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Jaipur - In the heart of the land of Royals

Jaipur, known as the Pink city, is on the list of must visit places for all those who love to travel through North India, just as I do. I spent almost four days discovering the wonders the place had to offer and came back a happy camper.

The city boasts of several heritage places. The best place to visit is definitely the Amer fort and an elephant ride to the top of the hill makes it all the more fun. Also, the light and sound show which is held in the evening was a tad long but still pretty entertaining. It is best to hire a guide for the tour, or maybe a local who knows the area well, as that makes things much more interesting. Plus, the guides at the entrance charge you at government approved rates, so no chance of being ripped off!

 

Jaigarh Fort also makes a fine visit, on the same hill. Next stop is the Nahargarh fort, which is a forty-five minute drive from Amer fort. The view from there is breathtaking. We enjoyed our dinner here; the feeling of sitting in one of the small watch towers overlooking the city is incredible.

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Another must visit site would be the City Palace and I again strongly recommend to hire a guide. The palace is full of colourful murals and paintings on the walls. I loved the Peacock gate at the entrance of the courtyard.

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There were rooms housing beautiful clothes which were worn by princesses, queens and kings. As a fashion student, I was enchanted by the intricate work on some of the pieces which still look splendid after all these years; a lot of royal outfits had embroidery done on them with real gold thread. Though I was very disappointed that cameras were not allowed inside the museums and photography was limited to the open courtyards connecting the various buildings in spite of the fact that I paid extra just to take my camera in.

Hawa Mahal, i.e. the Palace of Winds, resembles a beehive of 953 windows! The architecture of the place is such that it is constantly a little windy inside. No one complains though; it’s a respite from the heat. Isarlat is a good spot to scope out the entire city and makes for some brilliant pictures.

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Jal Mahal is a fabulous structure and is gorgeous on the inside. Unfortunately our visit was on a national holiday so we couldn’t go in. Admiring the structure from the shore had to suffice. Other interesting places we visited included Jantar Mantar, Lakshmi Narayan Temple and Gaitore.

Jaipur offers a lot more than just historical monuments to visit, so we decided to scope out some nightlife (or the utter lack of it!). But party is only possible if you know some locals or happen to visit during the polo season and have the chance to attend the amazing after polo parties. Sadly, we had neither going for us.

Jaipur did provide some amazing places to dine out and enjoy the evening. Kasbah is a good place to grab a drink after all the sight-seeing. With its dim lit interiors and comfy traditional setting, it is a nice, relaxed way to spend an evening. Another popular rooftop bar is the Tablu at Hotel Clark, which boasts of an amazing view of the city.

Steam in Ram Bagh Palace is a must visit place for some absolutely delicious pizzas and yummy cocktails. My pick definitely has to be the black forest ham pizza, which was an amazing explosion of flavours in my mouth and one of the best I have had in a long time. The fact that this restaurant is an actual old steam engine with coaches that have been converted into dining halls makes it all the more interesting.

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Another must visit spot is the lassiwala, and you will be missing out on something if you don’t try it. Oh, and make sure you go to shop number 312, as he is the original while others are mere copycats.

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Though Chowki Dhani is famous for its authentic rajasthani food, but due to it becoming really commercialized and since I have been to one before, I skipped it.
Of course no trip can be completed without shopping. We enjoyed haggling around the old city at various shops to pick up jewellery, Jaipur’s cotton clothes and traditional knick knacks. We also found an organic coffee shop inside Anokhi that served delicious coffee, breads and pasta.

Lastly, we enjoyed the puppet show, which is a song and dance routine of story telling and a lot of fun. The lady puppet gave a very impressive performance of what the puppet master called ‘the Shakira Dance’. I even bought two puppets, which now adorn the walls of my room.

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