Jaipur is about a 5 hour drive from Delhi and I was grateful to travel in a nice, air-conditioned car. Sitting in the front seat of a car however, made the road kill a lot more prominent. We passed many dead dogs and cows along the way that I wished I hadn’t seen. Before checking into my hotel, we stopped at Amer Fort and Palace, Jaipur’s principal tourist stop. The best part was this beautiful mirrored room (Sheesh Mahal) said to have been built for the Queen of Jaipur so she could feel like she was sleeping under the stars.
As we continued on to the hotel I saw a beautifully painted elephant walking along the road, so we stop and for 50 rupees, the trainer allowed me to pet her and have some photos with her. I declined riding her as I am very against elephant riding. However, just getting to pet her all on my own was the highlight of my stay in Jaipur.
Feeling a little sheltered by riding in the car I decide to venture out on my own in search of a late lunch/early dinner. I ate a delicious meal at a tiny hole-in-the-wall for cheap and then start walking back to the hotel because there is really not much else Jaipur can offer you, unless you want to shop. I pass by a young guy on the street who starts the usual line of questioning and I must have been short with him because he accused me of not liking Indian people. I told him that this was not true and he asked me to join him for tea, to which I declined. I chatted with him a bit and then of course it turns out that he co-owns the nearby textile shop. I agree to come have a look and a cup of tea. He didn’t pressure me into buying anything but I did actually want to have a kurta (top) made, so I said I’d return the next evening after my day of touring.
The following morning we started at Birla Mandir, a modern Hindu temple, followed by the nearby Ganesha Temple. Neither of them are must-sees. Just outside the Ganesha Temple a man offered me a free massage and then practically begs for sex. I put my hand up to his face with a firm no and proceeded to the car. My driver was very angry and wanted me to show him who it was. Thankfully for the perv, he was nowhere to be found. I then visited a very nice museum called Albert Hall and enjoyed a proper latte at the museum cafe.
I spent the rest of the day wandering around the pink city, City Palace and Hawa Mahal (the Palace of Winds) the famous pink palace wall where women of the Royal family could stand behind and observe street festivals without being seen by people from the outside (see cover photo). The city of Jaipur is pink because the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria visited India in 1876. Pink is the color of hospitality so the Maharaja of Jaipur ordered the city to be painted pink.
We then visited another fort, Jaigarh Fort, which houses a massive cannon and has nice views of Amer Fort. Jaipur has a third fort, but I didn’t feel the need to see yet another one and I wanted to go back to the textile shop like I had promised.
The guy I had talked to the day before wasn’t there initially so I started looking at fabrics with his business partner, who was very kind and helpful. I only wanted one kurta but after an hour or so, I had an order for five. I thought I had gotten a good price but have since found out that I paid too much. While they were being made I drank some tea with the guys and then 2 of us moved on to rum and coke. I was careful not to drink too much but at one point I ended up hiding from their dad/uncle in the backseat of a car with the guy from the street – the whole thing was a little weird/awkward. Thankfully my shirts were done soon after and I was on my way. Trust me, it sounds way more sketchy than it was – the guys were nice. I was happy to leave Jaipur though.