Jaipur On My Mind

Jaipur Travel Blog

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We left Delhi as early as we finished our breakfast from our hotel. We headed to Jaipur expecting really nothing about this “pink city”.  I was seated next to our driver, Santosh. I noticed that he has more at ease with us now. He would talk in his broken English things he would want to tell us, be it sensible or otherwise. Last night in Delhi, he was just there smiling on every joke of the guide. However, he was different today. And I liked it. And since we were already friends and no longer just clients, he turned his radio on without any qualms, blasting us with Bollywood music, which was totally cool since we like his music!
The drive from Delhi to Jaipur is about 5 hours with one stopover for toilet break, and when Santosh has to pay highway tax to the state of Haryana, then to the state of Rajasthan.

This 5 hours drive was not boring at all. I got so amused how drivers in India (at least on this part of the country) drive their vehicles. “PLEASE BLOW HORN” is painted in many colorful ways that one at the rear of the trucks.  Then in smaller font • “Use Dipper at Night”. This is the phrase that I have not figured out the meaning. On our way to Jaipur, there’s a lot of interesting sights to see especially the people. Rajasthani women are not afraid of color! They would wear loud colors defying the “normal” convention of combining and mixing and matching of colors. But they would carry it in a manner that they would look so beautiful on their colorful saris. It was simply a blast of colors. Also on the road, we saw camels and elephants, some with decorative masks along the road.
This is totally not normal from where I came from.
The first thing that we saw in Jaipur when we arrived was the Amber Fort. We were not scheduled to stop and explore the place yet. However, being a person with no EQ, I asked Santosh to stop first so I can take some pictures. After a quick photo session, we continue driving, passing by the Jal Mahal and through the old pink city. As we continue driving, I felt as if I have not just traveled geographically but I traveled to a different time, an epoch that I am totally not familiar. It was so surreal. Once we reached the hotel (which is Clark Amber), we decided to go back to the pink city to do some shopping and some sight seeing. We ended this day with an Indian dinner cum cultural show where some kids performed some Rajasthani dance.
The following day was the touring day.
After breakfast, we went first to the Palace of the Wind (Hawa Mahal), but due to some periodic cleaning on the palace, it was full of bamboo scaffolding. We were not able to fully appreciate its beauty due to the bamboo obstructions. Nonetheless, the temple is still looks beautiful.
After that we headed to foot of the Amber Fort. There we started with our elephant ride. Two persons are only allowed to ride on an elephant. So I rode with our guide. It was my second elephant ride (my first was in Siem Reap), it was different in a sense that I rode a spitting pachyderm this time. I got so wet with the elephant’s spit (or whatever). I was vehemently asking the elephant caretaker to ask the animal to stop spitting, but yeah, I know, no one can make it stop. Hehehe. So instead of getting upset, I resigned to my fate and just charged it to experience.
On top of the elephant, I felt like a Maharaja...covered with the animal’s spit!
After the ride on the pachyderm, it was time to explore the Amber Fort. Amber Fort is a massive fort-palace complex built in hybrid Hindu-Muslim style dates back to Raja Man Singh and was the royal palace of the Kachwahas. The name has nothing to do with the rather pretty pastel yellow color; instead, the fort is named after the town of Amber, in turn named after the goddess Amba. For a first-timer in India, seeing an adorned fort or castle in this style is totally awesome. Colors, colors everywhere!!! I loved it!!! We spent some hours in this fort in awe.
After the fort, we dropped by Jal Mahal or Water Palace to take some pictures. We didn’t stay long since it was already noontime and the Indian heat is starting to get unforgiving.
But the sight of the palace at the middle of the lake, fantastic!
Then we explored the Jantar Mantar. It is the biggest of five astronomical observatory build by Maharaja Jai Singh during the period 1727-1734 in north India. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits and so on and so forth.... Our guide has done a good job in explaining the various functions of each apparatus. Though the only thing that I remember was how the sundial works.
Next to the Jantar Mantar was the City Palace. It is an imposing blend of traditional Rajput and Mughal architecture. It is a vast palace complex occupying nearly one-seventh of the Pink City. The Palace of the Wind is actually part of the Palace complex. it was an interesting place but I started to get tired of all the walking and picture taking.
. So I was a bit cranky already when we were exploring the Palace complex.
After seeing what Jaipur has to offer to a simple-minded tourist like me, the agent brought us to some shops (as expected). I managed to buy some items as souvenirs.
We were supposed to eat in the hotel for our lunch, but we asked Santosh to bring us to McDonalds instead. We just want to know if it’s the same McDo that we know. Well… It was different there but just as good!
We ended this day with a drink of local beer at the rooftop bar of the hotel. I would recommend this bar, a very authentic Rajasthani. I was just so glad to be at that spot that very hour, pondering how I love Jaipur! Maybe next time, I would explore the other parts of Rajasthan too.


aditany says:
this is really useful, i shall pencil jaipur in for ny oct 09 trip!
Posted on: Apr 23, 2009
planisphere says:
hey andi, my travel to india is one of my favorite trips. the range of emotion is just too wide. i plan to see more of india. :)
Posted on: Jul 26, 2008
andiboi says:
Amazing blog, Apo! my next big one is India, reading your stuff just made me more eager to go :-)
Posted on: Jul 26, 2008
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