After Agra we headed to the pink city of Jaipur. We were supposed to get there via train, but our train was cancelled on this particular day due to fog.
So we ended up taking a taxi. It was terrifying. The fog was so thick you couldn’t see more than a couple of feet in front of you. At one point we were driving along a river bank in the fog with cows, dogs, tuk tuks and lorries pulling out all over the place. Luckily the fog cleared and we headed off safely on our way.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at Krishna Palace in Jaipur. The building looked like a remnant from British Colonial times, and was a nice relic of an India gone by. It was a reasonable hotel, comfortable enough for a couple of nights. They served breakfast on the roof and the staff were attentive.
How to get around:
The easiest way to get around Jaipur is just to flag down a tuk tuk or use Uber to find a ride. Remember to haggle and that it isn’t compulsory to tip in India.
Where to Eat:
Our favourite restaurant in Jaipur was The Tattoo Cafe opposite the ‘Hawa Mahal’. It’s hard to spot from the outside as it is hidden away up some narrow steps. The cafe is on the roof and the views of the ‘Windy Palace’ are just spectacular. The food was so delicious, especially the curry platter. Worth a visit if you come to Jaipur.
What we did:
A collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments built by the king of Rajasthan in 1734. It features the world’s largest stone sundial which is accurate down to 2 seconds. The girls were fascinated by all of the “mystical space objects” as Ava described them. Will and I found it mind boggling that these instruments were built so long ago with that level of accuracy. A fascinating place to spend an hour.
The building that Jaipur is famous for, the Hawa Mahal, also known as ‘The Windy Palace’ because it has so many windows. Legend has it that the king built this palace in 1799 so his many wives could watch the world go by without any peasants on the street being able to gaze at their beauty – they were for the kings eyes only. Many people see these stories as romantic. But the girls, being the mini feminists they are, just saw this as forced imprisonment and felt sorry for his queens living their lives behind the palace walls. We didn’t feel the need to pay to enter and just enjoyed looking at this amazing building from the outside.
Jaipur is the capital of the Rajasthan state in India and the Maharajah of Jaipur and his family still reside in the City Palace (although they have no real power as monarchs today they are still held in high regard). The architecture inside was beautiful, particularly the doorways in the queens courtyard. Having said that we felt it was a little pricey to enter and their were lots of guards, touts etc desperate to part you with your money.
Jal Mahal is a palace in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. It is known locally as the floating palace, or the summer palace as this is where the King used to retreat with his wives during the hot desert summers. Although it looks like it’s floating it was actually built first, then the area surrounding it was flooded to create the man made lake. At present you can only view the palace from the shore, there are talks of some future investment that will allow visitors to travel to the palace by boat. It’s nice to go see on your way to the Amber Palace. Just be wary of the many beggars and stalls touting tourist tat on the shoreline.
Built in the mountains just outside Jaipur in the town of Amer (the former capital of Rajasthan) Amber Fort was our favourite place that we visited in Jaipur. There is a large wall spanning the whole of the mountainside that the girls said reminded them of the Great Wall of China. Inside the Palace there are many architectural marvels and opulent designs. The mirror palace was enchanting, and it is said the King designed it to be covered in mirrors so that when the oil lamps were lit it was like he was sleeping under twinkling stars.
It is better to visit in the afternoon. The mornings are incredibly busy as you can ride elephants during your visit. We opted to go in the afternoon as we don’t believe elephant riding is truly ethical. You can do your own research on this, but after witnessing these poor creatures tied up at the roadside we would urge you to think twice.
And again be wary of guides, beggars and touts who flock to the tourist areas of India.
We really enjoyed our time in Jaipur it was our favourite city in India. In hindsight we wish we’d spent a few more days here and less time in Agra.
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