An unexpected Jaipur

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In this information age, it is slightly more difficult for travelers to be surprised given the amount of research that one does in acquiring that cheap ticket, that cheap hotel and the most optimized route for travel. But I am  rather proud to say that Jaipur surprised us! Yes we did our fair share of research before we left on our trip.

Jaipur was established by Maharaja Sawai  Jai Singh II around 1772 . It the first planned city in India. The locals  are always quick to point out that there is no curved or winding road in all of Jaipur. A trek up to the Nahargarh fort will prove them right. From the vantage point of the fort there is a 180 degree view of the city of Jaipur. The nine blocks architect-ed  by the King lies with straight tree lined roads through them.

Our trip to Jaipur was not one of our usual weekend jaunts. We were representing the modern Thrifty Drifter concept conceived by the Ginger chain of hotels. Ginger hotels conducted a competition asking for stories that demonstrated ‘thrifty travels’. I submitted ab article on my travel to the Sunderbans. When I got the intimation from Ginger hotels I was overjoyed. Having never been to Jaipur and was super excited. Moreover the Ginger Hotels allocated us a budget for our trip and we had to show case how Thrifty travelers would use the constrained budget.We were also given a share of fun tasks to complete while on our three days trip. In hindsight it was these tasks that made Jaipur unexpected for us. Read on for an explanation! Also you can check out the details of the ThriftyDrifter contest at ginger hotels.

Task #1 : Learn 5 slang words from locals

I am an ardent believer of the fact that people and the land go hand in hand. It is impossible to explore a place without knowing about it’s people. To complete this task we had to stop and speak to the different people. Almost all the locals we interacted with were only too happy to help. Some of them were camera shy but that did not stop them from teaching us a thing or to.

Task #2: Pictures of people, things and building in pink

This was far too easy ( most of them anyway!) especially since we were in the pink city! At every turn there was pink building or a lady in pink. We hit a wall when we realized that the museums did not allow photographs. How on earth were we to find a ancient artifact in pink outside of the museums? And along came Jantar Mantar to the rescue. The sun dials here have triangular walls made of the pink stone characteristic to Jaipur and that’s not it. They have been keeping time almost accurately for over a hundred years.

Task #3: A picture with Tikam Chand’s 150 year camera

This has got to be the most memorable part of our trip. Had it not been for the challenges we would have walked past the black box of a camera without a second look.

Tikam Chand’s grand father was the court photographer of the royals. When all royal titles were abolished his grandfather was given the camera to carry on his profession outside of the royal courts. His son’s took up the profession after him as did his grandsons. In the time of DSLRs and unlimited memory cards, a Polaroid picture developed within ten minutes using all natural materials has got to be best souvenir ever!

Lastly I have to mention our stay at Ginger hotel, Jaipur. It was comforting to come back to our tidy and well designed room after a day of gallivanting. Being centrally located we were not too far from anywhere. The staff were very helpful and gave us a tip or two on what to see, where to shop and where to eat!  The hotel has used  prints of Rajasthani traditional attire and scenes very tastefully to decorate the hall ways and the rooms. We were every happy with our stay and will definitely drop by again!

To know more about my visit to Jaipur follow-  facebook.com/stayatginger or @stayatginger.

[ This trip was sponsored by Ginger Hotels .]

A time warp island

A few months back a few friends and I took off to this enchanting island along the western coast of Karnataka. Before our trip we researched on things to do, places of interest near-by and even made a rough itinerary. Ironically the only time we stepped off the island ( after reaching it, of course!) was when it time to leave. Some places just cast a spell on you. Soans island did just that to us. We had a cottage on stilts above the water. We had our sunset in the evening and sunrise in the morning. A perfect time wrap not too far from home.

A view of our cottage

A view of our cottage

Sunset

Sunset

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The tide rises and recedes periodically

The tide rises and recedes periodically

Morning fog lifting off the water

Morning fog lifting off the water

Morning activity

Morning activity

The walkway that circles around the island

The walkway that circles around the island