Jaipur Rajasthan (India) - The land of Maharajas

Rajasthan Fort
Jaipur
Most of the places I have travelled to have been majorly planned by me, but this trip belonged to my wife. Well, we both were working hard and needed a short Kit-Kat break so we decided to move our lazy bums to Jaipur,  Rajasthan for a weekend. It was August and monsoon in the North India was in full form. Rain, highway and hands on steering, what else did we need?

My wife planned this trip and few of her colleagues were also joining. We all decided to leave on Friday, 5 am in the morning. Now I don't know why I always become insomniac only a day before travelling. I sat on my computer that night and printed out the map of Jaipur and attractions to see in Jaipur. Though I was going there second time but I was sure there was something more in Jaipur which I did not wish to miss. Forts always fantasise me and I love exploring every aspect of the history as I imagine myself wandering in king's wardrobe (maybe I was king in my previous life, who knows) ;).



I barely slept, yet was highly energised. Journey from Delhi to Jaipur is about 5 hours, 250 kms and highway is fantastic that you can almost fly. Weather was nice in the morning and I preferred to drive with windows rolled down. I stopped for fuel and air on gas station and then finally left for Gurgaon where had to pick few of my wife's friends and joined by few others who were in another car. Finally, by 7am, we left for Jaipur. I wanted to reach Jaipur before 12pm and preferred not to stop on the way but soon everyone started feeling hungry and we had to stop for breakfast on the highway. To be frank, I was hungry too but I didn't show that as I was the one who was more keen to keep on driving. I was glad that everyone else was hungry and now I can eat too, later I ended up eating quite enough and wondered what everyone else would think.

Zoom we go as we stuffed our stomachs and few minutes later, my wife and her friends who were sitting at the rear seat took a nap. I listened my favourite songs and was thinking that road trips are so awesome and wondered why we do not go on road trips so often, then I remembered the petrol prices in India and as I have a petrol car, I stopped wondering.

"Yay" I shouted in my head as we reached Jaipur before 12 pm. As I did not know much my wife's friends and wondered what they will think if I shouted "Yay" in real. I acted like a normal person and drove towards our first destination, Jal Mahal (water palace).


Jala Mahal
Jal Mahal
Jal Mahal is a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. The palace and the lake around were renovated and enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber. We did some photography as I started treating my Canon's digital camera like a costly SLR. As we were standing outside, we tried a kulfi (ice cream) which a vendor was selling outside being served on a leaf. I tried it and it turned to be so yummy that everyone ate atleast two kulfis.

It was hot during the day and I wore my Indiana Jones hat and we left for Jaigarh fort, Amber fort and Nargarh fort. They all are located near the Jal Mahal on Aravalli Hills range. We drove uphill and within half an hour we reached Jaigarh fort. We parked our cars and walked inside the huge gates of forts and I started imagining myself as a great ruler and wanted to say, "senapati aage bado". The moment I stepped in, I knew that Age of Empires is going to be my favourite game atleast for next few months. We explored the huge fort and gathered few interesting facts.


Jaigarh Fort
Jaigarh fort
We got to know that Jaigarh fort houses world's largest Cannon (Jai Vana) due to which no enemy ever tried to attack on this fort out of fear.The cannon is 20.2 ft long and weighs 50 tons. It has only been fired once with 100kg (220lb) of gunpowder and covered a distance of 35Km (22mi).
Jaivana
Jaivana
                                                                         

                        


We went ahead with some proud facts about our history and decided to go for an elephant ride in Amer fort. Amer fort (also known as Amber fort) is one of the principal tourist attractions in the Jaipur area, located high on a hill. Amer Fort was built by Raja Man Singh I. Amer Fort is known for its artistic style, blending both Hindu and Rajput elements. With its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks the Maota Lake, at its forefront. We enjoyed every information that the guide was feeding into a group of foreign tourists and we followed them and got to know these facts without any cost.


                        


Our next stop was Nahargarh fort. Along with Amber fort and Jaigarh fort, Nahargarh once formed a strong defence ring for the city. The fort was originally named Sudarshangarh, but it became known as Nahargarh, which means 'abode of tigers'. The popular belief is that Nahar here stands for Nahar Singh Bhomia, whose spirit haunted the place and obstructed construction of the fort. Nahar's spirit was pacified by building a temple in his memory within the fort, which thus became known by his name.


Nahargarh Fort
Nahargarh Fort
Built mainly in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, the fort was constructed as a place of retreat on the summit of the ridge above the city. Walls extended over the surrounding hills, forming fortifications that connected this fort to Jaigarh, the fort above the old capital of Amber. We roamed in groups and kind of lost our way and the exploration of the fort became more like a hide and seek game. I had been to Nahargarh fort earlier with my old office colleagues and experienced the same dillusional ways of the fort.

It was 4 in the noon and now we all were hungry. We drove downhill and near Jal Mahal, we found a decent restaurant and soon our lost energy was restored. A cup of hot tea always refreshes me and so it did again.

In the evening, we got ready for our next destination in Jaipur. Now this destination is so popular that few people say, if you haven't been there, you haven't experienced Jaipur. Yes, I am talking about Chowkidhani. I was going there first time and was pretty excited.


Chowkidhani
Entrance of Chokhi dhani
Chokhi dhani is located on Jaipur - Ajmer highway and was 20 kms away from Jaipur city centre. We reached there around 8pm and parked our cars in the parking area. I couldn't find the proper spot to park, so a guy in traditional dress approached and assisted me to park. I thanked him and rushed towards the main gate of Chowkidhani where my wife was waiting for me to get in, while others already entered. Chowkidhani is built to bring the essence of village. Huge entrance gate is made of mud and statues of men and women wearing traditional dresses. It was like stepping into a real village. We showed our tickets to the gatekeeper which we purchased at nominal rates and entered. The first word that came out of my mouth as I entered was "Wow". I have never been to any typical village and being there was quite enough. I wondered where to go first as I noticed so many things as I walked further like ladies dancing in traditional style wearing traditional dresses; magic show; parrot reading future; lady dancing on iron nails; elephant and camel rides.

We enjoyed every show and my wife showed some of her moves as well when she joined the traditional dancers and she did as good as them except she did not walk on iron nails and neither she played with fire or snakes. More the night was getting younger, more exciting it was getting. I wished I could join the dancers and show some of my moves but I did not want the traditional dancers to feel complex. So I refrained myself and decided to film them all in my Canon.

Statue in traditional dress


Traditional dance by a lady
As we enjoyed every bit of it, it was time for dinner and as I am a big foodie and was pretty excited to try Rajasthani food. As we reached the dining area of Chowkidhani, we were asked to remove our shoes and sit on the floor while men in traditional dresses wearing turbans served the food in Rajasthan's traditional way. Soon our plates were filled with different varieties of delicacies and I tried them all. Few I liked, few I didn't. It felt very nice as they were treating the visitors. They were ensuring every visitor eats enough by forcefully filling up plates and insisting on trying other delicacies. True meaning of Atithi Devo Bhava. The men who were serving the food were so humble that they allowed us to wear their turban and we made some poses for our album and thanked them for making this a memorable visit. With our stomachs stuffed, we returned back to our hotel and crashed on the bed.

Greetings! Please remove your shoes here
We woke up early in the morning next day and after breakfast, decided to go to Johri Bazaar (Johri market) to do some shopping. Instead of driving car, we chose to go by rickshaw. Johri bazaar is famous for its jewellery. Besides jewellery, you will find clothes, handloom and souvenir shops too. My wife concentrated on shopping while I experimented the street food. I still can not forget the best onion kachori which I ever tasted. My wife purchased bangles which she flaunts whenever she gets chance to and a beautiful Rajasthan's bedsheet with horses and elephants printed on it. As I have mentioned earlier, none of her shopping is good enough until bargaining is done. I am pretty sure, I still can hear screaming of the shopkeepers from where she did shopping and made them vulnerable by her bargaining skills. I still wonder if this should be counted as a benefit as she saved some of the money by bargaining or as a loss as she did all the shopping which was not actually necessary. Well, whatever makes her happy.

We were now feeling tired so we hired a rickshaw and returned to our hotel and had lunch. While all the girls were discussing their shopping experience in Jaipur, me with other guys started watching TV and checked out the pics we clicked.

Johri Bazaar
In the evening, it started raining heavily but we had to return. I wished to stay for one more day to experience this warmth but had no choice. I thought I will return here again soon and packed our bags, said goodbye to Royal Jaipur and left with beautiful memories and royalty in our hearts to return to our city, New Delhi.

4 comments:

  1. This is quite an interesting Trip. The Jaivana has quite a ironic history. Loved reading this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, once you visit historic places, you tend to connect more to them!

      Delete
  2. I’m glad to saw this article. Jaipur is the land of the camels and the Royal Kings.

    ReplyDelete

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