Jaipur also known as ‘The Pink City’ is the first planned city of India, in the desert lands of Rajasthan. It is the capital of Rajasthan. It is one of the star attractions for Indian tourism. Jaipur is a royal city & it’s like a museum. It is surrounded by hills and has lots of forts, palaces and many other historical monuments. Jaipur is a hot place, during summers the temperature crosses 45 degrees, so, it is not preferable to visit Jaipur in the summers, the best time to visit the place is during winters season between October and March. The city looks awesome in the winter evenings when it gets covered with fog.
Jaipur lies at a distance of 260 Km from Delhi. The best way to go to Jaipur is by bus, it is most suitable and flexible too, and it takes about 5 to 6 hours to reach Jaipur. The bus services have also improved over the past few years. One can easily get a bus in every half or one hour from Sarai Khan or Dhaula Kuan. Depending on the budget there are lots of options in the buses like AC or Non AC or one can get into Volvo buses for extra comfort.
We started at 3 am in the morning in a Volvo Deluxe and reached Jaipur at around 9 am. Our first stop in Jaipur was Amer Fort; it’s actually situated on a ridge just outside Jaipur City. Amer Fort is on a hill-top and is one of the most beautiful forts. The entire view from the terrace windows was amazing. It took almost an hour and a half to fully explore the fort. There are many small shops in the fort for souvenirs but one should be good at bargaining to get the right price.
After Amer we headed to Nahargarh Fort. It is even higher than Amer Fort and I found it more beautiful than Amer Fort. The view from the Fort was fabulous; you can see the entire city from there. Nahargarh gains more popularity after the famous Bollywood movie Rang De Basanti. Our guide told us interesting stories about the Fort and the Maharaja who lived there. While returning from Nahargarh we stopped at Jaigarh Fort also known as Fort of Victory. It houses the biggest Cannon wheels Jaival.
Later we saw Jal Mahal, an 18th century lake palace. It is surrounded by water and looks very beautiful. Then we spent some time there clicking pictures and enjoying camel rides.
After that we headed towards Jaipur city. The first thing that you will notice while in the city is that most of the buildings are painted pink. That is the reason Jaipur is called ‘The Pink City’. In Jaipur there are many options for staying depending on each one’s taste and their budgets. There are Five Star Hotels like The Oberoi Rajvilas Palace, The Trident Jaipur etc. if one wants Maharaja like treatment. Then there are mid range and low budgets hotels too. After checking in at the hotel and resting for a while we went for some shopping in the evening and noticed that lots of malls are coming into the city. After shopping we went to some terrace restaurant for dinner.
The next day sharp at 9 `o’clock we were ready for sightseeing. First we went to see the City Palace, in the heart of Jaipur. It is a majestic palace covering 1/7 of the town. It also has a museum with antique paintings and work from both Mughal and Hindu Culture. Then we visited Jantar Mantar, it is situated within the complex of the City Palace. It is an astronomical observatory. There are four more observatories like this in some other cities but this is the only one which is running fine today. Then we saw Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) it is also a part of City Palace. It’s a five storey building with 950 windows; the purpose of the windows was to allow the royal ladies to see the life outside the palace. After that we went to see Birla Mandir, Jain Mandir, and Govind Deo ji Temple.
After visiting almost all the famous places in the city we spent the rest of the day shopping. Jaipur gives you plenty of choice, it is famous for jewellery and gems and souvenirs. It is also famous for its Kundan work (enamel work done in gold), brass work, hand blocks, printed sanganeri and bagru cotton fabrics, leather footwear, lac made show pieces and jewellery, Japuri Jootis, Bandhani, handicrafts, handmade paper, marble statues, woolen and silk carpets and more. The main shopping centres are Johari Bazaar and Surajpol Bazaar and the Bapu Bazaar.
In the evening we headed to Chokhi Dhaani for dinner. It is a very beautiful village resort and reflects all the colours and traditions of Rajasthan. It is a place where all of Rajasthan is packed under the same roof. It is very well decorated and you can see camels, elephants, bullock carts adding charm to it. Then there are snake charmers, magicians, folk dancers and more to add beauty to it. It offers great variety of Rajasthan cuisines and deserts. Dinner served in traditional fashion and is a very enjoyable experience in itself. It is the most amazing palace to dine..
Post dinner we returned to the hotel. In the morning after enjoying famous Kachories for breakfast we shopped till our bus was ready to leave and headed back to Delhi. I can never forget the amazing two-day trip to Jaipur, it was a memorable experience for me. If given a chance I will surely love to visit the wonderful city again.
Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/christianhaugen/3292325463]