Layover in Jaipur: A Taste of Royalty
One of the perks for which I became a pilot is that I get to travel around the world. I am an anthropologist and a travel enthusiast at heart, and I love exploring new places, cultures, cuisines, and people. Even if I have just a one-day layover, I make it a point to explore at least a few attractions of the city I am in. Layover in Jaipur have been exceptionally enjoyable.
I was flattered by CrewLounge’s invitation to write about my travel experiences. I’d like share my experiences of Jaipur, also known as ‘The Pink City!’
I am a history buff, and Jaipur is a paradise for people like me. Its rich cultural heritage will make you want more every time you grab a bite of it. So, while I got the chance, I explored some of the city’s most attractive destinations that quenched my wanderlust.
Jaipur is not a city that you can explore in one day. You need multiple layover in Jaipur to truly explore, but even so, exploring one destination at a time, I got a fantastic glimpse into the rich Rajput heritage of one of the world’s most sought-after tourist cities.
If you want to know the crux of the city, it can be summed up in one word – Palatial! Every hotel, every home, every building in the city is a palace or, as the locals call it, a “Haveli.” When you are in Jaipur, you instantly feel like royalty! And royalty is embedded in almost everything you will find here, be it the food, the mannerisms, the forts, the local attire, or simply anything.
The city gets its nickname because most of the buildings and architecture here is made from red or pink sandstone. It feels divine when you walk into the hustling and bustling market streets full of joy and laughter.
If you are a foodie like me, make sure you have the local “Laal Maas” or red meat delicacies. However, keep one meal reserved for the authentic Rajasthani “thali,” a platter comprising innumerable, unimaginable yet, delicious, and served with love vegetarian and non-vegetarian preparations.
Don’t get boggled by the diversity the city has to offer; I will recount and sum up all my experiences so the next time you fly into this city, you have a pre-cooked itinerary at your disposal.
Our crew usually stays in the palatial hotel Jai Mahal Palace. On our first layover in Jaipur, as we had only one day at our disposal, we went to the most renowned ‘Amber Fort.’ We wanted to make the most of my time, so my accommodating receptionist booked me a full-day taxi via the concierge.
The fort is slightly on the outskirts of the city, but it is worth your while. It took us around 30 minutes to reach the place, but when I saw the grandeur, I couldn’t believe my eyes! The history buff in me took the forefront. I grabbed the audio headset and recording from the palace entrance and wandered through the palace listening to its remarkable history.
The colossal fort onlooking the Maota Lake is an amalgamation of Mughal and Rajput architecture. It is constructed using white marble and the signature sandstone, and each room in the palace showcases magnificent architecture. One of my favorite parts of the fort was the “Sheesh Mahal,” the Palace of Glass, where the walls had murals and artwork made from tiny glass particles. You could even see a glimpse of yourself in these. The fort is full of large open courtyards, tall and carved gateways, and lush greenery. It is a never-to-miss destination when you are in Jaipur.
In fact, every time I have the JAI layover, I make it a point to visit the fort once, to see the Light and Sound Show hosted in the evenings. It is a majestic art form, where you listen to a famous story from the Rajput and Mughal history, narrated by displaying striking colorful lights on the fort wall that make the story come alive.
As we were at the fort till the end of the day, we thought of grabbing the famous Laal Maas there itself. And we were lucky! Within the fort, we ate at the 1135 AD restaurant. It is the epitome of a royal meal in a regal setting. The glittering chandelier and the silver wear make you feel no less than a royal. And then you are served the Laal Maas, i.e., Lamb cooked in chilies. You feel like if there was food heaven in the world, it is at Amber Fort!
On your way to Amber Fort, you really need to stop at Jal Mahal. This palace is situated right in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. I have visited the palace twice now, and I remain awestruck by its beauty.
As the palace is situated in water, you can only reach it via the gondola rides. It is a beautiful photo opportunity that you shouldn’t miss. It will only take an hour from your scheduled visit to Amber, but it will be totally worth it.
On the return journey from Amber, you can catch a glimpse of Jal Mahal while it is beautifully lit and looks like a gem in the middle of the water. It is the most romantic setting I have ever experienced, and as you already know, I travel for my living, so I do visit a lot of places.
Jaipur is full of palaces that resonate with its beautiful history and culture. While you are in Jaipur, you got to visit one palace at a minimum.
They say that food in India is its lifeline. Although it could get a little spicy but it is not something you can’t digest. It is one of the tastiest cuisines I have ever experienced.
On our first layover, we visited the forts, which were in the outskirts, so we couldn’t get enough time to explore the local cuisine. However, we got the chance on our next layover in Jaipur. This time, we made it a point to explore the within city attractions, keeping food at the center of our exploration. And what followed is mentioned below.
We had heard a lot about street food in Jaipur, so we went to one of the most famous markets in the heart of the city called Bapu Bazar.
It is one of the most colorful markets I have ever seen. From turbans to bangles, you get everything, and it is all very pocket-friendly. I had my eye on the famous Jaipur shoes since the last time, so I bought a few pairs and a few Rajasthani dresses to go with them.
The crew even got a few pictures clicked in front of the famous ‘Hava Mahal.’
But when we got hungry, we saw the famous ‘Chat’ vendor at the corner of the market. We went and had some excellent preparations. The sweet tamarind chutney and curd spread on potato patty became my favorite street food.
After roaming the streets, we had lunch at the famous LMB on Johri Bazar Road, within the market, and I can’t forget that meal ever. The potato curry and the lentil were mouth-watering and went so well with the naan bread. They offered us their special ‘Rasmalai’ in dessert, and it simply melted in my mouth.
When our day had been so eventful, we wanted the night to be even better. So we took the word of our hotel receptionist and took a cab to ‘Chokhi Dhani,’ a recreated village with fun events, dances, folk music, authentic food, and much more.
The costumed performers took my breath away the moment we entered the village. The ladies performed the folk dance known as the ‘KalBeliya,’ wherein they danced balancing a pile of six to seven earthen pots simply kept over their heads. It was a fantastic sight. I was at the edge of my seat throughout, thinking the pots would fall.
The performer was so skilled in her craft that she spun really fast, and the pile of pots wouldn’t move an inch. I was mesmerized and even went to check if the pots were glued together, and they weren’t! I couldn’t help exclaiming that what she does is more challenging than flying a plane full of passengers!
The village also offered some enticing folk music. The musicians wore colorful turbans and played a lute-like instrument with only one wire. They played famous folk and Bollywood tunes, and it amazed me to see how talented these musicians were.
Finally, we headed to the main highlight of the village – the food! They had all the options available. They had the traditional Rajasthani Thali and floor sitting and the restaurant for international guests. We wanted to try both, but we thought when in Jaipur, do as the royals do, so we went for the traditional meal.
The thali had close to ten varieties of food, served in the traditional Indian leaf plate and bowls. The best part was that they put a turban on your head and make you feel like a Rajput royal. It is an all-you-can-eat buffet, and you can ask for seconds or thirds of everything you like.
As a pilot, I get to visit these exotic locations that put me on the seventh heaven. When I am looking down from the plane over my next destination, I am thinking about what the city has in store for me. Layover in Jaipur has been a pleasure to land in, and I will definitely want to visit again because, let’s face it, no one can have enough of royalty, and then there is the delicious food awaiting.
Share this article with your friends and colleagues: