Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, India, Jaipur, Travel



Oh sweet Jaipur! I feel like I can breathe a little sigh of relief. Don’t get me wrong, I will always have a special place in my heart for Varanasi, but Jaipur is a little bit more like what I expected India to be like, and therefore, what I was prepared for. Delhi and Varanasi caused a little bit of culture shock!

For lack of a better word, Jaipur is a bit more civilized, but that probably has to do with the fact that it is the first planned city of India. There’s a sense of order and organization to the city layout, which makes it a bit easier to get your bearings and navigate.

We are staying at the Umaid Mahal, which is recommended by Lonely Planet (they rarely ever lead you astray). Since I’m traveling with my dad this week, I was given three prerequisites for the hotels I booked: make sure they are clean, make sure they have hot water, and since it’s over 100 degrees everyday, make sure they have air conditioning. I also wanted to make sure they were authentic and have a sense of character. This one in particular is a gem.

About 150 years ago, Umaid Mahal served as a hunting lodge. Today it is beautifully decorated with hand-painted murals throughout, gold guilded doorways, and frangipani flowers. The staff is also extremely helpful and recommend an evening visit to Monkey Temple for the sunset. So we jump in a taxi and head to the outskirts of town for a short trek to the temple.


During the 30-minute hike up, we dodge cows, goats, tauts and beggars, oh and of course the monkeys. They are so adjusted to people being around, that they will (if close enough) steal the food right out of your hands. When we arrive at the hilltop temple, we actually watch a monkey steal someone’s shoe and throw it off the ledge to a field below!

We now know why the name “Monkey Temple” has replaced the structures original name, Sun Temple. We circle the temple and end up at the back of the hill, looking out at sprawling Jaipur below us. We leave a donation and retrieve our shoes, which are thankfully still in the same spot we left them. As we exit the temple, we watch the local kids as they try to pelt the persistent monkeys with rocks. Quite humorous!

We return to Umaid Mahal, and head upstairs for an authentic Rajasthani meal on the hotel’s charming rooftop terrace. Chicken thali, chicken tika, garlic naan, and cold Kingfisher beers. The bill for two is around $10. This is a backpacker’s dream come true!


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