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Jaipur, Rajasthan, India: The Pink City
Jaipur "The Pink City" Rajasthan, India
Jaipur or "The Pink City" is the capital of Rajasthan, in Northern India and has many beautiful historic building, some of which have been converted into fantastic hotels. Jaipur is easily accessible by air conditioned train from major cities such as Delhi and Agra.
Jaipur makes an excellent vacation destination or somewhere to stop for a couple of days en route to other tourist attractions in the Rajasthan, such as The Taj Mahal in Agra or Ranthambore National Park, which is one of the best places to see Tigers in the wild. There is also a more local place to see tigers at Sariska Tiger Reserve.
Map of Jaipur, India - Where is Jaipur?
Where to Stay in Jaipur
The Jai Mahal Palace and Raj Mahal Palace hotels are exceptionally interesting and grand places, but, unfortunately, I stayed at the Shahpura House hotel, which had been recommended by the travel agent who booked my tailor-made trip. The Shahpura House hotel is not one of the wonderful palace hotels I referred to; the restaurant was awful, there was no bar and no alcohol served in the hotel and the reception staff seem to be running an expensive taxi "service" (i.e. scam) with the local taxi firms. The bedroom was O.K. but we wished that we had booked one of the palace hotels.
Hilton Trident Hotel, Jaipur
We went to the Hilton Trident Hotel for Lunch (Rs 1400) near the fort and opposite the beautiful Jal Mahal Water Palace. A stunning and famous view, but a fairly boring hotel compared to many we had seen. Clean and pleasant, but with an international "Hilton" feel about it, although a good place to go for a meal if you want some "Continental" food. Probably a good place for Americans or less adventurous tourists to stay, or a place to escape if you have had too much culture.
Jai Mahal Palace Hotel, Jaipur
We continued our exploration of hotels with the Jai Mahal Palace, a splendid old colonial building with beautiful manicured gardens, converted into an hotel. We were again caught out by the hotel taxi scam and despite the short distance paid Rs 180 or Â£2, when it should have been about Rs 50. Not that this was going to break the bank, but it is annoying to be taken advantage of. The drinks at the hotel however were quite reasonably priced for such a majestic setting, with an Indian gin and tonic and an Indian red wine in the bar costing just Â£6 although 34.5% extra tax would have been added if it were imported booze. The Indian wine and gin were really quite good. Dinner at Jai Mahal Palace Hotel was very good, but quite expensive at Rs 2600 or Â£32 for a two-course meal, for two, with wine, but we really didn't mind given the wonderful setting for the meal. The taxi ride back was enjoyable, with fantastic, loud, torrential rain. It again cost Rs 200 and everyone was ripping us off by now, but who cares?
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
We went to Rambagh Palace, built by Maharaja Ram Singh II as a hunting lodge and now an hotel, for lunch, and then, because it was so good returned again in the evening. There is a wonderful dining room with chandeliers and high ceilings. Lunch for two cost Â£40 and was delicious, with a wide variety of dishes. We later had tea next to the croquet lawn, until the mosquitoes started biting then went into "The Polo Bar" for refuge. Dinner inside the huge grand dining room was slightly disappointing, but only because lunch had been so good. This unfortunately was a buffet, with lots of people attending, which detracted from the formal splendor of the place. We took the tuc-tuc back and paid the driver Â£7 for the 5 hours he waited, which was probably far too much. He seemed happy though, and so were we.
Things to See in Jaipur
The most famous tourist attraction in Jaipur is the Amer Fort, which we visited while it was still raining heavily, so we hired driver and car for Rs 850 or about Â£10 and drove to Amer not far from Jaipur, where we chartered an elephant for Rs 500, for the ride up the hill to the fort at the top. Amer fort is beautiful and impressive, but particularly photogenic because of the rows of elephants awaiting tourists. On the day we were there they were covered with sheets of polythene like enormous raincoats. Apparently elephants are not waterproof. We walked back down the hill past the ascending elephants in search of some lunch.
The following day, once the torrential rain had stopped, we hired a tuc-tuc for a few hours to explore some of the other tourist attractions. The Central Museum was the usual rubbish: badly restored objects d'arte, miniature paintings etc. It was worth visiting, but not for a long time, so we continued to the Zoo and saw tigers at last (we didn't see any on our "Tiger Safari" in Ranthambhore National Park). It is not a great zoo, with very few animals in fairly poor enclosures. It is very sad to see these wonderful creatures confined like that. We were followed by various admirers who wanted to speak to us or take photos with us.