Thanks to the GK books, off which we rote learnt in the good ole school days, the sobriquet Pink City of India has remained etched in our brain cells till date. Jaipur, replete with its picturesque palaces epitomizing grandeur, has enough reasons to be chosen as a tourist spot by any traveller. And with the introduction of the Jaipur Literature Festival, which entertains authors from across the world, Jaipur has added another feather to its cap. For a student of English Literature, attending the extravaganza once is a must. Caution in the air though, do not go expecting critical academic engagement! Also, it was a golden opportunity of exploring a new, culturally rich city with my gang of girls over the weekend. Thus, the trip served the dual purpose of a Lit Fest cum Masti getaway!
Being college students, all of us run on fixed (read: tight) budgets. Intelligent strategizing was the key to accommodate our expenses. Delhi to Jaipur, offers a variety of options for commuting. However, we opted for the Ajmer Shatabdi, as we wanted to reach Jaipur before it got dark (safety issues, to be kept in mind by touring ladies!). Our travelling charges (both way!) came to Rs. 1000/- per person.There are factors that affect the choice of the accommodations. First, it had to be a negligible distance from Diggi Palace, the venue of the Lit Fest, in order to save time and reduce commuting expenses. Second, since we had to remain outside for the major part of the day, we decided on a basic hotel sans any lavish paraphernalia. And budget for the hotel, well, as less as we could manage! These factors effectively helped us in narrowing down to Hotel Ganga Kripa, 2km from the Railway Station, in Gopal Bari, which happens to be one of the hubs of budget hotels in Jaipur.
First impression- Highly reminiscent of Hotel Decent from Jab We Met. But, it is rightly said that a book ought not to be judged by its cover as the triple seater room for Rs. 900/- a night, perfectly suited our budget. A highly cooperative staff and the safe premises for women, further gladdened us.
With accommodation-check, tickets-check, luggage-check, money for additional expenses-check, came the realization- The first ever, non-parent supervised trip is ON!
For food, much to our surprise, at the Lit Fest it was reasonably price. A Veg Exotica Sandwich priced at Rs. 30/-,Chocolate Truffle Pastry at Rs. 40/-, so you get the basic idea. To get the taste of authentic Rajasthani food, blindly walk into any of the eateries near the Sindhi Bus Stand area to enjoy Dal Baati Churma and Gatte ki Sabzi. We were fortunate to enjoy the same spread at a friend’s place instead of a restaurant. A visit to the much hyped Lakshmi Mishthaan Bhandaar (LMB) proved to be disappointing due to the exorbitant rates. For cheap burgers, you can locate the usual Mc Donalds and KFC at MG Road. As for shopping, even if on a tight budget, it wouldn’t harm to purchase one of the colourful Lehriya or Bandhani dupattas (Rs. 125/-) and Lakh bangles (Rs. 80/- ish) from Bapu Bazar. Do remember to bargain all you can!
P.S. – The liquor shops close sharp at 8 in the city. To be heeded by whoever it may concern.
We commuted the city by autos and this is on a very serious note, DO hold onto SOMETHING when riding because obeying traffic rules appears to be a big no-no in the city. The autowallas take offence if their vehicle doesn’t jump on the speed breakers, leaving every cell of your body shaken. To add to that, we happened to ride in an auto with no glasses up front. Undoubtedly, it added to the fun quotient!
Though clichéd, we never realized how time flew. Such a well-managed trip ought to lay decent ground for more parent-unsupervised trips to follow. Fingers crossed!
Travelling (both ways)- Rs. 1000/-
Accommodation (3 nights)- Rs. 675/-
Commuting (within Jaipur)- Rs. 200/- + Rs. 250/- (sightseeing) = Rs. 450/-
Food- Rs. 850/- (approx.)
Grand Total = Rs. 2975/-
Note - For a group of four, this is the cost per head.
Contributed by Rini Sinha