India – Day 1 – Afternoon Arrival in Jaipur
We hit the road after our brief morning in Delhi. Our coach was a comfortable Toyota mini-van and we’d spend about 16 hours in over four days as we traveled from Delhi to Jaipur, from Jaipur to Agra and Agra back to Delhi.
I had a lot of misconceptions when I first learned about Jaipur, The Pink City, back in 2005. First I imagined it was primarily a historical city. Shortly before flying to India I realized Jaipur has a population of 3 million, so it’s larger than most U.S. cities. I had also mistakenly thought the old city was constructed completely of sandstone thus earning Jaipur the title of The Pink City. Instead the structures are made of wood and plaster and painted a distinct pink. I thought the city was built in the Before Common Era, instead it was built in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II.
What was striking about our entry through the streets of Jaipur was how active stalls were immediately adjacent to building of grandeur stature such as the Veiled Balconies, the palace, and the mosque. The vibrancy of life on the street in the form of vendors, men sitting in chairs, families walking on the side of the street, cows in the street, auto rickshaws, scooters, and bicycles were all a little over whelming. Our driver confidently navigated us to our hotel the Jai Mahal.
The Jai Majal is a former palace which has been extended and converted into a hotel by the Taj Hotels group. What I liked most about the property was the courtyard defined by sandstone lattices and structures. There is a patio to sit at looking over the grounds where Erin and I first sat out to watch the sunset. We had a low key night after our full day. We watched a 30 minute performance of traditional dance and then had dinner in the hotel restaurant Cinnamon.
Cinnamon is ranked in the top 20 restraints in Jaipur by Trip Advisor. We were able to try several Rajastani dishes that were new to us. Laal Maas, a curried lamb, corn meal roti, and a dal with lentils and gram.
It was fascinating to arrive in Jaipur. When I had first learned of the Pink City in 2005 I mistakenly thought it had been founded a thousand years earlier and that all of the buildings were sandstone. You first pass through Amer before arriving in Jaipur. You descend from the mountains into Jaipur with several large sights on the way, the Amer fort, the Amer wall, and the lake palace.