January 25, 2013

The Best Guest House in India (Jaipur, Rajasthan, India)

If you haven't read about our train trip from Amritsar (read here) to Jaipur, you should. It's a doozy. (read here for the story). While the 14 hour overnight train was horrific for Steph we couldn't have picked a better guesthouse for her recovery. When we arrived in Jaipur, the pink city, we headed to Rajputana Paying Guest House, where we were greeted by Papa, the father of the house, and one of his daughters. We were whisked off to our gorgeous, clean room and crashed for the rest of the morning. Later that morning they brought toast, bananas, and tea up to our room for breakfast. I went down and chatted with Mama and Papa. They have four grown kids (two of which help with the guesthouse) and are some of the kindest people we have met. Papa is a tiny man who fixed typewriters for 50 years to support his family. I would run into him on the roof when I would go there to read. He would be up there smoking his beedis (Indian cigarette) and through minimal English he would give little insights on his life, and give me suggestions. Papa was obviously very well respected by his kids but they also ribbed him about not knowing his age. Papa was born in Ajmer, a much smaller town a few hours from Jaipur, and when he was born his family didn't get a birth certificate for him. It became obvious that an ongoing family joke was making fun of Papa that he didn't know his age. He would get worked up and then smile, shrug and give a little head bobble. He was very sweet and when I think of the Indian the head bobble, I will picture Papa and his bobble.
Not the family at Rajputana...but some smiling women at Hawa Mahal

The next day Steph was still not feeling well so their daughter took us to their family doctor, who gave Steph some antibiotics. After that, I decided to venture out myself for the day as Steph needed to keep resting. A lot of tourists visit Jaipur because it is the closest Rajasthani city to Delhi (Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur are known as the Golden Triangle), and their are several sites to visit. I was  excited to see Hawa Mahal as it is in our book of the 100 wonders of the world (read here). It was built out of pink sandstone in 1799 and they used lattice work to allow the royal women a place to view the city going by without being seen by commoners. While the outside of it is gorgeous, the inside is rundown and not kept up, like many of the Indian historical sites we have visited. After that I headed a little out of town to see the fort. Then, I walked around part of a lake with a palace in the middle of it. This was nice, as it was a bit more peaceful and I could escape the crowds. (More on site seeing in India later).
Hawa Mahal

Palace in Jaipur
When I got back to the guesthouse, Steph told me how she had had a fever in the afternoon. Mama was bringing her some tea and when Steph answered the door, Mama chased her back to bed and literally sat on the end of the bed and cradled Steph against her, rubbing her face and head. This family was just above-and-beyond kind, and we're lucky to have met them. We are so disappointed that we did not take a picture of the family as they were so amazing to us while we were there. Rajputana Paying Guest House is very reasonably priced (less than $14/night), very clean, and located in a beautiful Rajasthani haveli (mansion) with lots of open air space. The neighborhood doesn't allow for walking to tourist destinations, but the family will arrange a driver (at a reasonable cost) for you and will even sit down and carefully help you plot your path through Jaipur. And, although Steph missed out on most of the food, their son cooked amazing meals for us (he used to be a chef) and poured dark rum for us all one night, which was his cure-all for Steph. 

Although I was less than impressed with the city and sites of Jaipur (we have realized we haven't really enjoyed the cities of India- too much traffic, pollution, and trash), I am glad we went, as we would not have met Mama, Papa and two of their children. If ever in Jaipur, give them a ring and hang out with Papa on the roof.

Rajputana Paying Guest House
24 B Ganesh Colony Imli Phatak
302 005 Jaipur - Inde
Tél. +91 99 29 113297
Check out all of our pics from Jaipur here. A few more are below.

Fruit vendor in Jaipur

Jaipur elephant

Check out all of our pics from Jaipur here

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