The magnificent palaces and forts, lively markets, camel carts, the heritage hotels and the Rajasthani culture – such is the charm of Jaipur!
My first impression of this city was its subtle shades of pink flashing on the city walls, market areas, even the railway station, many houses and almost all traditional palaces. Here’s how I spent a weekend in this true blue regal city!
Day 1: Slow Day Ahead!
We set out on a 288 kilometers long road trip from Delhi to Jaipur, crossing many lush green farmlands and mustard fields. Halted at the famous ‘The King Hotel,’ and enjoyed a scrumptious meal here. Rested for a bit in their sunny park area and drove off to Jaipur, which was now 70 kms away.
After a 5-6 hours long journey, we finally reached our much-awaited destination, and dashed towards our hotel ‘The Umaid Bhawan.’ It’s wooden Mughal Door at the entrance had intricate carving that is reminisce of olden times. Equally impressive were its interiors, done in an empire-like Mughal theme. The dim lit lobby area, the royal furniture, crockery and everything else, accentuated a stark yester year haveli look and feel.
Freshened-up, and made our way to Birla Mandir temple which is built of white marble and also has intricate carvings. A peaceful abode, indeed!
Out since evening, our stomachs were rumbling and we stopped at a street food stall, opposite Birla Mandir temple. Already crowded with many tourists and local patrons, we grabbed a table and savoured the scrumptious pav bhaji, crunchy pyaaz kachoris and mildly spicy bhel puri. Ironically, all stalls here had the same name ‘Pandit Pav Bhaji,’ which only left us wondering who this famous Pandit Ji might be!
After this, we headed back to our hotel and retired to sleep, only waiting for the next morning to arrive ASAP, so we could explore the real traditional side of Jaipur.
Day 2: True Blue Jaipur Experience
Next day, we freshened-up, checked-out from our hotel and stepped out to visit the famous Forts and Palaces.
Started with one of the most well-known attractions of Jaipur – The Hawa Mahal. The beautiful facade of the palace lends itself to brilliant photo options for tourists. If you hire a guide, you’ll get a detailed knowledge about it’s existence.
The City Palace of Jaipur was next on our list. A remarkable blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. It also houses the textile and costume museum, books store, arms and armour museum. The little bakery there and also the art gallery is where I spent most of my time.
After this, we visited Jantar Mantar – an 18th century observatory that has an engrossing significance of each of its installations. I highly recommend hiring a guide here, else you can enjoy going crazy over the scale marks, the longitudinal and latitudinal sketched lines on many installations.
We moved towards the market area outside the City Palace. The bright turbans, bandhini print suits and sarees, colourful bangles, mirror-work apparels, dolls dressed in bright hues etc., were all so colourful and charming. Spoilt for choice, we bargained our way around the market and bought bags, a turban, silver earrings and juttis.
Exhausted by now, we now moved towards our next pre-booked hotel, ‘The Ferns – Ecotel.’ Unlike our previous hotel, this had nothing Mughal or empire-like about it, but was quite at par with many luxurious 5-star hotels. Rested for a while, and headed out to experience the village life of Rajasthan at Choki Dhani.
Situated on the outskirts of Jaipur, Choki Dhani is an entertainments hub for tourists. It lends a quintessential Rajasthani village experience. Folk dance, palm and astro card reader, magic show, bioscopes, puppet show, Rajasthani/North Indian/Italian/Chinese dining options – these and more are some of the activities to explore here.
Day 3: Bidding the Regal City Adieu!
Since we were driving back to Delhi from Jaipur, we stopped on our way to visit the Amber Fort, Jal Mahal and Jaigarh Fort.
A quick stopover at the gorgeous Jal Mahal, also known as the ‘Water Palace’ since its located in the middle of the Mansagar Lake.
Next in line, was Amber Fort. This beautiful fort is of great historical significance. The elephant ride from the parking lot to the fort’s entrance is a wonderful activity to indulge into.
After Amber, we moved on to exploring the Jaigarh Fort. Another popular venue for film shootings, weddings and cultural events. Its also known for housing the largest canon on wheels in the world.
This done, and we retreated back to New Delhi. Concluded our vacay with a last stop-over at the famous highway restaurant ‘Old Rao Hotel.’ The delicious north and south Indian delicacies on offer here, the crowd going crazy over good food, and midst all this madness, there were the busy staff hovering around your tables to serve you with more food – an experience I’ll always remember!
Traveller Type: Couples, Families, Solo, Friends
Budget: Rs. 5,000 per person (approx.)
Some more snippets of JAIPUR: