Rajasthan is perhaps the one and only region in the country, where you can unabashedly say that you see life through colored glasses! Or how else would you truly experience the rosy tints of the Pink City? I had only visited this lovely city long ago for a cultural festival, when I was in school. And this was my first trip to Jaipur as an adult. So, a couple of months ago, when the weather still had traces of winter, I planned a quick weekend trip to Jaipur. Coincidentally, my travel happened to be around the time of the annual vintage car rally, which happens in Jaipur every winter.
I prefer traveling by car and drive through the wide highways and see the shifting landscape. Also, I find road trips to be more exciting, especially when I am on holiday. I booked a cab from Delhi to Jaipur with Savaari Car Rentals. I found a reasonable deal and the driver was a friendly and knowledgeable guy, which was important since I needed the guidance for traveling around.
The drive lasted for about four and a half hours. On the way, we stopped at Kotputli and then at Manoharpur for a quick break.
It was past noon when I reached Jaipur. I barely remembered the city or probably a lot has changed in these years. There was a warm glow about the city. It could be the reflection of the setting sun on the buildings or its inherent majestic vibes. Visually, the pink sandstone and marble structures rendered a pinkish glow to its cityscape. But figuratively, it was the deep-rooted heritage and the legacy of the royal families that exudes an air of sophistication and regality. The city felt like the perfect blend of classic and modern, tradition and innovation, balanced against each other.
It was already evening so I started my tour with the oldest café of Jaipur. I called up a friend in the city to join me for coffee and dinner. My first stop was the Indian Coffee House near Ajmeri Gate. Being a Friday, there were groups people engaged in coffee and conversations. There was a mystical charm about the place, the kinds I like. It was the café’s interiors that made it a perfect place to sit and muse. The old structure with faded paint, high-arched ceilings, and vintage furniture attracted the intellectual and creative souls from all over the city. After a couple of hours of catching up on each other’s lives, my friend and I headed for a lavish dinner at Padao – an open-air, rooftop restaurant in Nahargarh. It was a one-of-its-kind experience. More than the food, I was high on the stunning views of the entire city, shimmering under the moonlit, winter sky.
The second day was the day of typical touristy sightseeing. I usually don’t do this, but with the kinds of iconic things Jaipur has, I had to see them like a hungry tourist. Our first stop was Moti Dungri. It belonged to Sawai Man Singh II and was last occupied by Rajmata Gayatri Devi. The pearl-drop shaped palatial structure was an architectural marvel in itself with fine marble works and stone carvings. There was a Ganesha temple next to the palace, which the locals believe to be sacred.
My next stop was Hawa Mahal – a name and a structure I had only seen on travel shows and Bollywood movies. It is the cornerstone of Jaipur and I was in awe as I stood in front of the imposing sandstone structure. It is said that it has 953 jharokhas (windows with niches) which keeps the palace breezy at all times. After a short tour and some awe-inspiring views of the interiors, I left for my next sightseeing destination.
The next morning was the day of the car rally, which I could not miss for anything. It started from the Taj Mahal Palace. The place was buzzing with automobile enthusiasts, vintage car owners, and the media. One good thing about being a journalist is that you can attend these kinds of events without much ado. The car rally was a platform for the who’s who of Jaipur and an ultimate display of pedigree.
That evening, a little late after dinner, I asked my driver to take me to Jal Mahal. I have heard many stories, romantic and spooky, about this place. They say, particularly on a moonlit night, you could hear fine strains of a woman’s voice. The palace built on the artificial Man Sagar Lake shone in the moonlight and reflected on the still water around it. It was eerily beautiful.
The two-day trip of Jaipur took me on a journey through the Pink city’s soul, rich in legacy, steeped in aristocracy, and yet, warm enough to embrace its visitors.
- If you want to truly explore Jaipur, visit in winter or autumn.
- Always get an airconditioned Jaipur car rental if traveling in summer.
- For more adventure rent a bicycle and tour the town.
- If you are a literature enthusiast, catch the annual Jaipur Literature Festival in January.