Posts tagged: City Palace

India: Wandering Aimlessly In Jaipur

By , May 23, 2011 2:30 am
Colorful Camels

Colorful Camels

Looking for a hotel seems to be getting more and more difficult for us each time we arrive in a new city. As we consult travel guides, the recommended hotels are conveniently located nearby train stations, but there is no other appeal. In Jaipur, we end up walking for hours looking for a midrange accommodation. Is it too much to ask for a clean hotel that is moderately priced in India?

Old Building

Old Building

Exhausted but not willing to give up, I go on my own to look for the best place for my Frenchie. Two hours later, I return with just that. I find a business hotel in Jaipur with a friendly professional staff that is willing to negotiate with me.  It is heaven to step inside a nice hotel with clean white sheets, new bathroom, and free wifi. Maybe the dirtiness in India is starting to get to us after all.

Room @ Hotel Le Grand

Room @ Hotel Le Grand

Bathroom @ Hotel Le Grand

Bathroom @ Hotel Le Grand

In the mornings, we get breakfast at the hotel next door, owned by the same owner. It is nice to have fresh squeezed juice and sit outside by the garden with no agenda. The restaurant employees are mostly Nepalese. It is the first time we meet a Nepalese and I find myself starting at them in adoration. They look Chinese at first, but their other physical features indicate they are not. I talk to them about Nepal and learn that they still live there, but come to India to work because there are more jobs here. They live in India for most of the year and then return to Nepal to visit their family. They are so friendly and wonderful to meet that it makes me want to visit Nepal even more.

Coconut Leaves

Coconut Leaves

In Jaipur, there are a few sightseeing activities to do, but with the recent loss of my friend, I feel no desire to move. Boris gets me out to go do some walking around in the bazaars and visit the Jantar Mantar to see astronomical instruments built by a lover of architecture and astronomy.  Also in this area, there are a few buildings to admire. The pink facade of Hawa Mahal, part of the City Palace, is pretty unique. From afar, you can see Amber Fort.

Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal

Architecture @ Jantar Mantar

Architecture @ Jantar Mantar

Beautiful Street With Shops

Beautiful Street With Shops

My favorite spot turns out to be a popular local destination to hangout and admire the Jal Mahal, a water palace. There are lots of families here and we notice the large number of colorfully dressed females walking together in groups. Our rickshaw driver informs us it is a festival for women and we think he is referring to the Gangaur Festival. I recommend coming straight to this part of the city as the air is better, it is more peaceful, and there are many shops, restaurants, and hotels scattered nearby.

Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal

Single And Married Ladies All Dressed Up Together

Single And Married Ladies All Dressed Up Together

More pictures of Jaipur.

Stairwell @ Jantar Mantar

Stairwell @ Jantar Mantar

Planet Locator @ Jantar Mantar

Planet Locator @ Jantar Mantar

Small Fruit Market

Small Fruit Market

Shopping Alley

Shopping Alley

Rickshaw In Front Of Minaret

Rickshaw In Front Of Minaret

Vegetarian Thali With Dosas

Vegetarian Thali With Dosas

What We Paid: INR USD Euro
– Sleeping train from Jaisalmer to Jaipur 2d class with AC 950/pp 21.10 14.90
– Private double room @ Hotel Le Grand [very nice and clean, AC, Wifi, recommend, bargain hard as prices start at 4500 for a double] 1500/double 33.40 23.50
– Sankalp Taste Of South chain restaurant 145/pp 3.22 2.27
– Mc Donalds Mc Chicken Meal 75/pp 1.67 1.17
– Breakfast @ Hotel Palms 95/pp 2.11 1.49
– Jantar Mantar entrance fee 100/pp 2.23 1.57
– Camera fee @ Jantar Mantar 50 1.11 0.78
– Auto Rickshaw for an hour 150/ride 3.34 2.35

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

India: Udaipur, Little Venice Of Rajasthan

By , May 13, 2011 3:32 am
Lake Pichhola By Day

Lake Pichhola By Day

On our last day in New Delhi, both Boris and I get really sick. We narrow it down to one restaurant, which does not have the proper refrigeration and stores their butter in a box, probably filled with tap water. They say your odds of getting sick while in India are high, but we never imagined it would feel so horrible. As our trip must continue, we board the overnight train to Udaipur: “The Venice of the East”.

Still feeling like shit upon our arrival into Udaipur, we just want a really nice hotel and take the first one that fits the category.  We don’t do much except sleep for the next two days. As we are afraid to eat anything that can upset our stomachs again, we stick to a diet of rice and plain naan, which is not so delicious.

This Meal Looks Better Than Ours

This Meal Looks Better Than Ours

The town is set on the edge of three lakes and is considered one of the most romantic cities in India. As we look out onto Lake Pichhola, we see lots of converted luxury hotels and trash. I think the best time to see Udaipur is over an evening dinner at a rooftop restaurant. As the sun starts to disappear, the town lights up and the reflection onto the water is pretty dramatic.

The Venice of the East

The Venice of the East

Taj Lake Palace By Night

Taj Lake Palace By Night

City Palace By Night

City Palace By Night

We start to crave for Indian spices but can’t bare the idea of getting sick again so we stick to eating at popular tourist restaurants. One romantic spot is at the restaurant at Ambrai Hotel. We have no complaints about the food here and the location is unbeatable as it is right across from the City Palace. This place gets filled quickly in the evenings, so it is a good idea to have reservations for the best seats in the house.

Taj Lake Palace By Day

Taj Lake Palace By Day

Me & Frenchie Feeling Better

Me & Frenchie Feeling Better

Enjoying The Views

Enjoying The Views

However, it is one restaurant that has us coming back every day for lunch. On top of Hotel Minerwa is a rooftop restaurant with really good pasta, free wifi, and a friendly staff. The wife of one of the owners’ is originally from Israel (probably the reason why there are so many Israelis here too). Years ago, she was doing a backpacking trip and came to India and was a guest at this very hotel where she met her husband. Needless to say, she fell in love, stayed in Udaipur, and is now having her second child. I’m always amazed at these stories!

Rooftop At Hotel Minerwa

Rooftop At Hotel Minerwa

Rooftop Living

Rooftop Living

One of the fun things to do in Udaipur is to walk as far as you can and jump on a rickshaw if you wander too far. Some of the hotels can get very fancy and don’t bother asking how much it is since it is way out of a backpacker’s budget.

Another favorite spot of ours is the Jagadish Temple. The carvings on the temple alone are something to admire, but it is the singing in the evening that gets us to stick around for hours. Don’t forget to take off your shoes and leave them at the entrance.

Jagadish Temple

Jagadish Temple

Leaving Grain As Offering

Leaving Grain As Offering

Prayer Hall

Prayer Hall

Prayer Doesn't Always Have To Be In Silence

Prayer Doesn't Always Have To Be In Silence

We highly recommend making one overnight stop in Udaipur to see the magic that happens at night.

Something Random About This

Something Random About This

Local Woman At Temple

Local Woman At Temple

Marble And Granite Balconies At City Palace

Marble And Granite Balconies At City Palace

Arches Outside City Palace

Arches Outside City Palace

Door With Spikes

Door With Spikes

Keyhole Shaped Window

Keyhole Shaped Window

Colorful Room Inside City Palace

Colorful Room Inside City Palace

One Of Many Courtyards

One Of Many Courtyards

Lots of Luxury Hotels

Lots of Luxury Hotels

Hanuman Ghat

Hanuman Ghat

Lake Pichhola By Day

Lake Pichhola By Day

What We Paid: INR USD Euro
– Train from New Delhi in 2nd class sleeper with AC 945/pp 21 14.80
– Private double room at Poonam Haveli [private bath, large rooms with stained glass windows, very clean, recommend] 500/double 11 7.80
– Lunch @ restaurant of hotel Minerwa 40/pp 0.89 0.63
– Dinner @ restaurant of Ambrai Hotel 350/pp 7.80 5.50
– Entrance of City Palace 50/pp 1.10 0.78
– Camera fee at City Palace 200 4.45 3.10
– Jagadish Temple 0 0 0
– 1L water bottle 10 0.22 0.15
– Individual Tide washing powder packet 1 0.02 0.01
– Auto rickshaw to bus station (15 minutes) 30/ride 0.66 0.47

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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