INDIA

Re­lax by the lakes of Udaipur, or roam the palaces of Jaipur

Friday - - Leisure Charts -

I want to ex­plore...

An ex­tended weekend, or for that mat­ter even a week, is too lit­tle time to ex­plore Ra­jasthan. This is the state of roy­alty, of forts, palaces, lakes and deserts, of vi­brant dance and music, of in­cred­i­ble food and swirling colour. But a few days is just right to get a closer look at Jaipur the state’s cap­i­tal city, and a slice of what the state is all about.

Start your visit with a trip to the City Palace, a beau­ti­ful and sprawl­ing ur­ban palace with a mélange of struc­tures that have been built dur­ing var­i­ous pe­ri­ods. There are eclec­tic col­lec­tions as well – from royal arte­facts to weav­ing tra­di­tions to a col­lec­tion of vin­tage ve­hi­cles. Many other sights are clus­tered around this, such as the Hawa Ma­hal with its stun­ning fa­cade of win­dows and Jan­tar Man­tar, a fas­ci­nat­ing col­lec­tion of sci­en­tific in­stru­ments in the form of solid struc­tures. Round the cor­ner from all these mon­u­ments is the in­tensely busy war­ren of nar­row streets hous­ing Jaipur’s many mar­kets where you can buy beau­ti­ful fab­ric and ex­quis­ite sam­ples of Jaipur’s fa­mous blue pot­tery.

For a true sense of a fort and cas­tle, head a bit out of town to Amer Fort lo­cated on a hill over­look­ing Jaipur, stop­ping at Jal Ma­hal, a dra­matic struc­ture in the mid­dle of a lake.

Stay at Zone by the Park Jaipur, a quirky, fun and colour­ful ho­tel lo­cated in a qui­eter part of the city that of­fers a con­trast to the hec­tic pace of the old town. Filled with colour­ful paint­ings and stylish dé­cor, the ho­tel’s rooftop pool and spa are won­der­ful bolt­holes af­ter a hec­tic day. Rooms start from Dh136 over the Eid pe­riod.

I want to un­wind...

The smor­gas­bord of sights and ex­pe­ri­ences that Ra­jasthan has to of­fer can of­ten over­whelm and leave the vis­i­tor wired. The city of lakes, Udaipur’s af­fec­tion­ate so­bri­quet, will soften and smooth out the edges.

Five ma­jor lakes dot the city and are ac­tu­ally con­nected by a sys­tem of canals and it is on these lakes that roy­alty pre­vi­ously built stun­ning palaces and royal ed­i­fices, which have been adapted into havens of tran­quil­lity and re­lax­ation. The city has a plethora of sights and is known for its dances and cul­tural fes­ti­vals, but the lakes are beau­ti­fully se­duc­tive and it is easy to give in to the temp­ta­tion of just laz­ing around.

Stay at Ja­gat Ni­was Ho­tel on Lake Pi­chola, a 17th cen­tury palace with stun­ning views of the lake. There’s noth­ing much to do than re­lax. Stir only to im­bibe the lo­cal fare laid out by the ho­tel in its hand­ful of restau­rants. Rooms start from Dh242 per night.

Ra­jasthan is home to spec­tac­u­lar forts and palaces – some of which have been con­verted into her­itage ho­tels

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