On September 25, 2012Nirvana Bhatia answered the question:For the quintessential Jaipur day, mount an elephant at your hotel first thing in the morning and ride up to Amber Fort, located high on a hill overlooking Maota Lake. Inside, take in the enchanting mirrored mosaics in the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors), cobbled paths and artistic architecture. Once you’re done photographing the splendid vistas, stop for a lunch of dal baati churma, (a local staple of lentils and unleavened bread) at Choki Dhani, a traditional Rajasthani village resort. In the afternoon, arrange for a tour of the town in a vintage car — be sure to hit the Jantar Mantar observatory and Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). Cool down with a mango lassi, an iced milk beverage served in clay cups, at Lassiwala on MI Road (imposters abound but the one that says Shop 312 is the real deal) and then scour the nearby shops for printed textiles and sparkling jewels before reveling in Rajput glory at Suvarna Mahal, a top restaurant inside the Taj Rambagh Palace hotel.
On September 25, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Given the number of palace hotels in Jaipur, you’ll have no trouble dining like a king in this bustling city. Here’s a list of the five best places to eat in Jaipur from our Forbes Travel Guide editors:
1. Surya Mahal. Chef Ashish Bhasin dabbles in both Indian and continental cuisine at the two restaurants located in The Oberoi Rajvilas, but we recommend sitting underneath the stars at the romantic Surya Mahal and enjoying the live folk dancing over a torch-lit dinner. Make sure to order the laal maas, a spicy mutton curry that is a specialty of Rajasthan — and of Bhasin.
2. Suvarna Mahal. Jaipur’s maharajas actually dined here once upon a time, and the restored grand banquet hall inside Taj Rambagh Palace still speaks to their penchant for opulence. Create your own royal feast in this Old World charmer — order murgh tikka zaffrani (saffron chicken kebabs), Jodhpuri gatte (gram flour balls in a rich gravy) and baskets of soft onion kulcha (stuffed bread).
3. 1135 AD. As the tourists leave Amber Fort, immaculately-dressed servers lay out silver platters and flickering candles in one of the fort’s courtyards; musicians strum sweet melodies that float into the darkening hills and the thick scent of masalas wafts through this decadent dinner spot. For a night to remember, smoke the hookah under the a twinkling night sky or celebrate a special occasion in the Sheesh Mahal, a private mirror-mosaic chamber.
4. Okra. For something a little different, the lavish buffet at Jaipur’s Marriot Hotel boasts tables laden with sushi, dim sum, Lebanese delights, Italian favorites, and a wide selection of vegetarian dishes. The top-notch service and luxury ambience play second fiddle to the massive array of different cuisines.
5. Niros. When the splendor of the Rajputs begins to wear off, grab a table at this nostalgic Jaipur institution. Graced by the who’s who of Indian society and visiting celebrities, people of all generations keep returning for the excellent Chinese and Mughlai comfort food.
On August 6, 2012Nirvana Bhatia answered the question:Jaipur was once home to the famous Rajput maharajas, and the city is still peppered with their palaces and playgrounds. Check out Forbes Travel Guide’s list of the best things to see and do in Jaipur:
1. Jantar Mantar. Maharaja Jai Singh II laid the foundations for his ingenious observatory in 1728, with devices for marking the arrival of monsoons, eclipses and zodiac stages. Today, the collection of astronomical instruments is a UNESCO World Heritage site best viewed with a guide who can explain just how everything works.
2. Hawa Mahal. The “Palace of Winds” is one of the only things that’s actually pink in Jaipur and is thus the city’s major landmark. Pretend you’re a noble Rajput and peek out at the commoners on the street below from one of the pretty shuttered windows.
3. Jal Mahal. Located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake, paddling out to the “Water Palace” in a Rajput-era wooden boat is half the fun. Once you’ve arrived on the island, you’ll discover spectacular views of verdant hills through the intricate lattice windows embellishing the structure.
4. Albert Hall Museum. Museums in India are usually a dingy affair laden with mislabeled artifacts, but this grand building houses a fine collection of Rajasthani carpets, paintings and costumes.
5. Amber Fort. The Rajput royals once lived in this saffron-tinted palace overlooking a glistening lake, and its unique style blends elements of both Hindu and Muslim design. Sheesh Mahal, a room glittering with mirror mosaics in the third courtyard, is a highlight, as is Ganesh Pol, the entrance to the royal family’s private quarters. The grounds surrounding the fort are popular for elephant or camel rides.