Jaipur was the last, and our least favorite, city we visited in Rajasthan.
We arrived by train and immediately had to fight off rickshaw drivers. The hotel we planned to stay at was in walking distance, so we didn’t need a ride. But Rand had an entourage of 5 or 6 drivers following him for several minutes after we left the station. I found it hilarious!
Rand chatted and joked with them until they realized we really didn’t want a ride and gave up.
The hotel we had planned to stay at turned out to be junky. We called another recommended hotel, but they were full. So we walked down the street in search of accommodation.
We turned off the main road and began popping into hotels on the side street. A couple were out of our price range and several told us they were full. A man approached us on the street and told us these hotel would only take Indians and offered to show us another hotel.
Often this is a scam. Touts take you to a hotel and get a commission, which you pay for in an inflated rate. So we ignored him.
But then several other hotels claimed to be full and we were starting to think the guy was right about the hotels not taking non-Indians, so we let him take us around. The first hotel was OK. The second was nicer. I bargained at the front desk and got the nicer hotel in our price range. The staff laughed that a westerner would try and bargain, but after being in India for two months, I was learning the ropes.
We offered the man from the street a tip, but he didn’t want it. He just said that he if wanted a city tour to book with his nephew.
Later we met the nephew and bargained on a price. Somehow in the bargain I think we said we didn’t want to go to all of the places on the tour. Sometimes thick accents and broken English leads to confusing agreements.
The tour turned out to be pretty disappointing. The Amber Fort paled in comparison to Jodphur’s Mehrangarh Fort and the fort in Jaisalmer where we actually stayed inside the fort for a week.
The water palace was not nearly as beautiful as the lake palace in Udipar.
We were taken to a few shops, which is normal for city tours (the driver gets a commission if you buy something. We saw cloth being stamped with ink patterns and visited a blue pottery shop where Kali bought a box.
The next day we did our own walking tour around the old part of this pink city. The buildings are all made of a salmon colored stone. We started our tour at 10 am and most of the shops in the bazaar area were still closed . In our experience things don’t get going in India until late morning, but we were surprised at how few shops were open.
The most interesting place in Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal. This honeycomb-like building was built so that the royal women could watch the comings and goings of the city from the windows.
We skipped the palace, having already spent enough rupees at the palace in Udipar. While it makes sense that foreigners would pay more for attractions than the often less financially well-off Indians, the dual pricing system often charges for foreigners 10 times the Indian rate, much more than we budget travelers want to spend.
One fun thing that happened in Jaipur was that we met another traveling family. Jen Marvelous posted a question about camel safaris in Jaisalmer on the Families on the Move Facebook group and when I responded, we found out that we were both in Jaipur. We met up with her, her husband, two teenage daughters, and nine year old twins and had lunch together.
We had such fun chatting with another family, we decided to meet again to go see Zootopia together the next day.
Then it was time to leave Rajasthan. We loved the beautiful and atmospheric cities of Udiapur, Jodphur, and Jaisalmer. Jaipur just couldn’t quite compete.
We left the Pink City feeling sorry for travelers who come to India and only visit the tourist triangle of Dehli, Agra, and Jaipur. They aren’t really getting a true taste of what Rajasthan has to offer.