Last Friday afternoon, a colleague and I jumped on a short hour long flight from Mumbai, India and headed north to the city of Jaipur for a weekend of exploration and rest. We had heard exciting stories from others about incredible shopping, elephant rides, and a beautiful hotel that was previously a Maharaja’s residence. That is all it took and we were in. Here is a rundown of what we did and some helpful tips to consider if you are planning a visit.
From the start, our itinerary was very precise and focused. On Saturday we wanted to see a few sights, ride an elephant, and end the day with some shopping. As for Sunday, we wanted to relax all day in a beautiful spa before heading to the airport for work on Monday. This made the trip very easy to plan.
In terms of the tourist spots to see, we finally decided to visit the Amber Fort – which in my opinion is the jewel of the city and allows you to ride up on an elephant if you wish- the astronomical architecture sight of Jantar Mantar, the City Palace, and the cemetery of the Maharajas called the Royal Gaitor. My favorites were the Fort and surprisingly the Royal Gaitor. After surviving the extremely aggressive swarms of peddlers at the Fort, the peaceful tranquility of the cemetery was very welcome.
Our two shopping excursions were chosen by our city guide, a great company called Janu Private Tours, who I found on the website TRIPADVISOR.COM. Our only request was that the experience be as haggle free as possible. That meant that the famous bazaars of Jaipur were out. The first stop was a fabulous textile shop, whose name I didn’t catch, where we bought items such as scarves, bedding, and tablecloths at very reasonable prices ranging from $14 USD to $125 for more luxurious silk or pashmina blends. Our day ended at a wholesale jewelry store called Shivam Gems N Jewellery, where I bought a gorgeous silver and turquoise necklace for approximately $250 USD.
Sunday was spent at the Jiva Spa in the Rambagh Palace hotel, which is the most luxurious spa experience I have ever had. The hotel graciously allowed us to book spa treatments with them even though it is usually only open to hotel guests. Since the month of May is off season and the fact that they had pitty on two American tourists far away from home, we were able to get in. The spa treatments offered were wide in variety and very reasonably priced. My 90 minute facial and 60 minute pedicure totaled $187 USD including a 20% tip.
If you ever find yourself in Jaipur, I highly recommend staying at the Rambagh Palace hotel if you can afford it. It is truly a luxurious oasis to behold in the middle of a bustling and chaotic city. The dozens of peacocks meandering on the grounds adds a touch of magic that is hard to describe. All in all, it was the perfect end to a great weekend.
As always, I wish you the happiest of travels!