Firstly, I want to emphasise on the fact that even though Jaipur is famously known as "Pink city" there is so much more than just the pink colour. The city is so colourful and vibrant, possibly the most colourful city of India.
It was named as Pink city by Prince of Wales in late 1800's on his visit, when Maharaja ram Singh of Jaipur painted the town in pink as it denotes the colour of hospitality. Thereafter, it became their tradition and has been sincerely followed by the residents who are now, by law, compelled to maintain the pink colour.
The city still has strong roots to its culture, traditions, art and values inspite of being modernised. Also, as you may know it is the capital of Rajasthan.
Visited the magnificent Amer fort, also known as Amber fort. Its 11kms away from Jaipur city and located on the top of the Aravali hills. This majestic fort is an architectural masterpiece and has significant importance in Indian history. It was started to be built in the year 1592 AD by Raja Man Singh with expansion and renovation efforts carrying on for the next 150 years by his successors. The fort was built by the Meenas - a small tribe. The fort has some influence of the Mughal architecture.
Ganeshpol is in the south side of the courtyard of the fort. There is Lord Ganesha profile painted in the middle of the gate and the colours used were made of vegetable dyes and maintains its originality till date. The patterns and colours are simply treat to the eyes.
Sheesh Mahal - It is most beautiful and famous part of Amer fort. The walls and ceiling are carved with beautiful paintings made of pure glass and precious stones. The mahal was built for the queen who loved to sleep under a thousand stars but was not allowed to sleep in open. To fulfil the request of his queen, the King ordered his architects to built a mahal to solve the problem. If someone lits two candles in this section, the ceiling glows like a million stars. Wow! thats impressive, no? Legit lived like a queen.
I loved this fort and I am sure you will love it too!
Entry Fee : Rs. 100 for Indians
Guide : Rs. 200 (would suggest take a guide, he also clicks great pictures which is a BIG trip saver when traveling solo)
Timings - 8.00 - 17.30
Time required : 2-3 hours
Fun Fact : The king had 12 Queens, 3 from marriage and rest from the wars. There is a section with 4 walls, each side having 3 apartments each, so a total of 12 for each queen. This was built so nobody comes to know to which queen is the King is going. Hahaha. I wonder if anxiety issues were real in those days as well?
Today, I went to the most awaited City palace and Hawa mahal.
So City palace has two sections, the museum and the moon palace (Chandra Mahal) and the tickets are also for these two categories. There is no point just going to the museum section, please go for the palace tour.
Chandra Mahal is a seven storey building inside the City palace. The current King (22 year old) lived on its second floor and the rest of the floors are open for the tourist. There are total of 5 rooms included in Full palace tour and 3 rooms for Half palace tour.
I went for half palace as one room was closed for maintenance out of the full palace so did not make sense to pay double for just one more room.
1. Sheesh Mahal :
Yes, there is a sheesh mahal here as well. This one is more fancier and the biggest advantage is they actually show you the ceiling glowing with the reflection of the candles. It was mesmerising, trust me! I was speechless to witness it and so so so grateful.
2. Shobha Niwas :
This is where the royal family celebrates Diwali festival. The room is so gorgeous, I did not want to leave from here. Spent a really long time soaking in the beauty and feeling royal myself.
3. Sabha Niwas :
This is where the royal family holds its meeting. It has tasteful interior and look comparatively modern than the rest of the rooms.
Pritam Niwas Chowk :
It is the inner courtyard and provides access to the Chandra Mahal. Here, there are four gates that are adorned with themes representing the four seasons and Hindu gods.
1. Northeast Peacock Gate - representing autumn and dedicated Lord Vishnu
2. Southeast Lotus Gate - suggestive of summer season and dedicated to Lord Shiva-Parvati
3. Northwest Green Gate - also called the Leheriya (meaning: "waves") gate, in green colour suggestive of spring and dedicated to Lord Ganesha (also a cover picture of the book - the palace of illusions)
4. Southwest Rose Gate - representing winter season and dedicated to Goddess Devi
Entry Fees (For Indians): Museum - Rs. 300, Half palace tour - Rs. 1500 and Full palace tour - Rs. 3000 (The palace tours includes a guide and refreshments)
Timings - 9.30 - 17.00
Time required : 3-4 hours
FunFact: The Chandra Mahal does not have steps to reach the upper floors. Slopes connects the storeys, which is different than other palaces I've visited till date. Also, the first palace I visited where the royal family still resides on its first two floors.
I was extremely happy to visit the most awaited Patrika gate. It serves as an entrance to Jawahar circle garden and is located 30mins away from the city.
Its newly built but gives true reflection of the beauty of Rajasthan and its architecture. Definitely Instagrammable. The vibrant colours add to its vibes and you cannot stop staring at the walls. Make sure you visit the gate early in the morning to avoid crowd. Its open 24 hours and free of cost, so there are many photo shoots going on during the day.
I had to wait for a really long time for people to clear but I got my shot :)
Later, I went to the markets of Jaipur - The Bapu bazaar and Johari bazaar. I love shopping but I seldom shop when traveling to keep it a budgeted trip, so not the best person to speak on the bazaars :D
P.S. I did shop this time (Guilty)
Around 4pm, I left for Nahargarh Fort to watch the sunset. This fort is close to Amer fort so you can do both and Jaigarh Fort in the same visit, however, as I was tired on the first day I couldn't wait until the sunset.
You must not miss almost everything to be visited in Jaipur, but if I have to call out one thing then it would be the sunset from Nahargarh. Its spellbinding and you will be hypnotised watching that giant orange star going down behind this huge city and the fort walls. I sat there starting at the sunset for straight 45mins observing the changing colours in the sky.
Also, didn't go to the sunset point for the view. There is a immediate right turn as you enter the fort which is a perfect place to view the sunset away from the crowd. I had the whole place to myself. Lucky or what?
This was Holi day and I left for Pushkar with fellow travellers from the Hostel. It was one crazy Holi, that was! Due to the virus situation, the celebration was not as mad as it was supposed to be but not complaining at all. I had a blast and this day will be remembered forever.
Now when I sit and write about my solo trip to Jaipur, I remember so moments and happy vibes during my stay here. Not everything can be penned down but if I can conclude my trip in one sentence then I would say - Jaipur, you have my heart
Stayed at @the hosteller
Travelled internally by local rickshaws (they are cheaper)
Must try Food - Pyaz Kachori, Lassi by famous Lassiwala, Raj Kachori, Dal Batti churma, Ghewar, Gol gappe, Sweets from Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar and do visit Tapri (opp. central park).
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