Our Musings

Our Weekend Trip to Jaipur

THE PLANNING

How Jaipur happened? I had exactly one month to go before I had to join a my new work place. While initially I had thought that I would just laze around and spend quality time at home just reading some good books and sometimes catching up on shows on Netflix, but that is not what I finally did.

I decided to go on a vacation with Zuzu, because only I knew that this kind of a break is never going to come back. The one month break for me was a complete relaxation and a no brainer thing , where in I had absolutely nothing on my plate! Zero tensions about life! Well I can informally call it the honeymoon period as well!

In between deciding as to how should I spend my holidays, there were only two destinations on my mind. The first one was Goa and the second option was Jaipur. Goa had to be the first one because Zuzu has not been to proper beaches yet! She has been to small beaches but, till date, she hasn’t had her real beach experience yet.


How We Planned

Since we had only two weeks for planning, booking the tickets and finally leaving for the destination, Goa was turning out to be quite a pinching situation for my pocket. As a result we decided to zero in on Jaipur this time. I was apprehensive about Jaipur because just last year we had made a trip to Udaipur. Going back to the same state and experiencing similar color, taste and vibe was something I too wasn’t sure of. But like they say, you do what you gotta do. So this time around I trusted my guts and booked train tickets to Jaipur.

I was earlier planning to take a flight, but my mom intervened and asked us to have a rail experience this time around. Technically it would have taken us the same time by flight as it would have taken by train. All because most flights start early morning, which means we would have to start at 3 from our home. And starting at 3 in the morning on a cold winter morning in Delhi is something I would avoid at all costs!

THE JOURNEY

The time taken by train to reach Jaipur is the same as the time one would spend on a road journey. Since I am still not comfortable driving for such long distances and taking a cab still scares the hell out of me, a train was the safest choice. Not to forget it was fun too! If you are from India, you must be very well knowing how exhilarating and joyful train journeys can turn out to be. On our way to Jaipur, we went by the famous double-Decker train and on our way back to Delhi we relied on the good ol‘ Ajmer -Delhi Shatabdi.


DAY ONE – JAIGARH FORT, AMER FORT, CITY PALACE

We reached Jaipur at approximately 11 in the night and spent the night at our hotel. The next morning started off with a sumptuous breakfast at our hotel – Lords Plaza, which was bang on the main road and was very near to the Sawai Man Singh stadium. Both Zuzu and my sister were down with a very bad stomach infection. A chemist shop roughly at a distance of 500 meters from the hotel was a savior.

PRO TIP: Unless you really want to spend time away unwinding and relaxing, I  would personally suggest taking a hotel in the middle of the city. What saved or day was the fact that there were at least ten chemist shops right next to our hotel, all because it was on the main road. I know having a hotel on the main road isn’t what most people look for, but for us, it was a savior.

After our breakfast, we headed out to the Jaigarh Fort, which was roughly 30-40 minutes drive from our hotel. We reached Jaigarh fort quite early and decided not to go for a guided tour! The private guard was, however, kind enough and showed around the fort. The Jaigarh Fort is situated on one of the peaks of Aravali hills and is built some hundred meters above the Amer Fort. It was actually the safe place where kings and the family could hide if at all Amer got attacked by enemies. So Jaigarh is connected to Amer by many secret passages. This fort is massive and is similar when it comes to functionality as far as forts are concerned. From the top of this fort, you can have a beautiful look of the entire Amer city.

AMER FORT


“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

After Jaigarh we headed further uphill to witness the world’s largest canon. Post which we headed out for Amer fort.

I had booked for a photo-shoot and frankly speaking I wasn’t sure if Zuzu would let me have my way. The prime reason being she wasn’t keeping well, and it was a vacation, not a project wherein I would have to leave my child and work. But thankfully I had my sister along with me, who manages half of the things in a better way than I could have done!

We reached Amer fort and on the way hired a guide at I.N.R 200. The guide sat in with us in our car and took us till the main entrance of the Amer Fort, whilst telling about the history of Rajasthan and Jaipur in particular.

The Amer fort is located in the town of Amer and is one of the most popular tourist attractions here. The fort is made of marble and sandstone and has a mix of both Hindu and Mughal architecture. The guide told us a lot about the history of the place, after which I started on my photo-shoots while Zuzu hung out with my sibling( thank god for siblings ;-)).

It was already 2:30 at Amer Fort when my sister and Zuzu decided to go back to the hotel owing to their health. We dropped them to the hotel , while I headed out to the famous City Palace, where Sanchi and Raghav ( my photographers were waiting for me).

The City Palace Experience

The City Palace was magnanimous and huge. Like other buildings, this palace is also painted in hues of pink and oranges. We reached roughly around 3:45, which means ‘The golden hour’. If you are new to photography, then let me take a moment to explain what exactly is the golden hour. Until a few years back even I wasn’t aware of it. In terms of photography, it is the short time right after sunrise and before sunset. The sun’s rays are neither too harsh nor too light, which makes it a perfect combo for a great shoot.

We shot a couple of photographs at the city palace, while Sanchi acted as my perfect guide and showed me around the palace. The most famous spot, or rather an Instagrammable spot at the City Palace is the center courtyard, where there are a total of five games. These gates have been given different names like – ‘Lotus Gate, Rose Gate ‘ and so on. Each of them is beautifully carved and painted, and you have to see it to believe it.

THE INSTAGRAMMABLE CITY PALACE GATE

The Hawa Mahal Experience

After this, we left for the iconic Hawa Mahal. The Hawa Mahal is a huge palace, which is right across the main road. It has numerous small windows built primarily for the females of the house. This was done so that they could what was happening in the city from the inside of the palace only. Since it had been a long day for me, we decided to just soak in its aura from across the road. Yes, you heard it right.

THE ICONIC HAWA MAHAL

With the influx of social media, there are a lot of cafes which have come up bang opposite to the Hawa Mahal. The two most popular cafes are Tattoo Cafe and the Windmill Cafe. We tried clicking photographs from both the cafes. The pictures below are from Windmill Cafe. So if you are also more interested in larger than life pictures like these, then these two cafes should definitely be on your list when you are in Jaipur. Post a chatty session with Sanchi and Raghav, I left for the hotel. The day ended with a wholesome buffet at the hotel only! Frankly speaking, all three of us( Zu, myself and my sister) were too tired to step out.

JAIPUR DAY TWO- BAPU BAZAR & NAHARGARH FORT

The first half of the next day was dedicated to shopping. A trip to Jaipur is incomplete if you haven’t purchased their customary ‘Bandhini Dupatta‘ and other local stuff. We had our breakfast at the hotel and headed out for Bapu Baazar. Both I and my sister did a lot of shopping for ourselves as well as the family back home. Zuzu sat patiently and explored the colorful shops as me and my sister chartered out a long shopping bill!!

After the shopping, we headed out for the Nahargarh Fort. Jaipur is full of forts and palaces, and Nahargarh is one of the few popular ones. Each of the forts has a certain history associated with them, and this one was no different. We had a look at the fort and clicked some cool shots as well. Since we were out since morning, endless shots and the harsh winter sun kind of drained. Thankfully there was an Indian restaurant, which served us Maggi and Sandwiches. These were enough to satiate our hunger!

After this Zu and my sister; left for the hotel, while I managed to finish the last leg of the Jaipur Shoot with Sanchi and Raghav.

JAIPUR DAY THREE: ALBERT HALL , BIRLA MANDIR

The last day, when we were to leave for Delhi was spent exploring more places within the city. Among these were the Albert Hall and the Birla Temple. We had quite a heavy breakfast, thus having lunch wasn’t a priority. In between we also went to the famous LMB- yes that is what its called- Lakshmi Mishthaan Bhandar. If you are in Jaipur, I would definitely recommend this place. Primarily it was a sweets shop, but over the course of time, they have also incorporated a restaurant. Come here for the most scrumptious ‘Pyaaz ki Kachori’ and ‘Raj Kachori’. You won’t regret it.

All in all, it was a much-needed getaway. I loved it because I was in my honeymoon period- had left the previous job and was waiting for the new one to start as well. Initially, when I had thought about just me and Zu, I had Goa on my mind. But because we were short on time, prices were spiraling up, hence Jaipur was the most convenient and hassle free place.

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