28 September 2010

Rajasthan trip: Jaipur leg

This post is part of Rajasthan series. Read previous post – Destination Rajasthan.
It was a calm afternoon of tenth December 2009, being on-board the Mumbai-Jaipur superfast express, I arrived as per schedule time at my first destination of the trip. As mentioned in previous post, I was relieved from apprehensions about getting ripped off by auto-rickshaw drivers for intra-city transportation all because of Raju and also Arun Bhat for the reference in his india-travel-blog. Raju’s service was so reliable that he called me up in morning itself to know about my expected arrival time and asked me to acknowledge him when the train leaves the penultimate station.

After getting down from the train, I ignored all auto-drivers and straightway went to the Gandhi statue in front of main entrance of the station, the place where Raju was waiting for me. Firstly he took me to an accommodation by name Sureli Haveli Guest House, a decent place but some essential things were not upto the mark. Being alone, I decided to manage for a day and move to the YHAI approved hotel once Naveen(a.k.a. Ande) joins me for the trip .
After freshening up and lunch, Raju took me in his auto to the City Palace to kick-start sightseeing activities. The road to the palace had series of shops, buildings painted homogeneously in pink color, which in fact is the major reason for the city to be tagged with the world famous sobriquet ! Later in the evening I had a pit stop at Raju’s tea shop in Banipark, which is opposite to Hindustan times(HT) office. After that he took me to a Rajasthan handloom shop where I bought a few stuffs like Kurta, Bedsheet etc. Then I finished the day-one’s proceedings by having local delicacy Dhal-Bati-Churma as dinner.
I started the day-2 by checking out from Sureli Haveli and a walk with my baggage to Raju’s tea shop near HT office. While waiting for Raju, I had a cup of tea with a kochari. The combindation made my moment in gloomy winter morning. Within a few minutes Raju arrived and I continued the sightseeing saga with a photo session in front of Hawa Mahal, the signature monument of Jaipur and has been burnt into our retina since our schooldays !
The day continued with a visit to Jaigarh Fort and then I forced Raju for taking me to neglected Nargarh Fort which recently came to limelight being a shooting location for breakthrough Bollywood movie Rang-De-Basanti. When I was about to leave Nargarh, I got call from Ande about his arrival in Jaipur, a big relief for me as I was slightly bored by exploring places alone. For syncing up, I asked him to come reach HT office in Banipark. Due to some minor problem with Raju’s auto, I was bit late in reaching the sync-up point. Then, we checked in at Residency Inn which is an affiliate of YHAI. The room rents were not that cheap, but after the YHAI discount it turned out to be a value for money place.
Later in the evening we did a casual walk till the bus stand and had early dinner Dal-Bati-Churma at some random hotel which by looks was decent and hygienic. By the time we finished our dinner Raju had got his auto repaired and took us to Choki-dhani, a Rajasthani folk resort 30 kms from the city. After doing sufficient activities at the place we had a long auto ride back to Jaipur. The advantage of having reliable person like Raju was realized again.
Day-3, our last day in Jaipur started with a visit to Amer Fort and explored the place comprehensively with fresh mind and full dedication. Later in afternoon we went to Gator-ki-chatriyan which houses Samadhis of Rajas of Jaipur. Then, on-the-way to heart of the city we had photo session in front of Jal Mahal viewpoint. Then we had lunch at Balaji restaurant near city palace. The food was decent and tasty, but Rs. 350+ for two people was an absolute rip off considering hygiene standards of the restaurant.
We ended the day’s proceedings with a brief visit to Jantar Mantar and also to City Palace. Since it was my second visit to the palace, I took it as an opportunity to guide Ande on my own !
After concluding sightseeing we got back to our hotel and at 8 pm we were off to Golden City Jaisalmer by a bus of Hanuman Travels.
Now let’s discuss about the monuments of Jaipur and associated experiences in detail.
City Palace
  • For seeing the palace comprehensively, I opted for an audio-guide for Rs.150 and it turned out to be worth-the-amount.
  • Notable things in the city palace were textile hall, armoury hall and durbar hall.
  • Textile museum was full of royal lifestyle costumes.
  • In the armoury museum, various weapons used by the royal army are on display. Many swords were gifted by contemporary Mughal emperors. If you had seen the recent Bollywood movie Jodha Akbar – you can relate to many items on display to the armoury stuffs used in the movie.
  • Durbar hall is the central hall of the palace. One of maharaja had taken oath as Governor of Rajasthan at the same place. The major attention of the visitors was on a famous painting of Sawai Man Singh in which the eyes will be pointing to the viewer from entire 180 degree viewing angle.
  • In outdoors, Diwan e Khas was a nice place and the most notable showpiece was the gigantic ganga jal vessel kept outside the veranda.
  • Personally, I liked the place Pritam Nivas. The complex has four doors representing four seasons - Summer, Monsoon, Winter and Spring. As narrated in the audio guide the complex was shooting location for many Bollywood movies Bhool Bhulaiya, Jodha Akbar to name a few.
Jaigarh Fort

  • It’s around 15 kms from the city. The uphill ride to the fort was picturesque where one can get a glimpse of wildlife like peacocks, langurs and most notably mongoose which I failed to capture as they were very shy and agile.
  • The major attraction of the fort was Jaivan – world’s largest Canon on a wheel base. It was tested only once and the fired gola went 33 km far and formed a crater in a village by name Chaksu. At present there’s a pond at the place of impact which is called by name Golabar for obvious reasons.
  • I opted for the guide for seeing the fort in detail. He explained me how in those times innovative methods were used to filter and store drinking water.
  • I did some basic shopping at handicraft shop in the fort. Also at the same place, I got hopelessly bored with excess marketing of 100 gm rajai(quilt) as it was an useless item for a person staying at Mumbai/Bangalore.
Nargarh Fort

  • I explored the palace with a human guide as there was no option of audio guide at the neglected place.
  • The fort had nine palaces with a different architecture. The complex had separate galleries for queens and an exclusive gallery for king.
  • With the help of a eleventh standard boy(Abhishek) who was moving around in the complex, I reached a big Bawadi(Pond) near the fort’s entrance, the place where was Rang De Basanti was shot. While exploring it, I managed to recall images of the movie and the famous patashala song.
  • Then, Abhishek took me for a round along the compound of the fort. It was pretty exciting part of the visit, as it was totally unplanned.
  • The place was 30 kms from the city. We expected it to be a mela types places hosted by Govt of Rajasthan. After getting there we found out it’s private resort which emulates a typical Rajasthani village.
  • The entry fee was Rs. 350. Initially we though that food is inclusive in the entry fee but later we discovered the price of buffet dinner was Rs. 650. Instead we just had small chat pata items. Chai, pani puri etc.
  • Having snacky foods, we explored the small events which were happening in the resort. There were many sophisticated(carefree) people in the resort who were throwing away tips at the performers.
  • We walked randomly here and there and entered into accommodations section. There were many hut like cottages in series creating a calm and serene environment.  Thru our enquiry we found out that for night’s stay one has to spend Rs. 8000 + taxes.
Amer Fort
  • While entering the fort, a young boy (a fake guide) followed us like anything. He gave us wrong suggestions just to see the place and come back. We just ignored his advice and opted for an audio guide. The audio guide was pretty nice and explanations more detailed in comparison to that of city palace.
  • The Jaleb chowk, Dewan-e-Aam, Ganesh Pol, Sheesh Mahal, Baradari were the prominent places in the fort/palace. Sheesh mahal was and Baradari were pretty unique which were not there in other sites of the city.
  • The fort was almost a character in the movie Jodha Akbar. Jodha is originally princess from Amer, before getting marrying to Akbar.
  • After coming out of the fort, the fake guide forced us to visit backyard of the fort, took us to a handicraft shop where he was expected to get a commission. Enroute to it he showed us the Shiromani temple which was part of a sequence in the movie Bhool Bhulaiya.
  • In the shop recommended by the guide, for every point mentioned by the shop keeper, I replied “So what  ?” and we totally frustrated him to say – “thanks for coming” !
  • Gator-ki-chatriyan comprises samadhis of all rajas.
  • A very quite and calm place to relax. One can capture good photographs without disturbance.
  • There are carvings on the chatris depicting many mythological episodes.
  • We came across two Israeli girls at the place who were happily moving around by putting fresh mehendi i their hands. Got to appreciate their enthusiasm !


  1. Good post, all in one... where's pic of jaipur leg?

  2. ha ha .. i actually meant "leg(noun): one of the distinct sections of any course"

  3. Nice picture of the marble mantapa.

    When I was there, I remember paying about Rs.300 or so for entry as well as food! Things have changed quickly! The food was incredible.

  4. Hi,
    You have an awesome blog. I am planning a trip to Rajasthan in last week of December. So, trying to get as much information as possible. i am actually waiting for your next post in the Rajasthan series

  5. thanks Sweeya for dropping by and for the complements. Nice to know that u are planning to visit Rajasthan in Decemeber - best time to be there :)

    Will definitely share more information in subsequent posts :)

    If u need any specific information - contact me at sandeep[dot]shande[at]gmail[dot]com

  6. Very informative post. This is really that Rajasthan is quite popular place in India. Here are lot of nice places for visiting. http://www.laxmipalacehotel.com

  7. Hi. I found your blog very informative and can tell you had a fantastic time. I shall be visiting there from the U.K. in two weeks time with a friend. We have a driver to take us around and I was wondering about tipping. Do you have any suggestions. Also is it quite easy to get cash on a credit card while you're travelling about. Thanks PJ

  8. Thanks PJ. Regarding tipping it depends on an individual. I recommend you to carry travel card using which you can withdraw money from ATMs

  9. hey i also stayed at sureli haveli i found the place cool do you have any contact number for that place..

  10. hey rohit, following are their contact numbers 9828853756, 9829350092

  11. This is very nice blog for Rajasthan tours. Rajasthan is the wonderful city in India. Delhi is capital of India.

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  13. The luxury cheap hotels rajasthan has preserved its glory and recognition by providing world category accommodation.

  14. Anonymous3:57 PM

    planning family trip to rajasthan this december 2013.. found this.. thanks a lot.. its great help to read the actual travelogues..

  15. The great city of Rajasthan have very precious things to see and watch.
    I like all of your posts that each and every post is unique

    Thanks for sharing ....

  16. Jaigarh, City Palace, Hawa Mahal all are unique places in Great city of Rajasthan..

    I Like to visit Rajasthan once a time

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