INDIAN SUMMER (HOLIDAY): JAIPUR

India must be the most vibrant and thriving country I’ve ever visited. There is such an energy; the colours, sounds, hustle & bustle, smells… It’s a fantastic assault on the senses.

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I was reminded of this when I was (somewhat belatedly) watching The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this weekend. It brought back all my happy memories of two years ago when I visited Rajasthan for a very dear friend’s wedding at The Savista Retreat.

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Images via http://www.savista.com

As a welcome present we were given the most beautiful city guide, Love Jaipur, Rajasthan.

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It came in a lovely cloth envelope, is material bound and has beautifully thick paper pages. Fiona Caulfield, its author, has filled it with detailed, thoughtful and inventive ideas to give readers an authentic Jaipur experience. There are also the most gorgeous illustrations.

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One of the many beautiful illustrations from the Love Travel Guide    

As usual one of my favourite ways to explore a city is a walking tour and this may be one of the best yet.

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Flick to page 97 of the third edition (although I think there’s a fourth version now out).

I can’t recommend a walking a tour with Mr Vineet Sharma highly enough. For £7 (give or take) per person he will take you on the most fantastic three to four hour tour. You can pick from various walks; The Bazaar Walk, The Religious Walk, The Built Heritage Walk, The Cuisine Walk, The Arts and Crafts Walk or you can ask for your walk to be tailored if there’s something that specifically interests you.

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Clockwise from top left: A Chaiwallah, a jewellery maker pouring gold, two jewellery makers cutting metal and a Kachori maker

We opted for The Bazaar Walk which is around the Tripolia Bazaar. With Mr Sharma we walked through the different areas of the walled market which is set out in a grid pattern; marble workers, jewellery makers, flowers, bangles, paper, chaiwallahs to name only a few.

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Clockwise from top left: marble statues, flower garlands, bangles and more flowers

Mr Sharma conducts the walks and his passion and knowledge is second to none. We drank chai, ate the tastiest Kochari (a popular snack) (all included in the fee), saw parts of the city that we would never have otherwise discovered and really felt like we had gt a good feel for the city. He was the best guide; patient friendly and phenomenally interesting to listen to.

I hope these pictures are a little taste of the wonderful city.

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If you want to do a walking tour whilst in Jaipur you can email jaipurwalks@yahoo.com or telephone 9829071784 and I’d thoroughly recommend the city guide too (it has so many great tips for Jaipur and the surrounding areas).

P.s. There are two camels in the pictures. Ones is very obvious but see if you can find the other!

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