Jaipur, Rajasthan

They say it’s the Paris of India, and call it the “pink city” for the red clay buildings inside its city gates. I happened to pick it for Christmas this year because I didn’t want to skip one of my only chances to spend NYE in Goa, living on this side of the world for the time being. How did I choose Jaipur in Rajasthan to kick off the last trip of 2012? Well I played a little game I like to call ‘google images roulette’, something I often do when feeling adventurous, and in the mood for far- away destinations. Whenever I feel spatially restless, and because I am very visually swayed, I like to type in the name of a city, resort, museum, club, restaurant, or anything, into Google images to see what pops up and go through the endless pictures. Deciding between Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore, and other Indian cities, Jaipur seemed like a beautiful city to explore at the most joyful time of the year!

It started off pretty badly, with Air India making a complete joke out of an already terrible traveling itinerary, but once in the pink city, everything turned around. Not only is it downright inexpensive, but it also has some of the most aesthetically inclined sites in India imaginable because it once constituted the center of India’s Mughal empire and Sultanate history. The first planned city in the North of India, it was commissioned to impress with its architecture and grandeur by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727. Visiting every single top site in about 4 days, it also provided a manageable excursion before the madness of Goa trance parties for bringing in the New Year. Although local rickshaw drivers claim the most beautiful site to be Amber Fort, my personal favorites included Jaigarh Fort and the monkey temple. Jaigarh Fort has some of the most breathtaking views of the city from a distance, and they most certainly took my breath away. As did the monkey temple, but for different reasons. When you arrive at the base of the temple you have to climb up an old stone path, and the first things you see are lots of loose pigs oinking around and families of primates joining in on the chaos. Buffoonery  at large! As you gradually climb up above the city and toward the place of worship, more and more monkeys take over the cityscape and sometimes even overpower the whole scene. This can be a little scary, since these agile animals tend to be unpredictable, and the really big ones, heavy and fierce enough to cause some serious damage if provoked. Nonetheless, the site of so many monkeys around the temple lets you capture super sweet photos, and it’s really a sight to see since you don’t have the opportunity to see monkeys hanging about in your everyday existence.

Also known for its textiles and handcraftsmanship, I bought really groovy ali-baba pants and a colorful patchwork skirt to get ready for my hippie-inspired Goa trip on the beach a few days after. Jaipur turned out to be a good alternative to my mom’s incredible home cooking and Christmas lights galore State-side for all its marvelous wonders and cheap traveling options. One thing to keep in mind, however, is never take a starting offer on the prices suggested by solicitors. Be ready to haggle for everything from your rickshaw rides to your funky artsy jewelry, as most locals inflate the price of everything for tourists. If you have a hell of a poker face, and manage not to get too attached to any one thing, you’ll fare just fine and even be able to score some cool souvenirs for family and friends back home. As in the USA at car dealerships, the thing they fear most is you walking away. Most often as you head to the door, a tap on the back is a cue from the shopkeeper ready to meet your price. Go too low, and they might just let you walk. Not to fear, though, as you can usually find the exact same item on the other side of the street  just across the way. I had a very Joyous Jaipur Christmas in Rajasthan this year, which almost prepared me for the oontz, oontz, oontz of Goa’s (in)famous NYE fiasco.

13 thoughts on “Jaipur, Rajasthan

  1. Hello Addie, It was very nice to meet you the other day at the “City Palace” in Jaipur. I was pleased be able to show you around and we enjoy when a tourist is so enthusiastic to speak and share with us. Glad you enjoy. Thanks to show me your new website. It is a pleasure to see so many different places. Greetings from Jaipur.
    Kamal

    1. Hi Kamal! Thanks for showing us around, it was a beautiful place and city indeed! I will make sure to get back in touch if ever in Rajasthan again. Happy NY from both me and Nick!

  2. Addie! These photos that you captured are breathtaking! Amazing is such a small way of putting it. So glad that you have your website in order for everyone, as myself, to have the opportunity to travel around the World with you, even if through a website! Love the creativity. Keep up the great work as well as,ofcourse, the traveling.

    1. Hey Edyth! Thanks for the positive feedback! Yes, I will try to keep up my traveling adventures as much I can, and with my camera to capture those moments one simply can’t put into words. It’s not always glamorous, but definitely always rewarding! India is a place full of such beauty and marvel, but as they say “a diamond in the rough;” you have to know where to look!

  3. I have to say that is some beautiful architectural. Love the pictures, very professional.
    The various colors on the fabrics/textiles are awesome. I really have to say that even though I’ve never been there I feel like you take me there through your stories and pictures.

  4. Wow! That’s the only word I can say to describe the feeling that eminates through my body when I see these photos. Addie, the beauty and culture depicted here are truly amazing. You have managed to catch the very essence that attracts people and evokes ineffable emotion from an audience that drives them to want to visit any place. Indescribable! I’ll be planning a trip to the ‘pink city’.

    1. Thanks so much for the encouraging words! Yes- Plan a trip to one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen in India. Just make sure you haggle for everything from your rickshaw fares to souvenirs. I got a bunch a things for about $1 each, sometimes even lower. India is a hidden gem that needs a lot of exploring!

  5. Yes, India still needs a lot of exploring to do. You have some great pictures and a good start. All you have to do is keep your hope high and your head up keeping a positive attitude will get you to where you will like to be. Just don’t give up, give it all you got. I wish you lots of luck!

    1. Hi Veronica! Thanks for all the encouraging words. I will definitely give it all I have and try to keep adding to my experiences daily. Hope you come back and often to check out my additional adventures and plans!

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