A Jaipur Affair - Day 1
When I started travelling, I was very particular about having a schedule and adhering to it. But over the years, I have been okay to let go of my inhibitions to strike everything off my list. My trip to Jaipur this time around was something like that.
Jaipur, well, Rajasthan, for that matter, has always been on my list of places that I wanted to travel around. The magnificent architecture, the vibrant colours of the state, its people and the mouth-watering food has always excited me. After years of waiting and contemplating if it was the correct time then, I made an impulsive decision to book my tickets and fly down to Jaipur, and this was nerve-wracking since I am a person who likes details and precisions in my travel plans. Spontaneity was never on my travel dictionary.
It was love at first sight - the vast landscapes and vibrant colours painted my heart with an alluring charm. And my trip to Jaipur was a little extra special because I had a dear friend who was kind enough to show me around the city and gave me company as we relished our tastebuds with the flavours of Jaipur.
Like I mentioned, I have evolved as a traveller. It would have been unacceptable to skip anything, but over the years, I have learned to let go. I think this is what being an adult does to you.
Day 1 in Jaipur started pretty relaxedly. Swapnil (my friend) and I decided to have no ambitious wake-up-at-5-in-the-morning shenanigans and decided to take it slow.
We started with a filling breakfast at Tapri, one of the famous breakfast places in Jaipur. The view from the restaurant complimented its delicious food. I remember the waiter bringing the foot to our table and the same vanishing into our tummies – nothing beyond that. And oh, our eating tradition includes 70% of gossip and 35% intellectual conversations – yes, we are always a little extra.
With heavy stomachs and fulfilled hearts, we drove to the most-visited monuments of Jaipur - the Amer Fort. The town of Amer and the fort was built by Raja Alan Singh Meena in 967 AD. The fort that we see now was erected over the remnants of the earlier structure built during the reign of Raja Man Singh. The structure was fully expanded by his descendant, Jai Singh 1 and the fort underwent improvements & renovations by its successors over the next 150 years. (Big thanks to Wikipedia for this insightful information – Swapnil was no good in giving me the details about the fort).
Keeping the facts aside, visiting a historical monument always takes me back in time - to a time when the Royals lived. I wonder how their lives were, what their comforts were, how their day started and ended. While there are works of literature and photographs through which people can relive those moments, there is a constant movie that is running in my head. The people around me suddenly transform into royalty, decked up in silk and gold, glowing against the gloriously lit up palace.
The old town of Jaipur is a treat to the eyes of a traveller. It is pristine and feels like you are back in time where things were historic and earthy.
One such pristine landmark in Jaipur is Panna Meena ka Kund - a historic stepwell and rainwater catchment known for its picturesque symmetrical stairs. This stepwell dates back to centuries ago when the city didn’t have a piped water system. Women in the neighbourhood would come over to fetch water for their daily livelihood, while the temples nearby used the water for their rituals.
What baffles me is, though the city has a piped water system and people don’t use this stepwell for the purpose that it was built for - the moment I set my foot at Panna Meena ka Kund, I was taken back to centuries ago, where I visualised people coming here to fetch water, kids playing, women chit-chatting, the holy bells ringing from the temples nearby and a piece of faint music from the Amer Fort.
And this is what I experience during my travels. And this is the sole reason why I travel.
After indulging myself in a royal affair, we made ourselves back to the old town of Jaipur and spotted the majestic Hawa Mahal. While it stood tall and spoke about its glory, the majestic view was even beautiful from the balcony of Tattoo Cafe, which is right opposite the Hawa Mahal. While the cafe is beautiful with eye-catching interiors, the food was slightly disappointing.
While we were in the vicinity of Old Jaipur, we decided to make a quick stop at the City Palace and witness its beautiful architecture, painted in rich culture and vibrant colours. While we opted not to explore the entirety of the palace, we did take a sneak into the accessible areas of the palace and decided to be the OG tourists that I despise from doing during my travel.
Soaking in the vastness of culture and heritage that Jaipur had to offer, the urban outlook of the city took me by surprise. I certainly had a few judgments before I visited the city, (thanks to all the Bollywood movies and period dramas), Jaipur has potentially become one of the cities where I would like to retire and write my heart out.
Day 1 was a fun-filled day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Day 2 was even more fun and coming right up.