C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day
The Golden Triangle, Road to Jaipur
This was my first time in India…
The best way to describe it is, India is an endless exotic photo-shoot.
India is non-stop “What. The. Hell?” from the moment you leave the airport; your brain just can not catch up to your senses, which are overwhelmed instantly.
We arrived in New Delhi via Dubai, flying on Emirates which I have to say was the most luxurious airline I have ever flown. The food was delicious, incredibly efficient and plentiful. Airlines in America have a lot to learn in comparison.
They catered to my son like he was royalty giving children their food first, with a package of toys and interactive online games to keep him busy. I highly recommend Emirates.
After clearing customs, we had gone outside to look for our hired driver to take us to Jaipur. I left my son with a friend at the cafe directly inside the airport doors, but they would not let us return inside to get him once we left. I could see them through the window, but they would not let me get their attention from ten feet away. A large security guard with a gun sat there… not being helpful in any way.
Once some time had gone by, my son noticed we were standing in front of the window jumping up and down trying to get their attention. An eight year old boy and one adult had to carry the luggage of four people by themselves, without making return trips inside.
Our van was nice with air condition, but the driver had decided to tie all our luggage on the top of the truck instead of shoving it in the back, this was our first time seeing a man on the roof of the car, but certainly not our last.
The nervous tension began NOW as I envisioned my laptop falling off of the van somewhere on the road like you see in the movies.
The going rate is approximately $100 US dollars for a private van from New Delhi to Jaipur, a five hour journey on a “decent” road. But don’t worry… every single dollar spent is completely worth it due to plenty of entertainment and road trip drama along the way. Don’t expect a fast ride on an Inter-state type highway…
The adrenaline from head-on traffic careening towards you was enough to acclimate to, let alone cows, camels and elephants walking right in the middle of the morning rush hour traffic.
I honestly think the road trips we took in India were the most fun I have ever had in my life. My son literally cried tears of joy watching mommy shriek, and yell, while hiding my head in my elbow…and I am not a squeamish girl.
Once you get used to the pure terror, you learn to acquire this fascinating respect for the driving techniques of anyone who dares to get behind the wheel in India. You put your faith into knowing that they know what they’re doing… and simply let go of everything you have ever known.
It’s refreshing… really.
As we got closer to Jaipur the scenery turned a little more mountainous, like rolling hills of desert. Entering Jaipur is quite magical, as you come around a corner and see something which looks like the great wall of China.
The Amber Fort is a massive palace, on top of a hill. The history is long and extremely detailed with stories leading back to medieval times. The Rajput Maharajas built this as a private residence for their extended families; it continued to undergo renovations as each generation took over, with the 16th century being the most extravagant, completing the palace.
More than one million guests visit the Amber Fort each year and it’s one of the main attractions to Jaipur. You can hire an elephant guide to bring you to the top as he tells you some of the history; it’s a bumpy, smelly ride… but worth it.
“You’re in India.”
We decided to stay an incredible hotel named —-> the Shahpura House <—- in a neighborhood called Bani Park. I did so much research on hotels in Jaipur, that ultimately it was the comment section that helped make the choice and I could not have been happier.
At first I thought I wanted to be in the center of it all to be able to walk to the attractions in Jaipur, but after being in the city for some time I was extremely grateful we chose the Shahpura.
It’s located on a very quiet neighborhood street with new construction condos surrounding it, almost like the feel of a suburb, but still very close to everything you want to see.
It is an Oasis in the middle of chaos; completely refreshing to return home to a big beautiful room and the sound of chirping birds after a long day in the pink city.
When you arrive at Shahpura, you are welcomed in with fresh juice as they show you to your room. The rooms are large with canopy beds, sofas, and modern fancy bathrooms. They have wifi, a pool and a bar.
The Shahpura is a renovated “Havelli,” which is what they call an old mansion or palace. It’s beautiful, with winding staircases and antique furniture. They pay attention to every single detail for their guests.
The dinners are quite delicious with a local dance and puppet show on a fresh air rooftop for entertainment each night. Breakfast is quite filling, flavorful and free. I loved the staff at the Shapura very very much; they remembered our names and welcomed us like family each time we returned.
Shapura would absolutely be my Jaipur home away from home from now on. It is extremely affordable, most rooms including suites were less than $100. on hotels.com.
We hired an auto-rickshaw each day from directly out front of the hotel. Our driver Rafik would turn off the meter and ask us to give him what we thought he deserved. I think we paid him the equivalent of about $10 dollars for each time we needed him, which was probably a lot, but he took us out for hours at a time. He showed us Hindu temples and of course delivering us to many of his “friends” shops such as a Jewelry factory and even an astrologer.
The elephant sanctuary “Ele-Fun” was an extremely personal experience. For about $60. dollars my son had his own elephant for the entire day. He got to paint it with non-toxic paints and we got to ride through the woods without the use of harmful cages loaded on top of the elephant. These animals were very well cared for, I felt no abuse going on in any way… in fact it was the opposite; these elephants were treated like family.
The shopping in Jaipur (and India in general) is an experience in itself. I have to admit, although fun and different I was annoyed by the end of my vacation.
I am a normal size American girl; I am by no means skinny, but I am not fat either. As soon as you walk into a shop, they rip out extra large sizes in every color.
This alone drove me crazy.
It’s like this… they pull out plastic bags of folded shirts; long sleeve, short sleeve… long shirt, short shirt… then you narrow down your choices from there. If you say blue… every single item they have in blue is thrown onto the counter or a big pile on the carpet.By the end of your shopping excursion, you have messed up their whole store with hundreds of items spewn throughout. They offer you cookies and sodas; it’s all nice… but I could have taken one glance in a normal store with racks and hangers, touched some fabrics and decided for myself if I was interested or not.
The whole process takes awhile to get used to.
There must be fifteen sales employees to “help” pick out your clothes. One guy climbs a ladder, and another guy re-folds the clothes you didn’t like.
One guy plays “calcualtor man” adding up fake discounts and deductions while another guy rings you up. The other remaining employees just watch… intently.
Why? I have no idea.The Monkey Temple in Jaipur is more of a winding road up a hill leading to abandoned buildings. There are hundreds of monkeys begging for food; you can buy little baggies at the bottom of the hill from a food cart. Most of them seemed to ask politely for the morsels, but one of them did scratch my arm pretty badly when I pulled my hand away.
FYI… “don’t pull your hand away!” Just sayin.
The photos from these abandoned buildings were amazing and well worth the trip though. You get a lovely view of the entire city, and there are plenty of places to simply sit and take it all in. “Holy crap… I’m in India feeding monkeys?” that kind of thing.
I noticed the women seem to disappear into their homes as evening comes. I was constantly noticing that I was the only woman around, but I was traveling with two men and no one ever made feel uncomfortable in the least. I did not ever feel unsafe in Jaipur… well, besides the cobras dancing in baskets.
People all over India were warm and inviting. Traveling with a blonde eight year old boy was interesting as everyone wants to touch his hair, which we found endearing.
One man told me “We are used to white people, but we are not used to little white people; I want to put him in my cereal and eat him for breakfast because he is so cute.” I will describe all the attention he got in my New Delhi article. I know a lot of tourists seem to be annoyed by this, but we found it a great way to meet locals and see lots of happy faces.
We were met with nothing but warm smiles, plenty of VERY FUNNY jokes and a genuine feel of humanity from the waiters to the drivers, to the owner of the Shapura House.
I have definitely fallen in love with India and can’t wait to return. Don’t believe all the negative you hear, just GO and see for yourself.
More photos of Jaipur scroll below:
For more stories in the Gori and the Sikh category, click—> HERE
Read about “My Indian Boyfriend “—>HERE
My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Indian Astrology —> HERE
My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: The Dress —> HERE
Surviving Long Distance Love—> HERE
Open Letter to my Husband—> HERE
Our Honeymoon, Rishikesh India—> HERE
Fiance Visa Process—> HERE
US Embassy Interview—> HERE
Journey to New Delhi—> HERE
First Trip to Jaipur India —> HERE
Our First Diwali—> HERE
Giving Thanks, Shukryia —> HERE
Being Sikh in America—> HERE
The Indian Grocery—> HERE
A Path to Happiness—> HERE
A monkey stole my sons ice-cream cone right out of his hands at the Amber Fort. Look at him arrogantly eating the ice-cream. Rude, simply rude…. but cute right?
Little girls at the elephant sanctuary in Jaipur. They wanted chocolates, which I forgot to bring. Note to self, next time keep chocolates in your bag at all times! Their smiling faces were intoxicating.
Cows are everywhere; so are pigs, goats, dogs, donkeys, camels and elephants.
The Samode Havelli, we did not stay here, but we had some wine in their courtyard. A lovely hotel, in the middle of the chaos of Jaipur.
Actually. the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventure. -Alice in Wonderland
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