Facebook's awkward Time-hop has been reminding me of some of my favorite travels, and this time it’s Jaipur India! I can’t believe I didn’t share more from my solo travels in this city, but here are some of the highlights + a few travel tips.
I started out downtown at the City Palace and quickly started fell in love. The colors, textures, wall paintings...just all of it. The weather was also a dream compared to Hyderabad, where I had been the previous weeks.
THE CITY PALACE
The City Palace felt like a great place to start exploring the "Pink City".
PROS: It was in the center of town, there were plenty of tourists around to make you feel comfortable, (if that’s your thing) and it even had an adorable gift shop.
Entrance Fee: 300 RS
Photo Fee: 200 RS (India loves this)
Hours: 10:30am - 5:00pm
Existing your taxi or walking into the Palace entrance can be a little stressful. That’s where all the taxi drivers, vendors and potential pocket grabbers are hanging out. Nothing to worry about, I only say that so you’re aware and keep your belongings in check. (Hence, enjoy being INSIDE the walls)
Take it slow. Take a seat along the edge of the wall or on the benches.
Bring a book or notebook and relax inside the walls.
Seriously check out the gift shop, it was my favorite. It was slightly overpriced, but I purchased a block printed cotton scarf I cherish.
After my first few hours exploring the City Palace, I walked or should I say, played real life Frogger as I dodged through the entrance. (above)
Before I knew it, I was in the middle of downtown Jaipur surrounded by endless pink and street vendors. I was also looking up at the most famous palace of Jaipur, the Hawa Mahal. Also, called the Palace of Winds.
Entrance Fee: 50 RS
Hours: 9:00am - 4:30pm
**free entrance on Mondays & closed on Fridays.
Fun Fact: Why is it pink? In 1876 they painted the city pink to welcome the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII and decided to keep it that way. The entire city is covered in it!
If you're not used to a market, maybe take this in small doses. I only found myself wishing I didn't have my camera to draw more attention, (life of a photographer) but that's only because I looooved everything in the market. I wanted to buy EVERYTHING and the vendors were too busy asking where my husband was, if I voted for Donald Trump, and how much my camera cost.
So I didn't buy anything, just wandered around taking portraits and kept eyeing the traditional block printing and textures of the Rajasthan state.
MARKET TRAVEL TIP:
- Travel Light, you will enjoy it more and be less worried.
- Have fun and be nice!
- Know you can walk away at any point, even with a smile on your face.
- It's okay to barter, but again, I like to do this with kindness and a good laugh.
- Be wary of people asking you to follow them, it doesn't always end up well...I was lucky. Read more here.
The Chand Baori, (below) a stepwell build over a thousand years ago. The stepwell has 3,500 narrow steps arranged in perfect symmetry that take you to the bottom of the well, but you are no longer allowed to walk down it.
I made this stop on my way to The Taj Mahal. (Read about my sunrise/sunset trip to the Taj Mahal)
Entrance Fee: Free
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm
ALBERT HALL MUSEUM
Albert Hall Museum (below) was a stop I made after I got a full sleeve of henna and I was making a total mess as I tried to snap a few photos.
Entrance Fee: 150 IRS
Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm
The drive to Nahargarh Fort was entertaining enough as we drove past elephants and camels, and dodged crazy driving. We then started the drive up the hills surrounding Jaipur and my driver was the best letting me stop to take a few photos of the view. Again, the humor of how I communicated these ideas should had been documented.
At the Fort entrance I paid to have my taxi driver stay. It doesn't cost that much more and I wanted to stay still sunset, but if you went during the day you could just do a drop-off. There are plenty of Rickshaws or cabs waiting.
ENTRANCE FEE: 50 RS
HOURS: 9:30am - 5:30pm
Once inside the fort walls, I was in heaven. I explored and explored. I walked up tiny staircases, looked through little windows, and sat on marble floors. All wondering why everything was so...tiny?
I did get chased by a monkey and a security guard had to lift me over a wall to save me from monkey rabies. No joke.
So DO NOT stare at the monkey's, I think they take it personally.
I stayed here till sunset and loved every second of it. I wasn't allowed to use a tripod, (most historical places in India do not allow them) so I headed to the exterior walls.
I found a safe spot away from monkeys and started my time-lapse of the sunset.
The lighting hitting the hills of Jaipur was everything and my travel heart was full. The only thing that could pull me from that view was knowing I was going to find an epic Indian dinner as soon as I got back into town.
On the drive back my driver stopped to let me get a photo of the Jal Mahal and although it was madness, it was beautiful! It was hard to stop the car and street vendors were set up like a block-aid against the water view. So I set up for one long exposure and that was it!
I left the Pink Jaipur City only wishing I could have seen more. There was just so much magic hiding beneath the unique city's chaos and I felt like I only got a glimpse of it!
If you enjoyed reading this, please leave some love below!
Also, let me know if you're ever interested in traveling to Jaipur. As a woman that travels a lot solo, I am a strong advocate for women feeling empowered to travel the world - with or without a companion. So if you're worried about planning your first solo trip, or traveling to India, please email me! I would love to chat!
xo - Tara