthan. Rain occurs less than average and rain water is stored in artificial lakes for usage throughout the year. Prakash shown me and described how cows are used to harness ground water from well in a traditional way.
I came to know at one of the valley on the banks of Banas river, the shooting of Bollywood movie Khuda Gawa took place. This was the set for India – Afghanistan border. The movie stared Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi. The almost dried stony bed of river banas, the dry aired hills and the narrow road going through the valley with a bridge over river Banas had a unique aura of itself.
Bollywood movie “Khuda Gawa” shooting spot
Around 3.30 pm reached Kelwara, the nearest populated habitat and town to Kumbalgarh. Kelwara is located on Fatepur road around 7 km from Kumbalgarh village. Reached Club Mahindra resort, Kumbalgarh around 4 pm. This was one of the best drives I ever had. At the reception I was welcomed in true Rajasthani style with a colorful Rajasthani turban and tilak (vermillion) by the front office manager. I was offered a special rose water drink as welcome drink. Following this I retired to my room to fresh up. This ride was the beginning of the discovery of another side of Rajasthan. Next will be on my introduction to Club Mahindra resort, Kumbalgarh.