24/12/2017

Dear friends,

Today was our last day in Jaipur and also in Rajasthan. We still had a lot to explore in Jaipur and we had kept the last day just for that. One cannot truly visit Jaipur without seeing the Amer Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar and the Hawa Mahal.

After an early breakfast, we straight away headed to the Amer Fort, which is approx. 45 mins ride from the Old City of Jaipur. Tickets for the visit to the Fort are available at the Fort Entrance.


MIRINDA suggests! :  Amer Fort is a very popular tourist destination which is frequented by both Indians as well as by foreigners. We recommend that you visit the Fort early morning as it is less crowded in the morning plus the weather is also quite pleasant. Amer is located outside the city of Jaipur and hence hiring an Uber might turn out to be expensive. There are regular buses and shuttles available from the City to the Fort which are convenient and are not very expensive. One can also think about hiring a taxi for a full day to finish all the sight-seeing in Jaipur at once.


Amer Fort is a visual treat on its own. It is so grand and beautiful that my eyes were glued to its grandeur. If the architecture and the design is mind boggling, the history behind the Fort is even more interesting.

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MIRINDA suggests! : Government authorized English/Hindi speaking guides are available at the entrance of the Fort for a reasonable price. We recommend that you hire one guide to provide you a complete understanding of the Fort and its history.



Amer Fort


Establishment of this fort was done in 16th century and was initiated during the reign of Raja Man Singh. Construction of the Fort was started in the year 1592. It was later on completed by Sawai Jai Singh in the 18th Century.

Amer palace complex mainly includes Jaleb Chowk, Singh Pol, Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khaas, Ganesh Pol, Yash Mandir, Sukh Mandir, Suhag Mandir, Shila Devi temple, Baradari, Bhool Bhulaiya, and Zanana Dyodi (women’s apartments).

Earlier there were two ways to reach the Amer fort as it is situated on a hill. One was taking an elephant ride, and another was the walk-way which was in natural raw shape of hill and rock way. Now, the walk-way is modified in shape of new cemented staircases. Now, one road from bottom of the hill to Amer fort for vehicles also has been constructed, but to enjoy the trip of Amer fort, the walk-way or elephant riding is most preferable. Riding an elephant uphill seems a cliche for tourists. But it really helps feeling the ambience and plunging deeper in India. The elephant ride offers a skyline view of the Pink city and a mesmerizing sight over Maotha Lake. To make your trip more spectacular and memorable one, elephant safari will be the best and it provides a royal feeling as well.

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Amer Fort also hosts the sound and light show in the evening with commentary in English and Hindi. The show lasts about 1 hour and has mesmerizing music from lead singers like Ustad Sultan Khan & Shubha Mudgal.

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Amer Fort is also home to a very fancy restaurant 1135 AD.


1135 AD – Restaurant at Amer Fort


1135 AD is a stylish restaurant where words like ‘ornate’, ‘opulent’, ‘intricate’ and ‘regal’ will flash through your mind when you see the interiors of this place. In the few years of its existence, 1135 AD has managed to carve a special place for itself. For a lot of local people as well as for those from outside Jaipur, 1135 AD seems to have become the preferred choice for special events.

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The restaurant is tucked away discreetly behind a fortified section of the fort. It’s a bit of a climb but when you get there you’ll be happy that you made the effort. For years, there weren’t too many food choices for visitors to Amer Fort and one had to make do with whatever little that could be picked up from the tiny namkeen shops that dotted the gates of this mighty fort. At the most you could pick up wafers and a soft drink but that was about all.

Today, Amer has come a long, long way and when the government restored the fort a few years ago there were a few new areas created for tourists. 1135 AD is especially beautiful in the evening with attractive lighting and outdoor seating – the restaurant has been split on several levels and in keeping with the place, the food is served on silver-plated thalis. The food is from the tables of the erstwhile royal families of the country: it is rich, exotic and fit for the royalty.

Naturally then, the food is superb; indeed, it is the star of the show here! Service is efficient and smooth. It is just the place to celebrate a special occasion or share a meal with a special someone


MIRINDA suggests! – We advise you plan your visit to the Fort in such a way that you can have one meal at 1135 AD. If you don’t have time for a meal, then at least try having a drink/coffee at the restaurant. Its worth the time.


Immediately post the visit to the Amer Fort, we headed to the City Palace of Jaipur, which is about 15 mins by car from Amer Fort. Tickets for the visit to the Palace are available at the Palace entrance.

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MIRINDA suggests! – Government authorized English/Hindi speaking guides are available at the entrance of the Palace for a reasonable price. We recommend that you hire one guide to provide you a complete understanding of the Palace and its history.


City Palace


Located in the heart of the Pink City Jaipur, the City Palace was where the Maharaja reigned from. This palace also includes the famous ‘Chandra Mahal’ and ‘Mubarak Mahal’, and other buildings which form a part of the palace complex. The urban layout of the city of Jaipur was commissioned to Vidyadhar Bhattacharya and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob.
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The City Palace reflects Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles although the palace was designed to Vaastushastra treatise. Some of the famous gates are the ‘Udai Pol’, ‘Jaleb Chowk’, ‘Tripolia Gate’ and ‘Virendra Pol’, which also happen to be the various entrances to the palace. These are all richly decorated. The Palace has been designed according to a ‘grid style’ and houses various structures such as, ‘Chandra Mahal’, ‘Mubarak Mahal’, ‘Diwan-I-Khas’ and the ‘Govind Dev Ji Temple. The walls and gates are ornately designed to Mughal style, with various murals, lattice and mirrors adorning them from sides.
Today, the ‘Chandra Mahal’ has been turned into a museum which is home to unique handcrafted products, various uniforms of the rulers and many more things pertaining to the royal heritage of the City Palace.

Nearby Tourist Attractions

  • Hawa Mahal
  • Jal Mahal
  • Government Central Museum
  • Jantar Mantar
  • Vidhyadhar’s Garden

The City Palace is a landmark in Jaipur and is also a very popular tourist hotspot. Apart from the regal architecture, the palace offers a stunning view of the Pink City and also an insight into the rich heritage of a bygone era.


MIRINDA fun facts! – The Chandra Mahal palace, part of the city Palace now houses a museum, but the greatest part of it is still a royal residence to the Royal Family of Jaipur.


Located right across the City Palace is the Jantar Mantar, which is another must visit in Jaipur.  Again, tickets and guide are available at the entrance.


Jantar Mantar


There are plenty of observatories all over the world, but the Jantar Mantar is considered to be one of the largest observatories ever built. Combining religion, science and art, the Jantar Mantar is the name given to a series of five, magnificent structures built in Jaipur, New Delhi, Ujjan, Varanasi and Mathura.

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The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is considered to be the largest of the five observatories and also houses the world’s largest sundial. The Universe and the Cosmos have always been of interest to man, and it was this interest that compelled the Maharaja to build an astronomical observatory. The term ‘Jantar Mantar’ is derived from the Sanskrit terms ‘Yantra’ and ‘Mantra’ meaning ‘instruments’ and ‘formula’ respectively. The term ‘Yantra’ was replaced with ‘Jantar’ which means ‘magical’.

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The Jantar Mantar houses various architectural and astrological instruments that have caught the interests of astronomers, historians and architects around the world.

The ‘Jantar Mantar’ at Jaipur, being the biggest conservatory in the country, was renovated time and again and houses various instruments that offer precise measurements of time, the azimuth, declination of the sun and the positions of constellations, along with several other astronomical phenomena.

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The Jaipur observatory was functional for seven years only, as the Maharaja was not very successful in deriving accurate, astronomical observations.

Architecture
The astronomical observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, tracking constellations and, even for, observing the orbits around the sun. Popular structures within the Jantar Mantar are the ‘Samrat Yantra’ (the world’s largest sundial), the ‘Hindu Chhatri’, the ‘Jaiprakash Yantra’ and various geometric structures with astronomical devices to probe the ‘universe’.

The Jantar Mantar is a resplendent reminder of the royal heritage of Jaipur and stands as a royal testimony to a former epoch. The magnificent structure still manages to capture the attention of tourists and astronomy enthusiasts alike! The Jantar Mantar is an intriguing structure, and is a must-see in Jaipur!

Located in close vicinity to the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar is the Hawa Mahal.


Hawa Mahal


The renowned ‘Palace Of The Winds’, or Hawa Mahal, is one of the prominent tourist attractions in Jaipur city. Located in the heart of Jaipur, this beautiful five-storey palace was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh who belonged to Kachhwaha Rajput dynasty.
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The main architect of this palace built of red and pink sandstone, is Lal Chand Ustad and the palace is believed to have been constructed in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Considered as an embodiment of Rajputana architecture, the main highlight of Hawa Mahal is its pyramid shape and its 953 windows or ‘Jharokhas’ which are decorated with intricate designs.
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The main intention behind the construction of the Mahal was to facilitate the royal women and provide them a view of everyday life through the windows, as they never appeared in public.
Hawa Mahal, which is the quintessence of Rajput architecture, stands high in the heart of Jaipur city as a prominent attraction.

MIRINDA suggests! –  Visits to the Amer Fort, the City Palace, the Jantar Mantar and the Hawa Mahal are the essential part of your visit to Jaipur. There are of course other amazing museums and historical buildings, but these four are the most renowned.


The entire trip for visiting these four places would take approx. 4-5 hours including transportation. If you are visiting Jaipur in summer, we strongly recommend that you start of early morning and complete your visit by lunch in order to avoid the harsh sun in the afternoon.

After a lovely morning filled with history, architecture and knowledge it was time to fill up our tummies. Today we had planned our lunch at OTH Bistro.


OTH Bistro & Bakery


Crisp airy ambience with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, baked goodies and exotic delicacies, OTH would remind you of cafés in Europe and would not disappoint you when it comes to taste. A unique concept of bistro and bakers, it’s the place to bite into some sumptuous delicacies that are a rare find in Jaipur. From European breads, Viennese pastries, designer cupcakes to cookies, tarts, teacakes, croissants and macaroons along with savoury bites of puffs and turnovers, it offers an incredibly unique and wide range of European baked delights. From a healthy breakfast to salads and exotic appetizers to mains, there is a variety in cuisine too.

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It also offers a friendly open ambiance with its spacious indoor and outdoor seating arrangements and melodious country music to complete its uptown European feel.

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It had been a tiring and exhausting morning for us which covered most of our sightseeing. A nice heavy lunch at OTH bistro with a variety of thick shakes, pesto pasta and a Lebanese platter rejuvenated us and we decided we had to indulgence in some local shopping at the famous “Bapu Bazaar”.


MIRINDA suggests! : Jaipur has a list of endless things that makes it a must visit shopping destination. If you’re a shopaholic, then don’t look anywhere else for a shopper’s paradise! The unique beauty and the traditional touch on the things will leave you smitten in no time. The top streets known for different products are :

Johari Bazaar – Famous for its precious and semi- precious jewellery. It is also known for its hand made jewellery at a very resonable price.

Tripolia Bazaar – Known for its lac jewelry and the beautiful varieties of bangles is the best shopping area is Jaipur. You can also buy designer carpets, brass ware and other traditional wares.

Chandpol Bazaar – One of the traditional shopping markets in Jaipur, is where the creativity comes alive; where you can come across handicrafts, carvings made out of marble and other hand-looms. You can shop for popular pieces like the traditional and flamboyant shoes, pretty handicrafts, perfect sculptures made of wood and stones, carpets and turbans.

Other famous markets here are Kishanpol Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar, Sireh Deori Bazaar and MI road.


Bapu Bazaar is a one stop destination for all the Jaipuri items as you could almost buy anything for a reasonable price. We found some moderate prices of items like textiles and Joothis. Plus, the bazaar lies in a pretty location and you could get to witness the ‘pink’ side of the city!

Ufff!! That’s the expression my husband and my father had as I and my mother roamed from shop to shop, trying out different stuff and negotiating the Indian way. Finally, we had all we wanted and it was time for some nice dip in the pool. But not before trying the well-renowned Rawat Kachoris in Jaipur.

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YUMMMMM is the only word that can describe these awesome Kachoris. From different varieties like Pyaaz (onion), Mava and Moong Dal we couldn’t resist trying them all along with their famous chutneys.


MIRINDA suggests! : We highly recommend taking back with you the Mava and Moong dal kachoris for your friends and family back home.


After an eventful day, we were finally back to our hotel around 6 pm. It was out last evening and we just wanted to enjoy Samode Haveli tonight. Me and my husband straight away made way to the pool, ordered a couple of beers and enjoyed the lovely sunset.

For dinner, we headed to the restaurant in Samode haveli.

It was our last night in Rajasthan and thus we had planned to indulge in authentic Rajasthani cuisine. We had ordered their famous Laal Maas, Chicken masala in rajsthani gravy and Ker Sangari. It was the perfect end to our trip.

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After six exciting and fun-filled days, it was time to say good bye to Jaipur and Rajasthan for now. Apart from everything, may it be the ferocious tigers, the grand palaces, the mesmerizing architecture, the delicious food, the thing that comforts me the most about Rajasthan is the hospitality and the warmth of the people. It just keeps you bringing back again to this wonderful state of India.

It was this reason that made me and husband decide upon our wedding destination as Udaipur in Rajasthan earlier this year.

Good bye Rajasthan, but not for long. We will be back soon.

Coming up next… MIRINDA suggests! All you need to know about Ranthambore..

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