Out of Delhi (300 km)
Words Aurelia Fernandes
Driving around in royal Jaipur is likely to leave you with a sense of longing for luxury and extravagance, and, as you see the Jal Mahal rest peacefully on the waters of Lake Man Sagar, you will wish you could live in a palace of your own. Make that happen by checking into the Trident, Jaipur. Set in the heart of the Pink City, the Trident nestles against the backdrop of the Aravalli Hills, which makes for a lovely view as you plunge into the hotel’s azure-blue pool (which provides much-needed respite from the unforgiving Jaipur heat). Or, you could just relax in your room – 34 of the tastefully-decorated rooms offer a view of the stunning Jal Mahal. Rest just a while, because, with the city within close proximity, adventure awaits you both in the hotel and outside.
If shopping is what you have in mind, there’s a range of boutiques in the lobby to satisfy the shopaholic in you. Pick up gorgeous block-printed fabrics at Rangoli Textile and a matching jewellery set from Rakyan Jewellers. Make a stop at Deepika Arts for a souvenir or two to take back home. If self-indulgence is what you have in mind, hit up the hotel’s spa – you’ll find a wide range of therapies from which to choose. If you have little kids in tow, they’ll love hanging out at the Kid’s Club, designed to keep them active, happy and busy, all under supervision, of course.
As night falls, swing by Mansagar, and no, we don’t mean the lake. A tastefully-decorated bar that serves up a range of cocktails, wines and spirits, it’s a great starting point for a night of festivities. Grab a drink and head over to the pool area for a delightful puppet show that’s sure to leave you smiling. Before you make your way to Jal Mahal (the in-house restaurant named after the water-borne palace), strike up a conversation with Haji Ikram Ahmed Khan,a craftsman who has been making lac ki chudiyan (lac bangles) at the Trident for over 22 years. Watch as he effortlessly heats and rolls the lac, adding natural vegetable dyes to create vibrant swirling patterns. It’s natural to feel a sense of pride as he crafts you the perfect set, adding you to the long list of his clientele, which includes Queen Elizabeth, the Clintons, and the best of both Bollywood and Hollywood. Put on your gorgeous bangles, and get ready for a scrumptious dinner. Jal Mahal has a grand buffet, which strikes just the right balance between continental and Rajasthani cuisine, but, if you’d rather stick to something local, call for the Rajasthani thali or the laal maas. Rest assured, you will go to bed very happy.
A trip to Jaipur mandates a few things, one of which is stopping by the gorgeous Hawa Mahal for a photo-op or two. While you’re there, stroll around and check out the many shops – you might even be tempted to treat yourself to a full makeover. On your way back, swing by the Jaipur Blue Pottery Art Centre to take a piece (or many) of Jaipur back home with you. With a diverse range of functional objects and home decor items on offer, don’t be too surprised if you find yourself giving your home a makeover too.