KHAMBA-KHANI! PADHARO MAHRE DESH!
(This is a traditional way of welcoming guests in Rajasthan, India.)
On the western part of the country, India lies the state of Rajasthan. This state has been in talks since decades for the rich culture and tradition it houses. The state capital, Jaipur, is what I will be focusing in this article.
Popularly known as the Pink City of India, this metropolitan city is the best place to start your journey in India if you wish to learn about the traditional culture and rituals of the country. This city has a history that dates back to centuries ago. When you will learn about the architecture of the Old Jaipur city, I‘m sure you will be amazed that even during those times, architecture was of such an importance in India. I, fortunately, happened to stay in this city for a year and trust me, there cannot be any other city in the nation that greets you so well! But before staying there, I had visited the city many times and explored the streets.
Here is how I had begun my exploration in this amazing city. Start your day early in the morning with a bike and head on towards the Jal Mahal, basically it’s a palace on water. Wait, what? Yes! This palace is located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake and was enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber. Get yourself clicked and enjoy the serene environment early morning by the lake. If you want to sit on horses and get clicked, I would suggest you visit later in the afternoon rather than early morning. It was a winter morning. I was freezing and loaded with warm clothes. Stopping by the roadside tea seller and sipping tea while laughing over crazy stories with friends, this city brings the best memories to cherish.
Done with Jal Mahal, head onto the Nahargarh Fort just a few kilometers from the lake. It’s a hilly road where you are likely to find fitness freaks cycling around. Remember, drive very carefully because you are sure to witness dozens and dozens of peacocks, the national bird of India. Damn! Once you reach the fort, the view of the entire city is so beautiful that you cannot take your eyes off it. You know what, peacocks dance only when it rains and those who can witness them dancing, are the luckiest ones.
Most of the places of archeological importance are nearby this area only. After I was done at the Nahargarh Fort, I moved on to visit the Amer Fort. These forts were built centuries ago but still stands strong. Doesn’t this amaze you? Well, it does amaze me…
You need to walk up quite a few stairs to reach the top of the fort. I always recommend people to hire a guide. Do check if they possess a valid government ID card or not. You will never be able to understand the basic vision behind the infrastructure of the fort unless you take a guide. There are light and music shows in the evening for which certain pass/ticket needs to be collected, well before time. The Fort looks magnificent after it gets dark.
Nearby all these sites are situated the famous market area of India, the pink city market. Ranging from traditional wears to imported luxury items, cosmetics to food items, bags to footwear, and especially the world-famous Rajasthani sarees, all in that very area. You really need to walk a lot and do not forget to bargain for prices to get things at the best deal.
Though I don’t party much, I can surely name some of the best night life spots in the city. Starting with the most famous, 100% Rock bar, Amigos Bar, 60 ML, Restro Foresto and much more are the most preferred ones in the city. You are sure to find an amazing crowd on Saturday nights. If you aren’t a party freak but wanna spend time out at nights, head on the Mansarovar area. The wide roads and the cool breeze pitch in really well to soothe the mood and have a relaxing drive/ride/walk.
One of the most amazing shopping destination for those who prefer putting on proper brands is the World Trade Park. People like me who are crazy for shopping can spend their entire day out here and will feel like it’s just been a few hours now. Treat your taste buds with the mouth watering cuisines available in the same shopping mall on the top floors, watch movies, play games and get engrossed with the impeccable experience.
There are dozens of other places of interest but it’s practically not possible to details out each one of them. I would definitely suggest the tourists visit the Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Rambagh Palace, Birla Mandir, Statue Circle and much more. But yeah, do watch a movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema. It is the most famous movie hall of the country. You need to book tickets well in advance. People generally come to experience the movie hall rather than actually watching one.
If you happened to read my last article, you will be aware of the fact that I keep the best for the last. I visited this place called “CHOKHI DHANI”. Guys! This was the best experience of my life. This resort brings the entire rich Rajasthani culture under one roof. It’s a Rajasthani themed village hospitality arrangement where you can either spend some time after dusk or plan a stay in the luxury lap of the resort. The ethnic ambiance is all that can make up your entire trip.
When you first arrive, you are greeted with folded hands, dhol-nagada; an Indian traditional way of welcoming guests. Get in and explore the entire land of culture, take a small Camel or a horse ride inside, get a relaxing massage, dine-in in the most stupendous manner, put on the colorful attire and get clicked, enjoy the kulfi (a popular frozen Indian dessert), witness the royal weddings, chip into shop the hop at some of the stalls selling traditional items…
I had a really fun time in the city mostly because I was a resident there for quite a long time, had managed to make friends from numerous cultures and backgrounds. If you are visiting this city for the first time, remember to first prioritize the places you wanna see and which site will be the most suitable to visit at what hour of the day. It’s a historic city and so not all the sites remain open for tourists 24×7.
If you are an international tourist visiting India or maybe this city for the first time, your concept needs to very clear regarding the price of essential commodities like water. Make sure you are well aware of the currency. This is so because India welcomes everyone with a great smile and with a guaranteed tourist satisfaction but there are chances that you encounter someone who can charge you even 10 times of the actual cost.
Getting to the city Jaipur, the best way is to fly to Jaipur International Airport. If you love to drive, you can take a flight to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi and hire a self-drive car all the way from New Delhi to Jaipur. I am sure that you gonna love this drive. Soon I will be up with an article regarding best commutes in India, cab services, famous eating joints, shopping areas and a lot more…
Till then, keep exploring, keep learning and keep inspiring people to travel.
(Some of the pictures are self-clicked whereas some of them are from sources like Google Images.)