Tanvi brought a few bottles of pepper spray to keep in the car and her purse, after all, a young woman travelling solo on roads in India is a tough deal. Her spirit was more cautious now but not deterred. She got her car checked and refuelled. Tanvi packed her bags, conveyed her heartfelt thanks to Dalbir’s family for being the best host she had ever seen, and left for Rajasthan.
The choice of Rajasthan was based primarily on two factors – one Rajasthan is known as a safe and tourist friendly state, and secondly she had been to Jaipur trip with her friends’ way back in college, so she wanted to relive those childhood memories again.
Her first stop was the peppy pink city Jaipur! Full of stories of 3 Ms – Maharaja, Maharani and Mahal – Jaipur balances historical traditions and contemporary style perfectly, making it one of the most visited state in India. Every mahal in Jaipur has an intriguing story and anecdotes to tell that give you a sneak-peak into the life of royalty.
Tanvi wanted to see each and everything this time, for time was not a constraint for her. She hung her backpack on her shoulders and went exploring Jaipur on foot. When you explore a city on foot you have the liberty to pace it to suit your musings, and not remain dependant on the mercy of a tourist guide for whom it is yet another job and yet another day. Tanvi didn’t want to miss anything, not even an abandoned palace. Who knows she might unravel something unique or precious in some corner of this historical city?
Perched on a hilltop, Amer fort had intricate workmanship on walls that takes your breath away. They had used sandstone and marble to build this fort that has four levels. Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-khas, Sheesh Mahal – the bombastic names, the royal stories and royal gossips too, were quite engrossing. Languidly going through Amer fort, Tanvi imagined herself as a queen going for a celebratory attendance, sitting in one of the jharoka, passing a slide smile to her King, and a sewika fanning her! The huge Amer fort took a lot of time to see from end-to-end.
Tanvi grabbed a quick snack and moved towards her next destination, Hawa Mahal. Situated right in the heart of the city, surrounded by shopping complex, it has dual charm. See the palace and then enjoy shopping. Hawa Mahal was a palace designed exclusively for women who can sit by the window and enjoy street festivals. How thoughtful of Maharajas of those days, Tanvi contemplated. Compare this to the situation of women in today’s society. How pampered must have these queens felt when such an exclusive palace was built for them. This five storey mahal is like a honeycomb hive and has 953 windows. That’s called good ventilation. In fact, a tourist guide told Tanvi that this palace was used as a summer retreat by royal families.
Tanvi shopped for a few trinkets and then retired for the day. She went back to her couchsurfer’s house and plonked herself on the bed, and fell fast asleep wandering amidst royal palaces in her dream.
Read the previous post here – Chapter 18 –Bidding Adieu To Chandigarh-The City Fantastico
Read the next post here – Chapter 20 – The Impact Of Journey – From Being a Tourist To A Responsible Traveller