08 Dec Travel Diary: Jaipur
Visiting Jaipur has always been a dream of mine… for no other reason than all the images I had seen of Hawa Mahal. What can I say, I am a sucker for aesthetics. So, when the opportunity presented itself, as tight as the opportunity was, I coerced my family into believing that a trek all the way from Mumbai to Jaipur for 2 full days before heading to Bali totally made sense.
With only those 2 full days to explore Rajasthan’s capital before heading to Bali, and a mission to make sure that we got to see (and photograph) as much of the ““Pink City” as we could in that time, I searched for Jaipur on “Get Your Guide” and immediately got served a “Jaipur: Instagram Tour of the Best Photography Spots” tours, which for very obvious reasons I immediately gravitated to and booked immediately.
Before I jump into a little overview of my trip, I do want to say that I am not normally a fan of tours, but given the fact that we only had 2 full days to explore Jaipur, and I didn’t really have enough time prior to our trip to plan anything beyond booking flights and accommodation, this seemed like the practical and logical thing to do. With that being said, the 6 hour “Jaipur: Instagram Tour of the Best Photography Spots” tour from Get Your Guide was great, because of the individual attention we got from our driver (and my personal photographer Harshid) and (probably most importantly) I appreciated the private vehicle. Look... I am generally a friendly person, but what I am not trying to do when on a vacation, is be stuck in a vehicle with people I don’t know, forced to stretch my capacity for small talk. The six hour tour began super early (in vacation time), with Harshid, our tour guide (and amateur photographer for the day) picking us up from the hotel at 8am, covering all the major tourist spots. From the Amer or Amber Palace, to Panna Meena ka Kund, an ancient eight storied stepwell that was built during the 16th century as a way to collect rainwater during monsoons, to Patrika Gate and Nahargarh Fort where we spent close to an hour exploring the grounds with a tour guide, listening to anecdotes which I wish I could remember in detail because I recall ooooohing and aaaaaahing a lot. It was really something else to see everything I had marvelled over on “travel Instagram” in real life. I mean, Hawa Mahal, The “Blue Room ” in The City Palace, are exactly as I had imagined them to be… beautifully spectacular.Following a very full day, where I learnt amongst other things I can’t fully remember, that Jaipur is a is known for cutting and polishing precious and semiprecious gems and that the royal family of Jaipur, still occupy a wing of the City Palace, we spent the later afternoon and evening enjoying our very busy (as there was a wedding) hotel surrounds and winding down for the day there.
This trip broke all my rules, in that it had absolutely no “lie in days”, but it was after all, a trip my siblings and I had organised for my mother’s 60th. So, whilst, I was very tempted to lie in and spend the day chilling at the pool at the JW Marriot Jaipur, my FOMO for making the most of day 2 of the trip was engaged and I recruited my mother to join me on a random drive around I then somehow managed to convince my partner in crime, my mom, to accompany me back to Hawa Mahal so that I could try and get a better picture than the one we captured the day before. We grabbed a tuk tuk and made our way through the bustling streets of Jaipur and found our way to a cafe called The Wind View Café, located opposite Hawa Mahal. After spending the better half of my jet lag-induced insomnia riddled night googling where the best place is to take a photograph of or in front of Hawa Mahal, I read about this cafe’s terrace and had to give it a try. Before we even got out of our tuk tuk, we were met with several people obviously trying to get our attention and accompany us for a small fee to help us find and take a photograph. One such gentleman, Mohit, was just so easy to engage with (we are still Instagram friends to this day), because all he asked of us is that we visit his family’s jewellery shop, which we did… and what I got in return is this really beautiful photograph of my mom and I.With my Instagram goals achieved, the day really didn’t feel like it could get better than laughing and exploring with my Mom, but then we met up with my sisters at the spectacular Rambagh Palace for tea, wine and treats before enjoying dinner and drinks at the instagrammable and buzzing Bar Palladio, before heading back to the hotel to get some rest before the long transit to Bali, a story ang blog post that deserves its very own blog post, because when I say wow… That was painful. I mean it.
With that being said, Jaipur really exceeded my expectations and assumptions… and so did Mumbai, because I have to be honest and say that before I visited India, I had two very distinct visuals of what to expect. One was what I saw in Slumdog Millionaire and the other was what I saw when I saw pictures of Jaipur on people’s Instagram feeds. Neither was exactly that, but both were memorable and exciting.