IT WASN'T EASY NOT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH JAIPUR | GRACE FILLED TRAVEL JUNKIE

IT WASN'T EASY NOT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH JAIPUR

It was my first day in Jaipur, The Pink City, and I didn't know what to expect. Arriving the previous night, my friend and I went straight to a hostel we booked online and slept. If you read my previous post about Agra, you would know that a long deep sleep is what I needed the most at that time.

I decided to wake up a bit late on that day. I remember waking up hesitantly, unexcited for Jaipur. In fact, I was pretty much in my survival mode since Agra. Turns out, I was wrong. Jaipur greeted me with friendly smiles and a warm sunshine. That was only the start. 
Jaipur, the Pink City.
The sunshine got people chilling on the rooftop.
For starters, the weather was superb. The kind of weather that transform you into thinking, "Hey, it might be a good day!" With that kind of weather, my friend and I chose to take a walk to the nearby tourist destinations from our hostel. 

During the walk, I finally realized why it was called the pink city. Every building I saw on my left and right were red-pink in color. Apparently the pink coloring of the buildings were done back in the days to welcome the king’s guest. The tradition carried on until today without any law to preserve it.

After a 15 minutes stroll, we found our first destination, Jantar Mantar observatory. In this site, there are 19 architectural astronomical instruments being preserved up to this date. The primary purpose of the observatory was to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets back in the 18th century.
Jantar Mantar Observatory.
The world's largest sundial in Jantar Mantar.
A girl in the middle of Rashi Valaya Yantra, sundials. It was used to measure the 12 constellations system (sagitarius, virgo, etc.)
Jantar Mantar observatory is also located in Delhi and other cities in India. With such strong background, it is no wonder the country produces great astronomical scientists all over the world.

If that doesn't interest you, the story of Hawa Mahal Palace might be! The caste system in India made a huge gap between the commoners and the royals. This became a problem to the women of the royal family since their faces should not be seen by the commoners according to a strict cultural rule. This is why the women of the royal family should be inside the palace and miss out on all the fun happening on the street. Especially, the street parades or festivals. 

In 1799, the palace was built nearby the main road of Jaipur. Its main purpose was to provide the royal women an observation point to see the street parade without being visible to the commoners. This is why the palace had many small windows facing the street.
Detail view of the exterior of Hawa Mahal Palace. Can you spot two pairs of eyes peeking from the inside?
Walking beside the windows and peeking holes of the palace.
Other than the story behind it, Hawa Mahal is also talked about for its unique architecture. Hawa Mahal is translated to English as the 'Palace of Winds' because the architectural design allows cool air to travels through the whole palace. Thus, the building air conditioned itself even during the summer.
Colored glass work as part of the interiors of Hawa Mahal.
Great looking strangers.
Time does have its own wings. Without much realization, we spent too much time on those two visits. Rushing to our next destination, we took a quick bite and hopped on a bajaj to visit Nahargarh Fort. The traffic was pretty much bad at that time. Maybe this photo I took from the top of Hawa Mahal Palace could tell you about the traffic better.
Hint: the focus is not on the flag.
We finally arrived at Nahargarh Fort! What is so special about this fort is is its location. Located on the hills of Jaipur, it provided a strong ring of defense for the city back in the days. Today, it provided spectacular view of the whole city of Jaipur. 

Back in 1734, Nahargarh Fort was built as the king's place of retreat in case the city was under attack. Although to this date, the fort was never under attack, it was probably much safer to have a back up plan. You can never be too careful right?
Taken from Nahargarh Fort.
Not a guard, just a waiter of a restaurant inside the Nahargarh Fort compound.
Have you ever felt so small after seeing something so amazing? It happened to me a lot whenever I'm traveling. This time, it happened to me in Nahargarh Fort. The view of the whole city was spectacular and breathtaking. It was simply my highlight of the day. 

Suddenly the thought of one bad day in Agra was washed away by the experience I had in Nahargarh Fort. I became the normal and jolly Demas again. If you don't see me as a jolly person, then maybe I was not myself. Trust me, I was somehow jolly on that day.   
"Those who don't jump will never fly."
Somebody contact Andy Staple. I found his pigeon.
Travel mate: Alver G.M.P.
Tanned and jolly Demas.
Nahargarh Fort was beyond expectation, but the most famous destination in Jaipur was Amber Fort. Since we still have another day in Jaipur, we decided to check it out on the next day. We headed back to the hostel, had a nice and cheap dinner on the street and rested peacefully, thanks to Jaipur!

Knowing we had plenty of time, I decided to woke up late. At around 11 AM, we were finally ready to visit Amber Fort! This turned out to be a bad idea.
Coffee first.
Located quite near to Nahargarh Fort, we should have visited Nahargarh Fort and Amber Fort in one day. This is a minor mistake you might not want to make if you ever visited Jaipur. Another mistake is to visit Amber Fort after 12 PM, by then the elephant ride to the top would have ended. Without the elephant ride, you would have to take the long walk to the top.

Like I said, waking up late was a bad idea because we ended up missing the elephant ride. However, we were quite fortunate to ride an elephant in a housing complex. The cost was 1200 rupee, but the view was not as great as a ride to the top of Amber Fort.
The long walk to the top.
Another option, other than the elephant, is to take advantage of your boyfriend.
With around 5000 visitors a day, Amber Fort is a definite tourist attraction. Being there firsthand, you wouldn't realize that there were so many people in the fort since it is a huge compound. Probably, Amber Fort was the biggest architectural site I've ever visited in India. Inside, I found 4 courtyards, 2 gates, 1 temple, 1 palace and a beautiful garden. It was definitely made for the kings!

I might be wrong about the definite number of courtyards, temple or other buildings inside the fort. Honestly, I actually lost direction inside the fort. Its size and architecture made the fort itself a complicated maze. Taking time to explore each meters of the fort is much recommended.
The Palace Square
Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace).
Viewing point.
A traditional musician playing music nearby a gate only for the commoners.
Work like a horse, play like a little kid.
Lattice work inside the Amber Fort.
Once you are done with Amber Fort, which probably will take hours, don't miss out on the opportunity to view Jal Mahal from a far. Jal Mahal is a palace in the middle of a lake located only 15 mintues away by bajaj from Amber Fort. Although the palace is inaccessible by anyone, it was still a great view for evening time!
Jal Mahal Palace.
Overall Jaipur is a nice city to visit. Yet, we kept our eyes on our belongings an closely watch for upcoming scams. After all, we were still in India and we were still seen as tourists. Since we kept our wallets in our bags and placed it in front of us, a few pickpocket scheme failed as we were walking in one of these tourist attraction sites. Believe it or not, some would even go as far as feeling our trousers' back pockets.

Another useful tip for a visit in Jaipur is to bring your student ID card. It will give you massive price cut in different tourist locations. In Hawa Mahal, the price of a foreign student gives you a 3/4 cut from the original foreign tourist price!
Major student discount!
If only I brought my student card with me, the trip would have been more joyful! Still, without it I enjoyed my days in exploring Jaipur. I started grumpy and ended up being as jolly as ever! Thanks to Jaipur with its weather, people, and places.

My energy and excitement came back after the end of the second day in Jaipur! I was refreshed and ready for another adventure in Bikaner! I simply couldn't wait to ride camels in the middle of Rajashtan's safari and desert. More about it next week!
Ready to take on another city.
PS: Hopefully my previous blog post about Agra did not take away your hope in humanity, or in India. If it did, hopefully this blog post could restored it. India is not a bad place to visit. Along my journey, I found nice people who offered their help to me voluntarily. There are some whom I now call as friends (will be writing about one of them next week)! Maybe I didn't find these people in Agra, but surely I found them in Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner!

I will be finishing my post about India next week with my last post about Bikaner. A few more extras about India will be written in the upcoming week, that's if you are still enjoying these India posts. If you don't, please talk to me through the comment section or simply send me an email. You know how to do it!

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2 comments:

Alvina Hendrawidjaja said...

I enjoyed reading your blog posts, keep it coming! :)

Demas Ryan said...

Thanks Alvina :)