When I think about India my mind dives into a rich and colorful Bollywood movie full of exotic scents. Lots of shiny and glitz fabrics, one of the most delicious and refined cuisines and, to stay realistic, a constant smell of excreta. It is a country that just leaves two options for all travelers: You simply love it or you will hate it do death. It does ask for many compromises, but if you dare to get yourself in you will be rewarded with experiences and impressions that will shape the way you will see the future.
My mini trip to the amazing city of Jaipur lies a few years in the past by now, but looking back, it can surely be described as one of the most inspirational journeys I had ever made.
It is only a swift 50 minutes flight away from New Delhi and you can get great deals as low as 40 Euros return including one checked baggage with a maximum weight of 13 kilograms.
The orange sun had just set above the early morning fog when the plane came to the stop on the apron. After I fetched my bag from the carousel, I pre-paid a taxi at the counter left-hand side before exiting the tiny airport terminal and just moments later we were already on the road. Tired as hell, I tried to answer all questions that the apparently cheerful driver found to ask me and after about 30 minutes in the car, we already reached the Pink City´s downtown area.
Rajasthan is famous for its Maharaja palaces and its differently colored cities. Each city has a different theme and due to Jaipur´s nick name, all buildings are painted in different shades of glowing pink. Some were very bright, other´s intensity had already faded in the sun light. Together with the hustle and bustle that is typical for any Indian city, it gives it a magical ambiance.
I admit, not even 48 hours in town do not pay tribute to the marvelous beauty and landmarks that you can discover in and outside the city limits, yet I felt absolutely blessed to be able to do so. So I checked for the sights that I really did not want to miss and which would fit into my tight schedule. And like most things in India, things happen by fate. So when I headed for dinner into downtown ( I can really recommend the Peacock rooftop restaurant !), I asked my taxi driver spontaneously if he would take me on a day tour the next morning. We agreed on a price and my adventure was set.
The next morning, Arjun picked my up on the minute and we headed right into the mountains. Our first stop was the amazing Amer Fort & Palace about 11 kilometers from Jaipur. It is constructed of red sand stone which glows magically in the early morning hours, making it a breathtaking and highly impressive architectural marvel. The palace was not open yet, so I spend about half an hour walking around and soaking in the mystical atmosphere of this amazing place. People gathered on the floors, dressed in colorful Sari and I seemed to be the highlight to the locals. I cannot remember having been in so many photographs with so many people in one day, lol. Inside, a conglomeration of courtyards, hidden rooms and magnificently decorated halls was waiting to be explored.
To me, as a European, moments like these rather seem like being in a fairy tale than reality. And the few hours that I had here passed like minutes as I wandered in pure amazement through the palace.
Next stop on the way back into Jaipur was this beautiful little Hindu temple Sri Siddhi Vinayak Mandir.
After a few moments at this sacred place with gorgeous views of the surrounding area, we drove back downtown. Driving in India is an experience and you should always have your camera handy!
Jantar Mantar was our next destination. A masterfully created observatory that was built between 1724 and 1734. The sundial is with 24 meters the tallest building on the premise.
Close by: The amazing City Palace with its famous Peacock Gate.
Take a moment and walk the surrounding back streets of the palace.
Much smaller than I had imagined it, but still an absolute eye-catcher: The Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal).
Once you still have some energy left (and time, of course), head over to Maharaniyon Ki Chhatriyan. This royal crematorium has several exquisitely carved cenotaphs which are all in memory of the imperial ladies. The cenotaphs are either built with marble or with the local stones that were available in Jaipur.
And for one of the most scenic views over the Pink City and the mausoleum, climb up the hill! It is absolutely worth it!
I was probably more exhausted the next morning, than when I had arrived the day before. But as soon as my tuck tuck rushed me to the airport, I wished I could have stayed a little longer. Jaipur had absolutely fascinated and captured me. All these colours, all these scents and this extraordinary landscape filled with man-made landmarks. It truly felt like entering a different world in a different galaxy! You MUST see this wonderful place! So I will leave you with a few more visual teasers… :). Namaste.