From the face of it, this post is quite mundane. Any travel guide will tell you a thousand things to do in Jaipur. But we know the truth of the matter is – no one really has the time to do all that.
How much ever you plan – unless you are a super enthusiastic student delegate who has a two-day sightseeing itinerary planned for her by the god-sent organizers. Or you are someone who stays in the city and has every possible weekend to explore, indulge and live up the city’s very many charms.
So why should you read on?
Having lived both those parts in my life, I’ll jot down notes on ‘how –to’ for the third and the most common kind. A weekend traveler – who for the lack of better options in the limited time and quickly put together plan drives down to the pretty city – looking for sumptuous meals & exotic deals .
That, my friend. Is someone like you.
So if you are the couple who want to run off from Delhi but not too far away. Who want to eat all you can and take a nap after that? Who want to see what the city offers, but not like you are on an exploration mission. Follow my advice, be picky it worked for me!
‘Lose Control’ @ Nahargarh fort:
The whole city dreamily floats beneath you. With the stone walls around you – you feel like the king. “Chana Jor Garam khayenge” a voice breaks up the silence. I look around to see how much have things changed since I first visited this old fort at least 10 years back & many times thereafter. And the herd of cows grazes on near the make shift parking lot, while the college boys contemplate if they should try the ‘Rang De Basanti’ stunts. The sun goes down a notch further. It’s pretty much the same ride, the same sights and the same sounds that greet you every time you visit the Nahargarh Fort. But then you visit it over and over again. I am yet to find an answer to – why.
Travel Tips: 14 km away from City, towards the Delhi exit . Best to take your own vehicle & Best time to visit is early evening or early morning. Only one option to eat here and am not recommending it to anyone. No entry charges for the ‘rang-de-basanti’ section. Rs 10 to get into the Fort-Palace section.
Get enamored @ Son-et-lumier – The Sound & light show at Amer
It’s not just the spectacle of the ageless stone walls coming to life under multi coloured lights. Not even the songs of ghumar that echo in the air. The narrator’s velvet voice takes you on a journey that’s more than fables, storytelling, songs and blinking lights. An hour of your life, the cool evening breeze, the collective sighs and a memory to file in your ‘magical experiences’ folder. For Rs 100, I got much more than what I bargained for at the sound and light show at Amer.
Travel Tips : A little ahead of the Nahargarh Fort. The sound and light show is run twice , at 7:30 PM ( English , Rs 200 per person) & 8: 30 PM (Hindi , Rs 100 per person.) Hindi show is recommended. Reason- Amitabh Bachchan as the narrator, Voices of Amrish Puri , songs by the likes of Shubha Mudgal.
Go Rustic @ Choki Dhani
The original food-culture heaven that has inspired many more replicas across the country – in Gujarat , Maharashtra and even down south at Hyderabad! . If you haven’t been here, you’ll not know why I call it the original one. Not just in terms of age & longevity, but the sheer range that it provides in entertainment and food it’s like a sneak preview into the faces of Rajasthan that people like us are so besotted with.
From old art forms like marble stone , footwear , bandhani printing , stone jewelry making and wooden carvings in the ‘Kala-gram’ ( Art-village) to kathputli dances , elephant & horse rides as activities. There are astrologers, palmists, labyrinths , rides , mehendi wallas , live wrestling matches , waterfalls , boat rides , cottages , museums –and what nots.
Set aside at least a couple of hours to explore and once you are through muster up the courage to take on the challenge of gorging on the traditional Rajasthani meal with chutneys , chaas , sabjis and varieties of rotis and sweets. Not to forget the bajre ki khichdi with ghee and sugar & the sweet to the core Ghevar. Go for the sit down normal thali as they serve you with the rare hospitality that we now see so less of and thank god for that in a way coz none of your pleas are heard as they insist to feed you till you give up! Pure burp..err…bliss .
Travel Tips: 15 kms towards the other exit of the city , Follow the tonk road & a keep a watch out of the sign. The entry charges are Rs 400 per person (which includes the sit down traditional meal described above). You can go for an AC buffet meal or the Royal Rajasthani meal as well. But to do it the rustic way is always recommended. Keep aside at least 3-4 hours, best time to visit is winters / Spring since its open air.
You can choose to stay at the resort within the same premise that offers gorgeous rooms & eating options at upwards of Rs 4000 per night.
Needless to say, shopping should be on your agenda after all that sightseeing and eating. So don’t miss paying Amrapali – the exotic silver jewelry shop at MI road & the splurge on blue pottery , bandhani and block print kurtis and jaipuri chappals along the Amber Road. Top it all up with a cool glass of lassi & classic pyaz ki kachori.
Food . Shop. Explore . Discover – what more can we pack in a weekend?