As active travel bloggers and photographers which is a big part of what we do for a living, travel for us means a perfect integration of work and vacation. We love taking short trips to nearby destinations (both popular and off- beat), mostly by driving down to them or sometimes even taking a bike ride or at other times simply resorting to trains and flights.
With the arrival of Ahaan, our little son who is now 3 months old, we had put travel on a pause for a while and as Ahaan started getting closer to being 3 months old last week, we decided it was time to introduce him to the outdoors as well.
So we started looking for safe and easy travel options where we could comfortably take Ahaan along and Jaipur topped the list, being just around 250 kms away from Delhi. Having been to Jaipur a couple of times before, we had already seen the forts and had shopped to our hearts content. So this trip had to be different in order to help bring in fresh perspective which travel often does.
We drove down on Thursday morning to the pink city and arrived there by 11:30 a.m. We checked into Hotel Park Inn which is a decent 3 star hotel situated at the heart of the city. After resting for a couple of hours, we decided to drive down to Jal Mahal in the evening. We chose to drive through the lanes and market places of the pink city, just enjoying the charm of a relatively small city which is modern yet, has a distinct ‘small town’ feel, characterized by comfort, friendly locals and a relaxed, stress free atmosphere. Upon reaching the Jal Mahal, we were welcomed by the energetic ambience of the place with hawkers selling chaat on the streets and several local vendors selling everything from the famous Jaipuri ‘Juttis’ to beautiful embroidered turbans to other handicrafts, all available a throw away price.
It was a visually delightful experience to see the beautiful symmetrical building of the Jal Mahal Palace which stands gracefully at the centre of the Man Sagar Lake. The palace looked stunningly beautiful in the night, with its bright golden yellow lights in the backdrop of the clear black sky and the bright silver moon beaming over it. We took a stroll on the lake side with our little angel sleeping peacefully on my lap, as I carried him in my arms. After clicking a few good pictures and selfies, we sat in silence, just gazing at the stars and the beautiful sight of the palace and its reflection in the water. It felt as though time had come to a standstill as we continued to look at the inspiring sight, just a few meters away. After spending a good 2–3 hours at Jal Mahal, we drove back to our hotel via the main market where we stopped for a sumptuous vegetarian dinner.
The next day was a relaxed one and we were happy to wake up to ‘doing nothing’. After having been so busy with work and caring for our little one for the last over 2 months, it was a welcome break to have a relaxed morning completely to ourselves.
For lunch, we decided to explore the local restaurants and stopped by the newly opened Karni & Manika fast food and fine dining restaurant at Vaishali Nagar. The restaurant is a service by Incredible Restaurants, a company founded by Mr. Karni Singh, who is also the proprietor of Popular India Vacations Pvt. Ltd (www.popularindia.in), a travel company based at Jaipur. The sweet shop and restaurant was inaugurated in November 2018 and stands tall on the Main Gandhi Path, opposite the Kuber complex. It is a fantastic dining option at Jaipur for vegetarians. The fine dining restaurant that serves a variety of options from authentic Rajasthani thali to a host of mouthwatering starters and snacks is definitely worth a try. We were warmly welcomed by the hospitable staff as we entered the restaurant and took a table at the corner.
The interiors of the place are beautifully done in traditional Rajasthani style, yet, has a very modern look and feel. We opted for dahi kabab and spring rolls for our starters followed by the main course which included our favourite paneer makhanwala with steaming hot butter naan. After eating to our heart’s content, we gulped it all down with a tall glass of yummy and creamy sweet lassi. Besides mouthwatering food, great service, beautiful and classy interiors, the rates of the hotel are extremely reasonable. Apart from the fine dining restaurant, the building also includes a fast food centre serving delicious chaat options and a banquet that can accommodate upto 100 pax at the basement. The Manika restaurant is thus, a great option for dining at Jaipur if you are looking for good Indian food at reasonable pricing. For more information, visit www.popularindia.in. www.incrediblerestaurants.in.
With lots of sweet memories from our short stay at the pink city, we returned to Delhi. This trip will always remain special in our hearts for its simplicity and the wonderfully relaxing experience that we had. And of course it was little Ahaan’s first ever road trip at just 2.5 months old. The trip has given us a lot of confidence to travel more with Ahaan and we know one thing for sure — Ahaan has inherited our passion for off — beat travel experiences.