As easier it gets – Jaipur, a perfect blend of Indian tradition and the excursion culture of the west. If a decade in India, you must have visited Jaipur by now or if not, Jaipur is most probably on your cards of vacations. Situated on the western part of the Indian Sub-Continent, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and shelter to over 3.7 million people. It evokes the royal family that once ruled the region and that, in 1727, founded what is now called the Old City, or “Pink City” for its trademark building color.
As I approached the city, there was a different smell and feeling altogether. A much retro place at sight- the pink city was full of people with tradition. A female wearing long Ghagra and colorful bangles following the alpha of the family- wearing a turban, dhoti and a stick in hand was a much usual scene.
As I was short of time, I could not visit everywhere but the next 3 days I spent exploring it as much as I could.
The first signature destination, just 11 km of Jaipur is Amer Fort. Founded by Raja Alan Singh in 967 CE, the fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Amer Palace.
Constructed of red sandstone and marble as it stands now, was built over the remnants of this earlier structure during the reign of Raja Man Singh, the Kachwaha King of Amber.
My next stop was Hawa Mahal. As beautiful from the outside as it is from the inside. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Hawai Pratap Singh, it is constructed of red and pink sandstone. Its unique five-storey exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework. The original intent of the lattice design was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen.
The palace is located to the south of Jaipur city, at the main road intersection called the Badi Chaupad.
Jal Mahal or westerly known as the Water Palace is located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake of the pink city. The palace and the lake around it were renovated and enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber. For security reasons, it is not allowed to go inside the Mahal but it gives a beautiful sight seeing spot for the already beautiful city.
The Jal Mahal palace is an architectural showcase of the Rajput style of architecture (common in Rajasthan) on a grand scale.
Next off, I went to Johari Bazar. It’s a long road by which both the sides are filled with street vendors selling spices, fruits, bangles, ornaments, traditional dresses and everything else at a very cheap price.
Towards the end of Johari Bazar is a paradise for non-veg lovers. Back to back restaurants and each and everyone having their own specialty in non-veg dishes.
I had my lunch in one of them and it was amazing.
The Night before I left, I planned on to go to Chokhi Dhani. I was welcomed with a beautiful ring of flowers and a tika on my forehead. The resort was way too beautiful from the inside. It was like an artificial set up of the desert. It had camel rides, Char pai’s for sitting, traditional snacks etc. For dinner they provide a Jaipur thali and I can’t even remember how many dishes were there.
The food was out of the world.
RAJ MANDIR CINEMA
The day I had my return ticket, I went to Raj Mandir Cinema hall to watch a movie. The main lobby was in fact bigger than most of today’s multiplexes. The meringue-shaped auditorium opened in 1976, and over the years has seen many movie premieres of Hindi films, and has become a popular symbol of Jaipur.
I also got some good portraits on the streets: