I came up with this title as I find Jaipur really enchanting, flamboyant and royal. So if in one word I have to describe Jaipur, it will be JOVIAL.
It was in the year 2013, when Me and one of my office colleague cum one of my good friend Mr. Devendra Ojha were planning to visit some place. A Place where we can spend our weekend and come back with ample of time in our hand. We decided to visit Lansdowne in the month of August and booked our train tickets to Kotdwara in advance but as the day approached we had to cancel the plan due to some reason. Now we have to search for some other destination. I had visited Jaipur earlier and liked the place very much as it was near to Delhi and one can visit the place in a weekend. So I suggested to visit Jaipur and Mr. Ojha agreed. We booked our reservations in Haridwar Ajmer Express which departs from Delhi Shahdara Railway station in night and reach Jaipur early morning.
Jaipur is the Capital and largest city of Indian state of Rajasthan. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II the ruler of Amer after whom the city was named, on 18 November 1727. Distance from Delhi to Jaipur is around 260Km. It is a popular tourist destination of India and together with Agra and Delhi forms the Golden Triangle tourist circuit. During the rule of Sawai Ram Singh, the city was painted Pink to welcome Prince of Wales. Many of the avenues remained painted in Pink, giving Jaipur a distinctive appearance and the name “Pink City”.
9th Aug 2013, It was Friday and We finished our office work and left to our respective places. Ojha and his brother picked me up from Dilshad Garden. After dropping us at Delhi Shahdara Railway station around 11:45 PM, Ojha’s brother left. Our train was scheduled to depart from Shahdara at around 00:56 AM. We spent our time at the station roaming and clicking photographs.
Day 2 started very soon thanks to the odd timings of our train :). We boarded our train and soon fell off to sleep. Early in the morning as our destination was approaching, we woke up around 06:00 AM. It was a beautiful morning as the weather was also good. We could not resist but to go out of the train and enjoy the weather at Gandhinagar Railway Station, one stop early to Jaipur. We preferred booking our tickets in Sleeper class as this way you get to know lot of other people around you and you can share your thoughts and learn about new cultures.
Around 07:00 AM, we reached Jaipur and off boarded the train. As we came out, we saw a wonderful Old Steam engine displayed in the park outside the station. Now we had to look for a stay option and we found a nearby hotel “Ganga” and went to check the same. We booked a room for one night and two days for a sum of Rs 800. After freshening up we went out to check the same Steam engine. The display board on the engine reads that its name is “Engine No. 641-OJ” and it was made by Bagnal Ltd in March 1944. At that time the cost of this engine was around 1.2 Lac rupees in comparison to today’s Diesel engine cost of around 3.5 Cr. This engine was operational at Sawai Madhopur-Loharu Line.
By now we were feeling hungry and it was time to have our breakfast. We decided to stroll around the local market and thought of having the famous “Mirchi Vada” of Jaipur. At a road side small shop we found the man making the fresh and hot Mirchi Vadas and ordered two for us. It was big in size and felt spicy but tasted very good. After finishing the same, we ordered some fresh and crisp JALEBIs to cool down our taste buds which were on fire after eating Mirchi Vada. After that we came back to our hotel and got ready to explore the city. Meanwhile we also called one of our friend Sunil to join us who was working in Jaipur Office.
As we came out of the hotel, It started raining but we were prepared for this. We took out our Rain-coats and started our exploration. In the market we bargained with an Auto wala and for Rs 600 he agreed to took us to various places including Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Amer Fort and Chokhi Dhani. First of all we went to check out the famous Hawa Mahal of Jaipur. Hawa Mahal is a palace built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, so named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside.
I found a place there to took a photograph which I thought would make for a beautiful pic. But there was a small display board which said it was not allowed to go there as some construction work was going on, but I missed the board. As I approached there, one gaurd shouted and warned me of the danger and ask me to come down. I by mistake trespassed the property and apologized for the same.
We came out from Hawa Mahal and moved on to our next stop “City Palace” which is near to Hawa Mahal. There are three entry gates to City Palace namely Virendra Pol, Udai Pol and the Tripolia Gate. The Tripolia gate is reserved for entry into the palace by the royal family. Common people and visitors can enter the palace complex only through the Virendra Pol and the Udai Pol. City Palace houses a museum where many things like Old carpets, manuscripts and other items are on display that belonged to the royal family. It has screened balconies and a pavilion at the roof from where a panoramic view of the city can been seen.
While in City Palace, we met a visitor from Malaysia Mr.Lee and became friends with. He was on a tour of a month to India. Really a nice, simple and sweet guy.
There is a place called “Diwan-E-Khaas” in City Palace located between armory and the art gallery. There are two huge sterling silver vessels of 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) height and each with capacity of 4000 litres and weighing 340 kilograms (750 lb), on display here. They were made from 14000 melted silver coins without soldering. They are officially recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest sterling silver vessels. These vessels were specially made by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who was a highly pious Hindu, to carry the water of the Ganges to drink on his trip to England in 1901 (for Edward VII’s coronation) as he was finicky about committing religious sin by consuming the English water.
We left from there and moved on to our next desination “Amer Fort” or “Amber Fort” which is further 11Km from the city. Located high on a hill, it is the principal tourist attraction in the Jaipur area. We reached Amer Fort around 01:30PM. The weather was pleasant as it rained and the beauty around the fort was at its fullest. From below shown pictures you can see what I am talking about.
There is a beautiful lake named “Maota Lake” which is the main source of water for Amer palace.
Amer Fort, along with Jaigarh Fort, is located immediately above on the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of the same Aravalli range of hills. The palace and Jaigarh Fort are considered one complex, as the two are connected by a subterranean passage. This passage was meant as an escape route in times of war to enable the royal family members and others in the Amer Fort to shift to the more redoubtable Jaigarh Fort.
The same year we visited here, Amer Fort along with five other forts of Rajasthan was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We spent around 2 hours at Amer Palace and left from there. Our next destination was “Chokhi Dhani”. Chokhi Dhani is situated at a distance of 13KM from Amer fort. Thanks to the traffic jam, we managed to reach there by around 06:00 PM in the evening. A trip to Jaipur is not complete if you don’t visit this place. Chokhi Dhani is a rajasthani village themed restaurant spread over 5 acres of beautifully landscaped area on the outskirts of Jaipur. Dotted with machaans and platforms where different folk artists perform concurrently all through evening. Authentic rajasthani traditional food prepared with ethnic recipes and heritage hospitality makes it best in town.
As you enter the main premises, they will welcome you with traditional teeka and aarti. You then proceed to the counter to pay the entry fees which also includes the Dinner. There are many activities in Chokhi Dhani which you can enjoy like magic show, archery, air rifle shooting, elephant ride, camel ride, swings, the puppet dance, traditional dance and much more to do here :). We found one massage guy who offers to give you “Desi Malish” style of Massage. Ojha was interested in that and wanted to go for it. While he was taking the massage, actually Me and Sunil were the person who were enjoying more than Ojha by seeing the expressions on his face.
Now was the time for Dinner. We have opted for traditional Dining instead of AC dining as one can dine in an AC restaurant in his/her own city but Dining in a traditional way is the thing which one should experience. Here at Chokhi Dhani, They serve a wide variety of dishes one after the other which confuses you, what actually you liked the most. And eventually you end up overflowing the stomach by just tasting the things. Let me recall some of them:
2. Bajre ki roti
3. Makke ki roti
4. Masala Kachori
5. Garlic chutney
6. Pudhine ki chutney
7. Spiced Soybean
9. Kair sangri
11. Gatte ki sabzi
12. Aalo pyaz ki sabji
13. Palak ki sabji
16. Bajre ki khichdi
20. Masala papad
21. Crisp Jalebi
Still I think I might have missed some of the items which were there.
Around 09:00PM we left from Chokhi Dhani and reached our hotel. As the whole day was busy, we felt tired and soon went to sleep.
Phewww, Day 2 was really long and tiring but thanks to that we already have covered all the places which we wanted to. There are few more places which you can see in Jaipur but we were not interested. Now we had the whole day in our hand. We had our reservations for return journey in the night. Thinking of what to do next, we decided to watch “Chennai Express” which released on last friday. We went to “Polo Victory Cinema” which is near to Bus stand of Jaipur on Railway Station Road. For Rs150 per ticket, it was a good place to watch the movie. The seats were good, AC was effective, sound quality and viewing experience was also good.
By 12:30 PM, we were free and now we didn’t want to go for some other option but to go back to our Home. We decided to cancel our reservations and went to Sindhi Camp Bus stand which is on walking distance from the Cinema. We could not find any seats in Volvo or AC buses going to Delhi, so just boarded a regular bus of RSRTC and bid good-bye to Jaipur. By 10:00PM we were in our homes. This was the end of our trip but the journey still continues……..:)