The tastes, sights and sounds of Jaipur
- Recommended for:
- Activity, Cultural, Adventure, Budget, Mid-range
It is Rajasthan’s most colourful city, guaranteed to leave your senses smitten. To navigate your way through the confusion, follow my advice on where to stay, what to eat and where to rest your soul
Parts of it don't smell that great. Parts of it are riddled with poverty and, if we’re honest, the main railway station more or less doubles as a homeless shelter. But you can’t live your life in the shadows and the capital of Rajasthan holds more colourful surprises than an episode of the Teletubbies. I picked up my camera, zipped up a good sense of humour, and set off for an Indian adventure.
You’ll definitely need your sleep…
A mid-priced hotel option is best in this fast-paced city and you might feel safer with a safe, and warmer with a portable heater. Samode Haveli is a stone’s throw away from the chaos, and clusters of willing tuk-tuk drivers sit (and live) outside, awaiting your directions. It’s a relatively small hotel, cute and quirky, and comes furnished with antiques that make you say things like “Ooooh, I wonder if there’s a genie in here…”
Prepare your mouth for something different…
For great food, great views of the nearby Hathroi Fort, the Pink City and the rugged hills around Jaipur, head to the Hotel Pearl Palace (www.hotelpearlpalace.com) for an early sunset dinner. The rooftop is truly awesome with chains of fairy lights, twisted metal chairs and quirky décor with an emphasis on peacocks. The giant beers and tasty Indian dishes come cheap compared to other “tourist traps”. For a slightly more authentic experience, eat on a local’s rooftop as his washing flaps in the breeze at Ganesh, on Nehru Bazaar. I tried home-made snacks including dal batti churma, a Rajasthani speciality, and mirchi badas – deep-fried chilies covered in gram-flour paste. Worth noting as a thirst-quencher is the sugar-cane juice you can get all year round from most hawker stalls. Delicious.
Cows, monkeys and cameras…
Getting around is easy, albeit slightly scary. Hire yourself a tuk-tuk and private driver to ferry you about all day. He will wait patiently at each stop, as you snap those obligatory pictures of passing pigs and roaming, sacred cows. Don’t miss the Palace Quarter, enclosing an impressive, sprawling palace complex (the Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of Winds"), formal gardens, and a little lake. Smile for the children (but keep your wallets safe) at Nahargarh Fort, which sits atop the somewhat dusty-looking hill in the north-west corner of the old city. If you’re the nervous type, you might want to miss the infamous Monkey Temple. You can barely get five steps up the hill before being surrounded by the little… well, monkeys. They’re attracted by the locals feeding them fly-covered fruits, but watch out, they’ll eat your hats as appetisers if you let them.
Escape the madness…
Another trip worth doing, if you’re in Jaipur with a day to spare, is the four-hour train ride to Agra. Gaze up at the Taj Mahal and count yourself lucky to be viewing the shimmering, wonderful world wonder, and congratulate yourself on having bypassed the train scammers. I didn’t. I got kicked off half-way there for “not buying a ticket at the station.” Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to buy it on the train. They’re working together to make sure tourists pay over the odds to travel once the train starts moving.
More information on The tastes, sights and sounds of Jaipur:
- Rebecca Wicks
- Traveller type:
- Travel Enthusiast
- Guide rating:
- Total views:
- First uploaded:
- 31 July 2009
- Last updated:
- 5 years 48 weeks 4 days 17 hours 36 min 22 sec ago
- Destinations featured:
- Trip types:
- Activity, Adventure, Cultural
- Budget level:
- Budget, Mid-range
- Free tags / Keywords:
- budget, culture, adventure, cheap, group, India, Jaipur, Rajasthan, street life