In Delhi, I attempted to find weekend escapes that brought me away from the craziness cause by city-living. Despite my often escape into the Himalayas, Jaipur quickly became one of my favorite weekend getaways.
Although the ‘pink city’ was more or less, similar to that of Delhi’s urban setting, I quickly realized that it was much more harmonious.
To give Delhi some credit, it does house ~20 million people within 16.5 sq mi. Jaipur, on the other hand, has a mere 3 million in a much larger geographic area.
With its vast land, comes various things to do. Luckily for us, my roommate had a long-time friend who resided in this bustling city. Within a weekend, we were able to see the main attractions.
5. The Pink City
True to its name, Jaipur’s old city is painted in various shades of pink- from pale baby pinks to deep purple burgundies. The architecture within the 7 Darwazas/gates seem to take on a life of its own. Inline with Rajasthan’s lavish history, buildings within the walled city, no matter how imperfect, all have a special flavor to it. The streets of the old city were crowded-vendors, merchants and little food stops lined the roads. Women wore the traditional Rajasthan saree, with bright greens and pinks as opposed to the more conservative tones seen elsewhere.
4. Jal Mahal – India’s Floating Palace
The floating palace is just a couple minutes’ drive from Pink City. After leaving the confines of the city walls, we parked the car at a little parking spot opposite of a beautiful lake. It wasn’t until we walked across the platform that I realized that there was a magnificent palace atop the Man Sagar lake.
3. Visit the Fort
There are three famous forts within the city of Jaipur.
- Amber Palace
- Jaigarh Fort
- Nahargarh Fort
Since they were all relatively similar, we decided upon the most accessible one for our trip. The entrance fee for Amer Fort was 20 rupees or so, with camera equipment at an additional 5 rupees.
The drive up the mountain was filled with monkey encounters. With cars attempting to come in and out of the entrance, we decided to line our car on the side of the mountain and walk up the hill towards the palace fort.
With ‘artistic Hindu style elements’, the fort was built with red sandstone and marble. Having weathered 5 centuries of rain and sun, the palace remains formidable. It overlooks the Maota Lake and offers a great view of the green space under.
2. Heritage Resorts
Special to Jaipur and few other cities, these were traditional Rajasthani-inspired villages inclusive of various local activities and cuisine. It was a resort of sorts- with corners showcasing dance, music, puppet acts, and other talents. There were also grounds for theme park-like rides.
All of the attendants wore traditional attire. During dinner time, we were brought to a massive dining hall with servers placing mouth-watering delicacies on our plates.
Although the entrance fee is quite hefty-400 rupees and upwards depending on the inclusion of a meal, it was quite the experience. Some famous heritage resorts include Chokhi Dhani and the Heritage Village.
1.The Export and Tradeshow
Despite Delhi having some beautiful and cheap markets, the export market in Jaipur seems to offer cheaper products. It would be a shame if I didn’t load my luggage with beautiful Indian attire after visiting the country. The marketplace wasn’t too big- so it was a great way to spend a couple hours without being overwhelmed as in Delhi. Vendors from across the country sit at their respective booth offering a glimpse into their regional take on Indian wear. Kurtis were generally 300 rupees/ piece, similar to that in Delhi. Earrings and cheap jewelry were 50-100 rupees while sarees ranged between 200-500 rupees. I found a merchant selling sarees for 300 rupees/ a piece.
It was a steal!
When visiting Rajasthan, it is easy to get sidetracked by Udaipur or Jodhpur. While these cities are beyond beautiful, Jaipur will surprise you just as much, if not more 🙂 Of course, there are tons of other cities around North India worth a visit! Here are my top dozen.