Travel Diary: Jaipur
With quarantine blanketing our daily lives, it seems a lifetime away since any holidays or trips. In the midst of Covid-19, a reflection of my trip to India is what seems to be taking over my mind and what better way to document that journey than to share it with you lovely lot.
Having not been to the motherland in over 10 years, my recent trip was my first visit back as an adult. Having travelled to Punjab and Rajasthan, I will be particularly reflecting on my time in Rajasthan, Jaipur. This was a trip with my parents and two aunties…
As we drove into Jaipur, I was under the impression that the ‘Pink City’ would not be so literally pink. It was magnificent! In the late 19th century, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur had the whole city painted pink in order to celebrate the arrival of Prince Albert. Every building and wall are still to this day maintained and thrives as a pink hub.
Our hotel was called the Golden Tulip. On arrival the entrance seemed grimy and I’m not going to lie I was a bit worried, however, once our driver passed through the car tunnel the actual hotel entrance was a calming contrast to the street on the other side (phew!). We were greeted by the politest staff and throughout the stay they were fantastic. The hospitality industry in India never fails to impress and the staff in Jaipur were no different- not many people would put up with the number of pictures I made these guys take of me!
CITY PALACE: hoping the Prince will stumble upon me being candid as hell…
Our 4 days in Jaipur were overflowing in history and food and we were lucky enough to have a driver who bought the honesty of a true Punjabi to Jaipur. Following the 8-hour drive from Punjab to Jaipur, we went straight to the hotel restaurant which filled our bellies, ready for the epic sleep that would prepare us for the next day.
The overall feel of Jaipur magnified with each and every sight, from the historic buildings to the traditional jewellers that made you feel like you were in Jodha Akbar (which I actually visited the palace of- *squeals). We found a Hindi speaking tour guide – literally came up to us in the middle of the road – who showed us the beauts of Jaipur and thank god that one of my auntie’s had exceptional Hindi speaking skills – because I butcher that ish.
I did have the pleasure of going to an elephant sanctuary, however, on reflection I’m not sure how much of a sanctuary it was. I still let the tourist in me take over and went on a short elephant ride, but next time I would definitely ask more questions about the care of the animals.
The Top 5 sites that I would recommend in Jaipur, signed sealed and delivered by myself would be:
- Amber Palace – This old school architecture will seriously blow your socks off. This palace was a military marvel as well as a representation of old Rajasthan.
- Hawa Mahal – Literally translates to Palace of Winds. I would come here at night to see the many windows light up. Back in the day, princesses could sit in here and look at parades down below without people being able to look in (major stalker set up I reckon).
- City Palace – This is home to the royal family, even today, and is a chance for you to learn more about Rajasthani monarchy and India’s interactions with Britain at the time.
- Rajmahal Palace – this gorgeous palace was one of my favourites, and not just because Bollywood movies were filmed here… The intricate designs and grandeur of this foundation made me feel separated from the built up word outside. Like I was inside a story, cringe I know, but it’s true.
- Jal Mahal – This palace floats in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake and because of the rising water level is not yet open to the public. It is rumoured that renovation means that the public may soon be able to visit inside in the next few years. For our trip, we gazed at the structure from the river side. I saw Jal Mahal at sunset and it was amazing, next time I would go at night when the Mahal is lit up.
Jaipur is definitely a must if you’re visiting India, and was a great first trip for to the state of Rajasthan. Can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of the state and, indeed, even more of India.
If you dare to dream of a post Covid-19 holiday: