"Jaipur - the Pink City..." Jaipur by abi_maha
Jaipur Travel Guide: 1,094 reviews and 3,310 photos
This vacation was planned in the last minute, though Rajasthan has been a destination we have been eyeing for quite some time now. What really triggered this vacation was the fact that we got to and fro flight tickets on Indigo- a low cost carrier in India, for a little less than Rs 20,000. This was much lesser than even flying down to Cochin from Bangalore for us!! Tickets done we forgot about the trip till much closer to the travel dates by which all RTDC properties were sold out, so we had to plan a trip around many unheard of private hotel properties across Rajasthan. Also since we were flying in and out of Jaipur we had an exhaustive debate on the number of cities we could cover with these ten days on hand from Xmas to the weekend after New Years. We just about fell short of being greedy by deciding to forego Udaipur and instead spend around 3 nights each in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. On hind sight this definitely proved to be a good decision!:)
Our vacations usually consist of places filled with greenery and "not so hot/humid" clime...usually the typical bangalore (pre-IT) weather...and hence when we landed in jaipur, our first stop in rajastan, on the 25th it was a rude shock...
it was hot, humid, noisy, dusty and BROWN!!! ... not a tree in sight and we were wondering if we had made a mistake...but we reassured each other and started our vacation hoping for the best
We landed late evening in Jaipur, I had some official contacts here who booked us into Hotel Mandakini Nirmal in Subhashnagar- being a locality that is not frequented by tourists, this lane had some 3-4 hotels where rooms were available. They even gave us a complimentary airport pick up as the same was some 30 kms away from the hotel! That set the pace fr our experience with Hotel Mandakini, we reached the lobby to be tol that all “Superior Double Rooms’ were occupied which is what we had a booking for and hence we would instead be upgraded to a Suite at no extra charge! They had room service at the unearthly hour of 12 in the morning where they served us some delicious jeera rice and dal tadka! The room was nothing to boast about, being a very basic accommodation and a clean bathroom, however we were too tired to notice after a 4 hour flight!!
Our first stop was the Jai mahal...this is a beautiful palace in the middle of a lake, a dirty one which sure could do with some maintenance!!! The place was beautiful with very less people around (which we learnt as we progressed thru the trip!) but there was no access to the palace from outside which was kinda disappointing!...After spending some time there and refusing to take the camel/elephant rides, we managed to make our way to the Amer fort and jaigarh fort. We had a deal of 400 Rs for the day but we had a puncture in the mid. So we had to let go of the rick and hike a ride back to the city :)
The next day we set off on a sight seeing tour around the famous ‘Pink City’ of India. First thing we did was to hire an autorick/phat phati/tuk tuk as it is called depending on which part of the world you are in! ... we hired it for a day...it is easy to find a lot of people offering you these "packages" but be wary of the time factor...most of these guys will offer to take you to a lot of places of interest but often confine the time to half a day...this doesnt give you much time at the places...make sure that you hire the rick for a whole day and spend as much time as possible since most of the places are worth the time and the effort! :)
Even as we had finished discussing all this with him we reached the city palace, the horde of tourists streaming out of the same was a put off! Both AJ and I like our space while on a vacation, so we asked our driver to take us instead to the Amer Fort first hoping to beat the tourist buses to the same. It sure proved to be a good decision; we reached a literally empty Jai Mahal water palace and a relatively un-crowded Amer Fort.
Even as our driver tried to dissuade us from climbing the fort as he claimed it would take a good three hours for us to do the same, we threatened to relieve him of the tour if he so wished. This quietened him a bit into agreeing to wait for us, we again promised to take as much time as we pleased before we headed off.
Much of the fort was familiar to us after having recently watched a popular Bollywood movie (Jodha Akbar) that was shot extensively in Amer. We decided against any audio guide etc as we truly believe seeing is experiencing; we are not very hungry for facts/history etc. Having done some basic reading up on the same before our visit we spent a couple of hours visiting the various sections of the fort and watching some people take an elephant ride up to the fort.
Once outside we had some spicy masaledar bhel puri from a vendor on the road side before going on to find our rickshaw. Next stop was Jaigarh Fort.
The climb to this fort was arduous and one that proved quite difficult for an auto certainly! Even as we snailed up the tortuous paths we managed to get some good photos of the Jaimahal Palace and other sights enroute. A narrow alley is the only access to and fro from this fort ensuring a loss of time due to certain traffic jams both ways. If you are upto it we would definitely recommend parking your vehicle way outside the fort and walking up to the fort. It will certainly save you a good hour of waiting in the heat and pollution!!
Hordes of monkeys/langurs outside the fort are a sight to see! A short line to the tickets and we were inside. There is quite a bit to see in here, a map of the same helped us some what navigate inside on our own. The ‘thope’ or cannon that famously shot to a village 43 kms away is showcased for all to see, ensure you have a ticket for the camera so that you are not sent back for the same as there is rigorous checking for the same here. We proceeded along the walls of the fort for some great pics of the adjoining Amer fort and the Jaimahal palace. We also got some good close up shots of some really healthy parrots here, such colorful birds really!
By now the heat was getting to us, so we decided to head back to the city for some lunch, however as already explained there was a nasty jam and by the time we got out to the roads our rick had a flat tyre! We paid the driver 250 for his half a day of services and hiked a trip back to Jaimahal, where we had some forgettable meal before heading to he kanak gardens for a stroll and some rest in the shade of the trees. If you do go here be prepared for some up-close experience with the curious squirrels of Jaipur! One actually came and had a peck at my big toe in its curiosity to get to know me better!
Finally we called it a day and headed back to our hotel.
- Pros:Beautiful architecture, pink all over
- Cons:very touristy, hot, humid and noisy
- In a nutshell:A shocking begining which really ended as a pleasant experience
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