I don’t remember when I heard the city’s name for the first time. Searching in the lanes of memories, it goes way back. My first trip to the city was as 1-year-old kid, with my parents on the way to Jaisalmer from a small village in Bihar. Obviously, I don’t remember anything out of that trip. After that, I crossed the city several times but never got the chance to explore as a traveler. Finally, August 2017 did it for me. Now, I am a 26-year-old founder of a travel company based in New Delhi and helping the world to explore India. The real India!
In the mid night of 31st July, I started driving from New Delhi to Jaipur along with my friend and colleague Jeswin. And after driving some 200 km, I started feeling sleepy. So, we parked the car next to a petrol bunk and slept in the car. The beautiful breeze helped us to have a deep sleep and only made up awake by 07.00 am. We were supposed to be in a conference by 09.00 am. So, a bit of fast driving and changing our clothes right outside the city limits of Jaipur in the car made us be there on time. Before entering the conference hall, I wanted to have something, so we had hot parathas ( stuffed chapati) and mouth watering mango shake. The conference was on Responsible Tourism by Outlook group and take away for me for the day was a beautiful introduction to this world by Mr. CB Ramkumar. Anyhow the day came to an end with some smiles, learning and card exchanges. I also cannot forget about princes’ style saari dressed, owner of an eco resort, although I don’t remember the name, I remember the confidence, she possessed. She also gave a presentation on these issues.
Anyhow the real story begins now. Finally, we wrapped up everything and started off for our Hostel. Yes, a backpacker’s hostel, which we booked a few days back. Somewhere in Bani Park, in Jaipur. Using our google maps and driving skills of Delhi, rushing through traffic, crossing through Hawa Mahal and the streets of Pink City, we reached there. We were completely tired and half dead. Checked in, kept the bags in place and after getting fresh the sessions of conversations started. We met few travelers from different places of this planet and I started talking to the owner of the hostel and got to know how amazing his story is, that how is started is journey small and made it this beautiful. So, next time you go to Destiny Hostel, meet him and if you are interested to talk to him about his story. Jeswin was telling me that next day we will wake up really early and will start exploring the city. I said yes!
09.00 am, finally we woke up and started getting ready and was only able to start by 11.00 am from the hostel. We started driving towards Jal Mahal and did the same touristic stuff, clicked some pictures and moved on towards Amber Fort. Anyhow, Jal Mahal is a beautiful palace in the middle of a lake in the city. Finally, we reached the Amber fort and made fool by the jeep drivers that we can’t take the car up to the fort and it’s better to take their jeep. So, we parked and paid for parking, but we saw few private cars moving ahead and got to know that they just fooled us, good that we didn’t book the jeep. On the way to the fort we stopped at two locations, one was an abandoned temple and other was an old temple of Krishna and Meera. The old city of Amber, with the really old buildings, houses, rustic walls and protection wall all around over the hills, looked like any scene from a middle earth war stories. Instead of driving, I was completely concentrated over the looks of this city. Amber Fort was like any other fort of Rajasthan. Big, beautiful, palaces, stories of kings and queens, halls, mirror halls, fountains, gardens, big galleries, majestic gates and what not. A hundred percent royal package to experience in the fort. There is a tunnel in Amber fort which connects to Jaigarh fort and you can walk for 30 minutes to reach the other fort. The thing I kept for next time to do. After that drove all the way to Nahargarh Fort, overlooking the big city of Jaipur. What a beautiful view of the whole city and cool breeze after a long touristic day. By evening we came back to the city and went to the area famous for being pink in color. We went to Albert Museum, but it was closed by that time, so we thought to see Birla Temple, we sat in the compound of the temple near stairs for approx 40 minutes and relaxed with the Sun going down. We drove back to the city and parked it near Govind Dev Ji Temple, went inside and sat for another 30 minutes with music and bhajans. When finally we came outside most of the things were closing down and I had ‘Pandit Ji ki Kulfi’ what a delicious milk ice cream, with almonds and saffron. A must try if you are in Jaipur, quite near to Hawa Mahal. Finally on the way back to hostel we had dosa and other street food. Back in the hostel a night of talks and stories were waiting for us.
Next day, we decided that we will only explore the old city, the pink city. It’s hidden lanes, it’s street food, colors, people and markets. We started from somewhere nearby Bapu Market and had our first street food of the day, Daal Papad with Potato gravy. Anyways, before starting we had amazing breakfast in Hostel and Mohan the cook of the hostel prepared delicious noodles for me, and I just loved it. From Bapu Bazaar we walked in the market and reached Film Colony, I tried asking few people the reason behind the name, but no one knew. We walked into Modikhana, Johri Bazaar, Ram Ganj Bazaar and nearby markets. After exploring Hawa Mahal, we walked towards Albert Hall and we were sitting near road over a small walk. Few people living on the streets were there, quite close to us. When we started walking away from there, one of them stopped us and asked Brother, do you know, what are the difference in your life and ours? And we said, No, we don’t know. He replied, that you guys are educated and this system of living life made you all slave to over thinking and fear; you guys worry a lot and we don’t, still, we both are alive. This universe provides us whatever we need and we don’t worry about anything. We sleep better than rich people and live life in the present. By the time he was saying all this, a person came and asked those two guys if they need food and gave them a packet of food. The universe was giving us a live example. I don’t know how and why that conversation happened but it hit our perspective hard to life and people living in different segments. We shared smiles and moved ahead. I think I can never forget that evening, that man and the thoughts we shared or the things he taught us. Wisdom! We walked all the way to Raj Mandir Cinema, walked back to the car through elegant MI Road, seems like a big place for big brands. Jaipur is way cleaner than New Delhi, seems like people connect with the city more as compared to Delhi. Finally, we came back to the hostel, parked the car there and moved ahead to catch the train for Udaipur. The next part of the story.
Jaipur for me is the conversation which I had with the man on the street, the colorful market of the pink city, the street food, the kulfi of Pandit Ji, a walk on MI road, the kid showing magic near Jal Mahal, the city view from Nahargarh Fort, and pictures which I clicked. A lot to explore so will be back in the city real soon.