During Dussera holidays, I have been to the Pink City, Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan. Pink color symbolizes the hospitality. In 1876, during the visit of Queen Victoria, the then king of Jaipur, Maharaja Ram Singh painted the whole city with Pink color to welcome the queen. Pink in color and pink in vibrancy, the city of Jaipur is one of most beautiful and magnetic cities of India. Jaipur is named after the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who had established the city. He was not only a great warrior but also an astronomer. The glorious past of Jaipur comes alive in the Palaces, Forts and monuments made by the royal family. The culture, architecture, traditions, art, jewellery and textiles of Jaipur have always charmed the visitors.
Including the weekends, I had a 4 days holiday this Dussera. This was the first time, we colleagues could not plan a single trip ourselves. Few of them teamed up with their friends to enjoy the holidays and few decided not to have any trip. As I had already made-up my mind to go on a trip during the longest ever holidays, I had to go alone.
I had my ticket booked online via Red Bus and the bus was scheduled to leave from Fatehpuri (near old Delhi railway station) around 11:15PM. As I was not aware about the locality and the bus stand, I left little early from room. After reaching old Delhi railway station around 9PM, I had to ask only a few people to reach the travel agency's desk. I just confirmed my ticket booking and went to have my dinner. After dinner, I had around 1.5hours time. Near the place, in one of the Dussera grounds, the famous epic Ram-Leela stage show was going on. I enjoyed the 1.5hours watching the show. The stage show was really amazing, be it the dialog delivery of king Ravan or the simplicity of Ram or the cuteness of children performing the role of monkeys in Ram's army. I came back to the bus stop before the show ends and board the bus.
The bus started around 9:45AM and picked passengers from two different locations. In the bus, we had travelers from different parts of India, like Odisha, Delhi and Bihar. We had a guide in the bus, but was of very less use, as he was with us only inside the bus and much more like a time keeper than a guide. Any way, we started the day's trip by visiting the Birla Temple in Jaipur. It is situated in a beautiful place, just in front of the JDA (Jaipur Development Authority) office, on a small hill. Apart from the Birla Temple, there was another temple on the same hill devoted to Lord Shiva, in a small fort on top of it. We did not went to the Shiva temple, as it opens only on the day of Shiv Ratri.
The next place we visited was the Albert Hall Museum. The museum is undertaken by government and by look, much more like a palace with beautiful and ornamental decorations. As other museums, it houses many old items, like the different war equipments, beautiful pottery items used by the royal family, idols of different religions etc. Apart from these, there is a mommy of a lady, huge shields (made of bronze, brass etc and decorated with scenes from stories of Hindu Epics), huge pots (mainly used for decoration in royal palace), age old cotton fabrics painted using organic colors (colors extracted from organic products like fruits, leafs, oils etc).
We left from Jaleb chowk around 12noon and went to Amber Fort. On the way we saw the Jal Mahal, a 6 century old palace located inside a lake. Now-a-days, it is banned by the government for travelers to go closer to the palace in the water, as the palace is not in good condition. There are local people who were selling wheat balls and other food for fishes. It is assumed that feeding fishes in the lake is good for fortune. Just in the opposite of Jal Mahal, the RTDC fabric manufacturing and selling unit is situated. Few people bought sarees and blankets from there. I had my lunch during this time. Just after that, when others were busy in lunch, I could have a glimpse of the Radha Madhav Temple and Kanak Vrindavan Garden located in Kanak Ghati. Post lunch we went straight to Amber Fort. We had to park the bus around 1KM away from the fort, as Goddess Durga's Bhasani procession was going on in the near by lake. The puja was also celebrated in the fort temple.
The day was hectic, but we covered a large number of places. I had my dinner in a near by restaurant, as the hotel restaurant was closed on that day, due to Dussera. For the next day, I decided to enjoy some quality time and see the city, where I can decide how much time I have to spend on a particular sight. For the second day, I had few more places to visit, like Forts (Jaigarh, Nahargarh), Gardens (Jai Niwas Garden, Sisodia Garden) and Temples (Gobind Devji, Galtaji) etc.
I started the day-2, by walk with my personal guide, my mobile phone (Google Map + AGPS). First I visited the the Hanuman Temple near Chandpole Gate. Then followed the guide and went towards Nahargarh fort. On the way I had to cross the fish market, mutton shops, groceries etc. The life of people is similar to what we generally have in our village. Children playing roads, queue in front of water tap, cattles tied to hooks in front of the houses etc. This was the scene of the from the "Purana Basti" of Jaipur, which is just at the downhills of Nahargarh Fort. In the village, there are few interesting that has happened to me due to my guide. My guide directed me to a path, where I end-up in reaching at few stair-cases followed by a iron grill. I had to open the grill to reach the road on the other side. Any way, I reached at the foothills and the journey from there till the Fort was really tough, as it was like climbing on a Ghati.
Just after reaching the fort, I went straight to the boundary wall to look a view of the city from the top of the mountain. It was an awesome view as the horizon shifted far away due to the altitude. One can point the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Tal Katora Lake, Jai Niwas Garden and the Pink City (the pink colored buildings belt) clearly from the fort. The old Jaipur city was surrounded by mountains from 3-sides. But now, the mountains are surrounded by the city for more than 270 degree, that I could see from the fort. Nahargarh fort is not so marvelous compared to other 2 forts, still its importance was not negligible, as it was very close to the residential and business area. Apart from few secret rooms, all the rooms in the fort are connected to each other. I stayed there for 1.5hours and came back to the city.
Below is a list Tourist Destinations in Jaipur :
Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Kanak Vrindaban Garden, Jal Mahal, Galtaji, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Manter, Birla Mandir, Sisodia Garden, Govind Devji Temple, Royal Gaitor, Albert Hall Museum, Jai Niwas Garden,Tal Katora Lake, Nahargarh Fort