Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Sonar Kella and others


10.08.19.  Kolkata (820 hrs) - Jaipur (10 40 hrs) by Indigo airlines  
10.08.19.  Jaipur (1615 hrs) - Leelan Express Train 
11.08.19.  Jaisalmer (0450 hrs)
11.08.19.  Jaisalmer - stay at Jaisalmer at Crazy Camel(Airbnb)
12.08.19.  Jaisalmer  (2205 hrs) - Chouhan Travels - bus
13.08.19.  Jodhpur    (0345 hrs) - Global Hostel Jodhpur(Booking.com)
13.08.19.  Jodhpur  (2245 hrs)- Laxmi Travels - bus
14.08.19.  Udaipur (0600 hrs) - Stay at Airbnb
15.08.19.  Udaipur - Kumbhalgarh-Raunakpur-Udaipur
16.08.19.  Udaipur 
17.08.19.  Udaipur (0600 hrs) - Chittaurgarh (0800 hrs)
17.08.19.  Chittaurgarh - Hotel Heritage  (Booking.com)
17.08.19.  Chittaurgarh (2325 hrs) - Vinayak Travels Bus
18.08.19.  Kota (0450 hrs) - Bundi (45 minutes by local Govt bus)
18.08.19.  Budni (spot booking)
18.08.19.  Bundi (20 00 hrs) - Shrinath Travel agency - bus
18.08.19.  Jaipur (2355 hrs) - Jaipur airport
19.08.19. Japur Airport (0730 hrs)-Kolkata (0955 hrs) Indigo                                         

Rajsthan Diary in brief


Kolkata (820 hrs) - Jaipur (10 40 hrs) by Indigo Airlines (the fare was Rs 6839 to and fro) . Indian Railways connects Jaipur from all over the country 

We took a shared auto with a fellow passenger to go near Hawa Mahal. We don't have much time left, since we have to catch train to Jaisalmer at 4.15 pm

Jaipur is the largest city in Rajasthan and was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh as India's first planned city. Jaipur is a major tourist attraction amongst Indian as well as international travellers. Jaipur is often called the Pink City in reference to its distinctly coloured buildings, which were originally painted this color to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Maugham cities. The present earthy red color originates from repainting of the buildings undertaken for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876.

Jaipur gets its name from its founder Maharaja JaiSingh II (1693-1744) the great warrior and astronomer. He came to power at the age of 11 on the death of his father Maharaja Bishan Singh. Jai Singh’s lineage can be traced back to the Kucchwaha Rajput, clan who came to power in the 12th century. They were long-term rivals to the Sisodia Rajputs who ruled from Mewar of Udaipur . This rivalry led them to ally with the Mughals, and this alliance resulted in them eventually gaining a pre-eminent position in Rajasthan.
Ruling from the magnificent Amber Fort which they built, the might of the Kucchwahas encompassed the kingdoms of Mewar (Udaipur) and Marwar (Jodhpur). After Jai Singh came to power, there was moment of disquiet when he supported Aurangzeb’s son Azam Shah’s bid to the throne. Azam Shah lost the battle of succession to his brother Bahadur Shah, who demanded Jai Singh’s removal and the installation of Vijay Singh to the throne of Jaipur. Jai Singh, not one to take setbacks lying down, formed a formidable front against the Mughals by aligning himself with other Rajput states and reinstated himself.
After the dust had settled, peace reigned and the kingdom prospered and its borders expanded. Jai Singh built the city around the Amber fort to serve as his capital, and the city was named Jaipur, after himself. Much of the credit for Jaipur goes to Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, the chief architect from Bengal who, with Jai Singh’s approval, founded the city on strong scientific principles, laid out according to the Shilpa Shastra, the ancient architectural manual.

After Jai Singh’s death in 1744, his sons squabbled for power and neighbouring Rajput states and the Marathas usurped large areas of kingdom. The core, however, remained part of the kingdom, which lasted during British times. As with the Mughals, Jaipur maintained good relations with the British and during the war of independence in 1857 remained loyal to the Raj. Yet, the British gradually began to undermine the independence of the state and exercised greater control over the administration.
In 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh painted the entire city pink, traditionally a colour associated with hospitality, to welcome the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) to the city. The tradition has been maintained and today all residents in the old city are compelled by law to preserve the pink color. Jaipur got the sobriquet of pink city.
Maharaja Ram Singh also built the Ramgarh Lake to supply water to the burgeoning city.  After independence, Jaipur merged with the states of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner to form the state of Rajasthan. In 1956, Jaipur became the capital of the state of Rajasthan.

Get around
By RTDC bus[edit]
It is the best and cheaper way to visit the Jaipur Local Sights by RTDC (Rajasthan Tourism Dept. Corp.) There are three type of tours: 1) full day tour (Jan-2019 price: 500 Rs), 2) half day tour (Jan-2019 price: 400 Rs) and 3) Pink city by night tour (Jan-2019 price: 700 Rs). For details see the website [30]. There will be one guide with each bus to give you brief info about all sights although the limited time means the tours to individual sights may seem rushed.
By local bus
Jaipur bus official web site: http://www.jaipurbus.com/route_map.html#; Bus route schematic for routes 1 to 10 can be found by searching Google images.
As of 2018 Jaipur is undergoing construction of its metro network and there are multiple disruptions and road diversions, the usual bus route described by the Jaipur bus website is not being adhered to near the city center (for example near Badi Chopar bus stop) so be sure where to board buses heading the correct direction. Some supposed bus stop does not have any signage at all.
City bus #5 connects directly Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, New Gate and the intersection of MI Road and Railway Rd every 10 minutes until 9 PM. Cost is Rs 10 - 12 depending on distance. [31]
City bus #2 runs from the train station up station rd to the city palace, minar, observatory etc.
By autorickshaw
By and large, autorickshaw is the best way around the city. Hiring an autorickshaw for a whole day with a trip to Amber Fort should cost around Rs 350.
Prepaid autos are available at the Jaipur railway station and the Sindhi Camp bus stand, although prices are a little inflated and often the same as you get with minimal bargaining.
The rates have been revised to around Rs 350-400, and the autorikshaw walas will tell you to take the Slip from the Police booths, but you can also go directly without the Slip but don't forget to Bargain over the price in that case, it could be much cheaper. It'll be best if you start your sight seeing by 10 in the morning as all the major spots get closed by 4:30PM and each spot takes a lot of time especially the Forts.
In some cases, the AutoRickshaw drivers try to bring up with some excuses that this happened or that happened so pay more, or any lame story or excuse to get some more from you after the trip is over. But stick to the original amount decided, Police in Jaipur are very friendly, in case you feel the autorickshaw driver is trying to misguide you or forcing you for some extra money then just refer the police persons located at various spots. The cops are really friendly and caring there.
Also some autorickshaw drivers will tell you to buy artifacts and gifts from some shops especially some located on way to Amber fort. Firmly refuse to stop there as these shops operate on commission to the auto driver and fleece you. If you've got to buy some souvenirs buy them in city's main shopping areas like Bapu Bazar.
Take along some of your own information about the eating and shopping places as the drivers have their fixed commissions at shops and eating outlets, so you might end up paying more for and item or eating at an undesirable place.
Autorickshaw drivers have been known to work together with the gem scammers. If you hire an autorickshaw for the day, he may suggest that you 'go for a beer' afterwards, at which point you will be introduced to the point man on the scam attempt, usually a very charismatic person who is clearly much wealthier than his rickshaw-driving 'friend'. Use common sense: why would a rickshaw driver who makes 350 rupees per day (minus petrol) want to take you to a bar where beers are 75 rupees each? Politely decline these invitations; they are nearly invariably more trouble than they are worth.
By cycle-rickshaw
Cycle-rickshaws are cheaper, but the amount of time it takes quickly makes the extra few rupees worth it. Walking in the bazaar is a treat, although side streets are a bit less welcoming and offer a sharper glimpse of poverty.
By taxi
The taxis in Jaipur are very convenient and comfortable. Most of the vehicles are Maruti Omni Vans or Tata Indica cars, which are much safer than Auto rickshaws, and the drivers are polite. If you are alone or going to an unknown destination, you are strongly advised to choose this option, even though the rates will be double that of an autorickshaw. You must call for a taxi, as it is nearly impossible to hail one unless you are at a major point like the airport. When you call, you should negotiate a fare (or agree on using the meter) and get the taxi's 'number'. The taxi will come pick you up, and call you when they are close. Taxis generally have yellow license plates with black letters. Some taxis are painted with yellow & black color scheme on their body which helps to uniquely identify from the private cars.
You can also hail taxi using mobile apps. UBER and OLA are available across the town with rates ranging from Rs.5 per km. You may not get network signal at some of the forts, so please check on such limitations before planning your visit. Drivers are quite helpful, but don't ask for any shopping recommendations. They usually tend to take you to a place where they get commission on sales and you may end-up buying things you don't need at a higher price.
By Motorcycle
In Jaipur you can rent motorcycles and scooters to get around city and outstation trips.
·         roadpanda You can rent two wheelers (motorcycles and scooters) on hourly rental basis from roadpanda.
By online radio taxi
One can also book Uber and Ola to travel around places in Jaipur very cheap and economical
It's possible to see the ticket price for each point of interest in the Rajasthan Tourist Government Office website 
Composite Tickets
Amber FortJantar-MantarHawa MahalAlbert Hall (Central Museum)Nahargarh Fort 5-monument 2-day Composite Ticket for sale at any ticket booth costs Rs 50/30 indian/student As of 20 Feb 2016 composite ticket costs 1000 Rs for foreigner.
City Palace and Jaigarh Fort also share a 2-day ticket for Rs 500.

·         Amber Fort, (11 km North of central Jaipur, local bus #5, A1C from Hawa Mahal or New Gate),  +91 14 1253 0293. 08:00-17:30. This massive fort-palace complex built in hybrid Hindu-Muslim style dates back to Raja Man Singh and was the royal palace of the Kachwahas from c. 1600-1727. The name has nothing to do with the rather pretty pastel yellow colour; instead, the fort is named after the town of Amber, in turn named after the goddess Amba. The main sights within the fort include the Sheesh Mahal, adorned with thousands on thousands of mirror tiles on the walls and ceiling. The fort/palace grounds are sprawling and the information panels (hindi/english) are somewhat limited, so it might be worth getting an audio guide or a real guide. The real guide will cost about Rs 70-100 and will also take you to the Rajasthan Kala Mandir (a government operated shop) to buy souvenirs. The guide gets a 2% commission on the items you buy. Also see the Amber Light Show below. It's a bit of a hike up to the fort from the town, but resist the temptation to take an elephant ride to the top. Elephant rides are cruel to the animals and they are often treated very poorly by their keepers, so it's best not to encourage the practice. Rs 25/10 for Indian/student and Rs 500/100 for foreigner/student. Included in the 5-monument Composite Ticket which cost 1000 rupees for foreigners. Camera free. Audioguides Rs 100.  edit
·         Jaigarh Fort, (A 1 km walk uphill from '''Amber Fort''', or Rs 100/200 for motorbike/auto-rickshaw),  +91 14 1267 1848. 09:00-16:30. Never conquered in battle, this was considered the strongest of the three forts in the area. It is best known as the site of the world's largest cannon, the Jaivana, which was test-fired only once — according to legend, despite using only the half the design amount of gunpowder, the cannonball flew 35 km! A better reason to visit the fort, though, are the scenic gardens at the other end and the spectacular views over the Amber Fort and the hills around. The remains of the foundry where the Jaivana (and many more) were cast are also in the fort grounds. Please note, there are multiple board with "no tips allowed" if you have someone bothering you. Rs 35/85 for Indian/foreigner. Included with the 2-day City Palace ticket. Camera Rs 50. Video Rs 200. Automobile Rs 50.  edit
·         Nahargarh Fort +91 14 1518 2957. The smallest of the three forts, notable primarily for excellent views over Man Sagar lake and the vast sprawl of Jaipur. The fort also houses the (relatively) compact Madhavendra Bhawan palace, although its former splendour is fading fast under a new layer of graffiti and pigeon droppings. Portions of the movie Rang De Basanti were shot at this fort. To go the area where the "Pathshala" song was shot, take a left turn as soon as you enter the fort. An autorickshaw can be taken from the autorickshaw stand in front of the Amber fort and a round trip will cost about Rs 250. Rs 10 entry. Included in the 5-monument Composite Ticket. Rs 35 for Madhavendra Bhawan. Automobile Rs 10.  edit
·         City Palace, (Inside the old city, close to New Gate and Hawa Mahal). An imposing blend of traditional Rajput and Mughal architecture. It is a vast palace complex occupying nearly one-seventh of the Pink City. It was originally built by Maharaja Jai Singh II. The complex is divided into a series of courtyards, sprawling gardens and buildings. It is home to several palatial structures like the Chandra Mahal, (home to present Maharajah of Jaipur), Mubarak Mahal (housing a textile museum), Diwan-e-Khas (or Hall of Private audience housing the two largest silver vessels in the world, which are duly mentioned in the Guinness book), the Diwan-e-Aam ( or Hall of Public Audience) and the gateway Ridhi Sidhi Pol (with four small doorways decorated with motifs depicting the four seasons). Foreigner: rs 700; valid for 2 days, includes entrance to Jaigarh Fort and Royal Cenotaphs, does not include entrance to Chandra Mahal.  edit
·         Jal Mahal (Water Palace), (On the way to Sisodia Rani Garden). A Rajput style architectured palace sits in the center of the Mansarovar lake. The lake is often dry in the winter, but summer monsoons frequently turn it into a beautiful lake filled with water hyacinths. Free on the 18th of May, as well as the Observatory and wind palace.  edit

·         Govind Devji Temple - For Vaishnavites, particularly followers of Lord Krishna, this is the most important temple in the world after Vrindavan. Lord Krishna presiding in the temple were brought to Jaipur from Vrindavan during Mughal rein. According to popular legend, Lord Krishna's idol in the temple looks exactly like Krishna's form while his incarnation of Earth. It is located at Jainiwas Gardens, Jalebi Chowk, in the same campus as City Palace.
·         Moti Doongri temple is located in the center of Jaipur city. This Temple is the main center of religion for Jaipur people. Moti Dungri is basically a small hill, which means Pearl Hill. There is a Temple and a Palace on this hill. Moti Dungri temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and it is said that at the time of building this city, this temple was constructed first to protect the city.
·         Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka The Marble Temple) (Birla Temple), (below the well known Moti Dungri fort). is a relatively new temple made of white marble with beautiful carvings. It covers a vast area in Jaipur city and is built in a contemporary manner. Birla Temple is completely constructed with finest high quality white marbles.  edit
·         Akshardham Temple (at Vaishali Nagar)
·         Jain Mandir (Shivdas Pura) 15-16 km from Jaipur, is a Jain temple in Shivdaspura and is well known as “Bara Padampura”. This temple comes under district Jaipur. Temple is a unique place of miracles and is famous in north India for its very beautiful statue of God Padamprabhu (The 6th Teerthankar for Jain’s). God is sitting in a crossed leg seating posture. Height of the statue is 2 ft 4" and statue is made of pure white stone. Statue was appeared while digging for foundation of a house.
·         Galtaji is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site situated 10 km from Jaipur on Jaipur-Agra highway near Sisodia Rani Garden. The main temple here is temple of Galtaji in constructed in pink stone. The temple has a number of pavilions with rounded roofs, exquisitely carved pillars and painted walls. The temple is surrounded by natural springs and reservoirs that are considered holy .There are also seven tanks or kunds here.
·         Galwh Bagh (aka The Monkey Temple) and Suriya Mandir (aka The Sun Temple) are located on the Eastern edge of the city. Both locals and tourists come here to feed the surprisingly tame monkeys, use the temples, and enjoy the views. You can climb to the top of the hill and then down into the valley to see the Monkey Temple, all the while enjoying the company of countless monkeys, goats, and other animals. At the top of the hill, you turn right to reach the Sun Temple for one of the best views of the city, especially at sunset. Monkey food is available for purchase at the bottom of the hill. The Temples are free, but local religious people may ask for donations (optional) and there is a Rs 50 charge for using a camera.

·         Jantar Mantar, (very close to the City Palace.),  +91-141-261-0494, [1]. 9:00 a.m-4:30 p.m.. This UNESCO world heritage site is the largest of five astronomical observatories build by Maharaja Jai Singh during the period 1727-1734 in north India. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices (or yantras in Hindi) for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets and determining the celestial altitudes etc. There is signage providing elaborate explanations for the use of each device, and guides can be hired to provide much the same information in a more digestible format. The audio guide at the observatory isn't great and doesn't tell you very much more information than the already existent signage. The observatory, the water and the wind palace are free on the 18th of May. Rs20 for Indians, Rs200 for foreigners.  edit

·         Hawa Mahal (Palace of Breeze). Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Singh as part of City Palace. It was an extension of the Zenana (women) chamber. It's purpose was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. It is a five storey high red sandstone structure complete with over 950 windows. The breeze (or hawa in Hindi) circulates through these windows giving the palace its name. Free on May 18th. Rs 50. Included in the 5-monument Composite Ticket. Camera free.  edit
·         Gaitore (Gatore), (In the walled city area named Brahmpuri, the foothills of Nahargarh Fort). This is a royal cremation site of the royal rulers of jaipur.  edit
·         Iswari Minar Swarga Sal, Chandpol Bazaar near City Palace (Look for the big tall tower near Tripolia Gate. The entrance is not from the main street, but is around the back of the shops. You can get there from the alley that’s 50m west of the minaret along Chandpol Bazaar, there's also an entrance near the City Palace, which is 50m west of Tripolia Gate and 200m east of the minaret.). There is an alternative to the minor that's open 24/7. Just across the other side of the road (Chandpol Bazaar) from the minaret is a shopping complex with stairs up to a rooftop area where you can get basically the same view as from the minar. To get there, go through the arched gateway almost opposite the minar, then as soon as you get to the courtyard, look to the left for a metal spiral staircase and keep climbing until you reach the roof, walk around the corder to the next set of stair and go up another floor until you know you can't go any higher. Indian/foreigner Rs5/10, camera/video Rs10/20.  edit
·         Ram Niwas Garden
·         Zoological Garden
·         Sisodia Rani Palace and Garden
·         Vidyadhar Garden
·         Central Park (Entrance near Statue Circle)
·         Marriage Garden
·         Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, (Kheri Gate, Amber),  +91 141 2530226, [2]. A beautiful clean museum dedicated to the traditional art of hand block printing textiles, this museum is housed in a recently restored heritage haveli tucked into the back streets of old Amber. Small cafe, clean toilets, small shop, friendly staff & a printer & block carver demonstrating their crafts every day.  edit
·         Central Museum (Albert Hall). Included in the 5-monument ''Composite Ticket''.  edit
·         Jaipur Wax Museum, (Standing on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking the pink city of Jaipur). To be opened soon. Wax & Silicon figures of famous Indian & World personalities, which are being sculpted, by India’s maiden & senior most wax sculptor artist Mr. Susanta Ray, would be displayed in Shastragar & Vishramghar areas of the fort. Jaipur Wax museum would be providing a great opportunity to the patrons visiting the museum, to have a closer look of their favorite stars from the fields of Bollywood, Hollywood, Sports, History, Music, Literature, World Leaders, Pop stars, Cultural figures and famous persons from History, Politics and Contemporary fields. An unique attraction of Jaipur Wax Museum would be a Royal Statue section, which would showcase real life size wax & silicon figures of ‘The Maharaja’s & The Maharani’s’ of Jaipur & Rajasthan, thereby giving a first of its kind opportunity to the world to have a glimpse of the majestic figures. The statues will have a unique background & surroundings, complimenting each figure & would enhance the look of it. An interactive area is proposed to be landscaped outside the venue, surrounding the museum.  edit
Activities and entertainment
·         Visit the bazaar in the city centre. An evening visit is a complete assault on the senses - the colours, the sights, the sounds and the smells. There are different specialist zones, whether it's food, flowers, textiles, carved statues or plumbing. While you should always be wary, be sure not to completely close yourself out to the locals as one of the highlights of Rajasthan is the chance to interact with the friendly people. It is not uncommon to be invited to homes for dinner, parties, and even weddings as many middle class young people are curious of foreigners and genuinely very hospitable as is the open culture of the region (which you will not find in Delhi/Agra). Be sure to spend time time sharing masala chai and chatting with some of the gen Y of Rajasthan.
·         Amber Fort Sound and Light Show, Lower Amber Fort,  +91 14 1270 9162 (sel.amber@ids.co.in). 7 PM - 8 PM. Experience the history, culture and life of Amber through this spectacular show. Amitabh Bachhan narrates the story of Rajasthani kings with a script written by Gulzar. Don't forget the mosquito repellent. The light show can be watched from outside the fort, but the sound won't be audible from there. Rs 100.  edit

·         Raj Mandir Theatre. An experience in itself, and another "don't miss". Once known as the best movie theater in India, and still the best in Rajasthan, it offers an overwhelming experience. From the pushing, shoving, and general chaos in the ticket line, to an audience that laughs, cries, cheers, claps, and consistently talks through the entire film, the Raj Mandir provides an insight into Rajasthani culture. The movies themselves are always interesting; Masala movies are action, drama, mystery, suspense, and epics all wrapped into one single movie, teeming with dances and obligatory wet sari scenes, and unabashedly lifting generous amounts of plot devices from Western movies. The theater-goers are very friendly and genuinely curious about overseas visitors who come to the Raj. Expect to answer many questions about country of origin and movie likes and dislikes, as well as take photos of theater-goers themselves with their mobile phones. Don't be put off by "House Full" notices at the entrance. The box office opens again a nominal 45 minutes before the next performance, and there are usually tickets available. Box seats at Rs 120 go first, so its worth going early to avoid disappointment. Shows at 6:30PM and 9:30PM. A great place to meet locals, with the nearby McDonald's as a central congregation spot.
·         Nad Sadhna [nadsadhna.com]. Provides a platform to learn Indian Music (Vocal, Instrumental and Dance) from an experienced musician.
·         B.M. Birla Auditorium and Convention Centre is located at the heart of Jaipur. This auditorium is spread over 9.8 acre, that includes a computer centre, interactive science museum, an information processing centre, library, a processing planetarium, eight research division, a dissemination cell and an auditorium. Auditorium has the capacity of 1350 people to seat and it is among the largest auditoriums of India. This auditorium is built up to international conference standards.
·         Jaipur Literature Festival [33] Described as the one of the best literary shows on Earth, Jaipur Literature Festival is the world's largest free event where some of the world's greatest minds from all walks of life converge in Jaipur for an unparalleled literary and cultural feast.

·         Statue circle
·         Ramgarh
Culinary experiences
·         Cookly Market to Table Tour - Indian Vegetarian Home Cooking Session, 37,Surendra Pal Colony behind Vivek Vihar Metro Station, New Sanganer Road, (cookingnjaipur@gmail.com), [3]. Jaipur Home Cooking Classes is a three years old Cooking School, celebrating the Home food of India. Our cooking sessions are completely hands on, including Market tour before the session. It is a part of our Bed & Breakfast and we also organize Culinary vacations for 4 days to 6 Days. Culinary Vacation would have Street Food tours, Cooking Sessions, also food experience of the top most popular Restaurants of Jaipur. Rs. 2,900.  edit
·         Cookly Suroth House Cooking Class with Market Tour, Suroth House, D-231/B, Tulsi Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur, Raj. 302016, (surothhouse@gmail.com), [4]. The SUROTH HOUSE is a fusion of Traditional and modern Rajasthani culture & our customs. Its presence near to nature and hospitality redefined makes Suroth House in city of Jaipur so inviting and different from others.This is the residence of an I.P.S officer BHANWAR GOVIND SINGH Ji who was on the post of Deputy Inspector General (D.I.G) in Rajasthan Police and he was the chieftain of Suroth. Tejveer Singh is Grand Son of Govind Singh Ji and he welcomes the guests to dine and stay at Suroth House which is his home and look’s after them personally. Rs.2,600.  edit
·         Jaipur Food Tour[5]. A food walk in Jaipur is a great way to explore the local cuisine and sights. These food walks include food from some of the oldest and most reputed food places in Jaipur city. You can also ask for a cooking class, photo tour or a heritage walk in Jaipur.  edit
·         Volunteering With India, Govind Nagar, Amber Road, Jaipur (Near Hawa Mahal),  +919414779349, [6]. Join the work to care the Elephants of Jaipur and many volunteer opportunities in Jaipur. VWI Offers programs in Teaching English in rural/slums, Women Empowerment, Orphanage Work, Street Children rescue & protection. You can contact at info@volunteeringwithindia.org for more info.  edit
Just remember that nothing comes 'fixed price' in Jaipur, even in the self advertised Government(RTDC) approved shops & emporiums. There are a few that claim that the higher prices are for better quality but this is not actually true. They just keep much higher margins and also they have linked up connections with the guides of Amber Fort, such that the guide will take you to that shop telling you it is government authenticated and will then take commission. Almost everything, from food to to transportation to handicrafts, even accommodation can be bargained down up to a 60% discount on the quoted price. The lowest rates will be found in the bazaars - Bapu & Johari. Even here, keep inquiring in several shops - each one will have a different price for the same item. Don't be ashamed to spend an hour or more in each shop with the friendly shopowners sharing stories over masala chai as you look at their goods. While they are doing their best to run a business, do not overlook the genuinely hospitable culture of Rajasthani people.
·         Bazaar. A brilliant colorful explosion of flowers, elephants, ox carts, and wares. The traveller will smell the deep aroma of spices in canvas bags, the fetid smell of animals and open sewers, the sweet waft of tea, and the crusty acrid burn of dust and exhaust. The noise is chaotic, the people constantly will stare if you are a Westerner and anybody who has something to sell will try to sell it to you, repeatedly. Watch cobras dance out of their wicker baskets, and don't be too surprised if the snake charmer slaps his cobra for having a wayward eye. Be prepared to be asked for money if you plan to take photographs of snake-charmers and beggars.
·         Razais Jaipur is famous for its 'Rajais' (A type of light quilt stuffed with cotton). You can get colourful & soft `Shaneel ki Rajai' in a velvet finish. These are quiet warm, soft and long lasting. You can shop in the main market area. But remember to bargain. If you want to be sure of quality and are willing you shell few extra bucks, visit govt. stores for rajais..
·         Jewels Jaipur is famous for its many jewel merchants where you can get great deals on semi-precious gems such as turquoise, lapiz, tiger eye, and the magnificent rubystar (a gem found only in India that is distinct for the 6pointed star it shines under natural light). Expect to pay ~Rs 3,000 for a rubystar ring.
·         SilverCentrre (Sangeeta Boochra address="234, Johari Bazar Main road phone= +91-966-00000-37 , 0141-2571414" hours="10.30 am to 8.00 pm price=USD 25 onwards Known for generations ( 119 years ) for it's authentic designer silver jewellery , gold plated jewellery , traditional , tribal and contemporary silver jewellery. Gloabally respected and renowned jewellery brand established in the year 1897 Jaipur. Buy authentic jewellery. Located in the heart of the Pink City and jewellery hub Johari Bazar Jaipur. Walkable distance from Hawa Mahal , City Palace , opposite Jama Masjid. The brand work towards upliftment of traditional and old Indian artisans who do not have the platform to show their beautiful work.
·         K.K. Gems and Arts, 174-A, Kanwar Nagar, Chandi Ki Taksal. (at the far Northeastern end of the city centre), +91 141 3910799; (maito:kk.0010@yahoo.in kk.0010@yahoo.in). One of the better places to shop for jewels with authentic high quality goods and reasonable prices including many cheaper items (earrings, bracelets) for Rs 120 that make great gifts. Be sure to arrive by yourself, otherwise face higher prices as your escort/driver will earn a commission.
·         Chokhi Dhani, Two excellent places to enjoy Rajasthani food served in the traditional mode. Chokhi Dhani a.k.a Lalten Restaurant is a more popular place because of being on the main road near the airport and excellent to do things like horse riding, camel riding, maze, boating, kathputli (puppet) show. Opens at 6PM, and be sure to get here early as many of the sites are difficult to see when it gets dark; 30 min rickshaw ride from Central Jaipur. Rs 400 per person entry.Nice place to visit but avoid going there during rainy season.
·         Ambrosia, KJ city tower, Ashok Marg, C Scheme (right next to ahimsa circle),  +91 141 3153900. lipsmacking food serving varied cuisines such as lebanese, italian, indian, continental, mexican and chinese located in the heart of the city atop a 100 feet high building providing a breathtaking view of the city.  edit
·         Apno Gaon. Vegetarian food, including fresh vegetables and fruits. Slightly away from the main city one has to go in for a bumpy ride to reach there. Cost is Rs 350 per person.
·         Natraj, MI Rd. Vegetarian, specialty is the Rajasthani Thali. The main courses are Rs 90-175 and some thalis a bit more. Credit cards are accepted and they do not serve alcohol.
·         Loharu House,this is the house of a Royal Family in Civil Lines. You can call in advance and request a special dinner. +91 141 222 5251, +91 141 222 5945
·         Rawat Mishthan Bhandar. Do not miss the famous Pyaz ki Kachori (a spicy onion dish). Situated at Polo Victory cinema and very close to both railway station and the bus stand this is a famous age old kachori hangout
·         Shakes and Icecreams. Yankee Doodle, Jal Mahal at MI Rd and Milky Way near St. Xavier School are popular ice cream parlours.
·         Chitra Cafeteria, behind Amber Towers, Sansar Chandra Rd,  +91 141 237 2456, +91 141 237 1773 (tarun@aryaniwas.com, fax: +91 141 236 1871), [7]. Good, wholesome vegetarian food. Their lunch buffet is excellent. Rs 150 for a 3 course meal.  edit
·         Little Chef's Rasoi, c-Scheme near dear park (near dear park and Statue Circle),  +91 141 222 9634 (tarun@aryaniwas.com, fax: +91 141 236 1871), [8]. Vegetarian food. Rs 100 for a 3 course meal.  edit
·         Anokhi cafe, 2 Tilak Marg, C-Scheme. Organic home-baked cakes & freshly prepared sandwiches, pastries, savoury snacks plus organic coffee and a selection of good teas. Quiet, relaxing, good value for money &amp situated outside the Anokhi shop,. The shop is great for truly ethical hand printed contemporary & wearable clothes & textiles.  edit
·         M.M. Khan Hotel, 33, Ramganj Bazar Rd. Non-vegetarian restaurant that's often crowded with locals. Known for their chicken changezi, a spicy Mughlai dish served with roti. Several mutton dishes are also on offer.  edit
·         Gangaur sweets, bagadiya bhavan market. Sweets for chamcham, also baked sweets and crispy samosas.  edit
·         Niros. Located on MI Rd, Niros is a 60 year old restaurant serving mostly Indian, Continental and Indo-Chinese dishes. Expect to spend Rs 500+ on a meal for two.
·         Jal Mahal. A popular ice-cream parlor located on MI Rd, (near Paanch Batti). An assortment of ice cream shakes, and some very indigenous ice cream flavors. Excellent after a hearty meal at one of the MI Rd restaurants.
·         BMB, 100 Johari Bazaar. Good mid range north Indian restaurant. Rs 110 for a vegetable curry and Rs 13 for a roti. Thali, Rs 360+VAT (big). The restaurant sells good sweets and chat (Indian sweet and savory snacks).  edit
·         Moti Mahal Delux, 5,kamal mansion,M.I. Rd, Jaipur-1 (near Paanch Batti and Rajmandir cinema hall),  +91 141 4017733. 11AM-11PM. Great for authentic Indian tandoori food. Their specialities include butter chicken, tandoori chicken, dal makhani and hand churned kulfi. Started by legendary indian gourmet chef Kundan lal Gujral. Expect to pay Rs 500+ for a meal for two.  edit
The gem scam
You may be accosted by youths on motorbikes who claim that Westerners are unwilling to engage with the Indian people. "Why don't tourists want to talk to me",or "I am a student, I want to learn about your culture" is the normal opener. The scam artist then changes their tune and invites the traveller to drink tea. Often the tourist will only be told of the gem stones the next day or after dinner. Usually it is some sort of tax problem. The unwitting mark is then sold fake stones for resale in his/her home country. Even if stones are posted in front of your eyes,you are more likely to see Elvis than the gems again. As a general rule, do not accept tea from strangers, but in addition be wary of any who invite you to talk in secluded areas. The simple fact of the matter that if you are a Westerner and a person outside your hotel accosts you, there is nearly a 100% chance that this person is scheming to acquire your money. There have been reports of smugglers trying to entice travellers to assist in smuggling items. Under no circumstances accept - smuggling is a major criminal act.
The elephant festival scam
Around the tourist hotspots, especially in the pink city, touts and rikshaw drivers will approach you and suggest going to an elephant festival at the Water Palace that just happens to be today. There is no such thing as an elephant festival. They will take you to a shed where they keep an elephant and try to make you pet or pose for pictures with the poor creature. Avoid going with them!
Dhammathali Vipassana Meditation Centre. 10 day meditation courses run for a donation. +91 141 2680220
Madhavanand Girls College. Free hatha yoga courses from 6AM-7AM. +91 141 2200317
Mr Kripal Singh. Renowned artist offers Indian painting and ceramic classes for free, however you must supply materials. Advance bookings are required. +91 141 2201127
Maharaja Sawai Mansingh Sangeet Mahavidyalaya (music school). Music lessons 8AM-11AM. Dance lessons 4PM-8PM. Tuition starts from Rs 500/month
Get out

The entrance of Chokhi Dhani. You can experience the real Urban Rajasthan here.

Traditional chulha cooking at Nirvana Organic Farm, where you can get a glimpse of Rajasthani folk & farm culture.
Continue into Rajasthan, to the beautiful city of lakes Udaipur, the stunning, powerful fort of Jodhpur, and onto the dreamy, enchanted desert city of Jaisalmer or for a more untouristic desert city go for the charm of Bikaneras an alternative to Jaisalmer.
If booking train tickets out of Jaipur, make sure to ask for Tatkal tickets at the reservation office, as tickets to just about everywhere sell out weeks in advance. Tatkal (last minute) tickets only open for sale the day before the train leaves, and are not always offered voluntarily by the staff who will simply tell you the train is full.
To Udaipur train #2965, Gwalior Udaipur Superfast Express (via Agra), is the best option for Udaipur There are frequent busses to the small village of Amber from the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur (Rs 8, 25 mins). You can also arrange transport to the village of Abhaneri
·         Chokhi Dhani. Chokhi Dhani (Fine Hamlet in Rajasthani dialect) is a 5 star ethnic resort. It is located on Jaipur-Tonk highway, around 18 km from city center. There are lodging facilities available but the real attraction is the evening fun-fares. One can watch live folk dances and listen to live folk music for free, and enjoy elephant, camel, bullock cart rides for Rs. 20-30 per ride and eat a traditional, vegetarian eat-as-much-as-you-can meal for Rs. 350. It gives you a glimpse of culture from different parts of Rajasthan, and could be nice if you will not have time to see much of Rajasthan yourself. They open at 6PM. You can go there by bus, auto-rikshaw (Rs 400 for a return trip) or taxi, but best is probably to make sure you have a ride back.
·         Nirvana Organic Farm [54]. This organic farm located 22 km from Jaipur offers a glimpse into rural Rajasthan. Originally barren land, it has been converted into a mini forest using organic farming techniques, and is managed by a farmer & his wife. Accommodation is provided in basic thatched-roof cottages, and is priced at Rs 1,500 for a double-bedded cottage. The farm is surrounded by fields of mustard & jo, and attracts a lot of migratory birds in all seasons. Typical Rajasthani food is cooked on traditional chulhas using farm-grown ingredients. Artisans of the neighboring Maheshpura village perform traditional folk music & dance on prior request. Advance booking is required & can be done at +91 8527 141 626 or shivya@indiauntravelled.com.
·         Bhandarej, Is a little known town 62 km from Jaipur off Jaipur-Agra Highway, from the times of the Mahabharat.
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