To think of it, Jaipur wasn’t my priority when it comes to travelling in India. Reason – I am not a love-a-monument type person. But then, you can’t do anything for people bitten with travel bug.
Thus, I packed my bags, took a Volvo bus from Delhi to Jaipur and headed off for another weekend away from home.
And now, I thank my stars for doing so. When you talk of India, Jaipur simply can’t be left behind, and I know the reasons now.
Reaching Jaipur in the wee hours of morning, I took a quick nap for some 40 minutes, before my driver and guide called me up. Driving out of the hotel, I didn’t knew the wonders that awaited me. Jaipur’s magic begun to work on me, the second we took the road to Amber Fort. Watching in awe, the Great Wall of Jaipur, which snaked around the surrounding hills, I felt like giving a miss to the Great Wall of China. Apparently, this one connected the three most important forts – Amber, Jaigarh and Nahargarh – to ease Jaipur royals in commuting and conveying messages.
And now, as I write that my heart skipped a breath when I caught the first glimpse of Fort Amber, it couldn’t have been truer. Perched atop a hill, it was a sight to behold. Never before has the royal legacy of India confounded me like this. As I stepped into the huge huge gateway of Amber, I could feel an air of royalty swishing around me. Abuzz with travellers, this colossal structure made me feel small! As I took stairs to its terrace, high-looming walls that were at least 3 feet thick, I was nothing less than awed.
Carvings, all over the walls, roofs, doors and almost everywhere are examples of the finest of craftsmanship that I have seen in my travels. Thankfully and surprisingly, the royal garden inside this fort was well-maintained. Coming to think of it, the Indian government has done a wonderful job in keeping Jaipur the way it should be.
As I reached the terrace, there were hills to hold my gaze on one side, and a lake at the foot of the towering fort, with a garden that could have only been a work of royals. My driver told me that this garden by the Maotha lake was tried to cultivate saffron (kesar) by Raja Maan Singh, though his attempts failed because of typically intense Jaipur summers.
As I stood on the parapet of Amber Fort, I couldn’t help but imagine myself as a queen, taking in the view of her country, standing proudly to see it prosper under her gaze. I would have stayed there for the entire day, but being short of time I moved on, listening to the haunting tune of bin of two snake charmers, who were trying to earn some bucks with an art that is fast on its way to extinction.
I was desperately hungry by the time we came down to the main road, asking my driver to take me to some place where I can have the best of Rajasthani food. Obliging with my wish, and giving me an empathic grin, he drove me straight to a restaurant, named Rainbow! Taking in its average plush look, I was apprehensive that it might be a place for burgers, pizzas and all, but not Rajasthani delicacies. Surprisingly, they had some sumptuous delights on offer!
I ordered a whole hell lot of daal, baati, choorma, papad, raita and everything that falls under the heading of rajasthani delicacies. And God, I found you right there in my plate, as I gorged on ghee-oozing, mouth-watering food!
To think of it, I could have killed anyone for more of that choorma, but my appetite was stretched by the time I had finished half of my food, thaali to be precise.