Happy New Year guys 😀 !!! I hope all of you have a fantastic year ahead filled with bucket loads of laughter and happiness all year round.
New Years was pretty special for me and my husband this year because, unlike last year when we were still recovering from all the wedding madness, this time we were all set to ring in the new years. The year was filled with many firsts, including us moving into a new apartment…and I even got the holiday decor thing done.
So naturally we were super excited about planning out a new years celebration. Initially we thought of staying in and having a house party, but then with such an amazing winter we thought lets just go out somewhere. I searched online checked out places, *prices*, availability and distance from Gurgaon…and Jaipur just fit perfectly in the plan.
Just around 225 kms from Gurgaon, google maps said it would take us hardly 4.5 hours to reach our destination. Perfect. We decided we would start off early on Saturday morning and come back late Sunday evening. The plan was to drive to our destination, so on Friday evening I pretty much packed all the picnic essentials like sandwiches, chocolates, all snacky items and updated my phone with all the latest travel songs. We were now all set to go.
Saturday morning, I put my alarm to ring at 6:00 am. By the time I finally stopped the alarm from snoozing, it was close to 7:30 am. I looked outside my bedroom window, and bam…I couldn’t see anything further from my balcony railings. My eyes just popped open. SHIT !
The fog was insane on Saturday. Nothing could be seen. I ran outside to the hall to take a look on the other side, and there was no view whatsoever. Everything was a big blur.
There was nothing really that one could do, so I went back to sleep. Got up around 10 am, and the sight was well, somewhat better…but definitely not safe enough to start driving on the highway. We really thought that our plan was doomed, and the best alternative would be to book super expensive yet bad seat tickets to Dangal.
But this was my new years eve…and I was not going to give up. So we waited, and finally decided to get out of the house by 11:30 am. Initially the plan was to reach Jaipur by this time, but that was just not going to be the case. The road to Jaipur was pretty straightforward, there were few bumps on the way, some traffic here and there, but we still managed to reach the city border by 3:45pm. In the car while driving we had changed our plans, and now the plan was to finish off all the smaller attractions inside the city today and do Amer Palace and the forts surrounding the palace on Sunday morning.
We decided to sit for the light and sound show in Amer in the evening. The first show was scheduled at 6:30pm and from the looks of it, we had plenty a time to reach our venue. We drove towards the hotel first all along taking the help of Google Maps.
But city is a city, and we ended up in the old city roads – the pink city lanes…and it reminded me of Chandni Chowk. Like mirror image. Seriously, the crowd, those battery autos, and colorful lanes…we really were in Chandni Chowk of Jaipur. It took us forever to get out of those gallies…by the time we found our hotel, it was 5:40pm !
The distance between the hotel and Amer Fort was around 12kms or so, we knew there was no way in hell we would reach on time for the 6:30pm show. Instead we decided to go for the 7:30pm hindi light and sound show. It was tiring for sure. Travelling non stop 6 hours straight, but this was our day, and having the right company really makes a big difference.
The light and sound show was fantastic. This was not my first time. I had attended a similar show at Golconda Fort earlier. If you’re not a crazy history buff, but still are fascinated by the historical tales, I would highly recommend attending these shows as they give a nice perspective of the place, and its rich history. Its almost as if you can see the story happening right in front of you.
The next morning we were up early to visit the Amer Palace and the forts Jaigarh and Nahargarh. We had an early breakfast and headed straight up to the palace. It was the first day of the new year + it was a sunday, I thought the crowd must be minimum, but boy was I wrong.
Take a guide with you. We paid our guide 200 bucks and picked him up right outside Amer Palace. Not only do you get information (both good and not required kinds), the guide also turns out to be your personal photographer clicking couple pictures which lets face it is not possible with a selfie stick.
+ He showed us the way to the “official” parking spot which otherwise is an impossible find. There are jeeps and elephants which have occupied the entire stretch of parking spot on the ground level. You can use jeeps and elephants to take you to the palace gates, at a cost of 450 and 900 each, but if you find this official parking lane, all you have to do is park your car right outside the palace back gate. So spending that 200 bucks is actually worth it.
The palace opens for public around 10 am. You should be here by no less than 9:30 am. Otherwise the public, and crowd, the cars and the localities will just make your life miserable. We were here by 10:30ish and we could only enter the premises by 11:45am !
If you want to catch a royal experience, may be a nice dinner or lunch at the palace may be to your liking. There is a really nice restaurant right at the heart of the palace which has been outsourced by the govt. to a private caterer. 1135AD. That’s the name of the restaurant. Its got great reviews. So do try it.
Jaipur has a rich culture in block printing. Block printing is done using natural vegetable colors. The old custom was that in the entire of Amer city, daughters were not taught this technique of using natural colors. The reason being once they are married, they would take the skill and move over to the new village/house.
The custom is followed to this date, where daughter in laws are taught this technique only after having a child of 10-12 years. That ways they know their heritage stays within the society.
On a side note, if any of you are planning your PreWedding Photoshoot, and our unsure of the location, then you can give a serious consideration to Amer Palace. The location is stunning, and there are so many nook and corners where you can pose. Yes, you will get a few stares, but who cares. A royal photoshoot that will be !