Jaipur famously known as the Pink City in India, has so much to explore in terms of food, their rich cultural heritage, the amazing down to earth people, their nightlife, ancient palaces, the hustling markets, local street food, safe place for solo travellers etc etc.. the list could go on.
Although we planned our trip in advance, we couldn't book our stay through air bnb so easily only because we tried to get in touch with the owners and to our dismay none of them responded. So we finally booked a homestay one day prior to our travel to Jaipur without waiting for a response from the owner and voila to our good luck it was amazing. Note - If you are sure of your travel, suggest you book your place in advance, esp during season time in Jaipur which is from Oct to March.
Day 1 - CHOWKI DHANI
On arriving into Jaipur in the afternoon, we rested a while and headed to Chowki Dhani in the evening - A wholesome village environment with a lot of entertainment. The entry fee is 700 INR for Indians and a different rate for Foreign tourists.
The fee includes entry, a welcome drink, various entertainments inside, A grand veg Rajasthani thali, etc. One of the most amazing attraction here was a small hut which had an old lady cook up some hot parathas, served with white butter, garlic chutney, jaggery and curd.. a mix of all these on those yummy parathas is heaven and has a complete traditional touch to it.
After touring around and enjoying the various entertainments, you can finally head for the Rajasthani thali. You have various buffet and seating arrangements to choose from and the best is to choose sitting on the floor where u have Waiter’s dressed in Rajasthani folk outfits serving u and being very friendly throughout.Trust me they make u feel like home and will ensure you are fed well. Make sure you do not leave the place without shaking a leg to some Rajasthani folk music in their semi traditional attire.
Day 2 - NAHARGARH FORT
After leisuring around in the homestay, post lunch we headed to Nahargarh Fort which is open from 10am to 6pm on all days. The highlight is to get here to watch the sunset.
On your way to Nahargarh fort you will pass by Jal Mahal, make a stop there, click a few pics and you can head to the fort. It takes about 1 hour to explore the fort. So plan your day accordingly so that you don't rush into doing anything and you can enjoy the bird's eye view of the whole city at ease. After exploring the fort, head to Padao restaurant to enjoy the city scape with some beer, wine and some range of alcohols to choose from along with some live music.
The food may not be the best, but with maggi, beer/wine and the awesome view, it is sure to keep your spirits high. Trust me you will have the most mesmerised evening in Jaipur.
Day 3: HAWA MAHAL, AMBER FORT and BAPU BAZAAR -
HAWA MAHAL (The wind Palace) - The best way to enjoy the view of the Hawa Mahal is to head for breakfast to wind view cafe or The Tattoo cafe.
Wind View Cafe
After breakfast here, head to Amber Fort
Amber Fort is a must visit. This exuberant structure has so much history engulfed, that you would need 3 to 4 hours, and keep in mind there is a lot of walking to do, so wear your most comfy shoes and clothing. We took a guide for 100 INR. They are the local guides that take you up to the Sheesh Mahal area and bring you down by jeep. The local guides aren’t allowed inside the Sheesh Mahal, you either take another guide in or go alone. We paid 100 INR for another local guide. Govt authorised guides charge about 500 INR and don't settle on the price quite easily.
On the descent there are souvenir, merchandise shops that you could take back home. They show u how block printing is done and let you do it too. They have a lot of options for buying bandhani dupattas, sarees, bedsheets, blankets etc. I wouldn’t be sure about them being the best quality sold, esp for the rates they sell at but in my honest opinion, if you think you can afford it and love it - buy it!! I picked up a single bed Jaipuri razai for 1400 INR, which to think of is steep, but they claimed the quality is good. There are a lot of options in the various markets and you could get one at a cheaper rate too. After the fort we headed to one of Jaipur's famous markets - BAPU MARKET. Bapu markets has the famous juthis, earrings, intimate jewellery shops, kolhapuri slippers, dupattas and a whole lot of takeaways for yourself and your family back home and that too for a steal deal. The main rule while shopping here - bring them down to half the price of what they say or even lower and stick to it, they do come down on the price. Even if you are a foreign national this works. Day 4- CITY PALACE and JANTAR MANTAR City palace would require about 2 hours, here you could on without a guide as most pictures and items in the museum are self explanatory. Make sure u take time to explore each site and soak into the centuries of history Jaipur has imbedded.
Jantar Mantar is similar to that in Delhi, and you could just take a break by sitting on the benches and relaxing for a while.
Although a developed city Jaipur still has an ancient traditional touch to it, leaving u mesmerised and definitely wanting you to come back for more.