Travel to Jaipur (Rajasthan) to see India’s true majestic past and to feel how the kings and rulers of India used to live. Jaipur is really a very magnificent city with its splendid palaces, which till date are well preserved, its vibrant markets and feel of the city being a remarkable tourist destination. All thanks to a Rajput king, Sawai Jai Singh II who ruled Jaipur from 1699 to 1744 and constructed Jaipur with an objective to have more facilities and space. Jaipur is India’s first planned city.
I went to Jaipur from Delhi in Feb 2006 with my husband by car and found it a very colorful city. Moreover, the highway from Delhi to Jaipur is also fabulous and so travelling in your own vehicle is not a problem. It took approximately four to five hours to reach Jaipur. At that time there were not many roadside dhabas (small restaurants) as present on the highway from Delhi to Punjab.
Our trip was an unplanned one as made in hurry. So no hotel room was booked in advance and even we did not have any idea of any hotel or the place itself. Also we had never gone to that side of the country and no relative of ours stayed at any nearby place. Hence the worry of parents was obvious, but for us, all these things were making the whole trip very adventurous, memorable and enjoyable. We reached Jaipur at about 6 pm and our first target was to find a good hotel. Through hit and trial we reached M.I road and enquired about some good hotels on that road. Again by chance we happen to see Hotel Maurya Palace which is very close to M.I. road but not exactly on the road. By looking at the hotel’s exterior and interior we decided to stay there. The hotel was wonderful with good service, spacious rooms, modern facilities, on call room service, and neat and clean ambience. Above that, during our stay, the hotel was not at all crowded so we had thoroughly enjoyed our stay there.
The next morning we got a tour guide from the hotel itself. Though the hotel also organizes trips to Bikaner and inner Rajasthan but we decided to visit nearby places and palaces. After breakfast at the hotel our tour guide first of all took us to Amber Fort and showed us the entire fort with detailed explanation. Amer or Amber fort is a very popular tourist attraction and located 11 km from Jaipur. It was built by Raja Man Singh I. I liked the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) in the fort. It was designed in a way that it artificially creates a cool climate with wind blowing over the cascades of water. The temple of Sila Devi inside the fort close to its Ganesh Gate has an interesting tale behind it. Our tour guide told us that head of Sila Devi is now not straight as she got angry because no longer human males are sacrificed in the palace which earlier used to be the ritual. We enjoyed the fort thoroughly.
Our next stoppage was Anokhi, a place with high quality block print textiles. After spending three hours in the huge fort this was very relaxing and I felt as if I was back to my normal life. You can also buy traditional jewellery and even learn the art of block printing or their more detailed workshops on the same. I bought bed sheets and quilted bed covers from there and to my surprise the color of these is still the same. So it is worth buying from there.
After having our lunch at road side restaurant we visited City Palace, Jaipur. Its major part is now ‘Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum’. The height and width of the king can be assumed from his dress that is displayed in the museum – it is so big. He was the 10th King of Jaipur. The entire palace is very delicately carved. Also the King used to drink water brought only from holy Ganga and to get water from there huge silver vessels were used. These silver vessels are displayed there and recorded in the Guinness Book of World record for being the largest silver vessels in the world. The palace also has a dancing area where professional dancers used to perform for king.
By the time we finished the visit to City Palace we were so tired to visit any other museum. Therefore we checked Hawa Mahal just from outside as it is right on the main road. We went back to hotel at about 7 pm.
Next day we were on our own and we decided to take a round of the nearby markets. M.I. road market is just like any other city market but once you are out of city gate and close to Hawa Mahal there is a colourful Johri Bazaar. Chiefly it is a market for Rajasthani jewellery but in true sense it defines Rajasthan and its culture. Gold, silver and studded jewellery shops are there since time immemorial. You can also buy Jaipuri quilts, bed sheets, bandani dupatas, sari which make the market even more special for women who love to shop. Though the market and shops are not new but constructed in a planned way and far better than what is being constructed today. This red coloured market has all the shops of same size and to enter the shop you have to take two steps down. We asked for the reason and shopkeepers explain that it is a way to welcome buyers. The market is really crowded, so be mentally prepare for this.
Weather was fine at that time but getting hotter day by day so it is better to plan your trip to Jaipur in winter as summer heat is really draining with temperature so high that you won’t be able to enjoy at all. But we immensely enjoyed our trip to Jaipur and highway from Delhi to Jaipur. For sure I want to visit Jaipur again to enjoy its spell-bounding attractions and the places that I had missed.
To know more about Jaipur, you may refer to the following: