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Unlike Lansdowne there are plenty of dhabas/ restaurants available on the way to Jaipur. We had our lunch in a roadside dhaba. Combination of mouthwatering hot aloo paratha topped with melting butter in chilled weather was simply awesome!
Next day, after having a good breakfast, we left for Jaigarh Fort around 9.30 am. The fort timing is from 10 am to 5 pm *. It was built by Jai Singh II in in 1726 to protect the Amber Fort and its palace complex. The world’s largest wheeled cannon “Jaivana” is placed in this fort. The entry fee is Rs 35 * and for car they charge extra Rs 50 *. Car is needed only to go to the hill where the cannon is placed. Jaivana was charged only once and it is told that the person who fired the cannon became deaf and died due to cardiac attach on that spot.
From the palace we went to the Jantar Mantar. It’s in walking distance. There was a long queue for the ticket but fortunately the queue moved fast.
This astronomical observatory was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1720. The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is considered to be the largest of the five observatories, which are located in Jaipur, New Delhi, Ujjan, Varanasi and Mathura, and also houses the world's largest sundial.
view of Amer Fort from Jaigarh Fort
Wall painting depicting the royalty
Want to take a ride...?
It is a local market where you will find everything, staring from Rajasthani sandals (jootis), home furnishing, jewelry to utensils. The market was crowded even at 9pm. I was primarily looking for puppets. I got a pair at Rs 200 and I was happy with that because I bargained it down from Rs 250.
After few minutes another puppet seller offered me a pair at Rs 100! So if you are planning to buy anything, may be from an established shop please bargain.
Finally we came to the Jal Mahal. It is located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. Few years back there used to be gondolas for the lake tour but at present there is nothing much to do here. There is an option of camel riding and some shopping as well. But I was not interested in riding camel on a tar road. But fortunately here I got to hear some beautiful Rajasthani Lokgeet. Here just before sunset we got some good pictures of the mahal.
After this whole day fort tour we returned to our hotel. But that day we were excited enough to stroll the local market. So after getting fresh we went out. There are many markets; Link Road, Bapu Bazar, Johari Bazar near Hawa Mahal. As suggested by the autowala we went to the Link Road market.
Guided tours are available. The guides change anything from Rs 50 to Rs 250 depending on the time of the day. We were not interested in guided tours as they are always in a hurry to complete most of the places in very little time. So we preferred to roam ourselves.
The Jaigarh Fort gives a picturesque view of Jaipur. It was the war fort which overlooks the Amber fort and Maota Lake. It is perched on a cliff (Cheel ka Teela) surrounded by huge battlements. Apart from the palace complex, Laxmi Vilas, Lalit Mandir, Vilas Mandir and Aram Mandir and museum, the main attraction to me is the cannon foundry and bhul bhulaiya. If you are not accompanied by a guide, to be on the safer side, it’s better not to enter the bhul bhulaiya. But to get some excitement you can try. Tough we didn’t hired any guide, when I was about to enter the bhul bhulaiya the local guard came to me and guided the way through it. He acted as a guide and showed us the fort. After the tour when we offered him a token of thanks for his help, initially he hesitated and then he accepted that with a smile. It’s really a great feeling to see someone happy…
Jaipur is famous for its art, architecture and rich Indian culture. Its a city of fort, museums and palaces where royalty is in the year. So it was really tough for us to choose the points of our sightseen for the next two days. We planned to visit Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Amber Fort, Jal Mahal, Moti Dungri, Sun Temple, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, City Palace, Museum etc.
Jaipur is a highly populated just like any big city. Our hotel was well located with its vicinity to the market place, Hawa Mahal, railway station. So the place was crowded. That day we were too tired to check out the nearby area. So we planned to stay back in hotel and plan the next two days.
We had our booking in Mansingh Palace which is as per the company website is a 5 star but to me it is a decent 3 star. Unlike other hotels they do not provide accommodation to drivers. So if someone is planning to take one’s car or people like us who have booked a cab, while booking it’s better to ask about this facility.
In Jaipur one has the option to choose from a wide range of hotels. If someone wants to experience royalty he/she can go for stays in Rambagh Palace, Jai Mahal etc. for five star experiences ITC Rajputana, Jaipur Marriott, Oberoi Rajvilas etc. are there. But if you are interested to experience Rajasthani culture you might like Chokhi Dhani. All there are high end options. Apart from these are huge number of good 4 stars, 3 stars and even basic hotels as well.
The price of the hotels varies from:
Royal stays in Palaces/Mahals - 50000 to 130000 *
Luxury of 5 Stars - 6000 to 30000 *
Comfort of 3 & 4 Stars – 2000-7000 *
*Rates subject to change.
We planned a 3N/4D trip. On 25th December we started from Gurgaon around 11 am. Due to dense fog we were not able to start early. Ideally it takes around 5 hours but to weather condition it took us 6.30 hours. We took NH8 which is, as per google, the shortest distance. Traffic congestion is common in the Shahpura road. So to avoid traffic it’s better to start early.
Jaipur is well connected via road, railways and air with all the major cities of India. The Jaipur railway station is within 6 kms of Hawa Mahal which is located at the heart of the city and airport is around 12 kms from the mahal.
There is a double decker train which runs between Delhi and Jaipur via Gurgaon. We had our bookings in that, however, due to bad weather we cancelled our bookings and opted for car. In this trip we paid toll of around Rs 1500*.
It has been 2 months since we returned from Lansdowne. As per the holiday calendar the next best holiday was during Christmas. We planned to start with Jaipur for our Golden Triangle Tour.
Rajasthan tour has always been on our list for long. But covering the major areas of this princely state at one go is quite difficult due to time constraint.
Jaipur is a very common destination with people primarily from North India. Due to its proximity from Delhi/ NCR (260 KM approx.) it is very common among the weekend gateways. Jaipur has always attracted tourists, Indian and foreign, with its colour and grandeur. It takes a week for a traveler to properly take a tour of this city. However, in this busy life people like us get very little opportunity to plan and enjoy a proper long vacation. So we tend to focus more on frequent short trips.
Golden Triangle Tour Part1; Pink City; Jaipur
That day we were too tired to go to some other place to see. May be we were not happy with the 2nd day tour or might be moaning about the fact that our trip is over. I wish we would have taken 1 day extra leave…we could have explored few more points…Sun Temple, Moti Dungri...
Anyway, if we get opportunity we will try to go to Jaipur again to cover the remaining and also to explore some not so popular spots.
Hawa Mahal is a 5 storied massive honeycomb structure with 953 windows or 'Jharokhas'. From these jharokhas the royal women used to view of everyday life as they were not allowed to come to public. I have heard from many people that they have not entered Hawa Mahal, even our driver suggested us to take pictures from the moving car as no is allowed to enter the palace. But it is well open to the public. There is a narrow, unrecognizable passage on the left hand side of the palace for entry. The entry fee is Rs 10*.
From inside it is just like another low-key palace but from outside it’s really beautiful. Good pictures of this massive structure can be taken only from the opposite side of the road.
It’s a market place so highly crowded. But unfortunately there are no good restaurants. Only few are there serving average quality food. We ordered Special Jaipur Thali but from the people seating in next table we can identify that there is not much difference in Rajasthani Thali, Punjabi Thali and Jaipuri Thali!
Next day we planned for the local city tour. So after breakfast we started with City Palace. Due to some roadwork our cab dropped us near the Rani ki Factory and handloom. It’s a place of highly priced items where you might like something but for that you may end up spending a lot. But one thing about the factory was you can witness people doing block printing on the dress materials.
From there we walked to the City Palace. The entry fee of this palace is Rs 100 for Indians. This palace was built by Sawai Jai Singh II around 1729. This palace is still the residence of the Royal family. So only a part of it, transformed into a museum, is open to tourists. This museum is of unique handcrafted products, various uniforms of the rulers, palanquins and many more things pertaining to the royal heritage of the City Palace.
I felt the only beautiful place which is open for tourist in this palace is the 'Sabha Niwas'. It is well decorated. Its architecture and royal ambiance is worth mentioning. However, no one is allowed to take any pictures inside the hall.
After visiting the palace I personally felt that it would have been better if we would have chosen to go to Moti Dungri or even to Chokhi Dhani.
From Jaigarh Fort we went to the Nahargarh Fort. This fort was built in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. It gives a bird’s eye view of the city. Some portions of the fort are under maintenance. To me there is nothing special to see in this fort. It’s comparatively new so I felt less connected to the history of Jaipur.
There is a café in the premises where one has to buy an entry ticket. If you are interested to enjoy food here you have to pay before seeing the menu of the café.
From Nahargar Fort we went to the Amber (Amer) Fort. I was excited to ride elephant there, but unfortunately we missed the time of that activity. We were not aware that this ride is open only till 11 am. So if you want to ride an elephant which will cost around Rs 1000 for two people (subject to change) you have to plan Amber Fort 1st and then go to the Jaigarh Fort. The entry fee of Amber fort if Rs 25 * for Indians and Rs 50 * for foreigners, for camera they will charge extra.
Mahal inside Hawa Mahal
Kathputli (puppet show)
Jaipur City Palace
Nahargarh Fort-Roof top of The Madhavendra Bhawan
So if you have already visited any of the other four Jantar Mantar, you might feel the things are same. Few years back I visited the Jantar Mantar which is in New Delhi. Between these two the differences I noticed are, in this Jaipur one there are some more instruments and also it is well maintained so even today the scales are clearly visible.
From Jantar Mantar we went to Hawa Mahal. Though it is in walking distance, after walking so much I had no energy to walk for another 30 mins just to reach Hawa Mahal.
This fort is situated next to the Maota Lake. There is a garden in the center of Maota Lake namely Kesar Kyari Bagh with star shaped flower beds and saffron flowers which were once planted by the Maharaja’s.
The Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort are considered one complex, as the two are connected by a subterranean passage. This passage was meant as an escape route in times of war to enable the royal family members and others in the Amer Fort to shift to the more redoubtable Jaigarh Fort
The fort has Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan- e-Khas but to me the major attractions of Amber fort are the Sheesh Mahal, and Shila Devi Temple. The architecture of the Sheesh Mahal is exquisite and though it was built years back, most of the mirrors are in good condition.
There are few food joints in the fort premises. Among those Amer Restaurant is worth mentioning. In the fort premises it’s a bit difficult to locate the restaurant as it’s two storied with both open-air and covered options. Since it was a holiday many of the hotel staffs were not present so we were requested to avail the covered restaurant. We had traditional ker sangria, dal-bati-churma and lassi there. The food was really yummy specially the dal-bati-churma. It was properly crusty outside and soft inside. Since its cooked in desi ghee and while serving the waiter may even pour some extra ghee to it, people who are calorie conscious may hesitate to taste it. But I would suggest, it tastes too good to resist. You can go for it as the calorie you will burn while roaming around these forts will be more than your intake. In the fort premises there are some handloom shops, selling dresses show-pieces etc. The prices are a bit high, but they might give some discounts.
To me, among these three forts, the Jaigarh Fort is the best. Its scenic beauty, mainly because of the altitude, surpasses both these forts. But if you are interested to enjoy the sight of sunset, Nahargarh fort might be a good option.