Rajasthan is the ideal honeymoon location for couples who want a romantic escape after their Indian wedding. Jaipur is one of the most romantic locales on Earth, with its many palaces, fortresses and bazaars. The Wanderers take us on this journey through Jaipur.
|Rajasthan has long represented the exoticism of India to the western world. But it also qualifies as one of the most romantic destinations in India. With the stunning Thar Desert as its backdrop, it is a land of fascinating history and unbridled colours. Just as you step into a bazaar, you’re caught in an endless swirl of sights and smells…something so typically Indian. The seat of Indian royalty, it is also renowned for its legendary hospitality and warmth.|
Imagine staying at a heritage fort or palace, basking in luxury with a personal butler in tow or sipping on a cocktail while viewing a spectacular sunset over the desert. Not to mention a boat ride on the crystal clear waters of the Pichola in Udaipur or being a royal guest at the Darbar of a Maharajah. For a dash of adventure there’s desert camping or trailing the tiger at the Ranthambhore National Park. If history, culture and luxury appeals to you, then Rajasthan can be a heady experience.
|Samode Palace Pool|
|Best Season to Visit |
The Indian winter months from November to March are traditionally considered to be the best months to visit Rajasthan with clear blue skies, a warm sun during the day and cold desert nights. The hotel rates are also the highest at this time. Summer months of April, May and June are hot with day temperatures rising to 45deg C. The monsoons (from July to September) are sparse as you move closer to the Thar Desert and as you move away from the desert you get monsoonal showers which bring the day temperatures down. It's a good time to travel in Rajasthan if you want to avail of off-season rates and stay in some of the grand Havelis and Palaces that may seem overtly priced during the winter months.
The main towns of Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner see large crowds of tourists but off-beat places like Samode, Mandawa, Luni, Manvaar, Khimsar and Rohet also offer unique experiences.
This ‘Pink City’ makes up India’s ‘Golden Triangle’ along with Agra and Delhi. The stronghold of Rajput culture, it is a beautifully laid out city with gardens, parks, impressive monuments and marvelous heritage hotels like Rajvilas, Mansingh and Rambagh. Built in 1727 A.D. by Sawai Jai Singh, it has a fairy tale feel with its grand palaces, rugged fortresses and broad avenues. You can see a dazzling array of handlooms, handicrafts, bangles and trinkets in the bazaars. Ambling camels, bedecked tongas and multi hued costumes remind us of bygone eras.
|Where to Stay |
Jaipur, being a top tourist destination, has luxury hotels and resorts with world class facilities. But apart from these luxury hotels there are quite a few outstanding havelis, home to erstwhile ministers and others close to the Royal families. Apart from Oberoi’s Rajvilas, Taj Group’s Rambagh Palace, Le Meridien etc, we recommend staying in the following havelis: Samode Haveli, Alsisar Haveli, Chirmi Palace, Narain Niwas. For those who want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of Jaipur, we strongly recommend a stay at the magnificent Samode Palace, an hour’s drive away, or at Samode Bagh, a ‘Garden of Eden’ sort of place with stay in air-conditioned Swiss tents!
Samode Haveli is a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Jaipur. Centrally located, yet away from the crowds, it offers the peace required after a hectic day of sightseeing. The Samode Haveli was built over 150 years ago by Rawal Sheo Singhji, a Prime Minister in the Jaipur court, who belonged to the family of Samode, tracing their relation to the Jaipur Maharaja the fabled Prithviraj Singhji, the 17th prince of the Kacchawala Rajputs. It was built as the Samode Royal family’s suburban manor house and was converted into a heritage hotel in 1988. Today it stands as a reminder of a halcyon past offering moments of subtle luxury. It has a spectacular painted dining room, an airy verandah and an elephant ramp at the entrance which was specially constructed in the 1940’s for the marriage ceremony of the late Rawal Sahib’s aunt.
Set in 32 acres of landscaped gardens, Rajvilas reflects the subtle grandeur and elegance of the Rajput princes. It has rooms, luxury and villas with private pools and courtyards in a fort setting. Teak beds, Italian marble bathtubs, ornamental gardens and beautiful interiors boasting the best of Indian craftsmanship. The hotel offers a diverse cuisine and variety of leisure activities.
Those looking for personalized services should try Rambagh Palace. A destination in itself, it is India’s first palace hotel. Built as a hunting lodge in 1835, it was made into a palace in 1925 for the Maharajah of Jaipur and later into a hotel. Excellently refurbished, it retains the fine blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. With personal butlers for assistance, guests are treated as no less than royalty.
Those on a budget can stay at the numerous city hotels that are reasonably priced. Even the Government properties provide much better services as compared to rest of India. Make sure you book early because hotels are often sold out by early July.
|What to see |
You can get exclusive private cars for sightseeing or explore around in a rickshaw or tonga. Beware of touts who constantly harass you. Also, limit displays of public affection as people here are more conservative than in Indian metros. Must see places include the City palace, the former royal residence. It has a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and weapons. The art gallery is not to be missed. The Hawa Mahal is probably the most visible landmark, along with the Amber Fort. The former is a five story building along the main street of the old city, pink in colour; it has semi octagonal and delicate honeycombed sandstone windows. Amber Fort is a beautiful complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples built by Raja Man Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh over a period of about two centuries. Like Delhi, Jaipur too has a Jantar Mantar built by Maharajah Jai Singh II (1693- 1743). Also visit the Shila Mata Temple,Old City, and the Jaigarh and Nahargarh forts, both perched high atop the city with magnificent views. A winding road leads to the forts and in monsoons, they are like citadels in the sky with the clouds floating below them!
Besides the cultural sites, one can spend hours in the markets shopping for friends and family. Be sure to take some handicrafts to decorate your home. Ride on a camel or get your horoscope read by the parrot. Do stack up film for your cameras as Jaipur is a photographer’s delight.
What to eat
Rajasthani cuisine has few rivals in terms of taste and variety. Renowned for its crispy namkeens and rich preparations, it appeals to gourmet lovers all over. Jaipur is filled with restaurants, stalls and vendors catering to people. However, for an authentic Rajasthani experience, try out restaurants at Amber Road called Jaipur Darbar, Surabhi and Parampara. LMB is a famous sweet shop. Don’t forget to try out Dal-Bati & Churma or pack up some namkeens to munch back home. Food at stalls or kiosks are filling and inexpensive, but keep a watch on the quality. We recommend sticking to mineral water throughout the trip.
Phone No: + 91 22 6702 3377/1870/71/72
Fax: + 91 22 6702 1873