A budget traveler in the Land of Royals

Tripoto
10th Jul 2017

Palaces and Queens

Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome

Day 1: The Old City = The Pink City

Day 1

What should I do with this money huh! I asked myself. The answer was always there, since the time I had reached Delhi, I knew for sure that a trip to Jaipur had to be taken. I was working as a paid intern at an NGO in New Delhi. Even if the “paid” part wasn’t much and I spent a considerably huge amount of it in partying and clubbing in Hauz Khas, I still managed to save 4000 Rupees for the Jaipur Trip. So as soon as my internship got over, I booked some places and my tickets and bam! I was at the station to Jaipur. The tickets to Jaipur was just 200 rupees from the Sarai Rohilla Station of Jaipur. By the way, forgot to mention a quick fact, this was my first solo trip which I sponsored on my own, so my parents had no idea about this.

I reached Jaipur station somewhere near 11 O'clock, took a cab and reached my hostel. So this hostel, a traveler hostel going by the name of Zostel was charging me 400 Rupees a day. It was decent and well maintained not to forget coool! I took up my bunk, cleaned myself up, wore some loose clothes (It was damn hot in Jaipur!) and went out to take a stroll. So Jaipur city has a part of it which was made by Maharaja Jai Singh II, the city actually derives its name from him. This part of the city is its old city or pink city. A number of houses and shops are painted pink. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh had taken on this interesting venture to welcome the Prince of Wales in 1876. I was lucky that my hostel had a pink wall and thus was openly embracedinto this part of the city.

The view of the pink city from my cab

Photo of Zostel Jaipur, Kamal Gatta Colony, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

Streets and Lampposts in the perfect combination

Photo of Zostel Jaipur, Kamal Gatta Colony, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

It was an interesting sight in front of me, the streets were crowded, the shops were all bright and colorful inside, while the whole atmosphere was pink. The delicacies on the street shops were mouth watering. I could not resist myself to a treat of Pyaz ki Kachori and a kulhad of Lassi. Pyaz ki Kachori is a fried onion pastry while Lassi is a sweet dish made from curd and served in an earthen glass called as Kulhad. I moved on to look at the next shop where there were colorful household and decorative items on display. It took me almost two hours just to know my surroundings and breathe in the air of Jaipur. I also caught a glimpse of the famous Hawa Mahal from a distance. After which I came back to my hostel tired from all the walking and eating.

I had intended to meet some friends in evening. The two girls came right on time, like just two hours after we decided to meet at Bapu Bazaar. Bapu Bazaar is a marketplace almost adjacent to the old city, or it may be a part of it only. The marketplace was famous for its variety of traditional clothes, jewelry, and other decorative items. The two girls initially helped me buy some gifts for my mom, home and my girlfriend after which they went on a shopping spree and took me to every shop in the whole Bazaar to buy some traditional clothes for themselves. I usually do not like to shop, but honestly, this bazaar had an essence to it which I wanted to capture in dozens of photographs. From colorful windchimes to enormous earrings and traditional ghagra to mystical quilts, Bapu Bazaar had it all. I have to admit to the fact that my friends were excellent guides.

While we munched on some snacks, my friends took me to the sunset view of the Albert Hall Museum. Situated in the heart of the city, somehow this place seems to come in any route to the place that you may wish to go. The view was beautiful, a long street connected went up to the Museum with carved lamp posts on both sides of the road. It was peace to just sit there and relax. We sat on one side of the road, watched the sunset and the night to fall. They left in a short while and I took out my mobile phone to capture every possible thing there was to capture. I took a long stroll home, exploring new parts of the old city, talking to the shopkeepers, knowing about the city and munching all the way. I just couldn’t seem to get enough of all the snacks on display on streets.

The nights are a little cooler in Jaipur. I found out back at my hostel that my room had new travelers. We compared our notes about the city till midnight and quickly went to sleep as there was a lot on my list for tomorrow.

Pyaz ki Kachori and Lassi

Photo of Hawa Mahal Road, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Hawa Mahal Road, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

Day 2 : From Movies to Real Life Palaces

Day 2

The next day I reached a zooming speed to the Amer area, all thanks to my Ola bike driver. I love the fact that Jaipur has a facility where you can book a seat for bike riders through cab service apps. Plus Jaipur was windy today, dark clouds were up, and the sun would not show up. The bike ride was awesome, the bike driver and me talked about the history of Jaipur and he let me stop around for taking photograph around the famous Jal Mahal. The drive was through the hills and lakes of Jaipur.

Jal Mahal

Photo of Jal Mahal, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Jal Mahal, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Jal Mahal, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

My final destination Amer was on the outskirts of the main city and the fort of Amer begins from around 8kms from the city. The fort was visible even before the markers and the boards appeared. I could recognize the majestic sandstone structure amongst the hill because of my obsession with the "Jodha Akbar" Movie. The streets were so smooth and it was lush greenery on either side of the road. My ola driver dropped me just near the gate to the fort where I was to meet my friends.

Photo of Amer Fort, Devisinghpura, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Amber Fort, Devisinghpura, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

The things that I could grasp from my last interview of the Ola Driver was that the Amer fort overlooks the Maota Lake, which is the green lake in the image and that it was built on the orders of Raja Man Singh. The fort also overlooks the town of Amer which was built by the Meena Tribe. The fort was majestic in every respect, on top of it, the view of Jaigarh from where I was clicking photographs was unique. My friends from all over Jaipur had gathered now, so the party took off walking along with the elephants!! Ohh yes, Elephants are the most common way to reach the palace on top. But being on a budget we could just walk with them and not on them (Not only because of the budget but I hate riding on animals).

I entered the fort complex, my adrenaline all shot up, I could picture all the kings and queens that must have walked the same road to their palaces. It was quite a walk to the top, but eventually, we reached. Our path broke off at the main courtyard of the fort. This courtyard was where the people would gather to listen to the king. The courtyard was huge with few trees planted in a fashionable way. At one end of the courtyard was the wall and mountains beyond it. The other side had a very ancient temple of Shila Devi. People say that their king had brought the idol of the temple after defeating the king of Bengal.

Photo of Amber Palace, Devisinghpura, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Amber Palace, Devisinghpura, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

The passage next to the Shila Devi temple took us to another courtyard. Infront of the passage was a structure with numerous pillars in it, this was supposed to be the King's court. On the right was a huge gate which marked the entrance to the palace. The gate was intrinsically carved with gold and sandstone. In contrast to other structures present in the fort, the gate boasted of the richness inside.

Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome

Through further passages and alleys, we saw some amazing and beautiful structures and carvings. The "Sheesh Mahal" was breathtaking with tiny mirrors engraved with carvings done on all sides of the room, from ceiling to furniture. A look from the window showed us the "Kesari Garden", which was a very planned garden almost looked like a geometrical figure from top.

Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome

The narrow passage theme was common across the fort. We discovered beautiful gardens, bath halls, community room and balconies. One of the balconies had a view of the whole of the Amer town and the only "Meera Temple" in the world. The fort was so huge that even with us being all charged up in the morning, by the end of the exploration it we were all exhausted. We sat for a while, shot some videos and then started our journey back. On our way, we saw some Rajasthani Folk musicians and dancers near the exit of the fort trying to make their living.

Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome

Back at the foot of the hills that housed the fort, we searched for places to grab the quick bite. Fortunately in front of us was the Stag Restro Cafe, a cool place with open seating and great food. We relaxed for a while and satisfied our craving for food.

Next destination on the list was Panna Meena ka Kund.

While we were searching for Autos, it started to rain. Thankfully, none of my friends were spoilsports and we thus didn't delay much and started out to the location. Panna Meena ka Kund is a huge stepwell in the town of Amer. The exquisite beauty of the Kund looked even better when the rains had washed off all the dirt and dust. We had just begun to start photographing the beautiful structure when it started to pour very heavily.

Photo of Panna Meena ka Kund, Amer, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Panna Meena ka Kund, Amer, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

Not making the autowala bhaiya wait much longer, we asked him to take us to Nahargarh next. The autowala took us through the narrow roads up the Aravalli hills. All around us, there was abundant greenery and the monsoon rains made it look extra beautiful. Wherever the forest cover thinned, we could see a view of the Jaipur city and the beguiling Jalmahal.

The road ended at the top of the hill, on one side of the end was a huge gate to the fort and on the other end a wall with a view.

Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome

Bonus Information: - If you have a College ID, your tickets for forts and museums are almost half the rate.

So we went inside, explored the huge area of the fort. The main road took to two diversions, one was to a resturant and another to the palace inside the fort. We took to the resturant obviously! and had our lunch. We had two bowls of Maggi, burgers and more Maggi. It was good, dining under the open sky surrounded by the fort, it was a good place.

Photo of Nahargarh Fort, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Nahargarh Fort, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Nahargarh Fort, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Nahargarh Fort, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Nahargarh Fort, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Nahargarh Fort, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Nahargarh Fort, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Nahargarh Fort, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

After that we started exploring the palace. The Nahargarh palace was a huge structure with a very symmetrical design. Among the desiogns were those windows which make light coloured and patterned. There were several floors to the forts with distinct chambers for different queens. The carving on the pillars and walls were exquisite and yet a little different from those at Amer. The Nahargarh fort was made by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and later extended by Sawai Ram Singh and Sawai Madho Singh.

The best part of the palace was its terrace. The terrace to the fort had these beautiful domes which fitted perfectly with the pink skyline of the city. Another remarkable thing was a telescope through which you could view the Jalmahal. The netted gates to the rooms in the floor just below along with carved windows gave such an old fashioned look to the city. Among these windows were the place where I took this picture thanks to one of my awesome friend.

Photo of A budget traveler in the Land of Royals by Snehanshu Shome

We were chilling out at Nahargarah for quite a while, just sitting and talking. As the first hour of evenng struck we decided to call it a day for my friends not for me obviously! We took separate autos back to our destinations.

I took an auto back to my Zostel. Rested for a while, took a shower and grabbed a quick bite. Next on my list was the Birla Mandir. For this I booked another Ola Bike and went of to there. I could not click much photos of this place as it grew a little dark. The temple also known as the lakshmi Narayan temple was a piece of beauty. Made with the best of the white marble, this temple is situated at most of the cities in India. The temple house the idols of the diety Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi.

Photo of Birla Mandir, Hill Fort Road, Ambedkar Colony, Khairatabad, Hyderabad, Telangana, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Birla Mandir, Hill Fort Road, Ambedkar Colony, Khairatabad, Hyderabad, Telangana, India by Snehanshu Shome

I sat there for a while waiting for the aarti to take place. It started at 7 with each and every devotee present in the temple singing to the devotional music in unison. The white marble walls, the superb carvings on them, the rich decoration and the peace around the temple was a unique thing. I was left mesmerized at just experiencing all the beauty and music at once.

My last stop on day 2 was the WTP or the World Trade Park Mall. This mall was not very much far from the temple, it took me just a few minutes to reach there. The structure of the mall was of one distinct blue and silver design. There were three tall towers in different shapes and figures. A tall tower and ramps were added to the design to make it more beautiful. I explored the mall, going through shops and food joints. There was also a number of local shops along wth the big brands in the mall. The interiors of the mall were really really good.The food court was huge and had almost every possible food chains famous in India. I had my dinner at the food court only. It was a Biryani platter and a Keventer's Milk Shake.

After spending an hour or so, I took an auto back to the Zostel. I spent almost the whole night at one of the terraces of the hostel. There were some other guests as well in there. There was a millitary guy from USA and some britishers. We chatted for a while and then went to sleep.

Day 3

Day 3: Seeing Everything

The next day I woke up late, had an awesome breakfast at the hostel itself. During my breakfast I started talking to one of the operational managers at there. I was curious about how to do this awesome job and how he managed to get it. I also asked him about what else was left to see, to which he replied - "You havent seen anything yet".

Taking his advice, I planned up my day for the next set of places to visit. I took up an E-Rickshaw to Albert Hall Museum to finally see the place from inside. I reached there took my tickets and went inside. The place was huge, like magnanimous. It was one of the most beautiful wonders of Jaipur. Intrinsincly carved walls, splendid architecture and beautifully planned, this museum was an Indo - Saracenic form of architecture. I got to know that this famous structure was meant to be the city hall but later one of Jaipur's king Madho Singh made it a museum.

The museum is rich in the culture and heritage of the pink city. From sculptures to paintings, from armoury to religious idols, Albert Hall boasts it all. I was engrossed in the variety of artifacts that were in display. From Hindu Gods to Buddhist scuplptures everything looked pure and ancient. Even the view from the windows of the museum was worth photographing.

Apart from this, Albert Hall is also the home to over hundreds of pigeons. From roofs to sidewalks, every possible place was crowded with pigeons. It was fun to feed them and to make boomerangs with them.

I next walked to Jantar Mantar following Google Maps and to shopkeepers nearby. I was stuck in a residential colony until an old lady shouted at me to take a dark alley. I walked across the dark alley to actually reach there surprisingly! The jantar Mantar was right infront of me with wierd structures and a huge park.

Photo of Albert Hall Museum, Ram Niwas Garden, Ashok Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Albert Hall Museum, Ram Niwas Garden, Ashok Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Albert Hall Museum, Ram Niwas Garden, Ashok Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Albert Hall Museum, Ram Niwas Garden, Ashok Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

The park was huge and this Jantar Mantar was definetely bigger than its Delhi counterpart. I started taking lessons from the boards along each device and taking numerous photographs. There was a small part of the park which was designed for various horpscope signs. While I was walking to the next section where there was a huge tower and a slide infront of it, it started to rain. I love when marble structures are washed up by rain, they look so better. I spent half an hour exploring all the sections of the place.

Photo of Jantar Mantar - Jaipur, Malve Nagar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Jantar Mantar - Jaipur, Malve Nagar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Jantar Mantar - Jaipur, Malve Nagar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Jantar Mantar - Jaipur, Malve Nagar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Jantar Mantar - Jaipur, Malve Nagar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

Next was the City Palace just a few blocks away. I walked to the location to find this huge palace in midst of the city which hadn't crossed my path before. The tickets to this place were a little expensive than others. It was a similar structure which opened up to a huge courtyard. The gate is known as the Virendra pol near Jaleb Chowk. The structure midst of the courtyard and in front of the gate was the Mubarak Mahal, used as a reception center by the royals. The building had an Islamic connection in its architecture. This structure and all other structures had a hundred of windows.

The next structure was the Diwan-e- Aam, and Diwan-e-Khaas. The Diwan-e-Khaas was a beautiful court with each and every object kept in the same position as in the original court. There were huge portraits all around the court, from the throne to chairs everything was left decorated as it must have been. It was beautiful to look at, the chandeliers, the ornate covers to the throne and the intricate curtains everything was beautiful.

There was also a Chandra Mahal, of which only one floor was open to tourists. The various different halls had different things in the exhibition. There was a hall having armory and paintings. The Bagghi Khana at one end had all the royal carriages in the display, there were also many shops nearby selling traditional clothes and handlooms.

Photo of City Palace, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of City Palace, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of City Palace, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of City Palace, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan by Snehanshu Shome

After exploring the City Palace, the only place left to explore in the old city was the Hawa Mahal which I had kept for the last. Hawa Mahal is the one destination I have associated jaipur for so long. I took an auto to the Hawa Mahal thus. From front, Hawa Mahal seems to merge with its surrounding. It does not look out of the world, but from inside it is definetely unique. The Hawa Mahal Complex is a huge cuboidal structure with a number of staircases and windows. The windows were the speciality and the tinted glass on it looked beautiful. The reflection of the windows on all of the three floors were so beautiful. And even if the hieght of the building is not that much and yet from the windows clear cool wind blew.

Photo of Hawa Mahal, Hawa Mahal Road, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Hawa Mahal, Hawa Mahal Road, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Hawa Mahal, Hawa Mahal Road, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Hawa Mahal, Hawa Mahal Road, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Hawa Mahal, Hawa Mahal Road, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Hawa Mahal, Hawa Mahal Road, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome
Photo of Hawa Mahal, Hawa Mahal Road, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Snehanshu Shome

Hawa Mahal was a different experience from inside. It was much much different than just the pink front with colorful windows. After coming out of the Hawa Mahal, I checked my watch, I still had like 2hrs left for my train. I quickly checked with my friend who lived at the opposite corner of Jaipur. I booked an ola bike and went on the whole tour of Jaipur through the Albert Hall, Birla Mandir, WTP Mall to Mansarovar which is the in the new city. It was one hell of a ride almost took me 45 minutes to reach there. I witnessed that I wasn't the only one in an Ola bike rather these were very popular in here. After meeting with my friend the last thing left for me to do in Jaipur was to buy some Ghevar, a Rajasthani delicacy to bring back home.

After doing all my stuff, I packed my bags, said goodbyes to my friends at Zostel and left for the railway station. It was not easy to say goodbye to the city but I enjoyed my best.

I loved Jaipur now, more than ever.

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wow.great.by a solo
Thu 04 19 18, 08:53 · Reply · Report