On The QT

Jaipur, India

Blogger: Lauren Lucy Crowley

Our train ride to Jaipur from Delhi was a wonderful experience! We had 1st class tickets booked well in advance and so we had very comfortable seats in a spacious AC carriage! (OntheQT tip: Rail tickets sell out quickly so if you plan to travel by railway these will need to be booked well in advamce!)

Seeing as train stations in India can be a little confusing, there are helpers available for a small fee known as ‘coolies’. These assistants will carry your luggage, ensure you are at the right platform, you hop on the right train, and they even find your seat for you placing your luggage over head! We found them very useful for our first train station experience! It was magnificent to look out the window as the train chugged by and watch the capital city fade away into the countryside.

Arriving into Jaipur was hectic, people bombarded us with their taxi and rickshaw prices from every angle. (OntheQT tip: Ensure you have a train station pick up organised in advance as unfortunately there is an abundance of fake hotels and scams… even fake police to report your misfortunes to!). Our accommodation, (Krishna palace), was very similar to a guest house/ Riad. It was a family home who rented out rooms to guests! The décor was beautiful, the family were exceptionally friendly/helpful, and the views from the rooftop terrace were gorgeous! After a quick bite to eat at the hotels restaurant, (all food was prepared freshly in- house), it was time to explore Jaipur!

As the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is steeped in history. It is often referred to as ‘The Pink City’ due to the pigment of the city buildings! Planned out according to Vastu Shastra, there are gates which enclose the entire city!Jaipur is well known for its highly skilled craftsmen including: block printing, stone carving, miniature painting, blue pottery, ivory carvings, and leather ware. It is very enjoyable to walk around the pink city admiring the buildings and haggling at the city street stalls (particularly nice things for sale around the city palace!). Visitor attractions include: the Hawa Mahal, the Jal Mahal, City Palace, Amber Fort, Nahargarth Fort, Jaigarh Fort, the observatory at Janthar, Tiger Temple, Mantar and GaltaJi Temple. My favourite two attractions were Amber Fort and GaltaJi Temple!

Amber Fort: A world UNESCO heritage site, this fort is set in the picturesque and rugged hills about 11km from Jaipur. It was the ancient citadel of the ruling family before the capital city was shifted down to its current location.

There is an option for visitors to take an elephant ride from the parking area to the fort (1,100 rupees for two people). (OntheQT tip: arrive at approx. 8am if you wish to go on an elephant ride!). As I’ve never actually seen an elephant in real life it was surreal to see so many in one place at one time! They all had beautiful colourful painted designs across their face! Although quite a crowded tourist spot, the views from the fort itself were stunning!

GaltaJi Temple: GaltaJi is an ancient Hindi pilgrimage site in the town of Khania Balaji about 10km from Jaipur. It consists of several temples and sacred kunds (water tanks) in which pilgrims bathe!

As we walked through the grounds, along the pilgrimage we were invited into temples to visit shrines on multiple occasions. Here we were blessed by locals, given a red stained bindi on our foreheads, and a bracelet during an intimate blessing ceremony!

The Ramgopaliji temple is colloquially known as Monkey Temple due to the large tribe of monkeys who live here! They were literally everywhere! I genuinely couldn’t count how many monkeys were present as they ran around us, jumped over our heads, drank from the bathes, peeled their bananas and ate them, and chased each other around.. it was surreal!

As we reached the peak of the pilgrimage, the view of the entire city of Jaipur came visible! It was spectacular from the mountain top! I highly recommend a trip to GaltaJi (Monkey Temple). It is quite different from other attractions in Jaipur – the only cost is a donation you will be asked to make to the upkeep of the temples! (OntheQT tip you may also be charged a fee a 50 rupees for the use of your camera!)

I hope you enjoy your trip to Jaipur, if you have any questions be sure to e-mail me at: OntheQT.ie@gmail.com, or Lauren@ontheqt.ie! Be sure to follow our live updates on snapchat (username: ontheqtie), and our daily updates on Facebook and Instagram!

Namaste, Lauren x x

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