Jaipur SightSeeing … Jaipur has long been on my list of places to visit. I have been intrigued by the beautiful colours and the amazing forts. With so many visitors a year, there has to be a lot of charm and history there, to enthral the crowds.
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It was a nice ride up in the car, though there are elephant rides up the mountain, we didn’t go for that. We chose to hire a guide to help us discover the place better. It was super crowded and hot, but I guess there is no way to escape the tourist hordes. The fort is really picturesque and I wish I had more time to get better shots with less crowds.
This needs to be visited in the day time as the roads close for tourists in the evening. This was beautiful – the museum inside should be part of any itinerary. There is a rather expensive option (about Rs 2000 per head) of visiting the inner quarters of the royal family. We didn’t opt for that since we hadn’t seen the outside areas either. Maybe in our next trip to Jaipur, we will take that trip. We also took a lunch break at the cafe inside the City Palace. This was a unique experience, being served a very colonial style meal, by wait staff in full livery on dinner service that bore the official seal of the Maharaj. Wowee! Since it was extremely hot, when we visited, this also helped cool us down and get geared for the rest of the day.
Our last stop in the true sightseeing sense. This is a beautiful monument but more suited for someone who appreciates the intricacies and nuances of astrology. Though there is a decent amount of detail mentioned on the legends that mark each observation instrument, it takes time to understand the level of complexity. For obvious reasons, there is no tree cover and that makes this specific sight, very hot and bright during the day. I enjoyed this place, but you may want to chart your visit first thing in the morning. This is also a really short walk from the City Palace and can be covered together.
Chokhi Dhani is a faux village set up, some distance from the city of Jaipur, on the highway. This is my second visit to this place. As you enter there is a lobby where you need to decide what type of Thali you will be having for dinner. A word of caution here, read carefully, as the most expensive options are most visible. Neither my hubby nor me are very big eaters and choosing a Royal option doesnt really work well.
Inside there is a faux village scene and there are little huts with artisans and palm readers etc. You are to walk into each and experience for yourself. There are also camel rides and giant wheels if you want the town fair experience. There is also an entire set of stalls where you can buy village artifacts and other crafts.
I found the whole place very dimly lit, so much so that I had to take an effort to figure where I was going next. The camels and other animals had quite a stench and the shops were overpriced. Even for dinner, there were a number of pavilions, depending on the price of the option chosen by you. Mind you, there was an Italian Restaurant as well
Due to less light we walked towards what we felt was our pavilion and showed our tickets, the staff there hurried us along without checking these. It was only once we were seated and had been served puris and pickle that someone came along to check our tickets. We were in the wrong place, we had paid for a higher level of Thali, but landed up in a place with a common thali. We chose to stay there as we didn’t feel like wasting what we already had served to us and there was a certain lethargy to going elsewhere. Overall not what I had expected.
Jaipur is a royal regal city that is a must see if regardless of whether you are an Indian or not. The Taj Jai Mahal Palace is a perfect place to experience. It is understated, elegant and functional – something that I appreciate much more that some of the ostentatious over the top palaces.