Sundar Nursery – Delhi’s Heritage Nursey and Park | Delhi’s Parks and Gardens

Sundar Nursery, lying adjacent to the UNESCO World heritage site of Humayun’s Tomb and Nizamuddin Basti, is a heritage park & nursery existing since the 16th century. Post-independence, the Sundar Nursery was run by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) as a central government nursery culturing & propagating many varieties of plants & trees in Delhi. The Aga Khan foundation, under its urban renewal initiative undertook a restoration cum landscaping project of Sunder Nursery. Sundar Nursery, in its present form is a beautiful heritage park cum nursery, boasting of many varieties of flora, fauna and some typical heritage structures & monuments.

Sundar Nursery – water pathway with fountains

The Nizamuddin basti area, famous for being the centre point of ‘Chisti’ sufism through the famous saint Nizamuddin has had a thriving village as well as many different constructions such as tombs of kings, nobility and other lesser known people (as it was thought to be auspicious to be buried in the vicinity of saints) from the 14th centrury onwards.  The Sundar Nursery was apparently known as Azim Bagh at the time and after independence was taken over by the central government PWD (CPWD) as a nursery. Spread over 90 acres (36 hectares), this was a patch of green verdant land lush with foliage in the heart of central-south Delhi. The Aga Khan Trust took the initiative to turn the Nursery into a city park showcasing its unique heritage, ecological and nursery zones and adding basic convenience facilities for visitors.


Recommended Read: A day visit to Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in Delhi – NCR


I visited the restored Sundar Nursery on a beautiful winter Sunday morning along with enthusiastic walkers from the oldest walking group in Delhi – Knowing and Loving Delhi Better (KloDB). As we enter through the main gate, a grand central vista over 500 meters long is visible with beds of flowers and trees in row on both sides. There is one monument at the end of this central vista – the Sundarwala Burj. The other heritage structures in the complex are Lakkarwala Burj, Sunderwala Mahal, Chota Batashewala, Mirza Muzaffar Hussain’s Tomb & a Mughal era unknown tomb, all of which have been restored to add to aesthetic delight of the area.

Heritage structures inside Sundar Nursery

The gardens along the central vista are Mughal inspired and have incorporated marble fountains and flowing water placed in between geometric flower beds and raised sandstone pathways. There is a big area on one side made available for winter picnics. The landscape is a mixture of formal gardens as well as informal settings for families to enjoy picnics featuring ponds and lakes, nursery beds, a flower showcase, arboretum, amphitheatre, rose garden, orchards and an area for holding outdoor activities. There are  The day we visited the Nursery, an organic farmers’ market was set up in the morning and we were told that it may be a weekly affair every Sunday till the weather is pleasant. Post our walks into the various areas of the nursery, we relaxed under the shade of trees at the farmers’ market and enjoyed the fresh food and treats.

For any urban dweller in Delhi, the Sundar Nursery offers a relaxing and pretty place to unwind.


How to Reach Sundar Nursery

Sundar Nursery lies adjacent to Humayun’s Tomb and can be easily reach by private and public transport. There is now ample parking space near the nursery, next to the Humayun’s Tomb gate and one has to walk 100 meters after parking the car. There are buses plying till Nizamuddin from all over Delhi and from the bus stand, it takes 300 meters of walking to reach the Nursery main gate. The nearest metro station is JLN Stadium station (on Violet Line) and Jor Bagh station (on Yellow Line); one has to take autorickshaw or bus from both these metro stations to reach Nursery.

Timings and Charges of Sundar Nursery

The Sundar Nursery is open all days from sunrise to sunset (at the time of my visit it was 8 am to 5 pm) . The ticketed entry in 35 INR for Indian and SAARC countries (Adults), for children (5-12 years), & senior citizens it is INR 15, for foreign nationals it is INR 100 . The entry is free for children below 5 years and differently abled (wheel is available on request). Check out their official website for latest information and updates : www.sundernursery.org


If you found this Delhi guide useful, you might find my other Delhi posts here interesting too:

Lodhi Garden – One of the best parks in Delhi

Humayun’s Tomb – The UNESCO World Heritage site in Delhi

A walk through Khan Market – the best known market of Delhi

Lodhi Colony – story of an iconic neighbourhood in Delhi

A food walk through Old Delhi – Chawri Bazar and Jama Masjid

Top Things to do in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Jaisalmer city, located in the heart of Thar Desert in Rajasthan is nicknamed the ‘Golden City’ due to stunning golden yellow sandstone structures & monuments. Jaisalmer and nearby area of Sam Sand Dunes has lots of interesting attractions to offer and we spent 3 days exploring Jaisalmer & Sam Sand Dunes on our 9-day family road trip through marwar region of Rajasthan. Here is my list of must do things in Jaisalmer.

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Desert Safari at Sam Sand Dunes – The beauty of the great Indian Thar desert can be experienced at Sam sand dunes. To be sure, one cannot enter the main area of the protected Thar desert but the commercial desert safari camps are located around the sand dunes on the edge and offer luxury tent stay, bonfire, camel rides in the dunes. It’s quite a touristy thing in my experience and especially after spending a beautiful night inside the wadi rum desert in Jordan, this was a bit of letdown. However, my kid who experienced sand dunes and camel rides for the first time was overjoyed. So this experience can be purely had for the novelty factor of seeing desert, sand dunes and camel rides.

Paragliding at Sam Sand Dunes – There are many commercial paragliding operators on the way to Sam Sand dunes from Jaisalmer town and its an adventure activity which is fairly safe and most age friendly.

Evening at Sam Sand Dunes, Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India

Visit Abandoned village of Kuldhara – The abaondoned village of Kuldhara (abandoned since 19th century) is located in between Sam Sand Dunes and Jaislamer town. It’s a conserved village now and it’s a eery feel to visit it even during daytime, with only goats roaming around the broken down hutments and rubble.

Stroll around in Jaisalmer Fort – The Jaisalmer Fort has a unique character, being a living fort. From the times of its founding, the ruler allowed citizens to live & work inside the fort and the fort grew organically, with jain temples, houses and shops inside it. Today, it makes for an interesting stroll inside the fort, visiting the jain temples, its claustrophobic narrow but colourful streets and many shops. We took almost half a day to roam inside the Jaisalmer Fort and enjoy the views of the city below from it. The Jaisalmer Fort is famously called ‘Sonar Kella’ or Golden Fort due to the stunning golden yellow hues of its sandstone structure, which shines brilliantly in the sunlight and changes shades through the day.

Jaisalmer Fort famously called Sonar Kella

Recommended Read: Visiting Alwar in Rajasthan, India


Visit Gadisar Lake – A beautiful serene lake by the edge of Jaisalmer old town, it’s the perfect place to chill out in the evenings or mornings.

Stroll around in old town Jaisalmer – The old town of Jaisalmer is interesting and alluring, with its yellow gold sandstone facades, colourful street art and everyday life. From a goat & cow eating in the middle of the road to ladies sunning themselves after a bath or doing puja, it’s a delight to walk around the narrow streets of old Jaisalmer town.

Bhang Lassi Shop in Jaisalmer

Drink Bhang lassi from Government authorised shop at Jaisalmer Fort – This is one of the few places in India, where Government authorised bhang lassi is sold and it’s a must have!! How does it feel afterwards? well, that depends from person to person and I wasn’t affected at all!! (as testified by the husband!!). The Bhang Lassi shop is located on the right side of the main entrance to Jaisalmer Fort.


Recommended Read: Visiting Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India


Evening entertainment of Rajasthani Puppet show at Desert Cultural Center – The indigenous art of puppetry in Rajasthan has been revived at the Desert Cultural Center in Jaisalmer and it’s a delight to watch the puppet show of 1 hour.


Recommended Read: Things to do in Jhunjhunu, Shekhawati, Rajasthan, India


Where to Stay in Jaisalmer

There are varied options on Jaisalmer from luxury to budget stays. One of the most interesting options to stay is inside the Jaisalmer Fort; there are many homestays and B&Bs. However, please be aware that if you are having a vehicle along with you (like we did on our self-driving holiday through Marwar), parking facility is not available inside the fort. We opted to stay at mid-budget Hotel Mystique which was located around 500 meters from the Jaisalmer Fort and in the heart of the town. We found the hotel rooms to be neat & clean and the staff was super courteous and helpful in guiding us on sightseeing the city & avoiding tourist traps. The rooftop restaurant has decent food and the owner himself interacts with the guests many times there. It cost us xxx for 3 days 2 nights stay here.

How to reach Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer can be reached by Rail, Air or Road. The nearest railhead is Jaisalmer station. The Jaislamer Airport is located 5 km from the city, however, it is a military airport with only limited chartered flights. The best way to reach is via road through National Highways 11 and 125. We did a road trip through Marwar, and reached Jaisalmer from Jodhpur; the road condition is excellent with many road side restaurants & eateries (having hygienic conveniences). There are also buses plying to Jaisalmer from other cities of Rajasthan (Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, etc) and one has to look up latest schedule on internet for same.


If you found this travel guide useful, you might find my other travel posts here interesting too:

Visit to Nathdwara in Rajasthan – abode of Shri Nath ji and place of origin of Pichwai paintings

The Painted towns of Shekhawati region,Rajasthan  – Nawalgarh

The Painted towns of Shekhawati region,Rajasthan  – Mandawa

Family road trip through Mewar region of Rajasthan, India

Long Weekend getaway to Neemrana Fort PalaceLong weekend getaways from Delhi to Neemrana properties in Alwar – a detailed review of Tijara Fort Palace, Kesroli Fort Palace and Neemrana Fort Palace

Top Things to do in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Jodhpur is a lively city, erstwhile royal seat of Marwar kingdom of Rajasthan. Popularly called as ‘Blue City’, Jodhpur has lots of interesting attractions to offer and we spent 2 days exploring Jodhpur on our 9-day family road trip through marwar region of Rajasthan. Here is my list of must do things in Jodhpur:

#1 Visit Mehrangarh Fort – One of the largest forts in India, Mehrangarh Fort was built in 1460 by Rao Jodha and stands towering over the city of Jodhpur like a giant. It has multiple levels, with many rooms, intricate stucco works, facades and many historical artefacts.


Mehrangarh Fort Visit Timings  Sunday To Saturday from 9 a to 5 pm

Ticket Prices

Domestic Guests – Rs. 100

Domestic Guests (Sr. citizen, Student, Para Military personnel) – Rs. 50

Elevator (one-way) – Rs. 50 (charged additional to entry ticket per person and optional)

International Guests (includes the audio) – Rs. 600

International Guests (Students) – Rs. 400*


#2 Visit Rao Jodha Desert Park  – Located adjacent to Mehrangarh Fort, the Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park was created in 2006 to try
and restore the natural ecology of a large, rocky wasteland
next to the fort. It has many indigenous desert flora.


Rao Jodha Desert Park Visit Timings   April to September 7 am to 6:30 pm, October to March 8 am to 5:30 pm

Ticket Prices –Adults INR 100, Students – Free, Hire a Naturalist – INR 200


#3 Visit Jaswant Thada – Located adjacent to Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph built by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur State in 1899 in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The monument complex serves as the cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar and the main building is beautifully constructed in marble and red sandstone. It takes only 5 minutes from Mehrangarh Fort to visit Jawant Thada. The timings are same as for Mehrangarh Fort.

Clock Tower, Jodhpur

#4 Stroll around Clock Tower area – The Clock Tower and its surrounding old market is a visual and sensory overload. There are many shops selling spices, tea, knick knacks and stuff. One can also take the stairs up the clock tower to see the city views. We strolled around the clock tower area enjoying street foods and taking in the scenery.

Umaid Bhawan Palace

#5 Visit Umaid Bhawan Palace – Only a very small portion of this palace is open to public. However, it’s a very grand palace built between 1928 to 1943, where the erstwhile royal family of Marwar still resides and some part is also a luxury hotel (apparently on the most expensive in the world).

#6 Spend an evening at Toor ji Ka Jhalra stepwell – The Toor ji Ka Jhalra Stepwell is located walking distance from the Clock Tower and has been recently restored. The area around the stepwell has many cafes as well as high end shopping boutiques that has been set up as part of an initiative by jodhpur-based designers’ group to revive the local arts & fashion. We spent the golden hours in evening at a café overlooking the stepwell and enjoying with beers & views.


Recommended Read: Things to do in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India


#7 Learn about Rajasthani Miniature art painting at Umaid Heritage Art School – The Marwar region is famous for miniature art style and one can buy it many places. However, if you want to see students and teachers making these paintings in real time or even do a workshop, then head to Umaid Heritage Art School located in the clock tower area market. One can also buy the miniature art and prices vary according to the style and complexity of the artwork.

Me & Rekha – the lady behind world famous Incredible Krishna Cooking Class in Jodhpur

#8 Learn authentic Rajasthani cooking with Incredible Krishna Cooking Classes – One of my most interesting experiences was an evening at Incredible Krishna cooking class workshop with Rekha. We learnt many authentic Rajasthani dishes such as ker sangria, dal baati choorma, Rajasthani pulao, are made and at the end had a hearty delicious Rajasthani meal! Even if you are not into cooking, this experience is worth for the delicious food Rekha cooks and their family’s warm hospitality. I would say its much more authentic food experience than going to any restaurant for dinner in Jodhpur (costing almost same  = INR 1500 per person /only adults are charged). We left Jodhpur with our tummies full and our hearts glad!!

If you found this travel guide useful, you might find my other travel posts here interesting too:

Family Road trip to Shekhawati region of Rajasthan

Family Road trip to Mewar region of Rajasthan

The Painted towns of Shekhawati region,Rajasthan  – Nawalgarh

The Painted towns of Shekhawati region,Rajasthan  – Mandawa

Visit to Ranakpur Jain Temples, Rajasthan, India

Rajasthan Road Trip through Marwar region – Self-Driving family holidays in Rajasthan, India

Winters for our family means a self-drive holiday to the warmer states/regions in India. This year we did a 9-day long road trip through Rajasthan travelling through Marwar region of Rajasthan covering Ajmer, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and also visiting Mandawa which falls in Shekhawati region of Rajasthan.

Our previous annual family roads trips through Rajasthan were (1) driving holiday through Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, (2) Driving through Mewar region of Rajasthan.

We travelled for 9 days in the month of November to the Marwar region of Rajasthan, choosing destinations which were both on my and the husband’s travel wish list for a long time (our toddler 4.5 years old so she doesn’t have any destination preferences yet). It turned out to be a mixed bag of interesting experiences, disappointments and some exciting moments of adrenalin rush. Sharing our Rajasthan family road trip with all readers, hopefully you will find our journey as interesting as we experienced it.

The itinerary and route we took for travelling through Marwar region of Rajasthan : Delhi – Ajmer  – Jodhpur  – Jaisalmer  – Bikaner – Mandawa – Delhi

Day 1 – Delhi to Ajmer

Day 2 & 3 – Jodhpur

Day 4,5 & 6 – Jaisalmer / Sam Sand Dunes in Jaisalmer

Day 7 – Bikaner

Day 8  & 9 – Mandawa ( and driving back to Delhi)

Total Distance Driven : 1833 Kms in theory  (i.e Google Maps) but our Car clocked 1879.5 Kms to be exact!!

Delhi to Ajmer: We started off pretty early in the morning (at 5:30 am), as the distance from Delhi to Ajmer is around 400 kilometers with travel time of approx 6 hours.  We encountered fog almost all along the way from Gurgaon till Behror on NH 8. The route goes via NH 8, NH 48/79 (on google maps it showed NH 48 but the boards show NH 79).  We reached Ajmer at late afternoon, freshened up and took a nap. The Ajmer Sharif Dargah opens in the evening at 4 pm and we visited it as soon as it in evening around 6 pm; the crowds were crazy!! and it’s the most crowded we came across in all our trips to the Ajmer Dargah till dare!! Therefore, pro tip for Ajmer Shairf Dargah is – Visit it closer to evening opening hours or early morning (we have done that too on our previous visits).


Recommended Read : Long weekend holidays Guide for Alwar, Rajasthan  


Ajmer to Jodhpur : We started our drive from Ajmer at around 7 am to avoid traffic. In fact, we always try to start a drive early morning to avoid traffic as well as give us advantage of driving through major of day light so as to have safer driving conditions (which include avoiding driving after sunset, or at night). The distance from Ajmer to Jodhpur is approximately 205 kms and it took us around 4.5 hours (including pit stop breaks) to reach our home stay in Jodhpur. For pit stop on Ajmer to Jodhpur drive, I will recommend stopping at RTDC run motel Barr located in Barr – its sevice is quick, no frills and good parking space for cars.

We had booked Rudraneel Villa in Jodhpur – a spacious bungalow converted into homestay in the posh area of Jodhpur. It cost us 4000 INR plus taxes for 2 night stay and the room we booked was neat & clean, though a bit small in size. However, the villa had many common spaces and it was relaxing to lounge around in mornings & evenings in the common areas with family.

Sightseeing in Jodhpur: Jodhpur is quite a popular tourist destination and most of the attractions here are quite well known. On our first day, we visited the Old Clock Tower area and watched the sunset from a café overlooking  Toorji Ka Jhalra – an old step well recently renovated. On day 2, we visited Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada and Umaid Bhawan Palace. Being the peak of tourist season, all these places were quite crowded, however managed well. In the evening of Day 2, we opted to experience Rajasthani food with ‘Incredible Krishna Cooking Class’ by Rekha & Rishi – this was something highly recommended to me by a British couple on a flight couple of years ago. It was quite fun and interesting time we spent at the home of Rekha & Rishi, learning the Rajasthani staple dishes and some new ones which we didn’t know earlier; the grand finale of the experience was a delightful homemade Rajasthani dinner. It was definitely one of our unique experiences in Jodhpur and I would be writing a detailed post on it soon.

Jodhpur to Jaisalmer: The drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer is around 280 kms, however, we had planned to spend our first evening in Jaisalmer at Sam Sand dunes, which is around another 150 kms away from the main Jaisalmer city. The drive from Jodhpur to Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer is quite interesting with the changing landscape, lots of diverse kind of vehicles and motorists on the highway (from bikers to army convoys) and the excellent condition of the highway itself. We thoroughly enjoyed our almost 6-hour drive to reach our desert resort camp at Sam Sand Dunes.

Overnight Stay at Sam Sand Dunes: The Sam Sand dunes (in Sam near Jaisalmer) are part of the Desert National Park, and the desert safaris are mostly located just outside the boundary area of the national park. Our Desert Resort was completely touristy filled with Gujrati & Bengali domestic tourists and other than the sand dunes ride with family in evening and morning, there was nothing I enjoyed at this place. In fact, I wasn’t much impressed by my first experience of Thar Desert at Sam Sand Dunes as I had a much better visual experience at Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan earlier this year in April on my self-planned holiday to Jordan. However, it was nice to have ticked off two deserts (Wadi Rum, Jordan and Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India) in one year on my travel list.

Sightseeing in Jaisalmer : The next morning, driving back from Sam Sand Dunes, we made a detour to visit Kuldhera – an ancient abandoned village since19th Century.  We spent our next two days in Jaislamer exploring the city. Like Jodhpur, the golden city of Jaislamer is a popular tourist attraction in Rajasthan, especially during the winter season. Its most famed for its Jaisalmer Fort (also called golden fort)– Sonar Kella, made famous in popular culture by Oscar winning director Satyajit Ray’s movie by same name – Sonar Kella. The Jaisalmer Fort does look golden in the bright sunlight, glimmering like polished yellow gold. The other interesting places in Jaisalmer is the old city, which has many interesting old havelis and lake – Gadisar lake.

We stayed at Hotel Mystic Jaisalmer which was a mid-budget hotel located around 500 meters from the Jaisalmer Fort and central to most of the other attractions. We absolutely loved the hospitality of the staff and how well they guided us to avoid the tourist traps in Jaisalmer. The rooms were neat & clean.

Jaisalmer To Bikaner: After spending 3 days in Jaisalmer, we headed to Bikaner. The drive from Jaislamer to Bikaner turned out quite a bad experience due to bad road sections for around 1-2 hours of the drive.  We reached Bikaner around early noon and after a quick refreshing up, went sightseeing.

Sightseeing in Bikaner : The most famous attractions in Bikaner are actually located some distance away from Bikaner city – (1) Karni Mata Temple – dedicated to Karni Mata deity and revered for rats, this temple has numerous rats which roam around freely inside the temple. It’s quite an experience to visit this temple and apparently its internationally renowned! This temple is located around 30 kms away from Bikaner city and, (2) Camel Research Centre at Jorbir – This Camel Research centre is quite interesting attraction where one can see camels roaming around freely in their pens and the best time to visit is in afternoon when the camels return from their pasture to the sheds, we also tried camel milk ice cream and camel milk kulfi here. This centre is located around 10 kms away from Bikaner city.

Pro-tip : Visit Karni Mata Temple first and then on way back visit the Camel research centre; since the centre opens at afternoon (at 1:30 pm). If you want to catch the sight of camels in hordes coming back from pastures then be there by 2 pm.

In the evening, we visited old Jain temples in Bikaner city as well as Rampuria Havelis; I am going to write separate posts on my Bikaner city sightseeing experience.

Bikaner to Mandawa: We headed to Mandawa the next morning and this was going to be our last leg of our road trip Journey. Mandawa town lies in Shekhawati region of Rajasthan and having missed visiting this last time on our Rajasthan family road trip through shekhawati region, I was quite excited to visit Mandawa. We had a very lovely experience visiting the havelis with their pretty frescos in Mandawa and my detailed post on Mandawa is here. We stayed at Hotel Shekhawati in Mandawa and it was quite pleasant stay with excellent hospitality by its Manager and staff, though its budget hotel but the rooms are quite exquisite (painted in shekhawati style).


Recommended Read: Visiting Mandawa in Shekhawati, Rajasthan – The painted towns of Shekhawati Rajasthan.


After spending 9 days on the road, it was quite a happy journey back home from Mandawa to Delhi, with tons of memories of our Marwar region road trip in Rajasthan. Overall, I would say that though the Marwar region, especially Jodhpur and Jaisalmer are quite touristy but there’s a certain charm to visiting this region, especially on a self-driving holiday. Our best memories were the beautiful sunrises we saw on the road, the rugged landscapes we drove through in the desert and the hospitality of the Marwari people.


If you found this travel guide useful, you might find my other travel posts here interesting too:

 Visit to Ranakpur Jain Temples, Rajasthan, India

Farm Stay at Satya-Jyoti Farms, Tijara, Alwar, Rajasthan

The Painted towns of Shekhawati region,Rajasthan  – Nawalgarh

The Painted towns of Shekhawati region,Rajasthan  – Jhunjhunu

Visit to Udaipur – city of Lakes, Rajasthan

Mandawa in Shekhawati, Rajasthan – How to Reach and What to See | Travel Guide to Mandawa in Shekhawati, Rajasthan

Mandawa town in shekhawati region, Rajasthan, is among the cluster of ‘The Painted towns of Shekhawati’ and I have been meaning to visit it for a long time, having missed it out on my road trip to shekhawati region of Rajasthan two years back. This winter I visited Mandawa for a day on my last leg of 9 day winter family road trip through Rajasthan. Mandawa dazzled me with its exquisite paintings and diversity of the havelis. It definitely has one of the richer repertoires of the painted havelis and the paintings themselves.

Mandawa town as seen from a rooftop of a haveli

Continue reading “Mandawa in Shekhawati, Rajasthan – How to Reach and What to See | Travel Guide to Mandawa in Shekhawati, Rajasthan”

Best Souvenirs to buy in Jordan | Shopping Guide for Travellers in Jordan

One of the main components of my self-planned Jordan trip was also researching on ‘what are the best souvenirs to pick up in Jordan ?’ during the trip. I found that Jordan, being located in the interesting middle-east region as well having a rich mix of cultural Arab-Biblical heritage, had many things to offer in terms of handicrafts, souvenirs & other items for the dedicated ‘shopping’ traveller.

Here is the list the top souvenirs I picked up in Jordan and why they are unique.

Skin Products from the Dead Sea – The Dead Sea is renowned for its salt content and dead sea mud for its therapeutic properties. One of the must do things for travellers to Jordan is floating in Dead Sea (as the salt content prevents anything in it to drown). The Dead Sea mud is definitely special as my skin felt super soft & smooth for 2 days after I took the famed ‘Dead Sea’ bath after applying the mud. So I wasted no time in buying loads of Dead Sea skin products on my Jordan travel; there are many big & small skin care brands in Jordan selling Dead Sea sourced skin care products but the renowned ones are – Rivage, Dead Sea Treasures & Levant. 


Pro-Tip for buying Dead Sea skin care products in Jordan: The airport duty free has a big counter selling Rivage brand skincare products at 15% reduced prices. So please skin test out the products you want at boutiques during the travel but better buy from the Airport Duty Free.


Continue reading “Best Souvenirs to buy in Jordan | Shopping Guide for Travellers in Jordan”

Petra by Night | Guide to visiting Petra Archaeological site by night

Petra – The Lost city of stone of the Nabateans and an UNESCO World heritage site, had fascinated me since I read about this famed city, located in desert area between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, in National Geographic Magazine as a kid. Although Petra’s claim to popular fame was the Indiana Jones Movie (Raiders of the Lost Ark), I was blissfully unaware of Petra’s ‘popular’ fame and longed to visited this ancient city of the Nabateans for its intriguing history, it’s mind-boggling water harvesting system in the middle of the desert and its being one of the important caravan trading cities in the crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia for centuries.

I stayed at Petra for 2 and half days, experiencing the beauty & grand history of Petra UNESCO world heritage site in various ways –  via a walking trail through the mountains, through the siq, on a donkey ride to Monastery and ofcourse Petra by night. Read about my detailed Petra experience along with pro-tips here.

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From darkness to light… or Petra by night ❤️🇯🇴❤️ | Experiencing the magic of Petra by night, lit by a thousand candles under the starry sky was quite an experience ❤️❤️ There are many brilliantly photoshopped images available on Instagram so I chose this moment captured on my humble phone camera as it was such an exhilarating walk through the Siq glimpsing Treasury (but not quite fully) ❤️❤️ . . . . #petrabynight #petra #shareyourjordan #awesomedestination #sevenwondersoftheworld #myjordanjourney #sheisnotlost #travelouges #earthfocus #roamtheplanet #mytinyatlas #passionpassport #travel #awesometravel #femmetravel #lovetotravel #petrajordan #mytravelgram #exploringtheglobe #worldtraveler #mytraveladventures #globetravel #desitraveler #indiantravelblogger #womantraveler

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Continue reading “Petra by Night | Guide to visiting Petra Archaeological site by night”

Camping in Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan for one night | Jordan Travel Diaries

Wadi Rum Desert is a visually stunning valley desert lying in southern Jordan and made famous worldwide by the epic Hollywood movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ which was filmed here. Like many travellers to Jordan, we also visited Wadi Rum for the ‘authentic Bedouin camping’ safari for one night, which turned out to be mix of both good & unpleasant experiences. I am sharing here details of our overnight Bedouin Camp stay in Wadi Rum on our Jordan 8 day self – planned trip.

Continue reading “Camping in Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan for one night | Jordan Travel Diaries”

Travel Guide to Petra – UNESCO World Heritage site in Jordan | Jordan Self-Planned Travel Guide for Indian Travellers

Petra – The Lost city of stone of the Nabateans and an UNESCO World heritage site, had fascinated me since I read about this famed city, located in desert area between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, in National Geographic Magazine as a kid. Although Petra’s claim to popular fame was the Indiana Jones Movie (Raiders of the Lost Ark), I was blissfully unaware of Petra’s ‘popular’ fame and longed to visited this ancient city of the Nabateans for its intriguing history, it’s mind-boggling water harvesting system in the middle of the desert and its being one of the important caravan trading cities in the crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia for centuries.

 

My main inspiration of Jordan Self-Planned Trip from India was visiting Petra and I spent two and half days in the stunning city & UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra, experiencing its various moods, weather and people. If you are a heritage buff or a have been mesmerized by Petra like me, then read on about my detailed 2-day itinerary visit to Petra here.

Petra UNESCO World Heritage site is “half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. It is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture.” – UNESCO

We reached Petra on Day 3 of our Jordan road trip (read full itinerary here) in the evening and although we were quite tired after being on the road for 3 hours, when the receptionist at our hotel told us that Petra by night can only be experienced on certain evenings and that day being one of those evenings, we promptly bought the tickets and headed to the Petra Visitor Centre (which is the entry point to the Petra – Protected site) by our car.


Visiting Petra by Night – A special feature for tourists & travellers to Petra is the experience of visiting Petra by Night. Petra by Night runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week, starts at 8:30 pm from Petra Visitor Centre and is a show that runs for 2 hours. It takes visitors through the dreamy candle lit pathway of siq upto the Al-Khazneh (Treasury) ~ the most famous monument of Petra. At the Al-Khazneh (Treasury), it’s a stunning sight of innumerable candle lights burning bright against the night sky and the flaming orange hues of the Treasury pillars are visible. It’s quite a tease to view the Al-Khazneh like this for the first time. The Bedouins serve tea to the guests as they regale with their melodious flute renditions and narrate the ancient story of Petra city. It’s a magical experience to Visit Petra by Night and I would recommend experiencing this

Petra By Night Entrance Fees – The Petra by Night Feature costs 19JD per person and it is not included in the Jordan Pass. Therefore, one has to buy the tickets for this separately at the Petra Visitor Centre. Some of the hotels also provide the facility for getting the tickets on behalf of the guests (we got our tickets from the hotel itself to avoid queues at the Visitor Centre).

Petra by Night Feature Tips and Guide for Visitors – As mentioned earlier, the feature runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday each week, therefore plan your Petra trip likewise not to miss out on experiencing this while you are there (whether its one day visit or 2-3 days visit to Petra). To truly experience the beauty of the candle lit Al-Khazneh, try to be among the early birds in the queue, as later it gets crowded and the view isn’t the same.

After a magical sneak peak into Petra by Night, we were quite excited for our full day visit to Petra the next day and in my dreams that night, the candle lit dreamy pathway of the evening made an appearance.


Petra full day visit – The next morning was bright, pleasant and sunny, perfect for a full day of exploring the rose-gold city of Petra! We woke up early and after a hearty breakfast, were among the first visitors in line at the Petra Visitor Centre with our Jordan Pass. As we entered the main walkway beyond the Ticket counter, we saw many donkey carts, donkeys and horses tied at their respective stands; there were lots of Bedouin guides soliciting the visitors for the donkey cart, horse rides and guided walks through the siq. We were far more interested in immersing ourselves on the scenery and landscape around, so walked on….till one of the Bedouin guides charmingly came to us (three ladies) and offered a horse back ride through a different route to the vantage point of Al-Khazneh (Treasury) promising us that the route would be as stunning as the view of Treasury. Now we were quite enticed by the offer (as well as the price we bargained – 25 JD total for all 3) BUT we chose to hike all the way!

Yes, we decided to really put our legs to work for our love for Petra and not take a horseback ride through the landscape. It turned out to be the best decision of our Petra experience. The guide took us away from the main walkway (siq) into the desert landscape of Petra’s lost city where we walked through ancient caves carved out of sandstone (which were once inhabited by Bedouins and still serve as rest spots), smaller and medium tombs, viewed many carvings done into the rocks and most of all experiencing the surreal color changing landscape of Petra – which turns from yellow golden to rose-gold to orange to brown as they day progresses. Finally, after an exciting (not to mention tiring) 3.5 hours trek through the stunning rocky desert landscape, we saw a glimpse of the Treasury from above and what a sight it was!!

The Treasury (Al-Khazneh) vantage viewing point is always teeming with tourists, but there’s always a sense of accomplishment to reach here and my heart was filled with an un-explainable joy, of a fulfilled aspiration of a kid, whose imagination had taken flight many moons ago reading the written words and finally that imagination was a reality in front of her! And the reality was absolutely stunning and magical as the imagination had been all these years – there was absolute match!!

We stayed at the Al-Khazneh viewing point for around 15-20 minutes before hiking down to the ground level of the Treasury area. It was almost lunch time (around 12:30 pm) by the time we were in front of the Treasury and we rested for a bit, took lots of photographs and had a quick bite from one of the shops selling food items.

Our Bedouin guide offered to take us further to the different parts of Petra all the way to the Monastery (another of famous monuments in Petra city). However, our legs were too tired and we decided to take a donkey ride through rest of the Petra protected city – which by the way we had only seen 1/6th (yes it’s that big!).

So the rest of the afternoon was spent exploring Petra on a donkey ride – riding through the amphitheatre, street facades, the roman temple and citadel, Hadrian gate and the royal tombs. I was amazed and surprised by the amalgamation of so many centuries of heritage in one city – truly the Nabateans were a rich culture who adapted from the many civilizations they traded with. The path through the mountains grew narrower and our donkey ride became riskier (for us) as the donkeys took sharp turns and were hell bent on getting everyone in front of it out of the way – It was really quite a ride of my lifetime!

Finally, after an hour of donkey ride, we reached Monastery (or El Deir) which was even more a stunning site, shinning orange hued golden in the afternoon sun! The crowds were beginning to wane here and we enjoyed our time by an eatery gazing at the views and just soaking in our experiences of the day!

Finally, we headed back around early evening as the landscape around us starting turning rose-gold pink, this time we walked back leisurely, chatting up fellow travellers and with the local Bedouins at their shops, buying souvenirs.

Just as I thought the day couldn’t get any better, the heavens above had a treat for me! I had wondered for many years post reading National Geographic article, about the Nabateans famed mastery of the rain water harvesting for the Petra City and how they must have achieved it in this rocky landscape. As I was walking back midway between Monastery  and Al-Khazneh, it suddenly started to drizzle. As we all took shelter in a nearby Bedouin eatery, the drizzle became a hailstorm with thundershowers…and Voila!! In front of my eyes, I saw the desert landscape take on a different look. The dry beds on the side of the road were gushing canals with strong water current, as the various water streams from strategic outlets poured down to the canals. It was as if the travel gods had decided to grant me my most cherished wish to see Petra in its best rain water harvesting show!

We were soon evacuated from our temporary shelter by the efficient crew managing the Petra protected site and we retired for the night after a lazy dinner.

Petra Half Day Morning Visit – The next morning we still had half a day and our Jordan Pass was valid too for another day visit. So we took the route through the Siq, enjoying its narrow pathways. I noticed in particular the narrow stone channels built all along the siq for managing the water and how it was still working beautifully channeling the previous evening water downpour from the gorges around.

Sneak Peak View of Treasury – Al Khanzeh, at the end of Siq is a beautiful teasing experience and that was our last experience of Petra. I would say it was beautiful completion of my Petra experience.

Petra Visit Pro-Tips

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra needs full 2 days atleast and in case you want to experience Petra by Night, then the days to remember are – Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Pla, then your visit accordingly.

Petra Entrance Fees is not cheap – its  50 JD per person per day (1 JD = 98 INR/1.41 USD), therefore it is recommended to buy Jordan Pass Online (read here details) which will cut costs. Jordan Pass gives access to all the major monuments in Jordan and includes Visa fees.

There are many Bedouin guides soliciting for donkey rides, donkey cart and horse rides – take a decision based on your requirement. If you feel like walking, then walk. The guides can be a bit pushy at times but never go over the top –  the key is to ignore them and not make eye contact, they will give up and find others to solicit.

There are Convenience (ie. Toilets and Water) at the entrance of the Petra Visitor Centre and mobile toilets at various points within the Protected site. Its best to use the washrooms while going in and carry sanitisers and wipes along. Also food items, including water is highly hiked in pricing inside the protected site, so best to carry snacks and water bottle along.

Where to Stay in Petra – There are many options from backpacker hostels to luxury resorts, depending on budget. Check out my detailed Jordan self-planned travel guide which includes my  hotel options and approximate costing incurred.


If you like this, then you might find my other travels below interesting :

 

Uzbekistan Trip – On the Great Silk Road

My Hong Kong Self planned Solo Trip

Switzerland Self-Planned Trip

Jordan Self-Planned Travel Guide for Indian Travellers | How to plan for Jordan trip from India – Trips & Hacks and Frequently Asked Questions for planning a trip to Jordan

Jordan  – the tiny Hashemite kingdom in the Arab region is most famous for Petra – one of the Seven Wonder of the World. This beautiful semi-arid country also has many interesting places such as Dead Sea, Wadi Rum desert and many beautiful castles & historical monuments from various historical ages such as Crusader era, Roman period and Ottoman empire. It was my childhood dream to visit Petra and me & my 2 close friends visited the stunning Jordan this year on a self-planned trip. Post our trip, we got many enquiries about our trip to Jordan and I am sharing our trip planning experience here benefit of all Indian travellers.

Mesmerized at Petra, Jordan – My childhood travel wishlist

 

A self-planned trip to Jordan is always a better idea economically as well in terms of experience both quantitively & qualitatively. I have broken down the Trip Planning into 5 major components – (1) Travel Itinerary in Jordan (Places to Visit in Jordan), (2) Visa from Jordan, (3) Booking Flights and Accommodation for Jordan, (4) Food & Drinks in Jordan (Eating Out in Jordan) and (5) Transportation within Jordan, including for all sightseeing.

Continue reading “Jordan Self-Planned Travel Guide for Indian Travellers | How to plan for Jordan trip from India – Trips & Hacks and Frequently Asked Questions for planning a trip to Jordan”

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