Ever since the lockdown was lifted in June, I have hiked in Jaipur a couple of times. The group-based activities don’t seem like a good option during the pandemic. I have been hiking in Jaipur once every month barring September when the coronavirus cases in the city shot up drastically. This time my point of interest was a delipidated & abandoned building that offers an incredible view during the sunrise. Previous plans to visit this place never materialized.
My plan was to reach at 6.30 AM just in time to witness the sunrise but it didn’t work out. I missed the right trail in the wilderness. Young lads playing cricket in the open clearing assisted with the route.
One of the kids suggested undertaking this trail only with a group as the route is not safe. A leopard struck a kid, the previous week. We were contemplating changing our plans. Just when we were about to leave, a group of hikers was heading in our direction. After a brief conversation with Ajay, their leader, they invited us to join; that’s what we wanted!
The route through the jungle was confusing; there were many trails. Detecting the right one remains a problem if one is visiting for the first time. Fortunately, we didn’t have to worry much about it. After a few minutes, we discovered a cobbled path to follow.
I guess it is an ancient one. A fort in the vicinity overlooks what used to be one of the important entry points to the city. Before Jaipur was founded 300 years ago, this route was part of the Mughal route connecting Agra with Ajmer, a place that Mughal ruler Akbar visited often.
The advice handed out by the young lad was correct. The overgrowth of the Dhok forest provided excellent cover for leopards. There have been regular leopard sightings in this area. I recall the news of a young leopard cub being sighted at the base of this very hill last year. Most likely, he lost his way into the human settlement. As per the news report, there are 10-12 leopards in these hills. Their constant sighting prompts us that human settlements are transgressing into their territory.
The hiking trail is beautiful and rustic; with invigorating weather conditions, the hike is worth every minute. Twenty minutes on this trail steered us to the gates of the abandoned building.
Ajay, who was ushering us into the building started clapping vigorously. He explained his actions “this is necessary to prevent an encounter with wild animals.” I was not surprised. We hastened our steps to the terrace.
The view from the terrace was mesmerizing. We missed the sunrise; the sun had already become a golden ball instead of the reddish-orange one witnesses around sunrise.
My partner and I occupied the eastern corner of the building admiring the views while the group chose another corner with the views of the city. Let me share the picture of the view.
A group consisting of a family of four entered the terrace. The father, Kapil had an inquisitive mind; he threw a barrage of questions – our name, what we did for a living, the locality we lived in, and so on.
I don’t think there is anything better we can do in the morning than enjoy the cool morning breeze and mellow sunlight. This natural dose of vitamin D is good for the mind and body.
After enjoying awesome views & weather it was time for us to leave. We accompanied Kapil who had arrived later; a payback time for him for the time we spent quelling his inquisitiveness. Ajay mentioned he wanted to expend some more time before returning. Well, only if we didn’t have things to tasks to finish, we too would have stayed longer!
Here are a few more pictures as we traced back to the starting point of the hike. I loved this trail interspersed with Anogeissus Pendula and Gum Arabica trees, a few popular trees one finds in the Aravali hill range of Rajasthan.
This is the last picture from this hike and shows the sunrise point from a distance.
What is your source of Vitamin D?