Monday, 18 January 2016

Pink City: Jaipur

After Bharatpur, Ranthambore and Sariska forest safaris, we came to our last location of trip. As return flight was scheduled from Jaipur which is close to Sariska so our last destination was Pink city, Jaipur. To avoid length of blog, I have divided it into 4 parts, in this part I would like to share my travel experience from Jaipur.

Without a doubt, travelers for this trip were me and my wife Renuka.

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur


About Jaipur:
               Jaipur city is the capital and largest city of the Rajasthan state. It was founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, Amer Empire. Jaipur was named from king name. Jaipur is also known as the Pink City of India. Being a capital, it is well connected by air, train and road to the rest of Indian cities. It is one of the popular locations for tourist. It is part of the Tourist Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
              In 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh painted the entire city pink, to welcome the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) to the city. The tradition has been maintained and today all residents in the old city are compelled by law to preserve the pink color. Jaipur got the sobriquet of pink city. I have been to Jaipur along with other cities in Rajasthan before marriage hence we kept only 1.5 days to explore some part of Jaipur. You need at least 3-4 days to enjoy the Jaipur tourism in details.

Out entire travel plan
Pune to Delhi - Indigo flight on Thursday night – 7th Jan 16
Train to Amritsar on Friday evening – 8th Jan 16
Day in Amritsar and late night train to Agra for Bharatpur
3 days in Bharatpur and evening train on 13th Jan 16
A Day in Ranthambore for 2 safaris (original plan was of 3 Safaris but we missed it due to train cancellation). Late evening Private cab on 14th Jan 16 for Sariska.
A Day in Sariska for 2 Safaris and evening public transport bus for Jaipur – 15th Jan 16
2 days in Jaipur and Jaipur to Pune night flight

Click Here for Amritsar Travel blog
Click Here for Bharatpur Travel blog
Click Here for Ranthambore-Sariska Travel blog

15th Jan 2016: Sariska - Jaipur:
              We finished our Sariska forest safari by 6 PM and left Sariska. Distance between Sariska and Jaipur is around 122 km which can be covered by renting a car or by public transport. We preferred public transport rather than renting car for just 2-2.5hr journey, which saves a lot of money and gives a chance to connect with people.
              We came to the Sariska bus stop which is close to the forest gate by 6:30 PM. It was lonely area as forest staff went home by 7 PM. Our hotel manager was aware of our journey and hence he came at the bus stop and accompanied us till we got the bus for Jaipur. Soon we got bus to Jaipur. We reached Jaipur in just 2 hours.
              We had booked a room in Hotel Anuraag Villa in advance. We were aware of Hotel’s hospitality as my parents had stayed here 2 years back. It is located close to collectorate Circle Park. The Rooms are large and clean and hospitality of the staff is great. Hotel’s dining area is the best part of the Hotel. They have indoor sitting area along with open garden area. Maintained garden with creative ambiance tempts you to spend more time in garden area having Tea/Coffee. They have a live kitchen set up next to garden area in closed glass room so you can keep watch on preparation.

Anuraag Villa Hotel
Anuraag Villa Hotel

Dining area, Anuraag Hotel
Dining area, Anuraag Hotel

               We had our dinner in hotel’s garden area. Temperature in Jaipur was below 8 degrees C still we enjoyed tasty food in open garden. Renuka’s cousin brother works in Jaipur and we 3 decided to explore Jaipur. He is a food lover just like me and familiar with the city and its tourist attractions. We took rest after dinner.


Expense:
  • Bus Ticket to Jaipur: INR 200/- for 2 person
  • Hotel Anuraag Villa stay: INR 2000/- for 2 night in non AC room
  • Dinner at Anuraag Villa Hotel: INR 302/- (Soup, Parathas and Dal khichadi)

16th Jan 2016- Jaipur:
               We woke up by 7:30 AM and got ready for day sightseeing. We had breakfast in garden restaurant. Cold morning breeze and hot cup of coffee with lovely classical instrumental music made us feel fresh. Amey (Renuka’s cousin brother) joined us by 9AM. He brought Innova with driver for day sightseeing.
              We left hotel and went for some additional breakfast. Jaipur is famous for different types of Kachori, Namkin and many more food dishes. We had Kachori, Samosa, Jalebi, Chola Bhatora and dry fruit milk as (additional) breakfast. Now we were all set for sightseeing. Our first destination was Amber Fort. It is also known as Amer fort. It is one of the main tourist attractions from Jaipur and ruled by Raja Man Singh 1. Amber Fort is a gigantic and fascinating complex. The interior palace spaces contain glorious gardens, lavish furnishings and fabulous architecture. 

Amber Fort (Amer Fort)

              There are 3 different ways to reach the top of the fort. One is by vehicle and route is from back side. Few sign/ way boards are placed so a knowledgeable driver can take you there for sure. Another way is by steps from front side and last royal way is by elephants. Elephant ride to fort is available in morning slot only and no need to do any kind of advance booking. We personally were not in favor to trouble the elephants hence we opted the vehicle route and climbed down the steps on our way back.
 
Courtyard, Amer Fort
Courtyard, Amer Fort

               Once you reach the fort, you come at first courtyard. It is huge and you have to buy ticket at counters located in this courtyard. After crossing the gate, we arrived at the main palace ground. There is a beautiful entrance gate known as Ganesh gate named after Lord Ganesh. This gate is entrance to the private palace of Maharaja.

Ganesh Gate, Amer Fort
Ganesh Gate, Amer Fort

Ganesh Gate

               There are many attractions to see in this part of the palace. You can see Gallery to view courtyard, Diwan-i-Am, Sila Devi temple, Suhag Mandir (place from where ladies of the royal family used to watch functions). In the next section of the palace, there are 2 building opposite each other and a beautiful garden in between. One building is known as Sheesh Mahal means Mirror palace. Sheesh mahal was built by king Man Singh in 16th century and completed in 1727. The mirrors are of convex shape and designed with colored foil and paint which would glitter bright under candlelight at the time it was in use. Palace opposite to sheesh mahal is sukh mahal (Hall of Pleasure). It is made up of sandalwood door with marble inlay work with perforations. A piped water supply flows through an open channel that runs through this edifice keeping the environs cool, as in an air-conditioned environment. The water from this channel flows into the garden.

Sheesh Mahal
Sheesh Mahal

Beautiful Work

Sukh Mahal
Sukh Mahal

               You can climb up to see the most of palace section. Walkways within palace and different gates are like a maze, and it's a lot of fun to get lost in. Last courtyard consist of Zenana which is place for royal woman and few living rooms. View of fort and Maota Lake at base is simply magnificent. There is light and sound show which takes place in the evening. We missed it but heard from a lot of people that it is a great treat to watch. 

Maota Mahal
Maota Mahal

Wall for Amer Fort
Wall for Amer Fort

Amer Fort
Amer Fort

               There are 2 other forts located close to Amer fort, Jaigarh fort and Nahargarh fort. We didn’t get time to see the forts but I have been to these forts few years back. Jaigad fort is also known as Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles). It was built by King Jai Singh 2 in 1726 to guard Amber fort. Primary attraction on fort is ‘Jaivana’ cannon which is world’s largest wheel cannon. It is said that it was fired only once and its range of 40km. Range differs as per different sources. Nahargarh fort is relatively small and less popular fort. This fort offers you a magnificent view of Jaipur pink city. It was built in 1734 by founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. This fort never came across any attack in its history. This fort came under tourist radar after popular movie ‘Rang De Basanti’ was shot here.
               After fort visit, we began our return journey to pink city. On the way you can see Jal mahal (Water palace) which is located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. Visit to Jal mahal is prohibited, and you can see the view of Jal mahal from road. Locals say that due to water level, 1-2 floors are inside water. Water of lake is not at all maintained. I heard that this property was purchased by hotel owner to convert this palace into heritage hotel. Court case is in progress. Hope it will be open to public irrespective of court case result.

Jal Mahal, jaipur
Jal Mahal, jaipur

               Our next destination was Hawa Mahal. Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Breeze) is located in the heart of pink city. This place is iconic location which uses to represent the Jaipur city in photos or in video. It was built for woman from royal family so they can view market and observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. The whole palace is a mastery in architecture, from the way it is designed to attract the cooling breezes, so the ornately fashioned peep holes in the wall allowing the harem to look out on to the street below.

Hawa Mahal

               We went to see City palace after Hawa mahal. City palace is royal family’s house. It was built by Sawai Jai Singh 2 in year 1729 to 1732. Some part of palace was opened for tourist whereas Chandra Mahal is still house of the Successor of the former rulers of Jaipur. By taking one ticket you can visit Entrance arch, Diwan-I-Khas, Mubarak Mahal, Maharani's Palace, Shri Govind Dev Temple, Sabha Niwas (Diwan-E-Aam), Bhaggi Khana and the City Palace Museum.

Chandra Mahal

               First we visited Bhaggi Khana which is museum of old carriages, cabs, palanquin (one person transport carried by Human, Palakhi in Marathi) and chariot which were used by Royal family. As per locals, parade of all vehicles takes place on Royal Street on Dussehra day.
              Diwan-I-Khas was a private audience hall of the Maharaja. It consists of 2 huge silver vessels named as Gangajelies. It is recorded in Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest sterling silver vessels. It was used by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II to carry the water of the Ganges to drink on his trip to England in 1901. Water storage capacity of one vessel is 4000 Liters.

Gangajelies, Jaipur
Gangajelies, Jaipur

               Mubarak Mahal was built with combination of Islamic, Rajput and European architectural styles. It is a museum of royal costumes, other dress/cloths from Royal family. Maharani's Palace is located close to Mubarak Mahal and now it is converted into a museum to display weapons used by the royalty during war campaigns. It is one the best museum from Jaipur. Photography is not allowed in any of the museum. 
               Sabha Niwas also known as 'Diwan-E-Aam' or the 'Hall of Public Audience' is an art gallery at present. Paintings, Royal family’s video footage and King’s Throne are present in the gallery. Throne was the seat of the Maharaja during public audience. Photography is not allowed here. Overall it takes more than 2 hours to visit all locations.

Sabha Niwas


               It was around 3 PM in clock. We skipped our lunch, as we were constantly having different types of Kachori from famous locations, and went to next destination. Our next destination was Jaipur’s market. As Amey was aware of all type of quality markets so we spent next 3 hours in market area. My wife enjoyed this slot as she belongs to Fashion and textile designing field. I’m not person who loves shopping but actually I was equally interested after watching few shops.
              Our evening time was booked for Chokhi Dhani. Amay decided to spend quality time and dinner in Chokhi Dhani. It is the place to enjoy Rajasthan food in traditional way. It offers you different games, art, folk dance, elephant-camel rides and Rajasthan culture. You can spend entire evening followed by dinner in Chokhi dhani. It is located away from main city so need to arrange transportation. It is open from around 6PM till 11 PM-12 at night. As it was winter time so they kept bonfires at many places which were life saver in such cold weather.

Chokhi Dhani

Bhakri with tasty pickles

               They serve traditional food which was tasty. At many places, Chokhi Dhani management kept boards that say no need to give tip to Chokhi Dhani employees. But still at many locations, employee were asking or requesting a tip. I think giving a tip to them should be tourist choice as Chokhi Dhani management itself is against Tip process. Overall it was nice experience at Chokhi Dhani and best way to say good bye to Jaipur.


At chokhi Dhani

Hand pint work, Chokhi Dhani jaipur
Hand pint work, Chokhi Dhani jaipur

Expenses
  • Breakfast: INR 168/-
  • Amer fort entry: INR 300/- (For 3 person)
  • City palace entry: INR 300/- (For 3 Person)
  • All types of Kachori: Between INR 10 to 15/- per pic
  • Dinner at Chouki Dhani: INR 600/- per person
  • Water bottle: INR 20/- per bottles

17th Jan 2016, Jaipur & Jaipur-Pune Flight:
               We woke up by 8 AM. Today was our last day of trip and we had to catch flight for Pune in evening. Weather was cold and foggy which tempted us to spend little more time in Hotel’s garden with coffee. Amey (Renuka’s cousin brother) joined us by 9:15 AM and we left for sightseeing by 10AM. After having breakfast, we had some namkin and snacks shopping to take it home.
               Our today’s first sightseeing location was Jantar mantar. It is an observatory lab in Jaipur by the king Sawai Jai Singh, and completed in 1734. It is also listed in UNESCO World Heritage site. It is simply amazing and each and every structure helps you to understand the astrology observation. You have to hire guide to understand an observatory. It consists of world's largest stone sundial which tells the time of day by the apparent position of the Sun.

At Jantar Mantar, JAipur
At Jantar Mantar, JAipur

At Jantar Mantar, JAipur
At Jantar Mantar, JAipur

               To be honest with you, I was unable to understand the calculations even after reading about all instruments. Understanding the purpose of it was not difficult but it was difficult to understand the logic and theory behind it. The monument expresses architectural innovations from old time which is worth watching.
            After Jantar Mantar, we went on Jaipur tower which is known as Iswari Minar Swarga Sal (Swargasuli tower). It is located Chandpol Bazaar near City Palace. Entrance to tower is behind the shop from Market Street. Swargasuli tower was built in memory of war victory. It is the tallest tower in jaipur and it offers you beautiful view of city. You need to climb 6 floors to reach at the top.

View from Swargasuli Tower
View from Swargasuli Tower

Jantar manter view from Tower

City palace view from Tower

               While going back to hotel, we saw Raj Mandir Theatre. It is known as the best movie theater in India. Interior and traditional decoration inside theater is its highlight. We didn’t see any movie and hope to watch in our next visit to Jaipur. Also Birla temple on the way to Airport was good to visit. It is Lakshmi Narayan Temple or marble Temple. It is new temple made of white marble with beautiful carvings.

Raj Mandir
Raj Mandir

Birla Temple

               We reached hotel and left for airport. We boarded flight by 5.30 PM in evening and reached at our sweet home.

Expense:
  • Coffees in hotel: INR 80/- for 2 person
  • Janter manter entry: INR 150/- (for 3 person)
  • Jaipur Tower entry: INR 50/- per person
  • Battery Auto: INR 30/- for 3 person (City palace to Jaipur tower)
  • Tea-Coffee: INR 75/-
  • Uber Taxi from Hotel to airport: INR 400/-
  • Jaipur to Pune flight: INR 9346/- for 2 person (one way)
  • Pune airport to Kothrud (Home) Cab: INR 260/-

Contact number for reference

Click Here for Amritsar Travel blog
Click Here for Bharatpur Travel blog
Click Here for Ranthambore-Sariska Travel blog

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. I will try to upload more and more travel blogs.

Pritesh Kulkarni 
Pune

6 comments:

  1. After looking photographs I came to know that why all foreigners prefer to visit Rajastan. Like South India this is the best place to see sight seeings. We are definately going to visit these places. All photographs are excellent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your comment.

      Delete
  2. Hi Pritesh, I live in London and I am planning to visit Delhi - Jaipur - Udaipur on holiday with my wife and little daughter. Some of my friends suggested to take up a package tour but I found them very packed and was looking for some information to plan these myself as we wanted to relax and move around at our own pace. I found your blog very useful. Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your valuable comment

      Delete
  3. Love this City of Pink,

    India is really a incredible country of the world... Love this pink city a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  4. all the places are a must visit,& in my opinion, amer fort & chokhi dhani are the best among them.

    ReplyDelete