There is a certain charm that a tier 2 city carries that is probably missing in the metros. As the cities try to strike a balance between heritage and modern, an old world way of life on the cusp of embracing the fast paced life of the metros, the resultant chaos is beautiful and heartwarming to say the least.
The #XploreBharat blog train has traveled from serene Dwarka yesterday to reach one such city today – Jaipur, famously known as the pink city! As you wade through the ever increasing traffic, that comes with influx of more and more workforce, passing by old havelis and colorful pagdis, you know this is going to be one experience that you will cherish.
How to reach
The best thing about Jaipur, unlike most tier 2 cities, is the connectivity. It is extremely well connected by Rail as well as by Air from almost all cities and every metro in the country. But if you stay in the NCR or are visiting the NCR, the best thing to do is to hit the road. Booking a seat in a volvo or hiring a vehicle, in case you don’t have access to a car or do not want to drive, is easy. Why the road you ask? Because you don’t want to miss the piping hot Gobhi Parathas with huge dollops of butter from the numerous Dhabas en-route. Leave at the break of dawn, stop by at one of the roadside Dhabas for a lazy breakfast and Chai and you’d still be in Jaipur well within noon, with the entire day at your disposal!
Places to see
Hawa Mahal – This 18th century Palace, is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen with its 953 Jharokas or small windows. Apparently this was built by the then Maharaja to allow the Royal ladies to get a glimpse of the life outside the palace without being seen. And the numerous windows also ensured the palace remained cool during the hot summers. In fact if you look closely it actually resembles a beehive from the outside. The cute little jharokas with the intricate latticework are the best photo op you will ever get 😉
Amer Fort or Amber Fort – This red sandstone fort was the famous Raja Mansingh’s residence. With large ramparts, courtyards and gardens it isn’t hard to imagine its grandeur in the days of the Maharaja. The long climb to the fort is totally worth it, with a great view of the surrounding city. However if you are not up for the long climb fear not, you can get an elephant ride till the entrance.
Chokhi Dhani – Modeled on a typical Rajasthani village, Chokhi Dhani is a fun place with Camel rides, Astrologers, Handicraft stalls and Folk Dancers. The main attraction however is their restaurant. They have a floor seating with chowkas and the works. The Thali is to die for, literally, with dollops of ghee to go with the food. I love the way the servers serve you. It’s like eating food at home, they keep serving you extra portions like a loving elder…(the proof of the pudding…oops khichdi😉 is in the fact that we totally forgot to take pictures of the food, we were so busy eating:-)
Things to do
Apart from visiting all the touristy places, there are things galore that you can do in Jaipur
Shopping – Make sure you are carrying an extra suitcase to pack in everything that you shop from here. Dress materials and jootis are a personal favourite, the variety, the prices, it’s a steal! While there are many places you can shop from…Bapu Bazar remains my favourite, but remember to bargain well….a cool tip, start at 50% of the price quoted and be at it ;-). It’s also a great place to pick up some silver jewelry, the place with filled with shops selling silver jewelry, there are silver jewelry shops even inside the Amer fort.
Food – Jaipur is a food lover’s paradise. Be it the Rajasthani Thali at Chokhi Dhani or the Bajre ki roti and Ker Sangri at Lakshmi Mishthan Bhandar, or the melt in the mouth Ghevar (don’t forget to try the Malai Ghevar) or the tangy Piyaz ki kachori with some lehsun ki chutney on the side (my favourite breakfast) or the super spicy Lal Maas from Niros. And once done, do polish it off with the thick delectable Lassi from Special Lassiwala near Gulab Chand.
Literature – And if you are a voracious reader, writer, I don’t need to tell you when you should be visiting this place. I am yet to visit Jaipur during the Jaipur Literature Festival, but hope to correct it soon….*starts planning the umpteenth trip*
Best Time to Visit
Summers can be difficult to handle here, so the best time to visit will be October to March….Even the monsoons can be fun since it mostly rains in the evening and the mornings are quite comfortable. If you are a festival aficionado, apart from JLF which happens in January, the Elephant festival on Holi is a treat to the eyes….so go ahead and plan your trip!
Where to stay
The best thing about Jaipur is that it is for every traveler, the budget traveler, the backpacker, the indulgent traveler, the heritage freak, the shopper, the foodie, the impulsive traveler and the planner. From budget hotels (the bus stand and the Railway station area is dotted with decent, clean hotels) to big heritage hotel chains, there’s a lot of choice. Even if you do not have time to book a hotel, you wouldn’t struggle, unless you are looking to stay at a specific property. So just pick up your bags and head to Jaipur!
This post is part of the #XploreBharat Blog train hosted by
Supriya and a big shout out to our sponsor for taking this Blog Train experience even further.