A sudden desire to be at home struck me on the morning of 21st December 2K6; time was ripe and I could plan a six day trip home at Alwar from Bangalore. Gushing with excitement I surfed The Net for places to visit in Rajasthan to make my new year break a special one.
With the weather Gods on my side and no flight delay, I was home on 29th December to be with my family. We planned for the next day to be at the Pink City – Jaipur.
Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, who shifted his capital from Amber City(barely 15 kilometers from Jaipur). Jai Singh II was famous for his interests in Astronomy, and love for geometery, as a result the city planners designed this new city with 9 blocks, 9 major roads and 9 gates. The longest and the shortest roads numerologically even added upto 9. The reason it is called the Pink City is that the city was painted in Pink to welcome Prince Albert in the late 19th century, the name ‘Pink City’ then struck to it. Since then the old city area is painted in pink with the same color; same shop/house fronts to give it a uniformity which is enviable.
Having reached Jaipur from Alwar by around 1.30 pm on 30th December, we checked in RTDC’s Hotel Teej on MI Road, which was just under $20 for a double bed room in terms of tariff. Being free that evening we checked out the a couple of shopping malls nearby and also registered ourselves for the Pink City by night tour organized by RTDC.
At two hundered rupees (around 7$), it was a steal. The tour starts everday at 6.30 pm and ends around 11 pm in the night after a tour around the city with a vegetarian dinner buffet thrown in! Our pickup was from Hotel Gangaur, which at the same price is a lot better than Hotel Teej!!
The iternary of the tour was Rajmandir (a cinema hall famous for its interiors), Amar Jawan Jyoti, Vidhan Sabha, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Albert Hall and Amer Fort (the Nahargarh Fort is a part of the itenary but was not covered on that day).
The Albert hall was the residential chambers constructed for Prince Albert when he visited India in the 19th Century, today it boasts to be a museum.
The Laxmi Narayan temple is also known as the Birla Temple; and looks magnificant in the night; during the day the white marble reflects the sunlight and it hurts the eyes!
The Hawa Mahal (Airy Palace) is a big wall(yes! it isn’t a Palace) with plenty of windows, the history behind this pink wall is that the women in the City Palace were not allowed to move freely around the city, this Hawa Mahal proved to be a windy window for them to view at the festival processions going around the city. The Hawa Mahal used as a symbol to denote the Jaipur city; the same way as the Statue of Liberty is used for NY.
The next major and final stop was the Amer(or Amber) Fort in the old capital of the Jaipur state. This Fort was build from the early 1600s to 1699, and then abandoned for the new Jaipur city due to scarcity of water. The Fort looks beautiful in the night with its reflection in the water.
The tour stops at the Amer fort and people climb up the steep steps for a new built hotel within the Fort. Thats where the dinner and exclusive Rajasthani Folk Dance and Music performance comes in.
After the performance, the tour group returned back the city for another exciting day which was to be the last of the year 2006.