A Trip to Siliserh
This was in the early nineties. I and a couple of friends of mine (one was a colleague, the other was his friend) decided to head out of town (Delhi). The decision was made over beer and chicken tikka, on a Wintry Friday night, and we hit the road at the crack of dawn the next morning, each of us astride our individual Kinetic Honda scooter (yes sir, three Kinetic Hondas!) We had hurriedly managed to pack some packs of chips, and a couple of loaves of sliced bread, to fortify ourselves on the way.
The late November breeze made us bend our heads into the wind, and go a little slower than we wanted, but we knew that it would be warmer once the sun came up and we could go faster. In no time at all, we had passed Gurgaon, and soon we were on the Delhi- Alwar highway. This is different from the main Delhi -Jaipur highway, and runs roughly parallel to it, but is much smaller (or used to be then), and sees much less traffic. But where it scores, is in the pristine and unspoiled countryside that it passes through (hopefully still does).
Mile upon mile of well-laid tarmac lined by green keekur trees, and small movie-set like hamlets beside farms of maize, and a grain crop, I don’t remember now. The cool breeze battering our windcheaters made frequent, relief -stops necessary, and we finished a well-earned breakfast under the shade of a larger than usual keekur tree. We had made good time, and pretty soon we reckoned that we must be approaching Alwar as we had been on the road a good five hours.
Soon enough we came upon a hilly bend, going around which brought us face to face with a breathtaking vista. Row upon row of the undulating Aravali hills, green in parts, red in others, a rain-fed, or perhaps a spring-fed brook ran along the hill running close to the road on the left. And a perceptible nip in the air. Very soon we were in Alwar, an old Rajput kingdom. It still had its fair share of lake palaces, and a fort palace overlooking the town.
Heritage apart it is famous for its milk cake which delicacy, we decided to avoid. We were out of the town in no time, again surrounded by undulating hills, meandering brook, and remnants of old Rajput forts and citadels. Driving along in this picturesque atmosphere soon brought us to a turn to the right which snaked its way up along the causeway of the Siliserh lake.
A most exhilarating drive along the tree-lined road brought us to the famous lake palace, a fairy-tale-like building, constructed like a castle, with half of its walls sunk into the waters of the jewel-like lake, which also bore the reflection of the rest of the structure. This was the former hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Alwar built for his favorite queen.
Tired by the long drive we headed straight for the bar which was in a tower whose walls were in the lake and gave one an outstanding view of the lake. So we sat there and had a couple of glasses of beer with our lunch of tandoori-chicken, and roomali roti. After some time we went down to the shore, to hire a pedal boat which we steered all the way to the middle, right up to an island with an interesting concrete structure( couldn’t figure out what it was) in the middle.
As it was inching towards evening, we decide to not go to the opposite bank to observe sunning crocodiles but decided to head back to shore to start the tiring drive back home. Some six hours later three very disheveled figures riding extremely dirty scooters, stopped in front of Col. Kebabs in Defence Colony to have some much-needed dinner.