Soon after returning from my Pushkar-Ajmer-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer Trip, I started planning to visit Jaipur. On my way back from Jaisalmer, the bus stopped at Jaipur for a refreshment break and I fixed a date for Jaipur. It is a big advantage of studying in Delhi that you can simply check in to these fabulous historic places on any weekend – and that was the case.
To me, Jaipur was one of the earliest examples of city planning in India because the city was planned based on ancient Indian town planning principles – Shilpa Shastra and Vaastu Shastra. To me, another pride was that the chief town planner of the city was a Bong – Vidyadhar Bhattacharya.
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To utilise the weekend properly I decided to start the journey on Friday evening. Bus service from Delhi to Jaipur is as good as local bus service because there is a bus almost every half an hour and they maintain amazing punctuality. By midnight I was in Jaipur and took an auto rickshaw to the Government Youth Hostel.
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Again my YHAI life membership was handy. I had made a plan for the two days – on Saturday I decided to visit Amber early in the morning and while coming back, I will visit Jaigarh & Nahargarh. The Sunday was kept for the city.
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Three Jaipur Forts: Amber, Jaigarh & Nahargarh
Reaching Amber was not a hassle I got a share taxi from the Bus stand. It dropped me towards the back of the fort from where I had to climb the hills. It was early in the morning and the sun was still yawning so I slowly climbed up the hills enjoying the beauty of the Aravalli. What attracted me most was the long walls (Yes! they actually looks like the Great Wall of China) on the top of the hills. Amber Fort is not only huge in size; it is one of the most beautiful.
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#1 Amber Fort
The Palace which has been built and modified for a period of more than 300 years to give its present shape, in fact, looks more like a palace than a fort. Amber Fort basically have the following areas in it; Jaleb Chowk, Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khaas, Ganesh Pol, (Jai Mandir) Shish Mahal, Suhag Mandir, Sila Devi temple, Baradari, Mughal Garden, Bhool Bhulaiya, and Zanana Dyodi (Women’s apartments).
While the intricacy of artwork of the Ganesh Pole and Shish Mahal is simply breathtaking, the architecture of all the buildings fascinated me. From Suhag Mandir, through the windows, the Maota Lake below can be seen and that view is a must watch. What surprised me was that there is a Bhulbhuliya inside amber fort as there were not many mentions of it on the internet. I fancied the Bhulbhuliya and soon lost track.
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Thankfully there are volunteers seating on some corners who guided me to the exit. The fort is huge and spread over four levels on the hill and took me almost 3 hours to see it properly.
Amber Fort Timing and Ticket Info
- Timings: 07.00 AM – 6.30 PM (Everyday)
- Entry Foreign: Rs.500/- Child Rs.500/- | Indian: Rs.100/- Child: Rs.50/-
- Camera Still: Free | Video Camera: Rs.100/-
#2 Jaigarh Fort
As planned I headed towards Jaigarh Fort from there. Both Amber and Jaigarh are located on top of the same hill (Cheel ka Teela) and are connected through secret underground tunnels. Though Jaigarh Fort is not as elaborate as Amber fort it gives a much better view of the surrounding landscape.
The armoury museum located below the main fort showcases some of the finest pieces of the Rajput arsenal. Jaigarh which was famous for its canon foundry has one of the largest cannons in the world – the Jaivaan. It took a long ride along the slopes to reach the highest point of the fort where the canon is placed but the gigantic size of it is really surprising.
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Jaigarh Fort Timing and Ticket Info
- Timings: 9.00 AM – 5.00 PM (Everyday)
- Entry Foreign: Rs.75/- Child Rs.75/- | Indian: Rs.25/- Child: Rs.25/-
- Camera Still: Rs.50/- | Video Camera: Rs.200/-
#3 Nahargarh Fort
Next on my list was the Nahargarh Fort which overlooks the city of Jaipur from the edge of the hills. Nahargarh was particularly important for me because I knew the famous ‘jumping into the well’ scene of Rang De Basanti was shot here. The auto I took from Jaigarh took me to the Baoli first where the scene was shot but it did not look that classy with open eyes. The palace of the fort was something I truly remember.
Nahargarh was built by Sawai Madho Singh for his 12 queens. There are 12 identical suits built around several courtyards. Each of the suits had bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a toilet and balconies. The kitchens have an outlet for the smoke and the toilets were planned with an excellent drainage system.
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The plan of the building is remarkable and is surely one of the oldest apartment buildings in the country. The suits were such spread that when the king visited one of his queens the others were completely unaware of that.
Nahargarh fort has two more great aspects – one is its roof which looks fabulous because of the chhatris of different sizes on it and another is the view of the city from the fort.
Since the fort is placed right at the edge of the hills and the city is beautifully spread at the foot of it, it gives a fabulous view of the city. The Jalmahal, the Sawai Maan Singh Stadium, the Vidhan Sabha, the Jantar Mantar and the entire city can be seen from here and they look thunderous.
I spent some time on the roof and looked at the city with an excitement that tomorrow I will be visiting those places. By the time, it was late afternoon and I was happy that my plans for the day went on successfully. I had the entire evening and decided to experiment with food.
Nahargarh Fort Timing and Ticket Price
- Timings: 9.30 AM – 4.30 PM (Everyday)
- Entry Foreign: Rs.200/- Child Rs.50/- | Indian: Rs.50/- Child: Rs.50/-
- Camera Still: Rs.10/- | Video Camera: Rs.35/-
Jaipur Food Experience
I got an auto again from Nahargarh who took me to the centre of the Pink City – in front of the Hawa Mahal. The driver suggested me to try Laxmi Misthann Bhandar for evening snacks. I decided to walk around because the lovely pink attire of the city along with marvellous harmony attracted me immensely.
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The shops had a uniform style of signboard and the porch in front of the shops painted in pink gave a magnificent feeling. It was really fun walking through the streets of the pink city. I headed towards Johri Bazar where the shop was located.
I tried their famous Paneer Ghewar, Milk Cake & Balusahi with a glass of Thundai Sarbet. It was a bit too much – I was really hungry and had to really push hard to finish the entire order. I must mention that the taste of the food was excellent. I was surprised to see a lot of sweets had a close connection with the sweets we see in Bengal.
Balusahi, for example, can be found extensively in Bengal. Then I remember that Rajasthani warriors and traders have a long connection with Bengal – In fact, the rulers of some of the princely regions of Bengal were actually from Rajasthan. Naturally, it was not surprising that some of the delicacies were exported with them.
I was full for the time and decided to walk towards Hawa Mahal to have an evening snap of it. I already made a plan of having Dal-Bati-Churma for dinner. After my first visit to the Hawa Mahal, I tried to find places to have my dinner. Googling it I found at Station Road, Sindhi Camp there are few good options. So, I headed towards that area in a rickshaw. It was the same area where I landed on the bus yesterday.
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Santosh Bhojanalaya was the one my driver recommended and I went there. It did look like a moderate restaurant and that was just perfect for me. A took a seat in the middle and what I understood that Daal-Bati-Churma comes with a total meal which also has chapatti, rice, vegetables and chutney. It was a superb meal – one of the best I had.
The restaurant had a very friendly ambience and the service was prompt. The food was served hot and it was delicious. The Daal-Bati was a special attraction for me and I just loved it. It was close to the bus station – so in my mind, I have made it that tomorrow before boarding my return bus I am going to have the same dinner.
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With that amazing food, I signed off for the day and went back to my room at the Youth Hostel.
About The Author:
Sidhu Jetha (The Nomadic Architect) is a Kolkata based travel blogger who has set a life goal of visiting all historic places of India to get the essence of Art & Architecture of the glorious past of the country. To read more about him follow the below links;
- His Blog: www.thenomadicarchitect.com
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