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Saturday, 31 August 2019

Where to Eat! (Jaipur Journals, Part 4)






Hi All! I’m sure you have read all 3 parts of Jaipur Journals. You can check them out here – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 ! This is going to be Part 4 to conclude the Jaipur tour blogs! To be honest, for me, a journey to a place starts the moment I book tickets (no matter how prior) & it ends with the last blog post (no matter how later). So, I’ve got a heavy feeling in my heart because I don’t want it to be over just yet. This Jaipur journey has been on-going since March when the bookings were done. Now that I am on the last post, I have bitter-sweet feelings. I know that I will treasure the memories for a lifetime, but even so, I feel a little blue!


This post being about restaurant recommendations is sure to make me feel a little less blue. When we were planning the trip, we had decided to go to 9 restaurants, of which we went to 7. I think that’s a pretty great record, given how busy our days in Jaipur turned out to be! Check out the restaurants below!






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~~MUST RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS~~
On the House


Best restaurant in Jaipur if you want to eat really good & delicious food. The aroma of rich coffee is the first thing you'll notice after entering the place. Along with good food, ambience is also pretty amazing. Nothing extraordinary, but pleasant!


We had French fries, Nachos & Veg Quesadilla, of which Nachos were exceedingly good! The drinks were good as well. Turkish style Coffee (3/5) & Strawberry Banana Smoothie (4.5/5) tasted good.
The best part was the dessert - Oreo Cheesecake. 10/10!
Cheesecake is a must try when you're here. I have given OTH 4/5 stars on Zomato!




Tapri



This is one of the best places for good food in Jaipur. They have a rooftop restaurant which opens at 7 AM so you can have your breakfast there. The rooftop actually has the décor of a chai tapri!

Obviously, they have a variety of options of teas. We tried the traditional Masala Tea & fancy Hibiscus Tea. Both were perfect! We ate Vada Pav & Grilled Aloo Masala Sandwich. Both were really good in taste & had good quantity as well. Definitely recommended! Rated at 5/5 on Zomato!







~~AUTHENTIC JAIPUR FOOD~~
LMB
Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar (LMB) is one of the famous restaurants where you get authentic Rajasthani food. There’s a thali which is quite famous. We reached there at an odd time, so we had Chole Bhature instead. It was good, so you can try it out! We also had the famous Pyaz Kachori & Dal Kachori, which tasted absolutely delicious! Most of the sweets have a lot of ghee in it & I hate ghee, which is why I couldn’t eat Jaipur specialties like ghewar, jilebi etc.
You can also visit the all time famous Choki Dhani to have Rajasthani food.

Lassiwala

This was definitely the best drink I had in Jaipur & the best lassi I ever had in my life! We started our day with this lassi & the wonders it did to start our day in a positive note! It was so good that you don’t even feel bloated after having a glass full of it! Must recommended when in Jaipur! I have given it 5/5 stars on Zomato!


~~GOOD AMBIENCE BUT NOT GOOD FOOD~~

Samode Haveli



If you're looking to dine in a royal fashion, this is the place for you. But, if you're looking for good food, I suggest you think twice before eating here.

I had Mac N Cheese which was undercooked, chewy & didn't taste good. Also had Spaghetti which was okay enough but not worth the cost. Mashed Potatoes tasted good but lacked the flavour.
The Red Sangria & the dessert Tiramisu were the best ones. It was hands down the best Tiramisu I had tasted.

2 drinks, 3 dishes & 1 dessert costed us above Rs. 4000
Overall experience was very unsatisfactory. I rated it at 2/5 on Zomato.






Bar Palladio
We went for dinner at Bar Palladio on one of the nights. We had been wanting to go here as much as we wanted to go to Amer Fort & City Palace! In our view, it was not just a restaurant. The whole royal Palace theme was what we were excited about! The interiors are no doubt AMAZING! Blue walls, chandeliers, different rooms, stylish bar! It is a Palace turned into a restaurant.
However, the food did not meet our expectations at all. It’s an Italian restaurant where you cannot even understand the menu, leaving us with very little vegetarian options. While the drinks were good, the food was too simple for our taste. No average Indian would like the food here. The only thing we liked was the dessert Blueberry Panna Cotta! I rated Bar Palladio at 2/5 on Zomato.

Peacock Rooftop
It’s a lovely setting for a dinner. It’s on the rooftop & the place is set up with nice lights to give you peaceful vibes. But that’s about it. The food & drinks were not so good. Everything was on the sweeter side with nothing spicy. Not even the Burnt Garlic Noodles! It must be the first restaurant that had a high level of inhospitable service, not to mention the never-ending stairs that you have to climb to reach the top! The waiters were rude & ignored our calls. You can definitely skip this restaurant! I rated it at 1/5 on Zomato.

Some other restaurants that you can check out are Choki Dhani, Sultanat, Café Bae, Kokum Bistro, 1135 AD.

Now that I have poured all my Jaipur knowledge on to my blog, I feel complete. Only one thing is left to do. This was the first time I went with a friend & not having it ruin our friendship. So, here’s to you, Suruchi!

~~OFFICIAL TRAVELLING PARTNER~~


Suruchi! This was our first trip together & never in my wildest dreams would I had imagined it to be so AMAZING! I know I have already AWKWARDLY & FORMALLY thanked you enough. But here it goes again! Thank you for accompanying me on what was easily one of the best trips of my life! I’m glad we finally have one successful tour to check off the bucket list! And, I feel our friendship to be stronger than before & I am SO GLAD for it! While everything might not always be perfect, I’m happy to have you by my side. It’s nice to have a friend! Now that our Pivot Tour was great, you’re going to be my official travelling partner for future trips! No backsies! Here’s to many more memories in the most beautiful places!






All of you, thank you for sticking with me for these FOUR POSTS on Jaipur. For some, it might have been a lot, but I’m sure for some it might have been just what you were looking for. I’m sure there are obsessive planners like me out there & I’m glad to help you out! Let me know in the comments below which was your favourite place in Jaipur!
Goodbye, Jaipur! You were TRULY BEAUTIFUL & BEYOND STUNNING! Thank you for all the memories! I’ll always treasure my time with you.
Until next time,


Wednesday, 28 August 2019

What to Explore – Day 2! (Jaipur Journals, Part 3)









Hi fellows! How are you all doing this last week of August!? It has been a lovely month & year so far! Having said that, check out the Part 1 & Part 2 of Jaipur Journals before reading this one! As I mentioned, Day 1 was a day with a lot of sight-seeing. Well, Day 2 wasn’t that different! It was probably more taxing but covering lesser places. Shall we begin?


In this post, I will cover the most famous places in Jaipur such as Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall Museum & Bapu Bazaar! I will also tell you all a bit about the places we skipped just so you are informed about ALL OF JAIPUR!










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~~HAWA MAHAL~~

Much to our misfortune, it was RAINING ALL DAY! Yes, it was frustrating! For 2 reasons; One – my shoes got wet & Two – I couldn’t take my camera with me. There are other reasons too such as ‘I have been wanting to visit Jaipur since years & when I finally get there, it is raining, nay, pouring on the day I am supposed to view the MAIN SPOTS IN JAIPUR! But, I won’t bore you with such reasons.

Picture it. 2 girls in front of the Hawa Mahal while it was POURING. Suruchi with her umbrella & I halfway inside her umbrella wearing a rain coat clicking photos with my mobile inside the umbrella & the umbrella making an appearance in the photo too. And when I tell Suruchi to hold the umbrella a bit upwards, rain starts coming in on my phone & then soon enough it gets windy with umbrella being reversed & upturned, leaving me, my phone, Suruchi, her phone all wet in a whole watery chaos! That’s how our day started! Lovely, ain’t it?

I didn’t let this upset me like it did on the day we had arrived in Jaipur. It was raining cats & dogs when we were in Jantar Mantar. It rained, I smiled through it. It poured, I danced through it. I’m not making shit up! I got pictures to prove it! But first, let’s focus on Hawa Mahal! We had allotted 1 hour for Hawa Mahal, which included taking photos from the front, doing a small tour inside it & lastly going at a café opposite Hawa Mahal to take our photos with the background of Hawa Mahal! Instead, we ended up doing the umbrella-rain-mobile circus mentioned above & moved on to City Palace in less than 15 minutes! If you visit Hawa Mahal, I insist you go to the cafes opposite it (Wind View Cafe / Tattoo Cafe & Lounge) to get the most scenic photos!

Check out some of the photos below but do not be too amazed. I had seen such fantastic photos of the place earlier, but when I actually saw Hawa Mahal, I was utterly disappointed! It does not look as grand as it looks in the photos. It looked like just another pink building in the Pink City. The mantra is to not be fooled by the photos & not have too many expectations!

Other Details:
·        5 minutes from City Palace.
·        Open from 9 AM to 4.30 PM.
·        Entry Fees – Rs. 50
·        Takes 45-50 minutes to explore.

~~CITY PALACE: PRITAM NIWAS CHOWK~~
The main spot in the lovely city of Jaipur is the City Palace. And, dare I say, also the most OVERRATED. There is A LOT TO SEE in City Palace, but they choose to show THE LEAST PART OF IT, while charging exorbitant rates for the MORE ROYAL places. I mean, you are literally the royals, why are the charges so high? This cannot be your only source of income!

First, we visited the Pritam Niwas Chowk which has the 4 seasonal gates namely The Lotus Gate (Summer), Green/Leheriya Gate (Spring), Rose Gate (Winter) & Peacock Gate (Monsoon.) From the inner courtyard, you can view the Chandra Mahal, where the King of Jaipur resides with his family. I think Suruchi & I spent at least 30-40 minutes at these Gates alone! I was looking forward to get amazing photos here & so I did! 
The Lotus Gate
Green/Leheriya Gate
Peacock Gate
Rose Gate

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CITY PALACE: SHOBHA NIVAS~~
After the Gates, we went inside the Palace to the Shobha Nivas & oh, what a beauty! It was filled with walls full of mirrors & glasses & gold! It was as royal as it gets! The royal family uses this room only once a year, that is for Laxmi Pooja in Diwali festival. We got to sit where the King sits! How awesome is that? Check out the grandeur of that one room in the photos below!




Outside Shobha Nivas

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CITY PALACE: GUEST HOUSE~~
Next was the royal guest house. It may not sound royal, but it sure is GRAND! This guest room was for all the guests of the royal family! It had quite an antique look which made it look like it belonged to a different era. Of course, we loved it! 

~~CITY PALACE MUSEUM~~
After the all the main spots in City Palace, we visited the Museum at the end. It was a small hall filled mostly with paintings & history of the place. Not that great & definitely nothing compared to the Udaipur City Palace Museum tour!
There were a few more spots where we wanted to click photos, but since Salman Khan (Bollywood actor) was shooting a song scene in City Palace, we had to miss out on those spots.


Other Details:
·        Open from 9 AM to 5 PM.
·        Entry Fees for Museum & Pritam Chowk – Rs. 200
·        Charges for the extended tour: Rs 1500 & Rs. 3000 for Indians.
·        Takes 1.5-2 hours to explore.

~~JANTAR MANTAR OBSERVATORY~~
The Jantar Mantar Observatory is at a 5 minutes distance from the City Palace. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site which has a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments. The area was naturally quite spread out. So, here, it was very windy & with it came the crazy rains! Because it was raining, most of the places were restricted from entry. So, I couldn’t take photos in the manner I wanted. We took a few shots & were out in 20 minutes. With my wet shoes all day long, all I wanted was to go for lunch at On The House & that’s what we did.
Here are some photos I which I’m throwing a tantrum like a kid & other in which I accepted my fate!























Other Details:
·        5 minutes from City Palace Upset one moment..
·        Open from 9 AM to 5 PM.
·        Entry Fees - Rs. 50
·        Takes 30-45 minutes to explore.

~~ALBERT HALL MUSEUM~~
After a heavy & delicious lunch, we moved ahead for the tour of Albert Hall museum. This one was the longest & too tiring. Like any typical museum, it consisted of all typical things of historical importance. I had visited Hyderabad’s Salarjung Museum, which is the biggest museum in India. And after that never-ending & tiring yet interesting experience, I steer clear of museums! I have very little patience for it. All the items are anyway similar to any other museum. You have your armour, paintings, vases, hookah pipe (oddly everywhere!), kitchen utensils, carpets, coins, & so on! After the first floor, I was too tired, but we completed the second floor & then the basement.
The irony is that I couldn’t get a shot of the museum from the outside, because it was restricted! So, it was all for nothing!

Other Details:
·        10 minutes from City Palace
·        Open from 9 AM to 5 PM.
·        Entry Fees - Rs. 40
·        Takes 45 minutes-1 hour to explore.

~~BAPU BAZAAR~~
After a long day accompanied with constant rain, dampened clothes & wet shoes, we went to Bapu Bazaar with little enthusiasm for shopping. Nevertheless, we gave it a try. The only nice thing here is that all the lanes are Pink. Similar yet unique. But, all of them are in little stores where they have fixed prices. So, we didn’t bother to shop because we had no energy to bargain. The streets are really nice for a walk though, if it isn’t raining incessantly.

~~OTHER PLACES IN JAIPUR~~
As I mentioned before, we skipped a few places because they weren’t as amazing as others, in my opinion & some of them were very far off! You can check out these places if you have the time!
Jaigarh Fort
Birla Mandir
Galtaji Temple
Samode Palace

To sum it up, we had a lot of disappointments; restricted entries at Jantar Mantar & Albert Hall Museum, expensive tickets at City Palace & not doing the whole routine at Hawa Mahal. All of this combined with rains (have I mentioned this enough times?) made the whole day tiring. But despite the challenges, we ended up having a great time! I think more the setbacks, more it gives you opportunities to say screw it all, let’s roam around anyway!!

Day 2 was shorter than Day 1, but it became quite intolerable & we ended up more tired than the day before. We almost caved about not going out for dinner. But, since it was our last day in Jaipur, we had to go out! We had one disappointing meal on the last night at Peacock Rooftop restaurant.


Until next time,

Saturday, 24 August 2019

What to Explore – Day 1. (Jaipur Journals, Part 2)









Hi All! Hope you all are in the groove after reading the first part of my Jaipur journals! Let’s hit the road, because Day 2 is long, tiring but full of adventures! Just like the Day 2 of our trip, this post is going to me long, so stay with me & you’ll have some fun!

Day 2 began early for us. We were supposed to head out at 8:30 AM, but got half an hour delayed. Within no time, we were on the road. On Day 2, we covered Jalmahal Palace, Amer Palace, Panna Meena ka Kund, Royal Gatore & Nahargarh Fort.

The highlight of the day was Amer Palace which is timelessly beautiful.










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~~JALMAHAL PALACE~~
You can visit Jalmahal Palace on the way to Amer Fort. As the name suggests, it is situated in a lake & is very picturesque. No one is allowed to go inside the Palace with the exception of VVIP! The road that’s in front of the lake is broad. You can take a walk there on a nice breezy evening with a stunning sight in front of your eyes. This whole setting took me back to the evening I spent in front of Fateh Sagar Lake in Udaipur. When it comes to lakes or oceans or beaches, a switch in me immediately turns on making me incredibly happy & I’m so grateful for that! Check out a few photos from the viewing point of Jalmahal Palace.


Other Details:
·        15 minutes from City Palace.
·        Open from 6 AM to 6 PM.
·        No Entry Fees.
·        Takes 20-30 minutes to explore.


~~AMER PALACE~~
Viewing Jalmahal Palace put us in a good mood & we were looking forward to the most awaited part of the trip – Amer Palace! We took a guide for this short tour, so now I am very knowledgeable on this. Amer Village has Amer Palace which can be viewed by tourists & also Amer Fort which is accessible only to locals. Naturally, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to view Amer Fort which had been a dream for me. Nevertheless, Amer Palace didn’t disappoint.

Amer village is more than 1000 years old, whereas Amer Palace is around 400 years old. Stunned? So were we! Apparently, Amer village is also the town of Princess Jodha. It has 365 temples; one for every day. The people in this village work at home & specialize in production of clothing. They make blankets, dresses, sarees & are paid by the Government for this. Even though it seems like a little sad town, it is self- efficient which I really liked. Never judge by appearances!

There are 2 entries to the Amer Palace. Since we were in the car, we went by the back gate, which earlier was the entrance for the common public. Fitting. The front entrance was for the royal family which now was used to bring in foreigners mounted on royal elephants. Again, fitting. If you want to enter through the front gate, you will have to climb a LOT OF STEPS. If you’re not fit enough to do that, just take the back gate, like the common public.

There is also a view of the garden in the center, fort at the top & royal elephants carrying the tourists at the bottom. Even the viewing point is a perfect spot to click pictures! Check it out!


Once you enter the main area, you will be mesmerized with the view! After the entry, we saw Diwan-e-Aam in the front & Diwan-e-Khaas on the right. And, as the name suggests, Diwan-e-Khaas was breathtakingly beautiful. You just cannot take your eyes off of it for 10 whole minutes. Words cannot do it justice, so check it out below!




Other Details:
·        20 minutes from City Palace.
·        Open from 9 AM to 5 PM.
·        Entry Fees Rs. 100 per person.
·        Takes 1.5-2 hours to explore.
·        Take a Guide.
~~SHEESH MAHAL~~
Sheesh Mahal is a mini Mahal inside Amer Palace & oh so fantastic! You can only imagine how pretty a palace of mirrors will look like! You have to see it to believe it. There is an equally romantic story behind Sheesh Mahal. In the olden times, the Queen wasn’t allowed to sleep in the open area where she could look at the stars in the sky. So, the then King asked to make what was the Sheesh Mahal. Since it is built with mirrors, stone & glass, the reflection of several candles makes it look like a beautiful starry night. Just like the Queen wished for. It is quite the remarkable spot!

Though the entry inside the Mahal is not permitted, you can view it from the outside & still be amazed by its extravaganza. This spot is also used in many Bollywood movies! This was easily the most attractive spot in Amer Palace.



Just opposite the Queen’s Sheesh Mahal is the Sukh Niwas or Sukh Mandir where the King & Queen used to relax. It is made with sandalwood & ivory. It’s all white & looks amazing. In between these two rooms is the garden.


After the Amer Palace tour, if you opt for the Guide, he will take you to the shopping centre. They showed us a small demo of how authentic their clothes are. They make colours from all natural things, like fruits & vegetables. So, the colour of the cloth doesn’t change. It can be easily washed. It was quite the marketing if you ask me. Here you can buy razai (blankets), sarees, dress materials, kurtas, jwellery, gems & you also get a free palmistry reading! Most of the things the palmist told me were true! I was blown away by the accuracy.

~~PANNA MEENA KA KUND~~
Amer Palace tour + shopping took a lot of time. It was already close to 1.30 PM when we finished the shopping spree, with one more place to cover before lunch. We hurried to the next stop which was Panna Meena ka Kund aka the Step Wall. Before I describe this place, I want to give a BIG KUDOS to all the photographers who are also blessed with Photoshop skills. The kind of images I had seen & the kind of actual image I saw was leaps & bounds different from each other. Luckily, since there wasn’t much to view here, we were out of the place in less than 10 minutes. We soon headed to Samode Haveli for lunch. (More on this later.)

Other Details:
·        5 minutes from Amer Palace / 25 minutes from City Palace.
·        Open from 7 AM to 6 PM.
·        No Entry Fees.
·        Takes 15-20 minutes to explore.

~~ROYAL GATORE~~
Our lavish lunch lasted till 3:30 PM, after which we had to hurry to cover the remaining 2 spots. First we went to the Royal Gatore aka Gatore ki Chhatriyaan. I knew from the moment I had seen its photos that I wasn’t going to miss on this spot. It was similar to Udaipur’s Ahar Cenotaphs. It’s the resting place of all the Kings. Because of lack of time, we stayed there only for about 20 minutes & then headed to Nahargarh Fort. Even in that short period, we managed to click Instagram worthy photos!


Other Details:
·        15 minutes from City Palace.
·        Open from 10 AM to 5 PM.
·        Entry Fees – Rs. 30 per person.
·        Takes 40-50 minutes to explore.

~~NAHARGARH FORT~~
After the hurried sightseeing at Gatore, we rushed to Nahargarh fort. This fort is quite a famous one in Jaipur. It’s at the topmost point, which means there were a lot of twists & turns on the road till the top. And in such a situation, my stomach always takes a turn for the worse. More so, we went there right after lunch, so there was a high risk. After reaching the top, in that squeamish state, both of us went to explore Nahargarh fort, so none of us were that excited. We roamed around a bit & saw nothing of fascination. The fort is famous for the views it has to offer. This I can agree on. It provided bird’s eye view of the Pink City. Apart from this, there was nothing to it.


Other Details:
·        35 minutes from City Palace.
·        Open from 10 AM to 5 PM.
·        Entry Fees – Rs. 100.
·        Takes 30-45 minutes to explore.
·        Special for Sunsets.




6 spots & 9 hours later, we were almost done for the day. It was the most eventful day in Jaipur. I never thought we would be able to cover so much in just one day. Sure, it was long & exhausting, but the fun we had! Now that I look back, I think this was my most favourite day in the Pink City. More importantly, the day hadn’t ended with sight-seeing. Another significant thing was pending. Dinner at Bar Palladio. More on this later!

I hope you enjoyed the photos, because we had to go to great lengths to click them. From standing in queues to risking our phones to rain to standing in weird poses & what not! If I had to quote this day, the word would be ‘EVENTFUL’’. I hope to have more & more of such days in my life!



Until next time,


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