When I heard that my good friend is getting married in Jaipur I was happy for him and selfishly, for me. I’ve always wanted to visit Jaipur. I had heard so much about it. I quickly started making plans with my five member gang of friends. “Wolf pack” we had named our group on whatsapp. Nope. Half of them were unavailable and the other half… those lazy bastards refused to move their butts. It’s too far away man, they said. So, reluctantly I decided to be the lone wolf.
Jaipur was unlike anything I had imagined about it. The weather was very cool and breezy. The streets were clean. The traffic was less. The people, extremely friendly.
Day 1 – A wicked ride and royalty
I only had her for three days. Indians go crazy for this beauty. I never understood the craze and hype around her. Now I do. Oh boy, I have never had the experience of people feeling envious about me before. I had multiple instances where strangers asked me either how she felt or what’s her price or what I do for a living to own her. Couple of guys on a bike signaled me to pull over and asked me the same. From far away, I saw a tourist guide explaining something to a foreigner by pointing at her. Glances, dozens of them, everywhere I went. Thanks to WickedRide I got to rent this 500cc 220Kg gas guzzling beauty, often called the Harley Davidson of India. I had never rode a Royal Enfield Bullet before. I was worried about the weight and power of the motorcycle. Turned out to be surprisingly easy to handle and a lot of fun!
I started the day by visiting the City Palace. The colors and the architecture of this place is splendid. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
The Diwan-I-Khas is the private hall of the Maharaja. Walk around inside to see a small display of arms and the world’s largest silver vessels.
Then there is the Saba Nivas, the public hall. Photography was prohibited in the Saba Nivas. Imagine a scene from a Bollywood movie where a king sitting on his throne, surrounded by his ministers, is addressing the public. That’s what the place looked like. 😀
The Mubarak Mahal is like a museum where you can see the royal clothes worn by the kings – lots of beautiful artwork and designs on them.
Then there is this huge armory with hundreds of guns and knives. I have never seen anything like this before. That was pretty cool.
Had the Rajasthani thali for lunch from a nearby restaurant. Pretty good.
Hawa Mahal (“Palace of Winds”)
History has it that this palace was built so that the women can observe the outside world through its windows, while being unseen.
This place is basically a bunch of astronomical instruments constructed more than 250 years ago. They are very precise in their measurements because they are huge. If you visit this place, remember to get a guide who can explain the various instruments to you.
I was pretty wiped out when I came back to the hotel and ended the day with two bottles of beer and chicken tacos from a nearby restaurant while watching Mad Max on the hotel tv. The simple pleasures in life. 🙂
Day 2 – Amer Palace and Jaigarh fort
Amer palace is the best thing ever. Seriously, its a must visit if you are in Jaipur. The architecture of the place, the engravings on the walls, the gardens inside the palace and outside it – screams royalty.
Jaigarh fort is situated just next to Amer fort and you can just walk from Amer fort to reach it. It has a old canon foundry and a small museum to display the tools that were used in the foundry. There is an armory and a museum dedicated to the Maharaja. It also has a great view of the city from the top.
Ended the day by watching the midnight show of Deadpool in an almost empty theater at the world trade park mall.
Day 3 – A Rajasthani wedding and a memorable ride
My friend’s wedding was 80 kilometers away from Jaipur. It was time to see what the bike was capable of! 🙂 I pushed it to its maximum speed on the NH11. 110 kmph! Except from the mildly annoying vibration I got from the handlebars, the ride was amazingly smooth.
This was my first north-Indian wedding. Weddings in the north are so different from weddings in the south. The celebrations – dancing and drinking seem to be the norm in the north while in south-Indian weddings, celebrations are more subtle and how do I say this… conservative.
My friend’s family is awesome. They were extremely friendly and kept me company throughout the wedding. We had fun miming and explaining things in English as I don’t know their language. They patiently explained every bit of the wedding ritual to me. I never felt out of place. The people here are friendly. And the food was great too.
Left the wedding at 00:30 in the night as I had the early morning flight back home (yes, the wedding party was still on!). The chill wind had turned to biting cold. The two pegs of whiskey I drank at the wedding did not help much. Not to mention there were no lights on the streets or the highway. So I had to slow down considerably. I was looking at a three hour ride back to the hotel.
Enter stranger! This guy comes out of nowhere and asks for a ride. He tells me that his place is in the same direction I was heading (on the way to Jaipur) and he can show me a shortcut to reach the highway.
I know I shouldn’t be prejudiced or judge people. But the situation was that I didn’t know the language or the place. I was skeptic. But I thought what the hell, if push comes to shove, and if this guy was a serial killer or something, I can defend myself.
I rode with him for twenty minutes. When we stopped we were in the entrance of a wedding. The guy introduced himself as Yadvinder Tiwari. Thanked me profusely and told me that it was his sister’s wedding. He invited me in for some snacks and I couldn’t refuse. I shamelessly gulped two cups of coffee and smoked a couple of cigarettes. We chatted for fifteen minutes and he told me that he owns a marble business in Jaipur and asked me all about my work and the city. We parted exchanging phone numbers. Did I mention that people here are friendly? 🙂
I wish I had a couple more days. I wanted to visit the haunted town of Bhangarh. Maybe next time.