We had to go to India and we didn’t know too much where to go, we started looking at places where we could make beautiful pictures. We wanted to keep the Taj Mahal for a next trip, and we hesitated between Jodhpur, Jaipur and Goa. As we wanted something other than beaches (Goa) and that Jodhpur required an additional stopover we opted for Jaipur more by checking a little Pinterest and Instagram we quickly said that this city really looked beautiful.
So we booked our tickets !
Rajasthan is in the north west of India it is a very desert state.
The major cities are: Jaipur, Kota, Udaipur and Jodhpur.
Rajasthan consists of two very distinct parts:
- The north-west, where the Thar desert borders the border of Pakistan, (we will go one day, but when it has calmed down geopolitical)
- The southeast, where we find the valley of the Chambal, much more populated, separated from the desert by the chain of Aravalli.
Rajasthan never could be unified into an entity, but the Mughal emperor Akbar (watch Jodhaa Akbar movie… but only if you have 3:45 to lose and you adore the Bollywood), decided to create a meeting of the various Rajputs vassals in a divided province of several states called Rajputana. As a result, the culture is mixed Hindu and Mughal.
According to the 2011 census, Rajasthan has about 90.5% of Hindus, 9.05% of Muslims, 1.27% of Sikhs and 0.90% of Jains source Wikipedia that I will not question. However the population is very different from southern India physically as culturally.
As all the cities of India Jaipur is relatively dirty, however compared to Chennai or Pondicherry we found the city much cleaner. It is necessary as everywhere in this country to pay attention to water, to consume only bottled water, to avoid wounds or to possess a disinfecting kit on oneself to avoid infections. Concerning food, we ate everywhere and did not experience any inconveniences at the intestinal level but we are pretty solid on that side. In hotels you can consume ice cubes that are made from purified water if like us you are not afraid of anything. We were advised to leave with a medical kit containing anti-diarrhoeal, anti pains, disinfectants… But we didn’t take it and survived.
As Rajasthan is located in a desert region, the rainy season lasts only 3 months (June, July and August). We went there during the dry and hot season (early May) at this time it is not uncommon for the temperature to exceed widely the 40 º C. The air being extremely dry during our visits even by drinking nearly 3 litres of water per person we felt the effects of dehydration. It’s still a tolerable warm however think about bringing a lip stick and ample and light clothes.
Like all cities in India you can opt for several types of transport (taxis, rickshaws, public transport). We chose to take a taxi to the day and the same taxi during our 3 days onsite they would pick us up from the hotel and take us everywhere for about 3000 rupees/day. You can get transported for cheaper with rickshaws but if you are in a remote hotel as it was our case it can become complicated. Once in town on the other hand the rickshaw is economical but do not hesitate to negotiate the prices, they tend to multiply by 2 see 10!
Since we had only two days there, we focused on the places that really cared for us. We managed to do all of them but at the cost of Marathon days.
On the first day we went to the City Palace, the House of the winds, the Monkey temple.
On the second day we visited Amer Fort and Nahagarth strong.
The City Palace is the home of the Maharajah of Jaipur and one part of the place is still occupied by the royal family. As all the palaces of Maharadjas everything is glitzy inside, crystal chandeliers, throne in solid silver, marble pieces etc… I would advise you to take a guide and make the full visit of all the rooms it is absolutely splendid. The tour with the guide costs 2500 rupees per person.
The Wind Palace:
We did not visit the Wind palace only took pictures of the façade from the “roof top” of the opposite café. The face is as impressive in real as in photo.
To the east of the city about 20mn by car you can go visit the Monkey Temple. It is an old temple that serves as a dam and whose waters are sacred to the Indians. Many come to bathe here to “purify” what, regarding the quality of the water is quite surprising. It is also the habitat of about 2000 monkeys. Unlike other countries, the monkeys of this temple are neither aggressive nor thieves. If you buy for 50 rupees of bananas before you come you will have the opportunity to see them climb on you and feed them without them stealing your glasses or your camera.
We have after this visit and on the way back to the hotel been admiring the Water Palace. The street in front of the lake is the best gathering of the inhabitants of Jaipur who come by the hundreds by nightfall see the palace illuminate. You can take a camel ride to this place for about 1000 rupees per person which of course is a tourist catcher.
We went to Amer to visit the fort before joining the fort we were admiring the Penna Meena, an ancient well laid out on eight floors. As a result of the drowning of an Indian the authorities have since banned access to the public. The site is still very beautiful. But prepare to get yelled at and pay a baksheesh.
Old King’s mansion This Palace contains a thousand rooms, many floors as well as ingenious creations (hammam, sauna, jacuzzi) This Fort is a mixture of Mughal and undue architecture which is found in many motifs and moucharabiehs. I also advise you to take a guide that for 200 rupees will explain the history of the Fort. The entrance fee is 1000 rupees per person who can get down to 200 rupees on presentation of a student card. This fort is connected by a subway to the Jargaiht fort by a tunnel of 2km long. We did not have time to visit the strong Jagairth that exposes the world’s biggest cannon for lack of time. Next time surely.
We visited this Fort as it is known to be one of the most beautiful views of the city for the sunset and the location of a famous panoramic restaurant the “once up on a time” which offers many Indian dishes with a view of the whole west of JAIP U. The restaurant is inhabited by some monkeys who run on the canvases stretched above the tables. No panic they’re nice
Jawahar Circle and Patrika Gate: On the way back to the airport we stopped at the Jawahar Circle to admire its front door. This pretty high door is made up of several arches with bronze sculptures and magnificent frescoes with pastel colors to see absolutely. This is the morning stroll corner of many Indians.
We both found the City beautiful and the food is divine. The hotel we stayed in was simply idyllic and we would highly recommend it. It is a city where we will return quickly to finish visiting what we have not seen.