Pink City Excursion: Weekend Trip to Jaipur

Passing through arid desert sands, patches of bare-branched trees, and carved red sandstone palaces ignites my curiosity about this Pink City in majestic Rajasthan. It’s a fascinating land of kings and colors that rightfully lives up to its regal name. Jaipur offers more than a glimpse of the royals and rainbows though. Here are some weekend discoveries on my recent summer excursion.

If you’ve ever watched the Disney animated movie, Aladdin, you’d reminisce of Princess Jasmine not allowed to leave the palace walls, but gazing in wonder at the outside world. The famous Rajput architecture, Hawa Mahal (aka Palace of Winds), was purposefully used for the royal women to observe everyday life through the 953 windows because they were to never appear in public. I can’t imagine never leaving my residence, but nonetheless; the picturesque views from above would be astonishing.

 

I may not have experienced the landscape scenery or people watching from the other side of Hawa Mahal’s windows, but I did get a thrilling perspective perched on top of a camel! I was grateful to receive a second opportunity to ride this long-necked mammal (my first chance was in the grand, ancient city Petra, but that’s another story for a different time) because it’s unquestionably a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Initially, I was apprehensive because I knew how transferring on and off the camel would be a gripping ride. Surprisingly, it absolutely was my favorite portion of the 15-minute jaunt.

 

CHECK. Camel ride is officially scratched off my bucket list… in addition to straddling an elephant! And even more than just mounting the largest land animal, I partook in painting, washing, and feeding two fuzzy friends. My co-workers and I conversed with the owner about his elephant village and learned insightful facts about African versus Asian elephants. Since we were in India, then clearly the owners’ elephants were all of the Asian species. These mammals are basically smaller in every capacity, from their height and weight to ear size and wrinkle count. Yet, they still possess big appetites by eating around 300 pounds of grass, fruit, and bark and 50 gallons of water per day – WOW!

 

Finally, the weekend get-away must close with bargain shopping and Indian snacks. Jaipur is the jewelry and textile hub for the Rajasthani lifestyle with exquisite handicrafts bursting brightly in an infinite variety of hues. I scored a sterling silver ring embedded with a local semi-precious stone. When it came to the textiles, the number of options paralyzed me. How could I possibly decide when there are hundreds of colors and patterns to choose from? So instead, I shifted to the snacks. First, a refreshingly cold mango lassi that was steaming in contrast to the 100+ F heat. Then my husband came walking over with a half kilogram of cookies (aka biscuits as we refer to them in India), which we would later enjoy as the perfect companion to chai.

 

Even amidst the scorching summer heat of Jaipur, this visit was an experience filled with delight and surprises. I hope to return and explore more of majestic Rajasthan.