Ah, what’s next. That’s right…Jaipur, India’s Pink City. By the time I arrived in Jaipur I had been in three different cities in three different days, so I was glad to have at least one full day in Jaipur. I was also glad I still had my Aussie travel companion Matt with me as well. Traveling alone does sometimes get lonely.
Matt and I left Jaipur at 11:30 the morning we went to see the Taj Mahal. I had scheduled a later bus but decided to change it so I would have company. The bus ride to Jaipur from Agra is about 4 hours and I slept at least a couple of those because we had been up since 5 to see the Taj and I was still dealing with intestinal issues, so I wasn’t at 100%. But the ride wasn’t horrible and we got in at a good time.
Matt and I stayed at the Mustache Jaipur, which was in a pretty good location and had one of the best rooftop restaurants I had seen at a hostel yet. And we got to do a food tour.
To anyone who is coming to India, I would recommend doing a street food tour. Most of the hostels provide one and they know where to go so that you won’t get sick. I know some people who did one in Delhi and loved it. The food tour cost 500 rupees for 12 dishes, which is not bad considering there were a few curries thrown in there. The tour consisted of me, Matt, a girl from England, and about 12 Belgians…so a party.
We first went to a stall and had three different Punjabi/Rajasthani dishes. It was my first introduction to northern India cuisine and after trying it I greatly preferred their curries than the south. There are a lot more tomato based options than the thick gravies in the south. The rest of the tour consisted of little snacks and sweets and some really good paneer tikka. That night was also when I discovered I don’t like coriander. It tastes like soap to me. It seems I am in the 50% of people who can’t eat coriander, who knew!
We got to see a wedding procession too!
I go to experience how an Indian bar does Halloween. There was a lot of techno and fake smoke…
NOTE***It can be said the Amber or Amer Fort. Amber for the color, Amer for where it is located.
Matt and I did this earlier in the morning, which I would highly recommend. Even though we got there an hour after it opened, it was extremely busy. The fort/palace is little outside of the main city so you will need a tug tuk. We were able to bargain for a good price for a tuk tuk for the full day so we weren’t going to be hassled every time we got out of a site.
The Amber Fort is actually in Amer, which is just outside of Jaipur. It was built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh. It has traditional Hindu elements with ramparts and cobbled paths. The fort overlooks Maota Lake and is made out of red sandstone and marble.
The fort is built on top of the hill and it is a trek up the stairs. They do provide elephant rides up to the top as they would have done it back in the day, but I wasn’t too keen on that, animal rights issues and all. But you are free to make that choice.
The fort is huge by the way!! Matt and I totally got lost a couple of times and you could easily spend at least 3 hours or so just winding your way through the different corridors.
The Mirrored Palace was my favorite part of the fort. It is a section of the palace that is all decorated in mirrors and paintings in the traditional Mughal architecture. While we were there they were in the process of restoring the mirrors and bringing them back to how they were in the 1500s.
This was a surprising find. Most people after they see the Amber Fort go see the Jaigarh Fort, but Matt and I bought passes to a lot of locations and the Jaigarh Fort wasn’t on there so we went to Nahargarh.
When we got there is was quite deserted. We were able to enjoy the fort without all of the tour groups like the ones we were dogging in the Amber Fort. The fort itself isn’t that big, but the interior of the fort is amazing. The paintings on the walls have been excellently preserved and the views through the little windows of Jaipur were amazing.
My favorite part of this palace was that each of the rooms had the tiny windows so the royals could look out at and each room has its own color theme. There were also monkeys hanging out in one of them, I avoided that room. I didn’t get my rabies shot.
There was also a wax museum outside of the fort if you are into that sort of thing.
I skipped over the Jantar Mantar because we were there for maybe 20 minutes and saw the astronomical instruments and left. We didn’t have an audio guide so we didn’t know what some of them were for. I would say you could probably skip this if you don’t have time.
Hawa Mahal. The most famous part of Jaipur and unfortunately the most underwhelming part of it for me. Don’t hate on me yet, let me explain why.
Hawa Mahal is the Palace of the Winds. It was constructed as a way for royal women to view life and festivals through the tiny windows. The honeycomb architecture allowed cool air to flow through and act as an ancient air conditioner. The palace is built out of pink and red sandstone. Hence the Pink City nickname. Many of the buildings around the center part of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal and the City Palace, are also made of pink stone.
It is the top site to see in Jaipur, but I was a little underwhelmed. This was probably because we had been in the sun for the last six hours, hadn’t eaten yet, were hot, and getting pestered by people for selfies. After a long day sightseeing sometimes things wear you down. Also, when we were there it is was later afternoon and the sun was behind the wall so the pictures are not as bright as they would have been if you were there in the morning. So memo to all, go in the morning.
I did enjoy the architecture of the structure but I wish I had been there at the beginning because of the long day and I still wasn’t feeling well.
Matt and I also weren’t able to enjoy the City Palace because we were tired and very hungry by the time we got done with Hawa Mahal. If you have the time, I would recommend it because I heard from other travelers that it was quite nice.