Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jaipur: The pink city

I bought my car in November 2011 and wanted to go on a trip with my better half. What else could have been a better occasion than our first anniversary. So it was decided and we chose Jaipur as our destination.

Royalty - Jal Mahal
I have been to Jaipur several times. Just the vicinity of the city from Gurgaon and ease of reaching there has made this a go to city for me atleast once a year.

We started our journey from Gurgaon early in the morning at around 5:00 am. With a couple of halts for tea and breakfast, we were in the grand city of Jaipur by 12:00 noon. We were staying in a hotel near the Secretariat circle. Given the time of the year, it is recommended that you make hotel reservations in advance. Tourists pour in like anything during the winter season (November to February) each year.


We were in the city for three nights. 

Day one
We wanted to keep the first day a light one. So we stepped out in the evening for Chokhi Dhani. The resort is a one stop shop that reflects the traditional living style in Rajasthan. It is like a mini fare (Mela). There are puppet shows, locals performing the ghoomar dance, artificial jewelry shops, snacks counter and some activities such as elephant/camel/horse rides. It also serves the local Rajasthani cuisine. This place really comes alive after the sunset. Chokhi Dhani must be on you do to list while in Jaipur.
The puppet show @ Chokhi Dhani
Caught in a balancing act!
Pratibimb - One of my favorite clicks in Chokhi Dhani
Day two
The plan for the second day was to cover the Amer fort. We drove all the way from our hotel to Amer. As soon as we reached, we were approached by many tour guides. We hired one of them and took the guided tour of Amer. The fort was grand. It has references to the Mughals and Rajputs. Our guide told use several stories linking Jodha-Akbar and many other kings and their relation to this historic fort. There are many open and closed areas in the fort. The key highlights are the Deeewan-e-aam, Deewan-e-khaas, Sheesh Mahal and gardens.
The Amer Fort, side view

Sheesh Mahal

Amer, center of the fort




Grandeur @ Amer Fort

Carvings on the wall combining mughal and rajputana traditions

Garden in front of the Amer Fort
While coming back to the city, we planned to cover the Jal Mahal and Janatar Mantar.

Jal Mahal is on the way back to the city and as the name says it is a palace in the middle of Man Sagar lake. We spent about 10 minutes or so at the bank and then moved on. This place is more attractive during the evenings. The lights of the palace come alive during the night.
Jal Mahal
Jantar Mantar: Kudos to the physicists and engineers of the 18th century! They built these architectural astronomical instruments with just local stone and marble which require nothing but the sun to function and even after more than 200 years, the instruments tell the exact time by the watch.


Jantar Mantar
Nahargarh as seen from Jantar Mantar
Day three
The next day we began with paying a visit to the City Palace. This is still the home of the royal family. You can witness the grand architechture and royalty all through out this place. In the museum, something that caught my attention was the gown of one of the Rajput kings. It was huge. There are various other things at this palace such as the silver vessels that the king used to carry with them with while going overseas, collection of arms, chariots, etc.
Royal guards @ City Palace

In the center of the City Palace
Silver vessel used by Maharaj Sawai Madho Singh II for carrying water from Ganges to England

Cannons @ City Palace

Arrangement of Rifles
City Palace, Jaipur

Chariots and saddles @ City Palace
A snake charmer outside the City Palace, Jaipur
Thereafter, we went to see the Jaigarh fort. It was dedicated for the royal armed forces of the city. Key attraction here is the huge cannon - The Jaivana. One can also see the entire city from here.
One thing that I would recommend is to try the food at the restaurant at the fort. They claim that the cook is from the family of royal cooks. We tried laal maas (mutton in red gravy) and it was pretty good.

The Jaivana, Jaigarh Fort
A corner of the Jaigarh Fort
Interior, Jaigarh Fort
Bird's eye view of the Amer Fort
A view of Amer Fort from Jaigarh Fort
We then moved on to Nahargarh fort. This fort was dedicated to the queens. There are many identical chambers on the ground and first floor. Each of the chambers are articulated with a carved window providing a glimpse of the scenery around. You could also find the place where the movie "Rang de Basanti" was shot.

Spot Jantar Mantar in this view from Nahargarh Fort
Jaipur from Nahargarh

@ Nahargarh, 'Rang De Basanti' was shot here
It was about 5 pm and we left to cover the sound and light show at Amer. We reached on time to catch the show. I must say that the show was thrilling. The story of the city is narrated with sound and light effects. The show is for about an hour and it kept us gripped throughout.


Amer Fort shade 1 during the sound and light show 
Amer Fort shade 2 during the sound and light show
Amer Fort shade 3 during the sound and light show 
Ofcourse there is no fun of being in Jaipur and not shop. There are many markets one could go to. We chose the Bapu Bazaar. There are shops selling handcrafts, shawls, footwear, scarfs, blanket, what not...you name it and you will find it in this market. Point to be kept in mind is that you should be good at negotiation if you want to buy anything from here.

Hawa Mahal
To cover the most famous attractions of the city, you will need a minimum of two nights, three days. If you have the luxury of time, then I would recommend to take another couple of nights for relaxing and fun.

I have been to Jaipur on motorbike, Volvo, train and car. While nothing can beat the comfort that the train journey has, I also loved the drive from Gurgaon to Jaipur via NH8.

Best time to visit: Prefer the winter season from November through February; you could go in other months if you are prepared for intense heat.

How to reach: Take a volvo or train from New Delhi; you can also drive on NH8 from New Delhi

7 comments:

  1. Sir, great images and description, especially Amer fort light sound images and pratibimb. While reading I could relive my visit to Jaipur and udaipur. Their traditional clothes is also worth trying, and one can indulge in their food as well to explore a new world all together.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful description of the city. I just loved the way you have described the minute details of palaces and history associated with them. Will visit again with this blog as my travel guide.
    Cheers
    Deepak

    ReplyDelete