Just as you land on the airport and come out of the glass doors, a flurry of cab drivers ,some of them wearing the ethnic turbans on their heads, prong your perimeter and urge you to rent their cabs for the entire day. Luckily we just wanted to take a one way ride to a temporary hotel in the middle of the city before my Uncle could send us the car to pick us up and drive us towards the outskirts of the city. But nevertheless, in spite of making strong clear statements that you are not interested in their one-day, one-week deals of cab rentals, the sweet spoken, typical rajasthani-gujju style lingo pops up now and then to urge you to give them a shot at taking you around the city in a single day. Amusingly, they refer to your as maharaja and your better half as maharani, which indicates their marketting talents.
Mind you, if your wife is too much into shopping, cities like Jaipur are definitely not the place to be where every 20 meters you find yet another ethnic showroom with the typical Rajasthani Jaipuri style clothing, art pieces, home decor items are laid as bait to lure your lovely lady into their shops and make your wallet even thinner. Luckily I got a reprieve as my Uncle called just in time, and made us go to Fort Amber for a speically laid out dinner just meant for both of us. We did not realize until we actually got there and witnessed the beauty of the fort and it's surroundings in the night and with the light show.
Fort Amber, situated on top of a hill looked stunning with different strokes of light. The cab driver left us at the bottom of the hill and it was a 20 minute hike up to the top along a steep winding road. There was a light and sound show going on on the other side of the hill due to which the shadows casted upon the entire fort were amazing. The surprise that we had for the evening was when we were taken to the top of the fort in the middle of the palace and were given a tour of the entire historical place. The rooms, the silverware, the walls, carpets, antiques everything had it's own sweet price and it felt as if we were traveling back in time and were amongst the riches of the past. Some of the outstanding displays was the "SheeshMehal (Palace of Mirrors)" and a room filled with 22K gold in entirety.
An even pleasant surprise was the dinner arrangement which was laid out in one of the most private, meant only for two of us, a stand-out section of the fort, a balcony giving us a view of the city of Jaipur below, and surrounded by candles and natural lighting in the form of Diyas (Oil lamps). The entire charisma was quite romantic with sublime peace and no one to bother as we were served the deliciously famous Rajasthani Thaali with approximately 27 (I did literally count them for my knowledge) different dishes. We were flattered at the staff's hospitality and their way of addressing us as someone special and we were even more flattened when we saw the bill at the end lol. Of-course all of this comes at a pretty fine cost but I would definitely recommend it to have a once in a life time experience. (Mind you - Only once in a life time OK !)
The other day we were headed towards the outskirts of the city towards "Chomu Palace", the place famously known for the shooting of the bollywood movie "BhoolBhulaiya". We were in Jaipur to actually attend my cousin's marriage in the first place and for 3 days the Chomu Palace was our fortress for us to reside in. The entire palace had been booked only for our relatives and the guests who would be a part of this marriage and it sounded really exciting when we saw the entire agenda for those 3 days. There was Garba, DJ Party, Mehndi and some other traditional celebrations. The entire arrangements were quite majestic and Dipali had a ball amongst the cousins, especially when they got her to sing during the Antakshari program. For someone like me who loves to be with kids, this was a perfect setup with so many toddlers and kidos around me I had the best time of my life playing with them. Simply adorable kids !!!
We took a tour of the other famous places on the last day of our trip and got a chance to visit the Hawa Mahal, Fort Nahargarh, Jaigarh Fort, the famous market places Johari Bazar and Bapu Bazaar. Of-course we did not forget the famous LMB place (Lakshmi Mishthan Bhandar) to help ourselves to some mouth watering delicacies especially it's famous Onion Kachoris.
An exhausting but a worth trip was well over as we headed back to Ahmedabad and a feeling of sadness slowly crept inside me as the days were coming near when I would have to once again bid my parent good-bye and come back to Uncle Sam's land. This trip had been quite eventful and had a lot of memories tied with it, something to reminisce for a long time.
(Sorry due to privacy issues cannot upload lot of other pics ... )