On the other side of the phone was Srestha. A friend, who is difficult to be described, charming and careless, beautiful and intense, cute and a little confused.
“Manish, I just wanted to know if you can come along to Jaipur. We are leaving on Saturday early morning. Please say Yes”.
I answered I’ll try my best. Finally I managed to join. But little did I know that the trip will actually add to one of my fondest memories so far.
First rays of the morning fell on the car, as we started at 5.45 AM.
Srestha remained half-asleep for about an hour in the car. And then she began. Within next one hour, I knew about her likes and dislikes, the place she has traveled, those she could not travel and is planning to travel, things to buy and bargain, specialty of jaipur and of perhaps 3-4 such cities in India, her Mom and Dad, her work and then about Sarees, Jewelries in Rajasthan, West Bengal and Karnataka etc.
I watched her talk. She was happy and excited. Thank God, I could come with her.
Words lost their meaning as we moved ahead mesmerized with approaching range of Aravalies.
We picked up Jantar Manar as our first place to visit. Easily one of the master pieces from our history of astronomy, where all the watches are still working precisely.
We learnt how two persons born in within same sun-sign may have totally different personality and preference.
First impression was made. And that was great.
Around 4.30 PM, we checked in Hotel Teez, a typical RTDC hotel.
We found the hotel quite reasonable (Tariff around 1200 per day), had good food and well-mannered staff. We came out of our rooms by 5 PM for shopping at Jauhri Bazar.
Jauhri Bazar is easily a heaven for local Rajasthani products, jewelry and clothes. Please bargain (~40-50% of price asked).
We both tried to apply our negotiation skills at Jauhri Bazar. We ensured we were not cheated on price or quality of the goods. But no further details please.
This place can only be felt and cannot be explained. No place in India beats this place in food and fun.
We had camel ride, chukkad tea and typical rajasthani food (dal bati, gattay ki sabzi etc, all offered with entrance ticket price). Please don’t miss this food. You'll never forget that taste and experience.
Sunday morning started with Moti Doongri temple (Lord Ganesha). We found the temple clean, quiet and soothing. We sat there for a few minutes before starting for palace museum.
While coming back we got chance to play with pigeons. The museum is wonderful and full of the history and belongings of various rulers of Jaipur till date.
We then started towards the forts. En route we stopped at Hawa Mahal and Jal Mahal.
Rajasthan perhaps has some of the best forts in India. The best part is RTDC and the Government do take care of forts security and cleanliness.
We started with Nahargarh fort..
and finally the Amber fort..
...and the sheesh mahal..the best...this is inside the Amber fort and shows the real 'tashan' of the rulers of jaipur.