Jaipur, the city of the royal Rajputs, enchants you as Archisha takes you on a tour through its majestic forts and palaces.
I was awakened by a noise in the drawing room.
“It is 3rd January!”
I nearly shouted when I saw the calendar. It was the day I was going to Jaipur for the first time.
I was very excited and nearly slipped when I reached the drawing room. I saw my Mom checking our suitcases and my Dad shouting, “Buck up Archisha! Change your clothes fast!”
Next Dad enquired about the suitcases that my Mom was packing, “Is everything ready?”
We planned to leave at 7 a.m. but we were an hour late. There has never been a single instance when we have left home on time.
I had just come out dressed in casuals for the journey, when the door bell rang. It was the driver at the door. “Sir, the car is here.”
Dad helped him put the luggage in the car and we started our journey. Soon we had crossed Delhi and reached Haryana.
I got a little bored and took out my notepad to scribble. A little while later we had some tea and light breakfast in a little shop nearby. We started our journey again.
I was feeling sleepy, so I had a short nap.
When I awoke I saw that we had just passed Haryana and reached Rajasthan.
“Look Archisha! Camels! I was not expecting them so early,” my Mom said.
It was true. There were five camels sitting in a circle and in the middle was their owner, fondling them. Time passed slowly.
We reached our hotel at 2:15PM and were escorted to our room.
I leaped into the comfortable bed. Dad ordered lunch which was scrumptious especially a particular dish named aloo angarey, which was so delicious that we ended up ordering it for the entire two-day stay there in the hotel.
After lunch, we planned to visit a place called Chokhi Dhaani meaning a good house or a fine hamlet. I enjoyed the folk dance and music programmes by the local artisans there.
There was a puppet show, elephant and camel rides, swings and other games too. We had our dinner there as well. The food was good and had dollops of fresh ghee in everything.
We reached our hotel and had a good night’s sleep.
The next day was bright and sunny. I began to scribble while Mom and Dad got ready and chalked out the plan for the day. We had our breakfast in our room and set off for the journey.
“Where are we going?”I asked. My Mom answered, “To Birla Mandir”.
After a while, we reached our destination. The temple was made of white marble and was looking magnificent. The idols of Lord Krishna and Radha were nicely made and were looking splendid.
Jal Mahal, Palace in Water
After a while we again hopped into the car. Jaipur also called ‘Pink City’ has many forts and Palaces. Enroute to Amer Fort we saw Jal Mahal which was half submerged in water.
The lake was home to many birds that were nesting. A huge pig with its litter also caught my attention. The piglets were really cute.
Magnificent Amer Fort
We later reached Amer Fort. King Mansingh had built it and it was very huge.
A guide explained the history and the glorious past of the fort. It had the King`s meeting place, living quarters of King & his several Queens.
There was a ramp built for the Queen as she used to wear so many gold ornaments that she had to use a wheelchair to move around the Palace.
There were water channels and several windows and passageways for ventilation that made the rooms cool during Rajasthan’s searing hot weather. An area was specially made using several mirrors (Sheesh Mahal) and as the guide told us, it made the room warm in winters due to reflection of source of light.
There was a tunnel that connected Amer Fort to Jaigarh Fort. Only some portion of it was open and dimly lit which made me very scared. I was lost in the days of the kings and imagined the fort in many colours in the past. We bid adieu to our tour guide who suggested we visit Nahargarh Fort.
Great Views of the Nahargarh Fort
Our car went through many winding roads, on the Aravalli hills, to reach the fort. Nahargarh Fort was smaller than Amer Fort. It was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. On reaching the place we first feasted our eyes on the large canons and beautiful paintings that were made by natural colours.
When we entered the fort we saw a great view from the windows. The thing that disturbed me was that people had written their names on walls and defaced them. The windows were cracked and needed mending.
The fort provided a splendid view of Jaipur city. This fort too was connected to the Jaigarh Fort by its extended walls that made me wonder how much labour, money and strategic planning went into making of these magnificent forts and palaces.
Gigantic Cannon of Jaigarh Fort
Our last destination of the day was Jaigarh Fort, built by Raja Mansingh. It had a gigantic cannon called Jaivaan. The guard sitting at the entry gate of the compound where the Jaivaan was mounted atop a giant wheeled pedestal told about its history. It was fired only once and caused a lot of destruction. The cannonball landed in Chakshu, about 22 km. away, which is a pond now.
We saw the performances by the dancers in colourful costumes and went to a small museum. In the museum we saw pictures of many kings that ruled Jaipur.
We even saw ancient weapons, containers, cannons and armours. There were parchments of the kings and blue prints for town planning. After sundown we headed back to the hotel. We had our dinner and slept. I dreamt of all the things I was going to tell my friends about this trip.
Next day we left early in the morning for Delhi. We had our breakfast in a restaurant called ‘Havelli’. We reached our home in time for lunch prepared by my grandmother. It was a memorable trip.
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