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Nope! This is not another travel blog. I am here to take you on a journey around Jaipur with me in your pocket. I am currently pursuing a degree in commerce at the University of Delhi. Being one of the best tourist spots closest to Delhi, I vacationed in Jaipur with my friends and would strongly recommend anyone to head there for their next holiday.
India’s most flamboyant city, Jaipur draws you in with its ancient history and royal lineage. Set against the grand backdrop of Nahargarh and Jaigarh forts, its picturesque scenery and majestic architecture are bound to teleport you to another era.
Tapri, in the C Scheme area, is by far one of the coolest cafes I have ever come across. Their creative and unique menu has a “ram bharose/serendipity” option, telling you to ‘let luck/ destiny decide’ as you are served up something distinctly off-menu! The rooftop location, quirky ambience, and the stunning view of Central Park are all added advantages.
It offers many healthy food options for all the fitness freaks out there, but if you’re like me on a holiday I would recommend the tadka maggi, vada pav and a hot cup of masala tea, or as it goes by it’s colloquial name, “chai” being one of the most essential part of every Indian’s breakfast, for a delicious and satisfying start to the day.
Jaipur is best explored on foot and to cover as many spots as possible, the best option is to grab street food on the go. With a plethora of mouth watering items like pyaaz ki kachori, golgappe and ghevar all across the city, Masala Chowk is a one stop solution for all street food lovers. Alternatively, Bar Palladio, at Narayan Singh Circle not only impresses one with its culinary delights but is also going to add oomph to your Instagram profile with pictures snapped against its dramatic yet elegant interiors. It’s famous for its blue and white decor which is the perfect representation of Mughal and European architecture blending. The gnocchi, best paired with their signature Marina Rossa drink and tiramisu, are a must try.
With a stunning array of forts, palaces and temples it’s definitely not easy to cover all the spots in a day, so I’ll list out the top attractions based on my personal preference. Amber Fort, just 11 kilometres from the main city, tops the list for its raw natural beauty, the sand coloured walls merging perfectly with the surrounding hills. Jaigarh Fort offers the breathtaking view of the entire city, a great spot to enjoy the sunset. The other, local tourist destinations include City Palace which housesthe Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum and is also the residence of the Royal Family of Jaipur. Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal among others are spots typically included in the tourist itinerary.
Going to Rajasthan and not exposing yourself to the authentic royal thaali and barring your tastebuds from this ethnic experience of a burst of flavours, would be an injustice to yourself. And there is no better place than Choki Dhaani to get a taste of the true Rajasthani culture.
The open air restaurants combined with a bevy of traditional entertainment- magic shows, kalbeliya dances, folk music, acrobats, camel and elephant rides, palmists, itr-sellers and snack stalls make it a truly unforgettable experience. ‘Manuhar’ is the Rajasthani way of displaying hospitality, which translates to “a delicate request to eat till your heart desires” and every moment spent in this city is a personification of this term. Eat till you drop aptly fits here because the thaali includes a large number of typical Rajasthaani delicacies like kadhi, gatte ki sabzi, dal baati, churma, bajra and makka breads, moong dal all meticulously arranged making for a delightful meal.
Brush up on your bargaining skills because Jaipur is definitely the shopper’s paradise especially if you’re fond of vibrant jewellery, textiles, craft work and gems. Meenakaari, which is coloured jewellery, is a speciality famously sold in Johari Bazaar and Sireh Deori Bazaar. Bapu Bazaar and Nehru Bazaar are the textile hotspots of the city with shops lined with beautiful saris, fabrics, banjara bags, trinkets, jootis and the famed bandhani duppatas all embellished with beads and tassels. Not so far away is Hawa Mahal, so after a long shopping spree one can relax in one of the cosy cafes opposite Hawa Mahal and enjoy the view against the backdrop of the setting sun, sipping on some bubbly refreshing banta soda.
To elude the traffic and crowded city, Sisodia Rani ka Baagh and Royal Gaitor are peaceful destinations to chill with friends. For those who enjoy being pampered, there are some luxurious options at Rambagh Palace Hotel offering spas, fine dining and a pool surrounded by lush green lawns, some top-end services that pleasured the Princess of Yore. If anyone is up for a game of golf, there is the Rambagh Golf Club. There are many other affordable alternatives for great massages and yoga sessions. Another one of my favourite things to do is to cycle around the city with my friends.
For those looking to experience its raw, natural beauty, I would strongly recommend attending one of the many exotic festivals that are held in Jaipur all round the year. Mecca for the literary nerds, Jaipur Literature Festival has especially gained popularity recently as it is attended by an array of South Asia’s most prominent names from the literary world. It is held in late January so many people visit over a long weekend tying it into the Republic holiday.
To enjoy a once in a lifetime experience, go and watch the Elephant Polo and Elephant tug of war between gorgeously ornate elephants, held at the Elephant Festival celebrated around Holi. The government has declared an official holiday to celebrate the Kite festival. A change from its monochromatic pink, the sky is covered with vibrant, contrasting colourful kites as everyone displays their kite flying skills.
There is a wide variety of pocket friendly backpacker hostels across the city. I would recommend taking one in the heart of the city to avoid spending much on transportation. As per your budget you can bookone online. C Scheme would be a good choice as it’s not very far from the railway station or bus stop.
When it comes to visiting Rajasthan, it’s a no brainer that it’s to be visited in winter, starting from November to mid February. The long summer is unbearable and is simply not recommended.
I think it caters to the needs of all combinations of people, that is the beauty of Jaipur, it has something to offer to everyone that visits it. I had a great time with my friends, but I’d love to revisit with my family.