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Hathni Kund Jaipur | The Most Popular Hiking Place In Jaipur?

We are all forced to adapt to new realities. I’m certain many of you can recall my previous post on hiking in Jaipur post-lockdown. If you haven’t, over here is the post – A hiking excursion with a club. I had shared my experience of hiking with a Trekking Club in Jaipur and my plans for undertaking hikes in the coming months.

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For the reasons of safety, I did not hike for four weeks. At the same time, I feel hikes are a better option than say a walk or a jog in places like Central Park. It is important to undertake outdoor fitness activities once in a while. A solo hike is a good option for the time being. I have undertaken many solo hikes in Jaipur. I moved away from the same due to safety reasons. The hills surrounding Jaipur are home to panthers. Many fellow hikers have narrated incidents of sighting them during the hikes. The mobile network remains a scarce resource on many trails.

The Prelude

When I started hiking in Jaipur a couple of years ago, Hathni Kund or Hathuni Kund and Bhuteshwar Nath Mahadev trek were the first two treks. My hiking adventure started with a friend, a surgeon from Australia during the monsoon season. The Hathuni Kund was the first one we undertook. It was a fabulous place; serene and beautiful. One can sit here for hours, soaking the views and relaxing in the refreshing breeze. This was one of the preferred places for treks on weekends until the end of 2014. During the last six years, I have been to the Hathni Kund Trek only once! Here is a picture of Hathni Kund from my last trip, a couple of years ago.

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Earlier this month

The curiosity led me to visit Hathuni Kund once again. Curiosity? I wanted to know if the place has changed over the past few years. There were reasons why I decided to abandon it in favor of other options. For this time, I chose an alternative trail route; shorter but with a steeper ascend. I switched to the regular trail midway from Charan Mandir.

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Charan Mandir remains a prominent landmark on way to Nahargarh Fort. It is extremely crowded during the weekends; a favorite Jaipur sunrise point among locals. Charan Mandir is a historic temple supposedly 400-500 years old. Read more about it here.

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Charan Mandir, as seen from the hiking trail

The Hathuni Kund trail was buzzing with activity right from Charan Mandir parking area. As I started descending on the trail, I found many groups heading there. It is surprising to note people without masks walking together. Probably, they are immune to Coronavirus! The trail is lined with Anogeissus Pendula Tree on both sides. The tree is better known as Dhok locally. It finds home in Aravali hill range. Apart from Jaipur, it can be found in the rest of East Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi.

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Midway, a well reminded me of the familiar sight back then. During my initial years of hiking, this was a preferred water hole for cattle grazers. But many visits later, I invariably found it devoid of water. It does seem like an old well.

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I encountered a group of friends playing Indian classical music on a portable speaker. This was surprising since young lads don’t like this genre of music. I enquired if they like Bollywood or pop? One of them smiled and said they connect better with Indian classical.

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As I reached the waterfall of Hathuni Kund, the human sound in the jungle was ubiquitous; a sign of the presence of many groups. The reason why I decided to not visit this trail was its popularity.

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Ever since hikers started posting pictures of Hathuni Kund on social media, it became challenging to find tranquility. The exact reason which drew me here. Repeatedly, I would find empty bottles of beer, Whiskey, and disposable plastic glasses were strewn around. I have already discussed this issue of trash being dumped on Nahargarh Fort road in my previous write-up on Environmental issues in Jaipur.

 

Did I forget to mention countless plastic wrappers of “Chakna” (snacks to accompany liquor)? It wasn’t uncommon to come across loud Bollywood music being played on a portable speaker. I decided it made a little point to visit Hathuni Kund.

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Knowing things haven’t changed at all, I decided to spend some time away from the waterfall area and enjoy nature from another vantage point. Here is a view of the serene spot.

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Things to see at Hathni Kund

In my opinion, the best thing to do here is to enjoy the serenity – if that’s available! Still I will detail it out here for you to decide. The word Kund means water storage in Rajasthan. Usually, it refers to a well. But in some regions of Rajasthan, Kund refers to Baori (stepwell) too. A stiff cliff is the landmark of this site which is a waterfall area.

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A group posing for a picture in the waterfall zone

Beyond this waterfall is a valley having two temples one of which is near the cliff and is new construction. Here is a picture of Shiva temple at Hathni Kund near waterfall zone.

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An old picture from my previous visit with Shiva Temple of the left

The modest dwelling unit is a landmark site. Close to this makeshift shelter is another temple. It seems like an old construction. I possess a little clue about its history or when it was constructed.

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Ancient Hanuman & Shiva Temple, a picture froma previous visit.

Right next to this temple in the valley is a small pond. It’s a water accumulation area on a rocky basin. This water is definitely present not just in monsoon but even in ensuing months.

Let me share my uinteraction with the caretaker of this temple from previous post, Sheoram where I had conversation about Hathni Kund about the safety, wild animals & why he lived there.

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History – Origin of Dravyawati River?

Although it is being referred as Hathni or Hathuni Kund, this is not it’s real name. The name is derived from a local Rajasthani word referring to one of the four directions. This is unknown to most people. Many historians concur the origin of the Dravyawati river in Jaipur is Hathni Kund. Just before the waterfall is an old embankment of a dam. This dam was breached during the Jaipur floods of 1981.

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The flood was caused by incessant 326 mm rainfall on 19 July 1981. From 17th July 1981 to 19th July 1981, the cumulative rainfall registered in Jaipur was 840 mm! I’m unsure about the authenticity of this claim, but the popular opinion is Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II built this dam.

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After enjoying the cool breeze for a couple of minutes, it was time to head back. Although it felt nice being here back again but I realized I needed to stay from such popular trails. Cacophony and hordes are not what I seek in the midst of nature. In the post-COVID world, this is the least desirable. While the options for solo hikes in Jaipur are limited, I might find just one more partner to expand my options in the upcoming months.

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The Return

As I traversed through the familiar trail, I witnessed many more groups heading to Jaipur’s most popular trek route. As I reached Charan Mandir, it was a familiar sight of usual weekend pandemonium. Of late, Charan Mandir has become a popular sunrise point in Jaipur as Nahargarh Fort was closed for a long time owing to the COVID Lockdown in Jaipur. Indeed, the sunrise from this place is epic. I’m sharing one such beautiful Jaipur sunrise from a place close to Charan Mandir.

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The scene prompted me of pre-COVID time. Masks and social distancing was hard to find. I guess people were fed up with the past three months. Allow me to share the picture of the visual I encountered.

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As I reached the start point of the trail, I noted it took me exactly 2 hours to complete this trail through the alternative route. The trail lined with Dhok trees is a good break from the huddled life we all lead in a crowded city. Apart from Dhok, one gets to see a variety of flora on this trail. Here are a few that I witnessed.

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A peahen and a Banyan tree

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The Kadamb tree flower.

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This tree reminded me of the Himalayan Birch tree, also called Betula Utilis found at the height of 10,000 feet. I have many during the treks in the Himalayas. Their bark was used as paper during ancient times.

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Once monsoon sets in fully, one gets to witness plenty of Sickle Bush Tree on this trail which is a pretty sight.

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I did miss the sunrise, something I looked forward to on the usual trail. But I did enjoy this beautiful alternative trail. I’m not sure if I’m returning to this hiking trail in Jaipur anytime soon. Given its popularity, I’m sure I will continue to hike in other trails near Jaipur.

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I suppose there will be many tweaks in the post-COVID world; a new normal. How have you adjusted to the new normal? Have you changed your fitness routine or weekend activity?

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65 thoughts on “Hathni Kund Jaipur | The Most Popular Hiking Place In Jaipur?

  1. Good to read you after a long time. Wonderful detailed post as usual. The serene and secluded trail is what we look for as well. I feel bad for those irresponsible ‘travellers’! 😦 Hope to read more such trail details from you. 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you liked the post. I guess the whole point of exploring these trails is to find enjoy nature. Isn’t it so?
      Well, It is shame that even literate people behave this way. I’m sure you must have come across something similar during your travels.

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  2. It is sad to see that so few people care about their safety and the safety of their fellow human beings and gather in large crowds. Your solo hike up the mountain trail must have been a disappointment, Arv!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, I guess not everyone enjoys nature. Many people visit such places to click pictures and post it on social media, to look cool!
      Since I anticipated crowd, I had an alternative plan. I took a diversion and visited another beautiful spot in the vicinity. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a beautiful trail, it’s a shame that it’s so crowded. As I started reading, I thought you would have the trail entirely to yourself given the pandemic but I was sure in for a surprise. The crowd in the trail is totally shocking. Like you say they may consider themselves to be immune to the virus, hence no masks. Social media has spoiled so many such nature’s hidden spots. Worst when people with no/little love for nature throng these places just for a post in FB or Instagram. I hope you are able to find some tranquil place to hike with a like-minded partner.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Neel, I guess we’re on the same page. There’s a reason why I never wrote about this trail before. And since the situation has changed, I decided to share it here. Thankfully, there are many serene spots which haven’t been discovered by the people who love to flaunt their adevntures on social media. Even though I have been to close to 60-70 such spots, you will hardly find information here on the blog. The seekers will find it anyways, and that’s how things should be.
      And the situation is quite similar with Himalayan treks too. Social media and trek tourism has spoilt a lot of beautiful treks in Himalayas. Fortunately, there are ways around it. Which Himalayan trek are you planning to explore when things are back to normal, Neel?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I have never seen you write about undiscovered and not so well known places. Even on Instagram, you never do. And this is such a great service to these places you’re doing. I do wish more people would understand this. While I do write in WP, but in Instagram I often do not give the exact location, like, I just give the location as Meghalaya but not specifics. As for Himalayan treks, absolutely yes….the serenity of the majestic mountains are so much spoiled. At least with Covid, the mountains are breathing freely. The flipside is those people who were making a living through this medium, like the khacchar-walas, homestay owners, etc. But still I sometimes wish that there is a system to check the number of footfalls. This is a highly possible thing to implement, if the will is there. I haven’t thought of where I want to go, Arvind. Not just yet. There are some treks that i would like to do, but will see what happens.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, someone once told me that not talking or writing about these places is being selfish. In my opinion, I definitely do not wish be a reason to spoil such places. Also, we humans forget these forests are home to animals and birds. As I said before, seekers will find places, in any case. I agree the current situation is challenging for people in mountains who depend on trekkers and travelers. Let’s hope someday authorities wake up to check the trek tourism! It is a good time to search and find places that interests you, Neel. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is so true. I wish people were more careful with their acts. Certainly, it is still a great place despite all the trash strewn around. Do you have hiking opportunities around your city? Did you do anything special to keep busy and safe during the lockdown, Cornelia?
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Arv, thank you for your response. To answer your questions, I have plenty walking opportunities around where I live , going every day for a walk, with my camera discovering hidden objects and plants. With my photography I kept myself busy to finally dive into my passion of Flower Art Photography, I bring flowers home to my studio set up and photograph them in unusual perspectives and angles. Since we can’t go any where my passion is blossoming that way and brings me so much joy. Some of them I have already posted and there will be more to publish on wordpress. As you probably know the US is by now on top of the list of most Covid infections, we are facing probably another lockdown. Have a great weekend and try to enjoy what’s possible for you, and stay safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is great that you have found a creative outlet for your hobby. I’m happy you can photography flowers, your passion amidst this unusual situation we all are in. Even though the US has a large number of infections, from the current pictures of the street, it doesn’t seem like that. I guess people have taken it quite casually, at least in some cities and states. The US president’s statement too have contributed towards it. At least some state authorities were more proactive in dealing with this situation. Even though situation is not as bad here, I have chosen not to venture out unless necessary. I don’t think it is a sane idea to become asymptomatic carrier and put other’s lives at risk. Looking forward to see more flower pictures, Cornelia.

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      3. Thank you Arv for your response. Indeed especially here in California people have taken the Covid too lightly in the last too months and of course our “president” has contributed to that by not taking responsibility and all his speeches are just full of “Nothing”. Here we are really afraid of the outcome of the elections in November, another term of this guy will drive the country down. Stay safe and find happiness within yourself my friend. Have a great Sunday.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I can understand the concerns, Cornelia. The world definitely needs a better person to take charge of your nation. The current president has undone all the previous political and strategic gains of the previous governents. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and concerns. You too stay safe, Cornelia. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love to go hiking, and that looks like a nice trail. I was doing some research earlier on places to hike, but I’m currently in Spain and it’s very hot for the entire day so I think I’ll have to wait until the weather starts to cool down, maybe in a couple of months. Thanks for the hiking inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hathni Kund sounds like a nice hiking trail. But it is really sad how it has deteriorated owing to its own popularity. This is the sad state of affairs in so many pristine places that have grabbed eyeballs and resulted in more visitors. The tragedy is that people do not know how to respect nature and end up littering the place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, mots people pay little attention to keeping our environment clean. I’m sure being a traveler you see the similar state everywhere. I hope things change soon.

      Like

  6. I love to hike, Arv! I haven’t done as much as I like to due to time constraints, but I enjoy getting out into nature. i find it very peaceful. You took excellent pictures. Thanks for sharing them with all of us! You definitely have a great eye!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This looks like an ambitious but rewarding hike! And what a sight to see Charan Mandir arise from the hiking trail. Lovely! I’ve never seen a Sickle Bush Tree in bloom before and will need to find out more about those. You must never know what beauty is to be found on a trail like this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure you will love visiting both this trail and Charan Mandir. I’m not sure if Sickle Bush is found in your region. You can certainly google on that. I’m glad you enjoyed this virtual trip, Jackie. 🙂

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  8. Wow that is indeed a pretty good hike! If I happen to be in Jaipur anytime soon, I would definitely do it. Well I do write about offbeat places too but I too fear about people ruining it. Some places are better off the hook. Or else, it will just be a trash point to most of the people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that keeping some places off from crowd is better than ruining it forever. While some feel this is a selfish thought but from ecological perspective, it is important to save it from destruction. Do you hike on a regular basis?

      Like

  9. This is a beautiful hike. I completely agree that hiking is one of the best and safest activities during these difficult times. I would even go so far as to say a necessity. I am solo and unfortunately I am also careful where I venture due to safety reasons, but I do try to get out on the trails at least once a week. I will admit thought that I have NEVER come across the garbage that you did on this trail. That is so disappointing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Certainly, it is disappointing, Kelly. I’m happy to know you are regular on hiking trails. Safety is very important and finding like minded partners for hikes certainly helps. Do you have any?

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  10. I think in this Covid era, more people are enjoying the nature closer to home. We have seen the same types of things in places where we wouldn’t have before. I hope as things return to more normal, some of the crowds will disperse a little. However, no matter what happens in the world, people should respect nature and leave it better than they found it. They should also know that some people use nature as an escape and they need to keep the noise down. Lovely photos.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree we should respect nature. Mankind has still not been able to tame nature complteley and we should respect its supremacy. It is true that more and more people are enjoying nature with most gyms and fitness activities being closed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kathleen. 🙂

      Like

  11. The hike trail looks good but like you shared if there is too much crowd the essence is lost. No wonder you wish to explore other quieter ones. Is there a waterfall there in monsoon; I understand there is scarcity of water. Littering is something people just don’t want to unlearn. It’s extremely sad. I hope you find a good partner for your hikes and discover beautiful trails.

    The first photo of Hathni Kund is my favorite. Rugged and lush with gentle mist 💚…… and as always lovely photos Arvind

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Monika, the whole idea of going out in nature is to enjoy serenity. If that is missing, what’s the point? During continous downpour, you are likely to see the waterfall. But finding your way in such a situation is difficult because the access to the Nahargarh Fort road is cut off due to water logging. I’m not surprised why you like the first picture, Monika. I suppose you don’t hike much.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It sounded like you had a lovely hike in Hathuni Kund during these COVID-19 times. That was a spectacular sunset at the end, and it probably made the two hour trek back a little easier. I also read your other post and agree wearing a mask can be hard when hiking. It really is not ideal but we should all do our part. Maybe the young lads just happen to enjoy Indian classical music and it is nice that one of them smiled at you.

    Hopefully you get to hike again soon. From the things are going it does seem like its better for most of us around the world to stay indoors for the time being. Nature is always tempting. Take care, Arv.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your imputs, Mabel. I guess we all need to adapt to this new situation. Pains and aches are always part and parcel of the changes. Well, I’m taking it slow at the moment when it comes to hiking. I agree nature is always awesome. It’s nice to rad your comment, always, Mabel. Hope you are doing well. How is situation in your part of the world?

      Like

      1. Yes, we all need to adapt to changes in the world and get used to a new normal. I’m doing all right over here and staying indoors as much as possible. That’s what officials have been saying here, stay home as the cases rise. Even many parks and hiking places are closed. It would be nice to do a hike at some point again. I hope you aren’t too bored with less hiking to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m glad you were able to find some quieter paths to avoid the crowds. Hathuni Kund trail looks like it has some beautiful viewpoints. I hope you find a hiking partner to get out and explore further with soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. It is such a shame that due to social media a beautiful place like Hathni Kund is being damaged by reckless visitors. It looks so photogenic and great for some quaint time with nature. I am visiting Jaipur in the next two weeks, maybe I should visit here too. Not sure if it’s open for visitors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the end, it is not social media in itself rather human behavior that is responsible. Social media as a medium is certainly potent and is responsible for changing governments i.e. Arab spring. I wish if we could use the same to make a corrective step.

      Like

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