For anyone traveling to Rajasthan for the first time, it appears extremely overwhelming. There’s so much to explore, do, and experience, that a few days are never enough. But there’s only so much time our professional commitments allow. Hence, when I finally got my much-awaited holidays, I had to plan well so I could at least touch upon the major places without much ado. I was flying to Jaipur and planned the rest of the itinerary from there. That is when I discovered the incredible car rental service of Savaari. Usually, hiring a tourist cab from any airport or local cabbies turns out to be a hassle and/or a costly affair. But when I booked a car with Savaari, it turned out to be more than just a rental. With their reasonable rates and comprehensive tour packages, I knew my vacation would be fulfilling.
Since I landed in Jaipur, I started my trip with a tour of the Pink City. After all, how can you not explore the capital of the largest royal empire of India?
Day 1 & 2: Jaipur
Like I said before, everything about Rajasthan seems larger-than-life, especially in Jaipur. The humongous ancient monuments, sprawling royal palaces, built in the finest Rajputana style, the city’s skyline was like sheer art on marble and sandstone. Although Jaipur’s inherent vibe is quite traditional, its characteristics nicely blend the classic and the contemporary, making the modern traveler feel at ease. I ensured to check every iconic structure off my travel list. I spent the day hopping across the landmarks from Hawa Mahal, to Jaipur Palace, Amber Palace, Albert Hall Museum, Jal Mahal, and the Jantar Mantar. In the evening, I headed to the Nahargarh Fort, sitting atop a hillock, overlooking the city, sparkling in the evening lights. I had planned for another day in the capital, so I decided to explore its culinary trails. Jaipur is known among food enthusiasts and bloggers, for being home to the most quintessential Rajasthani delicacies, accumulated from all over the state. The Indian Coffee House, Padao, Rajput Room, Jaipur, Adda, and Marble Arch, I managed to cover the best-rated eateries the city is known for.
Day 3: Udaipur
After soaking in the urban vibe of Jaipur, I headed to Udaipur. Since I had my rental car, I didn’t have to worry about travel. Also, traveling from Jaipur to Udaipur by car is definitely the best way of exploring this region and enjoy the drive through the rural areas and get a more close-up view of the regional culture.
Although another city, the energy of Udaipur is completely different from that of Jaipur. At a glance, the palaces, monuments, and even the hotels felt close to what I had seen in Jaipur, but as I kept roaming, I realized that Udaipur is much quieter and quainter. I started with the 16th-century city palace, followed by the beautiful garden of Saheliyon ki Bari and Monsoon Palace. The Vintage Car Museum was another interesting stop, with its exclusive collection of some of the rarest automobiles. I ended up staying at the Jadmandir Palace Hotel for a first-hand experience of how royal treatment could feel like. It was no less than stepping inside a history book. I spent the evening at the Lake Pichola, sailing through the sunset and watching the city’s transitioning mood.
Udaipur is surrounded by some very interesting places. Like Rajasamand, for instance. The sleepy town, at about 67 KM from Udaipur city was developed by Maharana Raj Singh in the 17th century. The highlight of the town was the Rajasamand Lake, which has been sustaining the community since its inception. It was the best spot in town to spend an afternoon, and take a boat ride. The crystal clear water, surrounded by nine pavilions and stone embankments made me visualize how it would have been back in the day when the royals would frequent the ‘it’ area of their kingdom.
While in Rajasamand, I also managed to stop by the historic battlefield of Haldighati, reminding me of my school history lessons, and how tough it was to remember who-what-when-how of one of the biggest battles of India’s history.
Day 5: Kumbhalgarh fort
A trip to Udaipur would have been incomplete without visiting the Kumbhalgarh Fort. The birthplace of Maharana Pratap, and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the 14th-century fort was a personification of Rajputana grandeur. While there are many similar forts in Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh is unique with its structure and historical anecdotes. They say it took the architect 15 years to complete the construction. Sitting above 6000 feet, within folds of 11 hills, the fortress was the perfect vantage point for panoramic views of the Aravallis.
And thus, my first trip to the land of the royals came to an end. The one week that I spent in Rajasthan would not have been complete without Savaari’s exceptional service. Most importantly, my cabbie was a very knowledgeable local and had the best suggestions for not only famous places but some offbeat ones too, making it a holistic and memorable experience.
- Always try to book a Jaipur to Udaipur taxi with an experienced and reliable driver.
- If you want to cover multiple places within a single trip, plan it in the offseason, but not in the summers.