A long weekend trip to JAIPUR!

Tripoto

Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, and an all time favorite tourist destination for Indians as well as outsiders, (just a 4 hour drive from Delhi and connectivity from most of the cities of our country).

Jaipur was recently announced as a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.

Popularly known as "Pink City", although the buildings are peachy (not actual pink!). Jaipur was founded in 1727, by Rajput Ruler Sawai Jaising II.

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A piece of history:

In 1876, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were to visit the city which was under the rule of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh. He wanted to impress these guests and ordered to beautify the city. A color called "gerua" (earthenware pink) was used to repaint the facades as it historically represents welcoming, inviting and hospitality.

This article will contain quite a few historical pieces!

This was a 3 day long weekend trip in the month of April 2019, (yes I know, it was hot) focused on shopping and food. We chose to stay near the city centre in an area called C scheme (quite posh).

To experience the Royal feeling of staying in a Haveli, we booked this Haveli-converted-to-Boutique Hotel called "Umaid Bhavan Palace". (Would definitely recommend it, because literal FEELS).

The amenities, cost and food, are great.

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The hotel entrance!

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The interiors of the dining area!

Day 1:

We reached Jaipur at 12 pm, and booked an UBER ( I recommend this over all other apps/local travel agents/ etc. because of its frequency and cost) to reach the hotel.

As you enter the city via airport direction,

you notice that it welcomes you with this huge colorful monument called the "Patrika Gate".

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A mesmerising kaleidoscopic walkway!

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We halted at this photo spot for about 15 20 minutes, and then continued our journey to the hotel.

We reached the hotel and had lunch there itself.

It was nearly evening, and as the rule says sightseeing should start early morning, we decided to go shopping first!

Jaipur is known for Bandhani (a print), rugs, quilts, bed covers, designer sarees.

We went to Gulabchand, Vasansi (the store is like a palace in itself), and a few nearby stores.

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Guess what, we spent almost 4 hours there. But before we forget the famous Jaipur cotton, we ended the shopping spree with "Anokhi" , a brand originating from Jaipur with trendy block printed cotton outfits.

And to our surprise, that place had a great Vegan cafe! (Yes, that phenomenon where every sustainable store has a sustainable cafe!)

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They used their brands products to promote them!

We hogged food here first and continued shopping.

It was dinner time, and it was time to fulfill our obsession with the well known "Bar Palladio".

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Inspired by "The Blue Room" at City Palace, designed by Dutch designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, interiors of this place are jaw dropping. In an interview she elaborates on the choice of blue, "It was different than the pink of Jaipur; it was masculine, and it was royal-just like the peacocks in Narain Niwas.."

You literally feel like royalty. It was honestly a difficult task to choose where to sit, because every corner had a significant element.

After a great Italian meal with amazing cocktails,we returned to our hotel.

Day 2:

We covered the core city area this day.

We took a cab till ONE OF PRIME SIGHTS OF JAIPUR : HAWA MAHAL, which literally translates to "Wind Palace" with 953 "Jharokhas" (windows), which let cool breeze inside.

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So to get the best view and ofcourse breakfast, we sat at a small cafe right opposite to it!

A piece of history:

This structure is located at the edge of the City Palace, built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh (grandson of the founder), the purpose was constructing a screen for the Royal Ladies, to view the people,festivals, daily events and streets, because they were refrained from appearing in public.

It is designed by Laal Chand Ustaad, made in pink and red sand stone.

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After the heavy breakfast, it's a 10 minute walk till the "City Palace".

I took the "Royal Palace Guided Tour" which also includes the interiors of the palace where the royal family resides in.

The deal is great if you are an Indian Student (Rs.1500) {Indian Adult (Rs.3000)}. And yes it is worth the money.

It was constructed between 1729 and 1732, as you enter through the Gates, it gives you an overview about the rich heritage and culture of Rajputs.

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Open hall.

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Murals in the open hall.

A Bengali architect Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya designed the palace complex according to the Vastushastra.

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There are 4 intricately designed doors, according to 4 seasons to access the central area.

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Its a perfect photo spot!

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The Spring door.

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A Postcard photo? This is the newest building added in 19th century.

This is the palace in which the Royal Family actually resides!! And with the tour ticket, the guide takes you in here, till the TOP!!

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Ivory doors.

Photography is not permitted on some floors that are for private use.

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Silver doors which narrate stories of Indian Gods.

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Yellow terrace.

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Room for celebration of Diwali and Gangour Festival.

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Oh the Blue room!!

Used to celebrate festivals like TEEJ, by ladies.

Finally on the top most floor, the mirrored room.

The guide in there demonstrated an unanticipated gesture, where he switched off all the artificial lights and lit up two candles, pointed them towards the ceiling following which our eyes just got bigger with the visuals had us awestruck.

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A small flame could light up the whole room because of numerous reflections created by the mirrors inside the whole room.

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Just imagine, such a concept, so many years ago. Mesmerising, right?

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The view from this top most point of the palace included the Jantar Mantar observatory as well!

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And sadly this royal tour ends, by royal servants serving coffee and biscuits in the mugs with royal crest on them? (Yes, totally majestic and I won't stop using the word royal because yes royal is fancy.)

Damn, we almost spent 4.5 hours walking through history.

We had lunch at this newly opened restaurant in the Palace itself, called "Baradari".

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I highly recommend it,the space is a fusion of traditional and contemporary. Exposed masonry walls are maintained along with new additions which communicate the stories of the past,forming a seamless connection with modernity.

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We went back to our hotel at around 3 30 and enjoyed a nice dip in the pool!

At 5 30, we left to visit this entertainment village resort called "Chokhi Dhani", which aims to provide a complete experience of Rajasthani Culture to the tourist.

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This is where we get traditional Rajasthani food.

You can enjoy traditional folk dances, shopping, puppet shows, magic shows!

We got back to the hotel by cab, after this memorable day!

Day 3:

We started this last day by going to "Royal Gaitor Tombs", a Royal cemetery, with stone carvings and a peaceful place to visit!

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We booked a cab till the "Amer Fort", I would suggest going there first at 8 am because later it gets super crowded and quite sunny, as it's a long walk!

We took a jeep and a local guide up there, who told us all about the stories and mysteries behind these fortified walls.

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The place where the famous Rajput princess Jodha bai was born, and one of the richest Rajput kingdoms.

The well known SHEESHMAHAL literally translating to "Mirror Palace".

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Mughal inspired gardens.

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Viewing decks.

Service Quaters.

A piece of history:

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The ruler Man Singh II, had 12 wives and he built 12 separate houses for them, with small private courtyards with "Tulsi Vrindavan" plants for each of them.

Queens houses.

He used to access these 12 rooms with a secret chamber, so when he visits one of the wives the others don't come to know and any quarrels would be avoided! (So convenient, right?)

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There were 6 watch towers for safety purposes. Walls were made from limestone, "Udit" dal, marble powder and jaggery. The arches were so thick that entry doors were transformed to buffer spaces naturally!

The Kings chambers!

We left the fort and on our way took a small photo stop at the "Jal Mahal".

After this hectic afternoon, we came back to our hotel had lunch, and went street shopping in the "Bapu Bazar" and "Johri Bazar" areas.

Great collection of the renowned Rajasthani "Juttis", home decor items, dress materials, jewellery, food items are available at reasonable prices here.

We spend about 3-4 hours there, after which we headed back to our hotel and checked out to catch a late evening flight!

Hence, this journey ended with the sweetest memories and moments which will stay with me forever!

If you have more time, you can definitely cover:

1. Panna Meena Kund (step well)

2. Nargarh Fort

3. Jaigarh Fort

4. Birla Temple

5. You can also prebook a tour of the luxurious now hotel : the Rambaugh Palace, which also has a great variety of cafes!

Hope this blog helps! 🙂

(All the photography belongs to the author, Netra Mundada)