By Shilpa Venkat
The height of my laziness: I have wanted to post my Rajasthan travel escapades for a while but have been procrastinating for a long time. Sigh!! Anyways, right now I am all geared up and have started to pen down my amazing Rajasthan experience :). I visited Rajasthan two years ago… I know I am posting this blog late but the memory is still fresh and etched in my mind. I had been on an 11 day trip to Rajasthan with my hubby…. 11 days is a very short time to spend in colourful and vibrant Rajasthan :). Right from the start of the journey, I planned the entire travel and hotel bookings after doing research on the internet. By doing this, we ended up saving a lot of money. I did not want to book through a travel agency since they have a fixed itinerary and we have to adhere to their schedule. But, planning on our own actually helped and we were free to roam around, and do things at our own pace.
If you are planning a trip to Rajasthan, you may follow this route: Mumbai – Jaipur – Bikaner – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur- Udaipur – Mumbai. You need to dedicate a minimum of 10-12 days in total for this trip. Do not plan your trip in the summer. We started off from Mumbai by train and headed first to Jaipur. It takes 17 hours to reach Jaipur from Mumbai. The hotel we stayed in Jaipur was amazing. Called Dera Rawatsar, it had a complete Rajasthani ambience, the rooms were extremely stunning and I loved it. Jaipur is known as the Pink City. After a visit to the old section of Jaipur, you will understand why it’s called the Pink City. The buildings, walls on the street, even shop signboards, and almost everything else is painted in pink :). This section of Jaipur is like any other typical Indian city – chaos and crowd, but you will love it!
History says that Jaipur city was established by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and has been named after him. There are many sight-seeing places in Jaipur, however we visited only the most renowned ones as it’s difficult to cover all the places in two days :(. Jaipur being our first stop in Rajasthan, we thought of taking a cab for sightseeing through the day. Later, we realised it was sheer waste to book a cab. Auto-rickshaws ply to all the major sightseeing places and you don’t have to hire a private taxi.
We visited the Amer Fort, City Palace Jaipur, Jal Mahal, Jantar Mantar and Choki Dhani. Amer Fort is just marvellous. The fort was constructed by Raja Man Singh I. I loved the architecture of Amer Fort. It displays a blend of ancient Rajput and Hindu architecture. The view from Amer fort was astounding.
Our next halt was the City Palace, Jaipur. The palace was grand and exquisite. We thoroughly loved it. The palace includes the Mubarak Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Diwan-I-Khas, Diwan-I-Aam and the Maharani Palace. I clicked some great pictures of the palace.
Later we visited the Jal Mahal (water palace). The palace is located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. We stood on a huge pavement constructed on the banks of the lake and caught a glimpse of the Mahal, as tourists were not allowed to go near the Jal Mahal. An interesting scene on the pavement was hawkers selling gigantic sized papads (thin, crisp disc-shaped snack). True to our nature as foodies, we gobbled a couple of papads 🙂
From Jal Mahal, our next stop was the Hawa Mahal (palace of the winds), the most iconic landmark of Jaipur city. It was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799. The Mahal is designed in the form of Lord Krishna’s crown. Hawa Mahal is huge. The Mahal was being refurbished when we visited and hence unfortunately we could not see the entire Mahal :(. It was late evening when we finished seeing the Hawa Mahal. Our last stop of Day 1 in Rajasthan was Chokhi Dhani. It is a beautiful and unique village resort that captures the culture, spirit and colours of Rajasthan. A trip to Chokhi Dhani Jaipur is a must!!! You will fall in love with the aura. And not to forget the sumptuous lip-smacking Rajasthani fooooooood !!!!!!! Oo lala…
For us the next day in Jaipur was very laidback. We just visited the Jantar Mantar, which is an observatory of astronomical instruments. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II.
Jantar Mantar was our final sight-seeing stop as I got little bugged and just wanted to SHOP. OMGGGGG I just went crazy seeing soooooooo many shops selling colourful Rajasthani Jholas (bags), Jaipuri chappals (slippers), dresses and what not. I got very confused and could not understand what to buy. Finally, I ended up purchasing Jholas for my friends and myself.
From Jaipur, our next halt was Bikaner. I will be writing about Bikaner in my next post. Hope you enjoyed reading this Jaipur travelogue 🙂
Our Route (from Mumbai): Bandra Terminus-Jaipur-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Udaipur-Bandra
Where we stayed in Jaipur: Dera Rawatsar you can check their website http://derarawatsar.com/
You can also check this website http://www.hotelsjaipur.com/ which has a list of luxury and economical hotels and resorts in Jaipur
To travel within Jaipur make use of auto rickshaws
Food: You will find amazing and authentic Rajasthani food. Piping hot Aloo Parathas, Roti and Gatte ki sabzi, Ker Sangri (rural-based curry) are local favorites. Yummmmmm 🙂
Best time to visit: October to March (Carry lots of woolen clothes with you if you plan a trip in winter)