A couple of weeks back, I took a weekend trip to the pink city, Jaipur with a couple of my friends. It turned out to be one of the most relaxing and fulfilling trips I’ve had. And this was a sentiment shared by my friends as well. For a man who has lived in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi for the last 3 years, Jaipur’s slow pace was a breath of fresh air. The place seems relaxed, running at its own pace and has a nonchalant charm about it.
This is a short account of what I experienced. All the information is based on what the locals there told me and intentionally not verified from any other source. Excuse the quality of pictures, the three of us are noob photographers.
1. Jal Mahal, The Lake Palace:
This is a beautiful, glowing palace in the middle of a lake. What amazes me is that the place was so deserted. You know how many people were there except the three of us — 5. And three of them were street food and ice cream vendors. If this was somewhere in Mumbai, it would be perennially crowded. Marine drive in South Bombay, for example, has a pretty similar feel minus the quiet.
2. The climb up the hill
Rajasthan is known for its forts. And jaipur being the capital at the time, has some of the most amazing ones. The route, like all hills, is pretty awesome and makes for a pretty comfortable ride. We stopped at a place on the way where we clicked this. The big glowing thing is the Lake Palace. And the best part, there was absolutely no one else there which is crazy and immensely relaxing. This lack of crowd and being able to just be was a constant theme on the trip. The peace and the quiet was almost overwhelming.
3. Nahargarh fort:
Goofy friends: Mohit and Nishit
On the way up the forts, we had an option of going to Amer or Nahargarh. We chose Nahargarh and man was it worth it. I was so surprised by the fact that the place was still open at night at 10. Again, there were not too many people, just one small group of 4. And guess what, the open air cafe served beer! For a token entry fees of 50 bucks, we got some refreshments as well. The whole city is obviously visible from the fort and looks beautiful.
4. Choolgiri, The Jain temple
View from the top
Most of the cities in Rajasthan are surrounded by mountains. So, the roads are often made by cutting out a part of the mountains as you can see in this. This place is a pretty steep climb with some sharp turns. And it is usually hot so even though you can walk, I’d recommend taking a car up to the temple. The temple itself is pretty much what you’d expect from a Jain temple if you’ve ever been to one.
Tunnels shaped in royal arches
5. Prem Pan Bhandar
Mouthful of happiness
The happiest guy you would see is right in that picture, behind the two of us in that photo frame. Who wouldn’t eat at that shop after that picture. This place had the most delicious paans ever and we made it a point to go there both the nights.
Out of stock at 3 in the afternoon
I wish I had a close up picture of this place. Lassiwala is supposed to be the best lassi place in Jaipur. When we arrived there at 3 in the afternoon, his stock had finished up, all the instruments packed and the shop owner was still sitting there doing absolutely nothing, smiling at us as if saying, “Yes, I am that good”. Like any good thing, this shop also has its share of copycats who have opened up shops next to it where we eventually had mediocre lassis. They still have to slog through the day while the guy next to them finishes up a day’s worth of business in the first few hours.
8. City Palace
The City Palace was an extensive tour of almost 3 hours. The yellowish palace is the actual current residence of the king who happens to be 15 years old and studies at Mayo. The flag hoisted is the official flag of the kingdom. Whenever the king is in the palace, an additional blue flag goes up. The rest of the place is open to public viewing. We got to see old pictures, robes, courtyards, weapons and lot of interesting stuff. The kings of Jaipur are called ‘Sawai’ - translated literally it means one and a half. They were known to be extremely strong and could take on more than one man in a duel, hence the name.
Other places we visited:
Food was a major part of the trip. Here are some other places we went to.
Rawat Kachoriwala - Started the trip with the must haves onion kachoris at probably the most popular mithai shop in Jaipur
Tapri: A very chilled out teafe serving good tea.
100% Rock: I wasn’t expecting much from Jaipur’s pubs which was a wise decision. This place played the same songs you’d hear over and over again in most places. And I think they were trying to copy Hard Rock Cafe but did so with much less taste - they had crappy pictures of guitars instead of real guitars hanging on the walls.
Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar: Even though I am a Marwari, I am not a big fan of Dal Baati, unlike my friends. And according to them, the daal baatis they had here were some of the best.
Another kachori shop: They used to serve the kachoris in Raj Mandir, Jaipur’s oldest movie theater.