Jaipur: My first impressions

Jaipur: My first impressions

 By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

On the last post Why women should travel alone at least once,’ many readers shared their valuable thoughts, highlighting things that may seem obvious but nonetheless are very crucial for female travellers.

Mabel Kwong, who is an avid traveller, pointed out that while preparing for solo travel, she plans very thoroughly and checks out if the place has been in news recently for any wrong reasons. I couldn’t have agreed more.

Monica, a travel consultant understands the initial fear of some of her clients to travel solo, and feels happy when she helps them to overcome their fear. Jennifer Jeneu finds solo travel empowering. Em Aboard believes that you definitely take in your surroundings much more when you travel alone.

Travelling solo helps us to connect with self and the surrounding with equal vigour,’ says Nihar Pradhan.

True that! Being in a different place and in a different context helps us to see things in a new light, and being on our own makes us more perceptive to our surroundings. Based on our perceptions of the place, we form our impressions of the place.

In this post, I share my impressions of the city of Jaipur, while on the solo trip.

jaipurimpressions

Preparing for Travel 

Since I would be travelling alone, I had chalked out an itinerary, after researching about the city and consulted a friend. On the first day of my stay, I would have half a day to myself for sight-seeing. So I planned to see the City Palace, and other attractions around it such as Jantar Mantar, the famous Hawa Mahal and Govinddevji temple. On the second day, I booked the ticket for Amer Fort through Rajasthan tourism portal. On the third day I would go through the bazaars and then to the New city areas to see the Laxminarayan Temple (Birla Mandir).

I also booked a pickup car to take me to the hotel from the airport. With all preparations in place, I was all set for my first solo trip.

First Impressions

When the flight landed in Jaipur, I found the driver waiting for me. On the way to the hotel, my initial impression of Jaipur was that the city has a well-planned layout. To me, it looked somewhat similar to how Delhi used to look in the nineties. Into the city, I felt that the distinctive touch of the city’s architectural heritage was apparent at junctures where pink red sandstone structures lined the sides of the road.

jaipur_roads

jaipurroads

Hotel

My first tryst with the art and architecture of Jaipur began at the hotel itself. The hotel ‘Umaid Bhawan’ is originally a haveli (old mansion) that has been converted into a hotel. The rooms and corridors, decorated with colourful Rajasthani paintings, carvings, murals and frescos created a warm ambience. The staff was courteous. On reaching my room, I noticed that even the white ceiling had colourful floral motifs on it.

Also Read: Use of Rajasthani Miniature Paintings in Home Decor 

Marble Door frame with Inlay

UmaidBhawan

Jaipur’s obsession with royalty was evident from the several pictures of the royal family that hung on the walls of the rooms and corridors. The pictures of Maharani Gayatri Devi, who was one of the most elegant and beautiful women of her times, adorned the walls of my room. The door of the balcony opened into a courtyard with a fountain. Just outside the room was a cosy place to lounge around in the afternoon.

 

E-rickshaw

On the first day of my stay, I was free after 2.30 pm. I started for the City Palace. This time, I decided to use the local transport.

One of my friends had told me about the e-rickshaws that ply on the roads of Jaipur. These are battery driven rickshaws, which limit the pollution, and are less noisy than the regular autos. As these e-rickshaws are not commonly seen in Mumbai, I thought of taking a ride. Luckily I found one on the main road. I hopped into it after negotiating a fare of Rs 120, with the driver. The auto driver had probably figured out that I was not a local, so on the way, he chipped in his recommendations as well. Google maps made it easy for me to figure out the route.

jaipurstreets

 

Passing through the main marketplace, I reached the City Palace in half an hour. After buying a ticket at the gate of the City Palace, I entered the palace compound through the arched Entrance Gate.

 

City Palace – Jaipur

The first building I saw was Mubarak Mahal that is built in a fusion of Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles. Inside this building is a museum that displays the royal costumes worn by the Maharaja.

City Palace Door Jaipur

 

However, the building that attracted me more was the one opposite it, called Chandra Mahal. It has an impressive entrance near which a guard, with an impressive gait, stood wearing a bright red turban.

City Palace Guard, jaipur

 

CityPalace

citypalace_Jpr

On entering through the gate, right in the centre of the square compound is the Diwan-E-Aam, the Hall of Public Audience. The white marble flooring, crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and the symmetry of the arches, with intricate carvings, aligned with each other are a sight to behold.

City Palace Hall Jaipur

In the Hall are two huge silver urns, which hold the record of being the world’s largest sterling silver vessels. These were specially made by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, to carry the water of river Ganga for drinking during his trips abroad.

‘A lavish attempt by the Maharaja to preserve his religious sanctity!’ I thought.

Silver Urn City Palace

 

Seeing a circle of rifles adorning one of the walls, I stood in front of it, and. clicked a selfie almost imagining myself as a Rifle Rani. (Queen of Rifles). 🙂

Also See: Vintage Pictures of Forts and Palaces in Rajasthan

After having my fill of amusement and amazement at Diwan- E – Aam, I proceeded on to the next building, ‘Diwan-E-Khas‘ (Sabha Niwas) or the ‘Hall of Private Audience.’ This chamber, with the ceiling painted in red and gold colours, functions as an art gallery. It has exhibits of Rajasthani, Mughal and Persian art, and portraits of Maharajas. Photography is prohibited here.

One of the buildings inside the compound called ‘Baggi Khana’ houses the royal carriages used centuries ago.

City Palace jaipur

 

A carriage known as the Victoria baggi was gifted by Prince of Wales to the Maharaja in 1876.

One of the gates led to an inner courtyard. The doors and jharokhas facing the inner courtyard had beautiful peacock frescoes, with carvings in green and blue colours. I marvelled at the sight of the frescoes, which rendered an artistic appeal to the overall appearance of the building.

City Palace Jaipur

Satisfied, I walked out of the City Palace.  At this time, I received a call from my friend who told me that she was on her way to Jaipur from Jodhpur. Excited about this new development, I walked towards the next spot Jantar Mantar.

I can go on and on, but I will stop here for now to avoid this post from becoming too lengthy.  Hope you enjoyed the virtual journey so far.

Join me on the next part of the trip in the post;  Jaipur – My solo trip – Part II. 

 

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    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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Somali K Chakrabarti

Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle - from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

comments
  • Haven’t visited Jaipur so far…..Your pics make it look so inviting. 😊

  • Great account of your travel to Jaipur Somali. I’m happy that you enjoyed your first ever solo travel. Jaipur fits the bill perfectly for solo travelers as its not too complicated to explore and find your ways around. To add to this, there are plethora of accommodation and transport options. It’s good to see Jaipur from a travelers perspective….a nice change!
    Looking forward to your next post on Jaipur.

  • Good to see that you are back with a new post!!
    Nicely Done this one!
    I am assuming that you are back home writing this post after the visit! Please correct me if i am wrong!
    Now, I wouldve wanted you to stay put until the JAIPUR LITERATURE FEST 2017’s conclusion. It begins on Jan 20th. You having already published a work would ve be really hooked to spend time with men and women of words and other like minded audiences! The atmosphere, I hear, is amazing!
    If you are in Jaipur stay back for the same and write a post on the same!
    If not when you visit Jaipur next time, make sure you stay back for JLF!!

  • Nice post. Any first attempt is always memorable. The best part of solo travel is that you don’t need to adjust for anyone. Enjoy! 🙂

  • A beautiful post.Excellent photographs.

  • What an amazing place! Thanks for sharing.

  • Those are some of the best pictures from an amateur photographer ( I hope I am right! ) Revolver Rani pose is awesome!! Well recorded visit! Thanks for sharing lovely pics.

  • You did take right measures and planned immaculately for the first solo trip.Wonderful account of the city along with some really good pictures.

    Jaipur is a well-panned city. Perhaps you know, it was planned by a Bengali architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya… 🙂

  • Fabulous coverage of one of my fav cities! I can go back again and again and again. The bustling markets of Bapu bazaar, Johari bazar bring the city to life. Love your clicks!

  • Hi Somali, at the outset I must admire the various new dimensions that you have so deftly presented in this very post. Taking inputs from the comments from the previous post and logically taking it to the next level of engagement, this post stands out. Mabel, Monica, Jennifer and Jennu, all have created wonderful space for playing with the very idea of solo travelling. By the way thank you for mentioning me, it is a wonderful skill of yours of creating a collaborative expansion of thoughts…it makes a huge difference.

    As I was reading this post, it was as if I was going through the schedule of the day and visiting the place of places and experiencing the things that we are doing by ourselves in a new place, it was so vivid and your words that truly reflected that vibrancy of thoughts. The details in each movement of yours, the floor to the roof, the artistic work to the common observations, taking the click at the right spot and capturing the scene that matters, the guard with red turban…I agree it gives an new impression of the old Delhi plan but with historical richness it magnifies the beauty of the place…the colors and the culture is there everywhere to be seen.

    In such solo travelling, it is the technology that makes it so easy and also makes so comfortable that we feel empowered and we have the tool in hand to guide us and support us in need, the Google Map is such a brilliant thing to happen to us and E-rickshaw are something quite interesting and yes, why not make out bit of contribution towards a greener, cleaner and better world. I would have also done the same thing and this very idea of trying with new things when visiting such new places is what makes the experience more engaging and memory more memorable.

    Yes Somali, the pictures are beautiful and it reflects the photographers talent and the picture of “Silver Urn” is indeed quite impressive…we have read about the historical significance of these silver urns and to be next to it and feel the magnitude is itself a unique experience…going back to effort of preserving our religious sanctity.

    Thanks Somali for a lovely voyage into the land of Pink City…
    Happy Pongal!!!
    😀

    • Thank you Nihar for your sharing your thoughts and for your wishes. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.
      I am happy that I could convey the enthusiasm in the post. Yes, technology has made it easier to navigate through an unknown place with ease, which otherwise was quite problematic in the cities of India given the lack of signage.
      Hope you are having a wonderful week. 🙂

      • Indeed Somali, it has become so easy and exciting to travel to different places, everything is in our hand, just a click away and this control gives us so much confidence…
        You always bring that touch of refreshing thought to any topic and along with the camera, you have wonderful lens in your mind to look at things around you and present that beautiful outlook on life.
        Always, always a pleasure exchanging thoughts with you…
        😀

  • Thanks for the shout out, Somali. Very kind of you, and it was great so many others contributed to the discussion about your previous post as well 🙂

    It sounded like a well-planned trip for you and you got around to quite a few places in Jaipur. So many beautiful photos too. Agree that the Chandra Mahal looks impressive – that intricate architecture, colours reminiscent of royalty, ample light drifting into its compounds, historical art. You could easily spend a day here.

    That e-rickshaw sounded fun and a great initiative for the environment. I’ve heard quite a few stories about women travellers needing to be careful while traveling in India, but I suppose it depends on which state and region you go too. Perhaps if you aren’t Indian traveling to different states (like a Western or Chinese person), then you may get different treatment if you travel solo in this country. That said, so long as you plan and vigilant, and use common sense along the way no reason why the trip can be a great one 🙂

    • Thank you Mabel. Your point about checking out if the place where you propose to go has been in the news for any wrong reason was definitely worth a mention. The forts and palaces of Rajasthan are very impressive indeed. E- rickshaw is an environment friendly initiative.
      Yes, women travelers need to be careful and avoid wearing outfits that are revealing or attract undue attention, depending on the city that they are travelling to. One has to respect the local culture. Also they need not be over friendly with strangers, but all these things hold true for any country for that matter to a greater or lesser extent. Your point about differential treatment is also valid to a large extent, but as you said if you plan and manage well, there’s no reason why the trip can’t be a good one. 🙂

      • Very important you don’t come across as overly friendly and eager as you rightfully pointed out. While on the road, I’d rather be accused of being sour and rude as opposed to be friendly, accommodating and getting take advantage of. A lot of the time I will get approached randomly wherever I go, and I try my best to look not interested and walk away 🙂

  • That is one awesome virtua tour Somali……Jaipur is one place I would like to visit again, this time with my kids….I was there when I was little….have some faint memories…..But the history through its forts and the amazing architecture is always so inviting….You took some great steps to make sure your solo trip was safe and comfortable…..e-rickshaws is something I wasn’t familiar with….That is interesting….

    • Thank you Sunaina. I too was not aware of e- rickshaw and had very vague memories of Jaipur. Hope you get to go there with your children.:-) There are other places too like Imambara of Lucknow and Sanchi , which I had seen in my childhood but don’t remember anything. Hope to visit those places too some day.

  • Your post and pics on instagram too are tempting me to take a solo trip to jaipur. Waiting to read more about your trip, Somali 🙂

  • A thorough post on Jaipur. I especially liked the inside of Mahal and the imposing structure it has.

    Even the hotel has a distinctive charm to it, still showcasing our history and delighting travelers!

    Solo travel is catching up in a big way, especially with the money at our disposal even before we get married. Just safety is a big concern in India.

  • Magnificent photographs, Somali! The Chandra Mahal looks absolutely opulent — those chandeliers and decor. Did you feel like a princess walking through such a palatial building?

  • I am reading backward today on your posts.. but it has not detracted from the joy of your arrival and the excitement within your words Your descriptions of the chandeliers and marble floors, I almost felt the marble beneath my feet.. LOL..
    Such a magnificent palace and the Hotel so lavishly decorated.. Reminded me of my own time in Sri Lanka of the lavish hotel I stayed in compared to the poverty I saw in surrounding areas..

    Many thanks Somali for sharing your journey.. I loved walking and riding along with you ..
    Hugs Sue 🙂

  • I have visited Jaipur many times and your comprehensive post brought back fond memories. The beautiful pictures embellished the post greatly.I will go through the second part and revert.

  • From you two posts it appears that you thoroughly enjoyed your solo trip. More solos for you in future in the hope of more such informative posts.

  • What a gorgeous looking place! I love their culture and tradition, you must have enjoyed a lot, Somali!

  • Wow ! Beautiful trip ! Jaipur always attracts everybody and every time. I have visited this place several tme from my teenage but always found new and attractive always . Beautiful clicks of the trip

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