IN: Jaipur

After some time debating which marble inlay souvenir we could afford, it was back to the cab to commence our journey to Jaipur.

Somewhere along the road, I was hit with the realization that my allergies weren't acting up. It was time to admit that I had caught the flu.

My noes was leaking like a faulty faucet, my skin scolded at touch, my pressure inside my head felt like a weapon on mass destruction- on the verge of exploding, my body ached, and dire exhaustion overtook my consciousness. Simply put, I was MISERABLE.
(Naturally, I credit the culprit of my misery to Doronto Express of Indian Railways.)

Throughout the drive from Agra to Jaipur, I was too lethargic to laugh at the camels on the road, or the never ending parade of livestock. Contrary to Indian Standard Time, by my calculations, we arrived in Jaipur late past the witching hour of 7:30pm.

After a mini meltdown, and stubborn decision to refuse "what ever this was, that was ruining my life at the moment," to ruin my India experience. I, correction T, put myself to bed.

As I fell asleep, I repeated the manta: "I am not sick, I will not let a cold disturb my holiday."

I woke to the Hindu chants of morning prayer. At 8:45, we were met by our guide Omish at our hotel, the Allistar Havali. Luckily, I packed a role of 3ply extra soft toilet paper with me. I put it in my daypack and tried to ignore my snot dripping nostrils.

Jaipur, is know as the Pink City. In the old city, most of the buildings are a classic terracotta pink. Back in the day, the maharaja of the time wanted to impress Prince Albert. He did so, by building the British prince a palace and by painting the city pink. Today, it's still illegal for any landloard to paint his building a colour other than terracotta in the old city.

Up first was the Win Palace (named for the windows), followed by the most amazing astrology park Jantar Mantra, and the city palace.

"Indian's refer to their horoscopes for EVERYTHING. I became a papi this year, and I told my daughter in law we need her star chart before you can name my granddaughter." Omish explained.

Halfway through the textile museum in the City Palace, I became noxious. I needed air. I needed drugs. I needed a pharmacy BAD. Our guide took us to a local street side "chemist" where I felt illicit, buying single count cold pills on a street corner.

Whatever. They worked. With in minutes, I could feel the drugs doing their magic.

"Jaipur is a city you can shop till you drop," Omish teased.

Once my head stopped pounding. I was ready to look at gems. Jaipur is the number one city in the world for colour stones. The most precious of all being rubies. Rubies are my birthstone and it's a dream of mine to own a pair of pigeon blood ruby earrings.

Sadly, I left the gem store empty handed. Yes, I'm still bitter about this… but as T says "I can't buy my own jewelry- unless I want to be single FOREVER."

Ohhhh well. Saree time. The next stop was a textile factory where we learned how carpets are made, and we both got sized for our traditional wedding wear attire. I choose the color. Bright aqua. I love it!

A little beat after shopping it was back to the hotel for a nap- before our night visit to the Amber and Water Palace. Omish, explained the history of the fort as we imagined what life was like as Indian royalty.

We capped off our day in Jaipur with an authentic meal at the Spice Court. A local favourite, started by a former tour guide. Dinner, of course was incredible.

After our feast it was back to the hotel to sleep and pack our bags. In the morning we'd be hitting the road once again. This time headed to the next stop on our cross India Tour, Churo.

When in Jaipur, experience the best of the city:

  • Stay at the Hotel Allisar Havali, an old mansion just outside of the old city.
  • Have coffee at Win palace cafe, and snap your photos with out fighting for the right spot with other tourists.
  • Hire a local guide, ours was Omish and he was awesome.
  • Explore the City Palace, the present day home of the Jaipur Maharajah.
  • Discover the wonders of our sky at Jantar Mantra (astronomical observatory) a unesco sight.
  • Dine at the Spice Court, I recommend the veritable jalfrezi.
  • Shop for traditional Indian wear and camel, silk, and wool carpets at Channi Textiles and Carpet.
  • Add to your wishlist of gems I'll "one-day" hace at Silver & Art Palace.
  • Visit the Amber Fort in the evening, to escape the crowds and to add an air of royal ambience.
  • Gaze at the striking Jel Mahal (the water palace) situated in the middle of a lake.
  • Take in the total view of Jaipur from Nahagarh Fort.
  • Stop at the Albert Hall Museum, for a look at all things extravagant.
  • Be on constant look out for creepy snake charmers, who start playing a malicious harmony from your peripherals.