Aroma Classic in Jaipur – Enjoyable, Efficient and Economical!

Before we start off our voyage to Jaipur, the first and foremost concern for us was- how much a hotel in Jaipur shall cost?

Though being continuously on a shoestring budget means that you have to keep your expectations grounded all the time during travel, Jaipur surprised us on many accounts. Apart from its awe-inducing sights, Jaipur had another trick up to its sleeve and that was- Aroma Classic Hotel.

Before the trip, my travel-buddies and I had checked upon various sites that were comprised of descriptions over Jaipur hotels but nothing clicked. Though each of us knew- how to survive on a piddley budget while travelling, we had chalked out a non-negotiable list before selecting the ideal hotel for us and surprisingly Aroma Classic ticked them all.

Hotel Aroma Classic

Hotel Aroma Classic | Image Resource:

First of all, the location of this hotel is simply amazing. It is approximately 4 KM away from Jaipur railway station, so once we got off from the train; we didn’t face any hassle to reach over there. Thanks to our favorite app for hotel booking, we had booked two deluxe rooms beforehand, but never in our wildest dream imagined such impeccable service that Aroma offered us in reality.

From it convenient location that made it easier for us to visit Hawa Mahal, Jali Wali Masjid and Jaipur Moorti Museum at a stretch to its European style bathrooms; from its superbly helpful travel desk to 24-hour room service, Aroma left no room to complain about and that too- within our modest funds!

Being the sole foodie of the gang, it was my heart’s desire to consume as many authentic Rajasthan dishes as possible during our stay and the spacious, multi-cuisine restaurant of Aroma satiated all my hunger to the fullest.

The Wi-Fi access made it possible, especially for me to indulge into blogging from the comfort of my bed. I was also very impressed to see the amenities presented by Aroma for corporate travelers, so I decided then and there that- post my MS-degree, if I ever go to the entrepreneurial way, I shall host my company’s first annual meeting in hotel Aroma Classic itself.

Panna Meena Ka Kund – Steps That Lead You to Antiquity of Rajasthan

Wildlife photography has taught me one trick and that is- there are so many little gems scattered around us and we need only a knack to spot them. Panna Meena Kund in Amber (pronounced as ‘Amer’) in Jaipur was that tiny gem, which only our luck helped us to find out. I would also like to thank my travel buddies from Lucknow as they also share the similar view about hunting down less-hyped travelling destinations.

Thanks to the wonderful travel desk of our hotel, we got to know about this serene spot that resides in a quaint place next to the Jaipur-Amer road. We visited this baoli (or step well) during the noon-time and discovered that the place was pretty empty barring some young couples who were chatting, sitting on the stairs. The picturesque view reminded me of two bollywood films back-to-back that contained few scenes shot in another Rajasthani kund or baoli. Standing inside the kund area of Panna Meena Ka Baoli, I realized that step wells, in fact, look more beautiful in reality than they are portrayed on-screen.

Panna Meena Ka Kund Jaipur

Panna Meena Ka Kund Jaipur | Image Resource:

Being a would-be Environment Engineer means I am pretty interested in everything related to sustainable environment and Panna Meena Ka Kund was an eye opener about- how back in 16th century Rajasthan, people were aware about water conservation. As we visited this during winter, the step well had no water. But later we heard that during summer, many local kids come here to swim, relax and chat.

Another USP of Panna Meena Ka Kund was its cris-cross, V-shaped, eight storeys of stairs. The gazebos, the lower-level doorways made for fantastic subjects of photography and all of us went on a mad photo-clicking frenzy.

Panna Meena Kund (Step Well)

Panna Meena Kund (Step Well) | Image Resource:

Just before we were intending to leave the place, we got to know that the original name of this baoli was Panna Mian ki kund. Upon returning to our hotel, I searched the internet about the founder of this step well, but didn’t find any information about the creator. Nevertheless, assuming that Panna Mian was the force behind this lovely step well, I paid respect to the human being in my memory.

Destination of the week: Sisodia Rani Garden Jaipur

Sisodia Rani Garden Jaipur

Sisodia Rani Garden Jaipur | Image Resource:

The garden featuring a palace at one end is really an amazing sight. With fountains, painted marquees, galleries, with rare arty-crafts, this place is filled with the highway passengers endlessly. It is amazingly taken care of. I was surprised to know this palace was the palace in Anil Kapoor’s classic magnum opus love story Lamhe. A notable fact to be proud of!

Albert Hall Museum – Protecting Bits & Pieces of Rajasthan for Eons

Whenever someone asks about my passions, I promptly tell them ‘Wildlife’, ‘Mountain cycling’, ‘Photography’, topped by my unfaltering love for ‘Environment Engineering’. But most of the times, I suppress my passion for visiting museums. In the past, I used to flaunt my love for museums quite unabashedly but then I saw people’s shocked expressions which screamed out ‘but how come a 20-something boy like you love museums? Museums are only for children, you see’!

So when, along with my travel buddies I was chalking out the itinerary of Jaipur trip; paying a visit to the famous Albert Hall Museum was a de facto choice. It also helped that I have got a bunch of like-minded travel companions.

Albert Hall Museum Jaipur

Albert Hall Museum Jaipur | Image Resource:

One fine morning around 9 am, we headed to this interesting piece of Indo-Saracenic (or Gothic) architecture. The magnificent building of Albert Hall Museum looked almost magical in the vivid sunrays. What struck foremost about Albert Hall Museum were the squeaky cleanliness and the neat maintenance visible in it as I had visited plenty of museums in various parts of India and most of the time; it broke my heart to see their dwindling conditions. It was nice to notice that with such meager entry fees (Rs.20 for Indians and Rs.150 for foreigners), the staff here made it possible to keep this museum running.

As always I had done homework beforehand about it and came to know that at least 1 hour is needed to visit this, though the museum remains open from 9am-5pm. I observed that majority of the fellow-visitors were appreciating most- the blue pottery, the miniature paintings and the arms and armors. But what caught my attention was the mummy from Egypt bought by one of the Maharajas of Jaipur.

Not only for its display items but Albert Museum is also famous for its rich history that shows the foundation stone was laid in honor of Kind Albert Edward, who visited the city of Jaipur in 1876. With its elegant pillars and archways, vast Indian as well as international collections- this museum seemed the right place to lose myself in history and I simply did that!

Destination of the week: Hotel Arch Inn Jaipur

Hotel Arch Inn Jaipur

Hotel Arch Inn Jaipur

Nothing is more enthralling like a semester end sneak out trek to the Pink city itself. Forgetting the irony of our results, my friends and I really loved our stay at this hotel. I was overjoyed that my K10 got a comfortable parking slot. The rooms were clean and the service seemed satisfying. The toothbrush and Razor service on request was very handy for freaks like us.

Jagat Shiromoni Temple – Where Divinity Meets Art

Being a son of Lucknow allowed me to appreciate all the religions and their shrines right from the childhood. I take pride on the fact that I have developed a knack of finding art in religion over the years. So visiting Jaipur and going to Jagat Shiromoni Temple was a natural choice for me along with my travel buddies.

Situated behind Amer Fort in Jaipur, the USP of this temple lies in that fact that- there is no entry fee for the devotees. Much I like Jaipur and its hottest tourist attractions; somehow I found most of them too much crowded with tourists all the time. But to my relief, the premise of Jagat Shiromoni Temple was almost empty barring few locals when we got there. Another point I liked that- there was no line of devotees and the pujas were done in a most organized way which is a rare sight in any other famous temple in India.

Jagat Shiromoni Temple

Jagat Shiromoni Temple | Image Resource:

Constructed between 1599 AD to 1608 AD; Jagat Shiromoni temple is the living and loving proof of a mother’s affection to her child, as it was made by Queen Kankawati Devi in the honor of her son Jagat Singh. I didn’t know about my friends but what I liked most about Jagat Shiromoni Temple was- the gorgeous combination of black-and-white marble as well as sandstones that went into its making. On the other hand, the giant depiction of trumpeting elephants and horses made my heart skip a bit.

Though the temple is dedicated to the idols of Radha-Krishna, for the locals it’s primarily known as Meera Temple. When we entered into the temple compound around 7 AM in morning, the stunning beauty of the temple bathed in the wintry morning sun cast a dream-like spell on us. I spotted excitingly that the edifice of this place of worship had much resemblance with South Indian style of architecture, and again it proved the fact that- India is truly diversified.

.Initially Jagat Shiromoni Temple was not on our itinerary. It was a last minute addition. But later we felt glad that we made the right decision of stopping by this temple.

Hawa Mahal Jaipur – Straight Out Of the Pages of a Fairytale

Being born and brought up in Lucknow means from the childhood I learnt to appreciate about the Mughal-style of architecture around my city and used to consider it to be the best in the country. Little did I know back then that what Jaipur had in store for me! At first glance of Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, I felt dizzy in awe and excitement. Before that, I have seen only the pictures of Hawa Mahal. But nothing prepared me for the magnificence of this beautiful five-storied palace.

When we (my travel buddies and I) entered to the premise of Hawa Mahal, it was sharp 9 AM. Though Hawa Mahal remains open from 10AM till 5 PM, but it was our desire to visit it early in the morning. Initially we didn’t realize how to enter to the mahal but later few locals showed us the way which led to the backdoor entry to Hawa Mahal.

Hawa Mahal Jaipur

Hawa Mahal Jaipur | Image Resource:

Though the ticket fares cost us mere Rs.10 per person (it’s Rs.50 for foreigners including cameras), we decided to shell out another whopping Rs.200 to hire a guide. Though I had done little research on the history of Hawa Mahal beforehand, all my travel buddies seemed too keen to hire a guide.

Built around 1799 by Maharana Sawai Pratap Singh in order to provide royal women with the chance to peek through outside, the Hawa Mahal may look like a beehive’s honeycomb from outside, but inside it’s only one room building with walkways. I tried to imagine how the women must have felt to live within boundaries, but later I shrugged off the disturbing thought.

The top of Hawa Mahal gives out a stunning view to City Palace of Jaipur and Jantar Mantar, which literally took our collective breath away.

Being an ardent student of Environment Engineering, it was not entirely possible for me to understand the intricacies and thoughts that went behind the architecture of Hawa Mahal. But before we stepped out of the palace, I bowed a little to the memory of Lal Chand Ustad- who was the royal court-appointed designer of this wonderfully breezy palace of India.

Destination of the week: Jal Mahal Jaipur

Jal Mahal Jaipur

Jal Mahal Jaipur | Image Resource:

Imagine yourself waking up one morning, being served with mint tea and rolls, you walk to the balcony and see nothing but the coy waters of a lake with lonely Flamingos bird- talking? That’s when you realize you’re holidaying at the Jal Mahal Jaipur. The very view of the hotel itself is a sight to steal at night. The two day stay at this Water Palace or Paradise is my best birthday gift ever.

Jantar Mantar – The Place to Discover Cosmos through an Indian-Style

As a student of Environment Engineering, I have always taken pride on the fact that I represent the flag-bearer generation of modern Indian science. But what I saw in Jantar Mantar during the recent trip to Jaipur with my travel-buddies- completely left me flabbergasted! Built around the time period of 1727-1733, Jantar Mantar certainly gave me Goosebumps with the accuracy of its geometric devices and the sheer thought that went behind in building this observatory.

We visited this stone observatory in a cheerful morning. An Indian has to shell out Rs.40 as an entrance fee, for a foreigner the amount is a whopping Rs.200. On the other hand, I was quite happy that students only need to pay Rs.15 per person and their abundant presence during our visit to Jantar Mantar and their unadulterated curiosity for everything around, really made our day.

Jantar Mantar at Jaipur

Jantar Mantar at Jaipur | Image Resource:

As for the observatory itself, the beauty of Jantar Mantar lies in the fact that- even if you don’t have any inkling about Astronomy barring the basic ones taught in your school curriculum, then also this place wields the power to make you as curious as a child.

Like others, what really held my attention for the maximum time in Jantar Mantar was its Sundial. The precision of its time telling again made me realized that time flies and how! Also the complexity and calculations that went behind Ram Yantra, whose specific purpose is to indicate the altitude and declination of celestial bodies, also evoked the awe inside of me.

Sundial At Jantar Mantar Jaipur

Sundial At Jantar Mantar Jaipur | Image Resource:

It was an amusing sight for me to see my otherwise restless friends, observing all the instruments with the calmness and interest that can be only found among inquisitive kids.

Before we leave the premise of Jantar Mantar, I paid a mental salute to the visionary Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who was the founder of the observatory as well as the city of Jaipur. In a time when the princely states of India were always engaged fighting wars among each other, that King had the courage and the knack to laid the stepping stone for astronomical science in future India.

Destination of the week: Jaigarh Fort Jaipur

Jaigarh Fort Jaipur

Jaigarh Fort Jaipur | Image Resource:

All I had to say after visiting this amazing piece of man- made self defense magnificence was, WOW! Seriously?? It really looked like an Indian version of The Great Wall Of China! My friends and I were thrilled to stride through the guarding stones of the fort while listening to its history shared by an old veteran. The Aerial view of the fort I traced later made me proudly say, ‘I’ve really been here!’