I grew up watching a lot of Bollywood movies. As a kid, I remember I used to be so fascinated by the palaces and the majestic beauty of kings and queens I saw in movies. When we (the other interns and I) decided to visit Jaipur over the weekend, I was over the moon.
As soon as I got out of the airport, I was already in awe seeing the amazing structures and buildings on the way to the hotel. That beautiful and elaborate gate below is the entrance gate of a garden. A garden!! Who would have thought? At that point, I knew I was in for a treat.
Indeed, none of the places I visited disappointed me. After seeing the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Jantar Mantar (a place with some really cool instruments to determine the time, day, date and to predict monsoons), Jal mahal (Water Palace with 3 floors under water), City Palace and Ambar Fort, I could not help but marvel at the ingenuity of the people who built those majestic structures, which are at least 350 hundred years old and still standing!
Jaipur also has a very rich history. It was interesting to learn how everything has a meaning or a reason for being the way it is. For example, Jaipur was called Pink City in 1876 because Maharaja (King) Ram Singh painted the whole city pink, which is believed to be the color of hospitality, to welcome the Prince of Wales and the Queen.
I also enjoyed visiting the museums and getting a glimpse of the majestic life of the royal people. The lavishness of the kings in those days did not fail to surprise me! One of the kings got this huge silver container built for him to carry water from the Ganges when he went to England because he would not drink normal water!
I was pleasantly surprised by the hospitality of people there. For example, wherever you go, they will definitely ask you whether you want tea, coffee, water or any beverage. The persistence of the salesmen in Jaipur is also something that I am not going to forget very soon. My inability to say no, combined with their excellent persuasion skills were not a good combination for my wallet, which caused me to splurge a lot of money!
Here are some pictures of my trip to Jaipur!
I was so enthralled by Jaipur that the following weekend I embarked on a solo trip to Udaipur, the city of Lakes. It was indeed an experience navigating the city alone. But again, the hospitality and warmth of people was something I could count on so that I am not totally lost. The breathtaking views from the monsoon palace and the beautiful 400 years old temple were all amazing. I was also lucky to attend a traditional folk-dance show which was very entertaining. I am really happy to have used my time to explore these 2 beautiful cities in Rajasthan and discover the rich culture of the places I had only seen in movies!