Travel in India: The Pink City of Jaipur

I spent the last week exploring Jaipur, a desert region in the northern state of Rajasthan. ❤

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Hawa Mahal in Jaipur

Historically, many kingdoms have vied for this region, and the buildings found in Jaipur are a reminder of its royal past.

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Amer Fort in Jaipur- one of many palaces, forts, and World Heritage Sites in Rajasthan

It’s also known as the “Pink City.” Back in 19th century, the current maharajah had the city painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales. Pink is seen as a color of hospitality.41926525331_0af3b03ddb_c

What to see in Jaipur

Amer Fort

41918684161_c77c85e5e9_cBuilt on a steep hilltop, as an icon of the city, is the imposing Amer Fort.This 16th century fort complex is actually comprised of a royal palace, spiritual temples, spacious courtyards, and lush gardens.

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When it’s 104 degrees, gray is probably not the best color! So sweaty! Hah! 🤣

It also has the 3rd largest fort wall in the world.41878278462_2294616968_cNow to build the complex, the architects used red sandstone and marble to showcase both Hindu and Muslim style.40115030570_4641b394df_c27055265857_7ee2fd8626_c41025374945_4b53c629f9_c27057333397_54bae4f189_cI tried to find interesting facts to share with you about the fort, but it seems to be just a long history of battles and bloodshed. Behind the fort is also this stepwell, but it seemed a little bogus, as this random guy (unaffiliated with the fort staff) was charging people just to stand in the well for 1-2 minutes on the steps for a photo. Does look pretty cool though!

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photo courtesy of Google images

Anyway, to get to the fort, I chose to walk, but most people opt for a tuk-tuk, also known as, the Indian Ferrari. Hah! 🤣41200742974_fb7c838b7c_c40115186700_1f9803d2ef_cWalking there gave me the chance to do a lot of people watching though, and spot a few cool wall paintings along the way.41019035665_e362a372f0_c28051629448_4e69ebe9bb_c40111889950_05a1e1111d_cAs Jaipur was the epicenter of India’s royal past, most of the artwork here appears very regal and refined.41200447594_361c86a48b_c
41940649592_b00c47c291_c41878068862_b7513b596c_cOn the way there I also walked down this promenade past a submerged palace called Jal Mahal.41018681155_63c4d807e4_c

Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal, or the ‘Water Palace’, was once used as a shooting lodge for the maharajas. Now four of its five stories are submerged below Man Sagar Lake! 😮 28050892488_e4c9cb10de_cCranes are seen swooping overhead, while cattle cool off along the water’s edge.🐮🐦40111825190_aabc3a607f_cJust loving that reflection! 😍27052910477_86fed93f58_cI also think they were trying to shoot some sort of music video while I was there. 🤔41917928661_bd54dbea6d_cAnyway, the next day I went wandering through Jaipur to see more of the pink buildings, and feel the vibe of the city too. ❤
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laundry hanging to dry
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a local school

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crunchy and spicy street snacks
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sugar cane juice
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juniper berries

Obligatory stops included the City Palace and Hawa Mahal.

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entryway into the City Palace

Hawa Mahal 

Hawa Mahal is an absolutely gorgeous, pink-painted limestone palace that resembles the honeycomb of a beehive.🐝🍯 This view is surely just as sweet! 😉 The palace was actually built for the royal ladies. Under the 18th century Purdah system, these women were not allowed out in public.😲This latticed building gave them the opportunity to observe everyday life in Jaipur without being seen.
27053326227_4e55ba6f66_c (1)40120456950_521d7cd97c_cI also tried to venture over to another famous temple, Galtaji, also known as, Monkey Temple, but I got slightly sketched out by the aggressive people over there, and especially the cheeky monkeys. I decided just to take some nice panoramic shots from the Sun Temple and return back to the city.

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Sun Temple

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cheeks of the cheeky monkey 😛

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27057082007_11588ea625_cPro Tip: Most of these attractions cost between 100-500 rupees each. If you have a student ID, you can visit all the sites within two days for only 200 rupees. 😀

Getting there:

To get from Varanasi to Jaipur, I flew with Spice Jet.41918834731_149a29fdc5_cI had NO idea that Varanasi was so far from the airport.  It ended up costing me 600 rupees and 1.5 hours to get to the airport in a tuk-tuk.28048104358_bbcde4c259_cSide note: If you have an early flight, don’t bank on arriving too early at the airport. The place closes at night and doesn’t open until 6 AM.

Once I got there, I saw that my flight wasn’t listed on the departure board, so I thought, “Here we go again! Another Indian adventure!” Hah! Anyway, the Spice Jet representatives didn’t show up for another hour, so I had to impatiently wait and wonder whether my flight was even going to happen. Anyway, it turns out that my flight was scheduled and on time; however, they just didn’t put it on the board. I guess they just wanted to keep me on my toes. Hah!41200948814_fd22ca558c_cAnyway, after a two-hour flight I landed in Jaipur and picked up my luggage. I had read that I could take a bus to Jaipur from the airport, so I asked one of the workers where the bus station was located. He said he would walk me there, which immediately felt like he was going to ask for money. When we got to the bus station, he told me that the bus would take a very long time and it was better to use Ola, the Indian version of Uber. He found an Ola that would only cost 91 rupees (<2 USD), so I told him to make the call. Afterwards I thanked him and told him he could go back to work. He said he didn’t mind waiting with me. Then three tuk-tuk drivers came over to ask for selfies with me, and offered to drive me for 100 rupees. I told them I wasn’t interested. As we were waiting, this worker then says that he wants to get in the Ola car with me too, and be dropped off at his house for lunch. I thought this whole situation was sounding a bit weird, so I started to walk away. Just then the Ola driver pulled up, and I decided to hop in anyways. Well, it turns out this worker was actually very sweet and genuine. His name is Shiva, and he even paid the fare in the end. So sweet!28048104378_242ab92a89_cAccommodation:

While in Jaipur I stayed at Zostel Hostel. Although they have great ratings on HostelWorld, I did not have the best experience here. I think people rate them highly, because they organize events for backpackers and they have a spacious common room. Personally, I was disgusted by their microwave that was full of bugs. My room also wasn’t air conditioned, and the internet wasn’t working for most of my stay, which made it difficult to look up sightseeing spots and pin places on Google Maps.41029202065_fab7a3583f_cAs well, I emailed them months prior to book my bus/train ticket from Jaipur to Ranthambore National Park. I actually emailed them three times prior to my arrival, but I was told each time that I could do the booking once I arrived. I assumed then that there were tons of options available. Of course, when I arrived and tried to book, I was told that there were no buses or trains available on that morning.

In the end, I was able to buy a train ticket departing from a different city that stopped in Jaipur along the way. The fare ended up being much more expensive, but at least I got a ticket. I told my mom this whole experience was giving me gray hair. Hah!

The Honest Truth: Overall, I did not have the best experience with the people in Jaipur. Although I met one or two nice people, like Shiva, I had children throw rocks at me twice, some kids shouted swear words at me just for walking by, some woman grabbed my arm very hard insisting that I give her money, and the amount of harassment by tuk-tuk drivers here has been the worse I’ve dealt with yet. I don’t want to discourage you from visiting this city, as it is filled with many beautiful places, but I do want to remain honest about my experience.

How did I remedy the situation?

After returning back to Jaipur from Ranthambore National Park, sick as a dog, I knew I needed something to perk myself up. 🙂

As such, I chose to book a guesthouse in a less touristy area of town. This way, I minimized the hassling on the streets, and once again had my own personal space. 😀

I thought my guesthouse, Krishna Palace, had such a homey feel, with upscale Indian charm.

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courtesy of Google

I loved the architectural style, traditional decor, and again my own bed! ❤

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courtesy of Google images
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courtesy of Google

Cost: 11 USD/ night

Even as a backpacker, trying to travel on a budget, I think my mental health is of utmost importance. Even though I want to save money by staying at hostels and also see as many sights as I can see each day, I understand that there are times when it’s equally important to treat myself to hotels and choose to lay in bed all day and watch YouTube. 😉

Anyway, as this concludes my journey in India, I would choose to describe my experience here as nothing short of intense. There were so many highs and lows to my journey. I know I’ll carry these memories with me for a lifetime. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my travel experience so far. Stay tuned to hear about the next destination on my list! Until then! 😀

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