After a 5 hour private bus journey (where I swear to god I thought I was getting frostbite at one point it was so cold!) from Agra, it was time to settle into Jaipur, the famous Pink City, where we would be spending the next couple of days.
Our first stop of the day was Hotel Utsav Niwas which would be our base for the next 2 nights. Hotel Utsav Niwas was by far the prettiest hotel we had stayed in so far. There was still barely any hot water, but they did have a laundry service, which was very much needed by now. Due to the unexpected cold weather, I had been layering up so much, that most of my clothes had already been worn!
Hotel Utsav Niwas also served some of the best food we had eaten so far. This is where my love affair with the Indian dish, Poha, began. Poha is an Indian rice dish, made from flattened rice, and is commonly eaten for breakfast or as a snack. It’s a beautiful, mouth watering way to start the day!
After a bite to eat and a freshen up, it was time to head into the Pink City, via tuk tuk’s for the start of our walking tour with our Intrepid leader, Afsha.
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, got it’s nickname, the Pink City, when the then Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria visited back in 1876. In preparation for their visit, Maharaja Ram Singh painted the whole city pink, the colour of hospitality, to welcome his guests. The Prince described Jaipur as the ‘Pink City’ and the name stuck, although today, the walls appear more terracotta than pink.
Jaipur has such a nice buzz about it. The markets, the colours, the people, the smells (despite almost choking on the incredibly pungent fresh chillies!)…it’s an incredibly enchanting place.
As we wandered through the streets of the old city, we came across merchants selling everything you could possibly imagine. From the usual spices and vegetables, to their famous kites (the annual Jaipur Kite Festival takes place on the 14th January every year, when the skies become alive with small, colourful kites being flown from the cities rooftops), and wedding party must haves!
After our walking tour, it was onto the Raj Mandir, one of the most famous cinemas in India. With its single screen theatre, and stunning interior, simply standing in the entrance was an incredible experience! However, we were about to watch one of the latest Bollywood movies to hit the big screen, Good Newwz…without subtitles 🙈.
Now I don’t know how many of you have ever watched a Bollywood movie, with or without subtitles, but they tend to be (in my experience), a little bit on the cheesy side. Although we couldn’t understand what was being said, Good Newwz was simple enough to follow. It was a typical romantic comedy, and by the end of the film, we all had a pretty good idea as to what had just happened, and basked in the warmth of the heartwarming but comical tale.
The part of the evening I wasn’t expecting, was the crowd participation! Witnessing the entire audience standing up, whooping and cheering every time their favourite actor appeared on screen, along with people shouting out and clapping during key parts of the movie, was something I definitely hadn’t expected to experience!
Watching a Bollywood film in the heart of India really was a completely surreal and unforgettable experience!
This vibrant city had already captured a piece of my heart after less than 24 hours. I was looking forward to seeing what day 2 in Rajasthan’s capital had to offer.