I traveled to Rajasthan with a bunch of college friends back in January. It is better to allow yourself the chance to see something once than hear about it a zillion times. Here’s why! Countless stories of Rajasthan were fed into my head even before I had the chance to see it myself. People just could not stop talking – how surreal the beauty is, how fascinating the culture is, how warm the locals are, how the food is straight out of heaven’s kitchen etc. etc. Now, I was not just fascinated, I was itching to travel to Rajasthan.
A quick tip to college students like myself, do carry a valid college id card with you. Tickets to most of the monuments in Rajasthan have a special discount for students. Another hack I learned from this trip was to always sort the transport part of your trip. It helps you save a lot of time and trust me, a lot of money too. Luckily, one of my friends had traveled to Rajasthan before and upon her suggestion, we booked Savaari’s safe and reliable car rental in Jaipur.
Our first stop was in Jaipur. The legacy of the royal family preserved in fabled forts, palaces and landmarks will leave the traveller in you awestruck and mesmerized, for Jaipur is a place like no other. Whether you are traveling to Jaipur for the first or the millionth time, these are some of the places you must cover to get a taste of royalty in this pocket of Rajasthan.
Amer Fort is a mountainside fort palace, situated about 11 km from the city center. The awe-inspiring architecture of this palace is a beautiful mix of Islamic and Rajputana architecture housing a number of courtyards. My personal favorite is the Sheesh Mahal. One of the coolest things to do in Amer Fort is to travel to the neighboring Jaigarh Fort via the 18th-century tunnels connecting the two historic landmarks!
From antiques, artifacts to an unmatched collection of miniatures, the lavishly decorated City Palace Museum is a destination in its own right. It is here that I learned that the city adorned a shade of yellow before carpeting itself in the shade of Pink, thoughtfully chosen for the visit of the Prince of Wales. The various quarters inside City Palace will leave any mortal human envious of the royalty, especially Sukh Niwas with its mood-lifting shades of indigo and white. What a stunner!
Located in the heart of the main city, Hawa Mahal rises up in the shape of a crown. Aptly designed, this crown jewel of Jaipur is an iconic monument of the city. Infact, now a symbol of Jaipur, the Palace of Breeze holds many mysteries and wonders inside it. Bedazzled with 953 many windows, Hawa Mahal was designed for the royal women to get a better view of the outside world without being seen by the outsiders. Don’t miss the colorful glass windows, which filter in the sun’s rays to project kaleidoscopic patterns on the floor!
If extravagant was a monument, it would be this! The sheer beauty of this place is enough to refresh the tired tourists flocking down from different corners of the world. And rightly so. The romance of the pastel shades of pink, purple and yellow not only soothe your eyes and relax your other senses; they also boggle your mind. You wander around and ponder how humans were capable of painting something so extraordinarily gorgeous. The murals on the walls are a feast to the sore eyes and the best muse for Instagram. Prance around for as long as you want, a monument like this can be found nowhere else.
Our next stop, Udaipur, was a 400 km journey. To get a better feel of the city, we decided to take a road trip from Jaipur. It takes about 6 hours to reach, but the joy of crossing colourful houses, smiling faces, innumerable temples, monkeys, arid lands occasionally altered by wild colourful flowers and stopping at roadside dhabas for chai and jalebi is an experience I would not want to miss. I would say, this is how you explore Rajasthan.
Udaipur is royalty. Udaipur is serene. Falling in love with Udaipur is the first thing you realize here and losing a count of the number of lakes, is the second. Most of the tourist places in Udaipur are scattered around the city, so we decided to hire Savaari’s luxury tempo traveller in Udaipur to avoid the trouble of traveling in two separate vehicles.
Our first day started at Jag Mandir which is a 17th Century architectural marvel and is located on an island on Lake Pichola. The striking feature of the Mandir is the spacious courtyard decorated with black and white marble tiles. But one of my best memories of this place is enjoying a tasty meal in the company of colourful flowers.
Sunsets in Udaipur are also very royal. Do not believe me? See one yourself. The sunsets in Lake Pichola have a fan base of their own. Enveloped by lofty palaces, temples, bathing ghats and rugged hills on all its sides, Lake Pichola explains to you how royals had a fine taste for all things beautiful.
Located at the top of Aravalli hills, Sajjan Garh Fort is also known as Monsoon Palace. A visit to this fort in the evening is a marvelous experience with the sun setting in the background and Lake Pichola forming the velvety carpet below. The flickering lights from the temples and palaces around light up the entire city down below, letting all travel hungry souls like myself drink up the views in gallons.