Royal tour of Jaipur in winter
Jaipur is home to wonders both natural and man-made. There is so much more to it than its pink-red tinged buildings and historic splendour. The heart of Rajasthan also known as the Pink City of India is not only a popular tourist destination, but also an ideal location for back-packers. Its mesmerizing architecture, super abundance of natural beauty and oh, not to mention the delicious food, makes that city a rather delightful vacation spot. As for me, places of historical importance have always allured me in a different way altogether. Whenever I take a trip to such places, it feels like being transported to another time and to a different era.
A tour of the City Palace on the first day of the new year
Jaipur has so much colour and history to offer and last December I decided to see it first-hand. We boarded a flight to Delhi on 30th December and took a train thereby to reach Jaipur, the same day. Although it was a really tiring journey, yet we didn’t want to be indoors on such a sunny winter afternoon, especially when there is a whole new city waiting for us to explore. So, we checked into our hotel, kept our bags and immediately set off sightseeing.
Rajasthan's popular Bandhni printed sarees
Our first stop for the day was the local market. Women all over India have got a weak spot for beautiful sarees. My mother and I couldn’t help but notice all the beautiful Bandhni printed sarees on display in the shops as we made our way through the narrow streets. After some shopping, we headed straight for dinner. Jewellery ofcourse is the main attraction of this city. From silver to gold you get almost everything. If you are into pottery then make sure you check out Jaipur’s famous blue pottery. Now, I am sure everyone is familiar with the fact that Rajasthan’s delicacies are known to be the tastiest and the spiciest food in all of India. Well, a little disappointing for ‘Chicken – lovers’ as myself but that did not stop me from trying out their famous age old traditional ‘Dal Baati churma’ and the ‘Gatte Ke Sabzi.’ Well, you know what they say, Bengali people love spicy food! On our way back to the hotel, we crossed the famous Palace of Winds also known as the Hawa Mahal. It is considered to be a landmark location.
The exquisitely decorated windows of the Jaigarh Fort
The famous shrine of Dargah Sharif in Ajmer
Next morning we drove straight to Amer Fort, one of the most historic and well-maintained forts of India. The most famous attraction of this fort is the Sheesh Mahal. Also known as the Mirror Palace, it is a spectacular piece of architecture. Its interior is intricately designed with precious stones and perfectly shaped pieces of glass. After a tour of the entire fort, we made our way to another beautiful fort named the Nahargarh Fort. Located on the edge of the Aravalli hills, Raigarh, Nahargarh and Amer once formed a strong defence ring for the city. The architecture and the symmetry just mesmerized me. The view of the entire city from the top was breathtakingly beautiful and gorgeous.
The intricately decorated interior of the Sheesh Mahal
The following day we headed for the City Palace. Only a part of the entire palace is now open to visitors during a certain period of the day. We got a glimpse of the Royal armoury that has been so beautifully preserved and well-kept in one part of the palace. The city at sunset looks stunning and magical. The setting sun against the backdrop of the palace walls painted a really enchanting picture. Jaipur gets awfully cold during January and since it was the first day of the new year, you could well imagine the crowd.
The unconquered Nahargarh Fort
On our last day in Jaipur, we visited the Dargah Sharif in Ajmer. It is one of the most sanctified shrines in the entire country. Large number of devotees visit this place all throughout the year to offer their respect and it is considered one of the most sacred pilgrim sites by people of all religions. I have to say, this was one hell of a trip. Not only did the architecture and various works of art capture my mind deeply but also getting to know in detail about the city’s past, up close and personal, gave me the real satisfaction of visiting Jaipur altogether. It is every History buff’s dream come true and I got to live it in person. As grand and colossal as it is, the city is definitely worth a visit for all those who dream of going back in time and rediscovering India’s glorious Golden Age.
They call it the 'crowing Jewel of Jaipur'. - Amer Fort