6 days in Italy – beautiful & enchanting

Italy was our first destination on our recent trip to Europe. We spent 6 days in Italy. And by all means these were very beautiful and enchanting days. They comprised of couple of days each in Rome, Florence and Venice. While we did feel, a couple of days is not enough to explore all that each of these places are to offer. Yet we tried to make the most of our 6 days in Italy. And here we bring the story of our 6 days in Italy, along with some more recommendations as per our research. We hope it will help you plan your own best 6 days in Italy. And, we would also like to hear what you would do with your 6 days in Italy, if anything, different from what we did. So, here goes the details of our trip in Italy.

Day1 : Arrival in Rome

Rome in a day | 6 days in Italy

Our enchanting 6 days in Italy began with an arrival in Rome. As our flight landed on the Rome airport early in the morning around 7:00 am. However, it was the easter weekend. And looks like lots of tourists were interested to visit Rome, the Vatican in particular. So, it took a lot of time to get through the long queue at the immigration counter. There after, we started for our hotel, Best Western Blu Hotel. And by noon we checked-in into the hotel and settled down. But we decided to take rest since we had our little daughter with us. And she definitely had the jet lag. So, did we.

So, basically we didn’t do much on this day, except going on a stroll in the surroundings of our hotel in the evening. Having said that, if you can combat the jet lag or you don’t have kids with you, you can take a hop-on-hop-off trip of Rome on the day of your arrival. Since, you can take it on your own pace and you can start anytime in the day when you feel ready for it. As we initially had planned for the same. But, couldn’t. So, otherwise, keep your day light. Also, take plenty of rest and prepare yourself for the rest of the days amongst your 6 days in Italy. Because there will be a lot of sightseeing, walking, picnic and fun things to follow on rest of the days.

We did step out in the evening though. And the streets were all inviting. With a soft cold breeze and beautiful lights all around. We strolled around the streets for a while. Finally, we went to a grocery shop nearby and did our first grocery shopping in Rome. And after that, we took takeaway meals from a nearby pizzeria.

Day2: Roaming around in Rome

6 days in Italy

Clockwise : the Roman Forum, The colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel in Vatican

On the second of our 6 days in Italy, we woke up fresh. We had recovered from the jet lag. And we were ready to start our day, exploring Rome. It began with a tour to the Vatican city. We first explored the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel followed by the Saint Peters Basilica. It was the day before the Easter. And Vatican was busy with the preparations for the Pope to address the city. Although it was crowded. But, we didn’t mind. To see the Easter celebrations in Rome is an experience in itself. Post lunch, we proceeded to the Colosseum , the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Trevi fountains and some more places worth visiting in Rome. Finally, we came to the Piazza Navona and sat here along the fountain to enjoy our evening. You can read the details of our one day of roaming in Rome here.

For the exact itinerary with timings and the tips on making your day more effective and efficient, read our post on Rome in a day. Upon looking at the itinerary, you might feel, we did a lot for a day. But believe me, the day we are talking about was really long. It extended from 6:00am in the morning to 9:00pm in the evening, before the sunset finally happened. And we took plenty of rest while walking around and exploring places. So, the base line is that, it is comfortably possible to cover all these places within a day in Rome.

Day3 : Rome -> Florence

On the third day of our 6 days in Italy, we started in the morning for Florence. After checking out from our hotel, we headed to the train station in Rome. From here, we boarded our train for Florence at 10:30am. And we enjoyed every bit of our first train ride in Europe while traveling from Rome to Florence today. Especially the Tuscany countryside that just stole our heart. We arrived in Florence by 12:15pm. And by noon we had checked-in into our apartment, Palazzo Dei Ciompi .

walking tour of Florence | 6 days in Italy

Mesmerizing views across the river Arno

After getting fresh, we stepped out. And to our delight, found a vegan café just besides our apartment. Upon seeing this vegan cafe, our hunger instantly became stronger. Thus, after having lunch here, we headed on our self-planned, self-guided free walking tour of Florence. And we covered a lot of sight along the banks of river Arno as a part of this trip and finally returned back to our apartment by 9:30pm at night. Thereafter, we prepared our dinner and called it a day.

Day 4: More of Florence & Pisa

Today being the fourth of our 6 days in Italy, as we woke up early in the morning, we got the feeling that our vacation in Italy was more than half way through. And this gave us an extra boost to make the most of the remaining of our 6 days in Italy. Thus, post breakfast, we started our day with an early morning self-planned and self-guided walking tour of Florence that covered places around the Duomo, Academia Gallery and other important places in the center of Florence. And in noon, we took a trip to Pisa and visited the Leaning tower of Pisa. Finally, we returned from there by night.

48 hours in Florence | 6 days in Italy

The Pisa cathedral with the leaning tower of Pisa in the background

Although we could have returned earlier. But we had taken a bus trip to Pisa. And it turned out to be a busy road pertaining to the long weekend. But, we were glad as we arrived back in Florence by 9:00pm. Since, we got to view Florence by the night. Wherein all the beautiful structures including the Duomo were glittering in the night light. Finally, we reached our apartment. Although we were suspecting if the main gates would be closed by now. Since, we had forgot our keys. But, luckily they were not. Thereafter we retired to our beds. But not before enjoying a self prepared hearty meals. Where, each one of us provided some contribution in the meal preparation. Thus making it all the more tasty and enjoyable.

Day 5: Florence -> Venice

On the fifth of our 6 days in Italy, we said goodbye to Florence and took our next train journey to Venice. We enjoyed the previous two days in Florence too much. Particularly because we stayed in the heart of the town with all the beautiful places worth visiting nearby. Also, we took our self walking tours. And we stayed in an apartment. You can read here our recommendation on how best to spend 48 hours in Florence.

Venice walking tour | 6 days in Italy

We arrived in Venice by noon. Here, our hotel, Hotel Continental, was located just 300 meters from the train station. So, we just grabbed our luggage and walked to our hotel. And after checking into the hotel, we soon headed our for lunch. We bought some slices of Pizza from the nearby pizzeria and settled near the Grand Canal, just in the backyard of our hotel, for lunch. And our little one shared her lunch with the pigeons here. She was super excited chasing them and trying to make friends with them. Thereafter, we embarked on yet another of our signature self designed walking tours, to explore Venice.

Day 6: Venice hop on hop off

Finally arrived the last day of our 6 days in Italy. Since, today was the day to explore Venice, via the means of communication that Venice is renowned for – the canals and lakes. So, we took a hop-on-hop-off tour through Venice today. And as a part of this tour, we explored Murano, Lido, the Saint Marks Square and several other lovely stops across Venice. We also had lunch and snacks sitting in one of the open air restaurants by the water. Finally, it turned out to be one of the most memorable days for us during our stay in Italy. And we enjoyed every bit of it. You can read the details of our Venice hop on hop off trip in details here in this post.

After the spectacular day in Venice, all we can say is that any amount of time spent in Venice will not be enough. The place is just magical. While we walked it’s cobbled streets. And also sailed through it’s waters. Plus we spent time exploring most of the beautiful places in and around Venice. Still, we left from Venice carving for more. And we are sure, we will be returning here once more. That will be an even slower travel than the current one. All we wish to do is sit by the beautiful canals or hover over a bridge for hours. Just seeing the lives in Venice go around as usual!

Onwards Journey : Switzerland

After having spent 6 days in Italy, that felt like 6 very beautiful days, finally arrived the time when we had to say goodbye to Italy and embark on our further journey. As we left Venice the next day morning and boarded a train to Lucerne. Thus, began another chapter in our Europe journey. We spent 4 mesmerizing days in the Swiss Alps region, staying in Lucerne as the base. As a part of this trip, we did a self designed walking tour across Lucerne. We also went to Engelberg and Mount Titlis to play in snow. And further we did a beautiful day trip each to Bern, Grindelwald and Interlaken, visiting Kambly cookie store and a cheese factory in transit. The stories will soon follow..stay tuned!!

Summary of our 6 days in Italy

Day

Things done

Timing

Day1

Arrival in Rome

Exploration around the hotel in evening

Day2

The Vatican City

8:00am-12:00pm

Lunch outside of Vatican City while on way to Colosseum

12:00pm

Roman Colosseum

1:00pm-3:00pm

Roman Forum & Palatine Hills

3:00pm-4:30pm

Pantheon, Trevi fountains, Piazza Navona

4:30pm-8:00pm

Day3

Train from Rome to Florence

10:00am-12:15pm

Florence walking tour along the river Arno

3:00pm-9:00pm

Day4

Florence walking tour covering Duomo etc.

8:30am-11:30am

Half day tour to Pisa

12:30pm-9:00pm

Day5

Florence -> Venice train

7:30am-12:00pm

Venice walking tour

3:00pm-9:00pm

Day6

Venice hop-on hop-off tour

8:30am-7:30pm

 

Florence to Pisa Tour | 6 day in Italy

A random click along the Tuscany countryside

Tips on spending 6 days in Italy

  1. Comfortable walking shoes is a must. There was not a single day out of our 6 days in Italy when we didn’t walk. And mostly we walked for 6-8 kilometers daily.
  2. Another must is a bottle of drinking water. Packaged drinking water is way too expensive. You will easily get fountains and public taps all over Italy to refill your water bottle. Keep yourself hydrated.
  3. Carry an umbrella when visiting in April-May. We did encounter the rain a few times but luckily it was not heavy.
  4. Book your accommodation near most of the sightseeing places in the old part of the cities. That way, you will save a lot on commute.
  5. If at all you have to commute, try other means like buses, trams etc. instead of taxi which is costly.
  6. Except for Rome, we always could do with walking around in Florence and Venice since our accommodation was very close to the train station and so were most of the places of our interest.
  7. Always prefer takeaway food. Slices of pizza or portions of pasta that you can get packed and eat while you explore the city. Saves time as well as money.
  8.  We would recommend apartment stay over hotel stay as it gives you much more flexibility in terms of cooking and staying as a bigger group when traveling with friends and family.
  9. Check the entrance tickets to the places of your interest and if possible book online. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time in queue.
  10. If traveling with toddler, carry a stroller with you. Florence and Venice are particularly very stroller friendly. In Rome, the Vatican was an exception where we had to take stairs quiet a few times and it was difficult to carry the stroller along the stairs.
  11. Here’s some links to the official sites in most of these places where you can find details of guided tours, tickets, timings, etc.
    1. Rome
    2. Florence
    3. Pisa
    4. Venice
  12. Beware of tourist scams. We witnessed some like someone giving a rose to a tourist which seemed like a gift initially but then they started pestering them for a good amount of money like 5-10 euros. We plan write in details about the scams we saw in Europe.
  13. Last but very important, be aware of pickpockets. They are dominant in the crowded tourist destinations like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain in Rome, Piazzo Vecchio, Duomo, Uffizi gallery in Florence, The leaning tower of Pisa, Metros and train stations, bridges, squares and basillicas of Venice etc.

6 days in Italy | Rome | Florence | Venice | Pisa | Tuscany

Roaming around Rome in a day

Rome was not built in a day. And you will realize it when you try to cover Rome in a day 🙂 So did we. But with limited time at hand, we tried to make the most of it, roaming around Rome in a day!

Rome in a day

Rome was the first destination that we started with during our trip to Europe. Although we had planned for two days of travel around Rome, but the day of arrival things didn’t go as smooth as expected. We arrived early in the morning at the airport. But it took quiet some time to clear the immigrations since there was a lot of crowd owing to the long Easter weekend. Thereafter , it was almost an hour’s ride to our hotel. Upon arrival, we got our rooms appointed and by the time we settled, it was almost noon. Tired and exhausted of the long journey, plus the jet lag, we decided not to do anything else. Rather to take rest so that we could recharge ourselves for the 20 days long trip that we had laid for ourselves.

So, we were left with one more day in Rome. The next day, we woke up energized. And we decided to make the most of our trip around Rome in one day. After a hearty continental breakfast, our day started with a visit to the Vatican city. The theme for our tour through Rome in a day was to explore the ancient and beautiful heritage of Rome that is world famous.

The Vatican city

8:00am-12:00pm

When you have to visit Rome in a day, Vatican city has to be there on your charter. Since it was just the day before Easter, a lot of preparations were going on in the Vatican for the next day when the Pope addresses Rome. It’s a story in itself how Rome celebrates Easter. It was nice to see all the preparations, apart from the usual great stuff that Vatican has to offer. But there was a long queue at the entrance where we did spend around 40 minutes before entering into the Vatican Museums. But when we finally did, we were awestruck by its beauty.

Vatican Museums

Rome in a day

Glimpses of the great art and sculptures at the Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums have some most renowned work of art and sculptures from the renaissance period. These have been collected by the Popes over centuries. The museum contains more than seventy thousand pieces of great work of art. But out of those, only around twenty thousand are on display. The museum was formed in early 18th centuary by Pope Julius II. There are 54 galleries in the museum. And it takes quiet some time to go through them, admiring some of the best pieces of art in the world. While the walls of the galleries are adorned by unparalleled thread works and paintings. At the same time the walkways are lined with unique sculptures. And the ceilings are decorated with wonderful paintings from the renaissance period. Each work of art has a story to tell.

You will be simply blown away by their accuracy of representation, proportions of human anatomy and beauty of expression! Some of the major paintings that the Vatican Museum includes are Giotto’s Stefaneschi Triptych, Raphael’s Madonna of Foligno, Oddi Altarpiece and Transfiguration and Leonardo da Vinci’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness. For lovers of art, it is a must visit when they have to see Rome in a day.
Walking through the Vatican Museum you arrive at the Sistine Chapel at last.

The Sistine Chapel

Inside the official residence of the pope, the Apostolic Palace, stands the Sistine Chapel. The chapel serves as the site of the ‘Papal Conclave’ – the process of selecting a new pope. However, the most interesting piece that holds the attraction of visitors in the Sistine Chapel is the ceiling decorated by none other than Michelangelo himself. The world famous painting ‘The last judgement’ decorates the whole altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. It depicts the second coming of Christ and the final and eternal judgement by God of humanity. In the painting, one can see the souls of human rising and being judged by God who is being assisted by his saints.

Rome in a day

Apart from this, during renaissance time, a team of the most famous artists and painters worked to cover the Sistine Chapel with different paintings depicting the life of Christ. It’s forbidden to speak inside the Sistine Chapel and visitors are expected to maintain silence here. If you are in the Vatican, and you have to see Rome in a day, you must not miss the Sistine Chapel.

St. Peter’s Basilica

Another must visit when seeing Rome in a day, St. Peters Basilica is a renaissance church standing next to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. It is considered the most renowned work of the renaissance period. Most of the famous artists of the renaissance time, including Michelangelo worked together to create this great piece of architecture.St. Peter’s Basilica is actually regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines in the world. The day we visited here, there were preparations going on both inside and outside the Church for the upcoming Easter eve. When the pope addresses the Roman people.

Rome in a day

In spite of the crowd and the arrangements in full swing, we could marvel the architectural intricacies inside the church. While outside, we loved the floral arrangements that were being put. Imagine what an even greater experience it must be to visit here on a day when it is not so crowded. Although we do wonder if such a day comes at St. Peter’s Basilica. Nevertheless, when you are seeing Rome in a day, do visit here, no matter which day it is!! After coming out of the St. Peter’s Basilica, we had our lunch. It was a takeaway to save time. And thereafter, we started towards our next destination, the Colosseum.

The Roman Colosseum

1:00pm-3:00pm

When you are visiting Rome in a day, you might not want to miss the biggest amphitheater ever built in the history of mankind – the Roman Colosseum. Built from 72AD to 80AD, this forum had a capacity to hold a crowd of fifty thousand to eighty thousand spectators. That itself shows it’s granduer. Although it has been damaged partially through earthquakes and natural calamities over thousands of centuaries, it still stands tall and massive as the symbol of the Imperial Rome. The seating at the amphitheater shows the rigid strata the Roman society was divided into. The best viewpoints were reserved for the Emperors followed by the senatorial classes.

Rome in a day

The arena of the colosseum

A tire up seated the noble classes and knights. There after followed different social groups. And what did they do there? They observed games, particularly the gladiatorial shows and the animal hunt shows called venatio, that were held from time to time. The hero of the plays that were held – often a condemned person – was killed gruesomely in mythologically authentic ways.Next, after coming down from the Colosseum, we headed through the Roman Forum – admiring the ruins of the Roman Empire.

PS: A gladiator was an armed person who entertained audiences in Roman Empire by violently confronting with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their lives at will. But, most others were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death.

The Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

3:00pm-4:00pm

The Roman Forum is one of the most ancient parts of the Roman Empire. It consists of ruins of several important buildings, government offices, markets, trade centers and general buildings of the ancient times. In the ancient days, during the 100-500BC in particular, when the Roman Empire was great and massive, it was the center of the public life in Rome. While criminal trials were done here, statues of great men were also setup to commemorate them. The Roman Forum lies between the Capitoline hills and the Palatine Hills. And it is a sight to behold. It is a living example of the might of ancient human kingdoms and empires.

Rome in a day

While the Palatine hill, one of the seven hills in Rome, is also one of the ancient most areas of Rome. It has mythological importance as well. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave, known as the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf Lupa that kept them alive. Now it is an archeological site open to public. When roaming around Rome in a day, it definitely should be on your must visit list. Afterall , to be in Rome, and not visit the ancient ruins, is like an incomplete journey.

The Pantheon

4:30pm

When visiting Rome in a day, you might as well want to have a look at the Pantheon. The word Pantheon is actually derived from a greek word with a beautiful meaning “temple of every God!”. And as the name implies, the Pantheon is an ancient Roman Temple that is now a church. There are statues of different Gods placed outside the building as well. And it’s speculated that is also the reason for it’s naming. Although, due to limited time, we didn’t spend much time inside it. But still, it left a lasting impression on us with it’s massive architecture, and intricate works of art. The interesting part is that while many of the other Roman buildings got damaged and needed multiple restorations. The Pantheon has been best preserved. Perhaps because it has been continuously in use since the ancient time. It was never closed as such.

Rome in a day

Trevi Fountain

5:00pm

One of the most famous fountain that stands in the Trevi district in Rome is the Trevi fountain. A major spot for suiting of films as well as for tourists alike, the Trevi fountain is the largest and the most famous water fountain in Rome. So, when visiting Rome in a day, we would highly recommend going to the Trevi Fountain. And so did we. Apart from the beautiful architectural details that the fountain exhibits, it’s particularly a treat to the eyes when visited in the evening with the lights on.

There is a tradition of making wishes and throwing coins in the Trevi fountain which is so famous that it was the basis of an entire book and the movie “Three coins in the fountain”. It’s believed you throw one coin over your right shoulder in the fountain and you will be returning to Rome one day. However, it is believed that these coins are fished out by the government and donated for better cause. The Roman Catholic charity Caritas runs food and social programs for the needy and oppressed in 200 countries and territories worldwide. They use these coins to meet their needs. Now, that’s an even better reason to throw a coin in the fountain than for the cause of returning back to Rome – isn’t it?

Rome in a day

Piazza Navona

6:00pm

Our last stop during our own tour around Rome in a day was Piazza Navona. It is a piazza or a square in the center of Rome, built in the 1st century AD. It features some important sculptures and architectural creations. The most famous and prominent being the fountain of the four rivers that stands in it’s center. As we arrived here , the evening was setting in. And the environment around was really cool. While we took our seat near the fountain of the four rivers to rest our foot for a while.

We could see the whole area abuzz with activities. On one side was a magic show going on while on the other side, someone was playing a beautiful tune on his violin. There were children running around and chasing pigeons. And so did our little one. The outdoor sittings in front of the restaurants surrounding the piazza were slowly getting filled with people. And candle lights were coming up. Overall, it was the exact refreshing environment that we needed after a long day walking around and experiencing Rome in a day!! What an end to the tour that we had.

Rome in a day

Fountain of the four rivers at Piazza Navona

Summary of our visit around Rome in a day

Activities Timing
Breakfast 7:00am
Vatican Museums 8:00am
The Sistine Chapel 11:00am
St. Peters Basilica 11:30am
Lunch 12:30pm
Colosseum 1:00pm
The Roman Forum & Palatine Hill 3:00pm
The Pantheon 4:30pm
Trevi Fountain 5:00pm
Piazza Navona 6:00pm

 

So, what all did we see in Rome in a day? Of course not everything that is there to see and all the activity that is there to do. But, we did visit the places that we were interested in. And without visiting them, our visit to Rome would have felt incomplete. So, we were really satisfied with our roaming around Rome in a day 🙂 . Later when we went on to Florence and took a walking tour around the Duomo, and one around river Arno, we found great architectural similarities between the structures in Rome and Florence. And that made us want to return back to Rome one day to explore more.

There are some more places of interest in Rome like the Spanish steps, Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Venezia, National Roman Museum etc. If you have time beyond a day, we would recommend you take a hop-on-hop-off bus pass and then explore these regions of Rome. Overall, visiting the ancient parts of Rome is like visiting another world – an ancient world that belongs to the beginning of the calendar years. We remember getting similar feelings when we visited Hampi back home. But the Roman empire is even older and dates back to the BCs.

Tips on visiting Rome in a day

  1. Don’t rush. You can make your own plan and spend more time at the places you feel interested in.
  2. Pick the places that appeal most to you.
  3. If any of these requires tickets like the colosseum and the Vatican, then try booking them in advance to save standing in long queues at the counter.
  4. Have takeaway food for your meals, so that you can save time. While you transition from one destination to another, you can have your meals.
  5. Keep a bottle of refill drinking water with you. And keep yourself hydrated.
  6. Beware of pickpockets. They are in abundance around the main tourist centers like the Colosseum, Trevi fountain, the fountain of the four rivers etc.
  7. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  8. If you have toddlers and smaller kids with you, you might consider carrying a stroller along. Since there will be tremendous amount of walking to be done when you want to see Rome in a day.
  9. But, in the Vatican, it might be a little challenging to carry a stroller and more so in the colosseum. Because at these places you will be taking stairs now and then. Which will require you to carry the stroller up the stairs which will be a strenuous job.

After spending this one enchanting day in Rome, we went ahead on a trip to Florence, PisaVenice, Switzerland covering Bern, Interlaken, Engleberg, Lucerne and Grindelwald and then further to Paris and Amsterdam. Stay tuned for the upcoming stories from our Europe trip.

 

Your perfect guide to see Rome in a day .. Covering the Pantheon, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, St. Peters Basillica, Roman Forum, Colosseum and the Piazza Navona

11 awesome things to do in Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram or Mammalapuram is a small town in Kanchipuram district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is a town along the Bay of Bengal coastline. And, it also has many beautiful ancient historical monuments including a temple right on the sea shore. Once upon a time it was a bustling city and seaport for trade between India and South East Asia. Later it was ruled by the Pallava dynasty. Most of the temples and historical spots in the town are devoted to Shiva. We spent a couple of days in Mahabalipuram around the new years eve. And welcomed the new year with a visit to the marvellous architectures that the place has to offer. There are so many things to do in Mahabalipuram. So, here goes my favorite list of things to do when in Mahabalipuram.

Shore Temple

Shore Temple - Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Shore Temple Mahabalipuram

The must of the things to do in Mahabalipuram is a visit to the Shore Temple. It is the most famous monument of the town. A visit to Mahabalipuram or a list of things to do in Mahabalipuram can’t be complete without a mention to the Shore Temple. As the name suggests, the temple is located right on the sea shore. What makes it special, is the beautiful ancient architecture of the temple and the carvings on the walls. However, what made it extra special for me was the absolute absence of religious gurus to bother you in the temple premises. This temple is a  UNESCO world heritage and also counted as the finest example of Pallava architecture. It was built in 700 AD.

There is a beautiful manicured lawn surrounding the temple. The path to the temple follows a winding track from the entrance gate to the main temple through these lawns. On one side of the temple lies the rocky beaches. While on the other side of the temple campus is the sandy beach. A narrow lane besides the campus of the temple leads to the sandy beach. I guess this is the most crowded beach of Mahabalipuram. One side of the lane leading to the beach is full of shops, but more on them later. On the beach you can get some snacks, icecream and a horse ride to enjoy but there are no proper shacks. I wish the area was developed a little bit to include some nice shacks.

Light house

Actually, not many know that there are two light houses in Mahabalipuram. Both of them would come in the list of things to do in Mahabalipuram. One of them is a modern lighthouse structure. It was built in a later era when the trade with the other countries started. It can be well recognized as a light house from far away. A flight of stairs lead to the top of this light house. You can climb to the top and enjoy the marvelous site beyond.

Lighthouse : Things to see in Mahabalipuram

Lighthouse of Mahabalipuram

The other light house is not into existence anymore. Just besides the existing light house, you see a temple perched atop a huge rock at almost same height as the lighthouse. The top of this temple was used as a lighthouse earlier, before the construction of the former. Lights were placed atop the temple roof and then they were manually operated to help the ship in the ancient era. So, you can say, this one is the other lighthouse that many won’t know about, until.. you happened to visit the heritage museum. This immediately goes into my list of things to do in Mahabalipuram.

Lighthouse : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Old Temple that doubled as a light house

Heritage museum

The heritage museum lies just besides the light house. These consist of two small houses in a sprawling campus. However, they are both house to several very interesting heritage including the model of the first ships that sailed through the famous silk route to reach india, the model of first ships that were ever constructed in India, several equipments that were used in the light house including the ancient lanterns, the clockwork, and several other equipments that were used inside the ship itself, including a model of the full control panel of a ship and another beautiful model of titanic. They go especially in my list of things to do in Mahabalipuram. When I personally researched on what to do in Mahabalipuram, there was hardly any mention of these museums. But we found them very interesting.

Heritage Museum : things to do in Mahabalipuram

A model of the Titanic at the Heritage Museum

Pancha Ratha

These are another set of archeological wonders and must visit when in Mahabalipuram. Actually these are considered fine example of stone cut monolithic structures of ancient India. The Pancha Ratha are a set of 5 different monuments. Each one is called a ratha and is named after the Pandavas and their family. They are the Dharmaraja Ratha, Bheem Ratha, Arjun Ratha, Nakul Sahdev Ratha and Draupadi Ratha respectively.

Pancha Rathas : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Pancha Rathas

While the Bheem ratha is uniquely constructed as an oblong building. The Arjun Ratha and Yudhisthir Ratha are quiet similar with square shape and dome on top. The other two rathas are relatively smaller in size. However, each one is marked by beautiful sculptures  and carvings on the wall. Apart from the rathas, there is a lion and a elephant each carved out of a monolith stone, that seem to be quiet popular amongst the tourists for snaps :). These monuments are also classified as UNESCO world heritage structures along with the Shore Temple. Overall, another must have in the list of things to do in Mahabalipuram.

Krishna’s butterball

At a walking distance of around 7minutes from Pancha Ratha lies the Krishna’s butterball. It is a big stone uniquely balanced on an incline, another favorite to take snaps. The single boulder that is called Krishna’s butterball weighs 250 tons. Alongside this stone are several other stones in unique shapes and some natural caves formed by the incline of one massive stone atop the other. The area here has been developed into a nice picnic cum tourist spot with manicured lawns surrounding the whole area marked by stones and sculptures. A small ancient temple also lies in the same campus. A nice place to enjoy as well as relax your feet.

Krishna's butterball : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Krishna’s Butterball

There are interesting stories associated with Krishna’s butterball. It is said that an attempt was made by one of the Pallava king to move the stone, however it couldn’t be moved. Centuries later, a governor of the region reattempted a transfer of this boulder with 7 elephants employed for the cause. Still it couldn’t be moved!!! The name of the boulder is driven from it’s resemblance to a butterball, a favorite snack of Krishna. No doubt, this one is a special one amongst the things to do in Mahabalipuram.

Arjuna’s penance

Just besides the Krishna’s butterball lies Arjuna’s penance. The carvings on the wall here are particularly remarkable. There is a temple chamber also adjoining the sculptures. These sculptures depict scenes from the Mahabharata. The legend depicted on the twin-stone boulders here are that of the descend of the river Ganga to earth , under the guidance of Bagiratha. The elephant carving at Arjuna’s penance is considered the best stone carving in India. The size of the elephant is near real life. And in totality there are about 146 carvings on this particular monument. It is also a part of the UNESCO world heritage sites of Mahabalipuram.

Arjuna's Penance : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Arjuna’s Penance

India Seashell Museum

There is a beautiful Shell Museum on the outskirts of the town which is still evolving. It has a section with huge collection of shells. These shells comprise of all possible varieties that one can think of, in all the different shapes , sizes and wonderful collection. One part of the museum contains the smallest shell of the world on display, which is as small as the size of a grain. And at the other end, the museum also has a collection of immensely large shells. Overall, the collection is totally worth a visit. Thus, one of the best things to do in Mahabalipuram. You will be amazed by the shapes, sizes and colors of the shells.

Shell Museum : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Shell Museum

The museum also has a small aquarium, recently developed. It contains a small collection of different types of fishes. At the entrance of the aquarium is a fish pedicure which is available at an extra cost of INR 100 for 15 minutes at the time of this writing. There are several other sections being developed in the shell museum for better entertainment of the public. Definitely a place worth visiting. Thanks to Arti who had mentioned about this museum in her blog post and that is from where we came to know about it. Do read about the details of the India Seashell Museum here

Cave Temples

There are several cave temples in Mahabalipuram. These temples are also a part of the heritage monuments of the town. Most of these temples are carved out of single stones and some are located inside natural caves formed within these stones. Nevertheless, all of them are marvelous. These consist of temples of Shiva and Krisha along with other deities. However, idols can be seen in only some of these temples. Mostly you will find carvings of idols and other representations in the form of carvings on the sides, walls and pillars of these temples. A flight of stone steps lead up to the temples. They extend over a large area starting right from near Krishna’s butterball up to the light house.

Cave temples : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

One of the cave temples

Spend time on the beach

An obvious inclusion in the list of things to do in Mahabalipuram, since it is a coastal town. Although the beaches on the coast near Mahabalipuram are rocky. Still there are stretches where the beaches the sandy and smooth. However, the current of water is quiet strong. And also, there are no life guards. Still if you are someone like me who doesn’t mind sitting on the beach, doing nothing, just watching the sun play on the water or the waves crash against the bank, then you are not going to be disappointed.

If you are looking for too many activities on the beach, then don’t head here. However, you still might be able to raft or take a ride on a boat along with the local fishermen if you want to, that will be completely on your own risk. Given they might not have any life jackets or other safety measures with them.

The coast along the stretch from Mahabalipuram to Kovalam (a small village just near Chennai) is particularly sandy and idle for taking a walk along the beach. Children can enjoy playing in the sand. Again, don’t expect the beaches here to be super clean. In fact, they are quiet a garbage dump at stretches. So, look for a suitable spot to enjoy your slice of the beach. However, if you choose to stay in one of the beach side resorts on the east coast stretch, you will have plenty of time and easy access to enjoy the waves. Since, most of these resorts are right on the beach, so much so that the waves at night almost reach the property :). We did capture some beautiful sunrises on the beach.

Sunrise at a beach : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Sunrise at a beach near Mahabalipuram

Crocodile farm

Crocodile farm is another interesting addition to things to do in Mahabalipuram. Actually, it is not located exactly in Mahabalipuram. But rather, it is at a distance of some 15-17km from the town, on the east coast road, as one drives from Mahabalipuram towards Chennai. I will still rank it as one of the top things to do in Mahabalipuram. Since, there are not many crocodile farms in India. And there is definitely not one with a reserve as big as this one. If you ask me to define this place crudely, I will say it is somewhere between a zoo and a natural reserve. The crocodiles are breaded and preserved here. However, their habitat doesn’t look as close to a natural one.

There are numerous small water ponds inside the farm. And each holds a different species of the reptile family. At the end, there is a section for snakes. Also, there are some very large and some equally small tortoises housed here. Several of the animals have been adopted by people. Those people provide for the care of these animals. Hence, we hope they will be properly taken care of. Some of the ponds had numerous crocodiles, lying one on top of the other along the bank. It made me wonder if the place had enough space for all of them. Nevertheless, it is nice for a one time visit, particularly if you are an animal lover or you have kids that get excited on the mention of any animal :).

Crocodile farm : Things to do in Mahabalipuram

Crocodile Farm near Mahabalipuram

So, overall these are the best of the things to do in Mahabalipuram, as per our personal experience. When you happen to visit Mahabalipuram, don’t forget to visit these places.

Shopping

Last, but not the least, if you want to take some souvenirs with you from Mahabalipuram. Or, if you enjoy shopping in general, read on. I would suggest two things in particular – 1) souvenirs created from sea shells and 2) stone sculptures. The souvenirs made of shells consist of huge range of items including showpieces, vases, key chains, personalized key chains etc. The sculptures range from small palm size to 10 feet tall ones. So, up to you what you want to pick. But these  two definitely are a speciality of the region. You can either shop from the streets lining up to the Shore temple or the shopping complex near the Panch Rathas. Also you can shop from an outlet inside the sea shell museum that primarily specializes in shell based souvenirs.

Tips on visiting

  1. Mahabalipuram is quiet accessible via road from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. It is just 60km from Chennai and well connected via the east coast road. If traveling from Chennai, it can be covered through a single day trip.
  2. It is also quiet accessible from other major south Indian Cities like Bangalore via road route. Chennai will be the nearest railway station.
  3. The place has a hot and humid tropical climate all year round. The weather is pleasant in the morning and evening during the winter months of November to February, while bearably warm in the day. So, that defines the best season to visit here.
  4. You must wear comfortable cotton clothing, best will be to cover your hands and legs, otherwise you might get a very good dose of tanning. As the sun here seems to be harsh.
  5. All the monuments of Mahabalipuram are located at walking distance of 2-5 minutes from each other. So it is very convenient to move around.
  6. There are plenty of stay options also available in and around the town, suiting all budget ranges.
  7. There are restaurants around the main site seeing area serving South Indian Meals (Thalis), and some in nearby streets that specialize in continental food and sea food.
  8. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated while you visit the different sites.
  9. If you plan to stay overnight, then better choose a property as close to the sea as possible so that you can have easy accessibility to the beach.

11 Marvellous things to do in Mahabalipuram. Shore Temple. Beach. Sunrise. Pancha Rathas. Arjuna's Penance. Krishna's Butterball, Cave Temples, Heritage Museum. Shell Museum. Shopping.

 

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10 must visit spots in Chittorgarh fort Rajasthan

Chittorgarh fort is one of the largest in India. It is also a world heritage site, owned by the Archeological department of India. We planned to visit Chittorgarh fort from Udaipur. And we were super excited to visit here as there are several interesting spots to visit in this fort and equally interesting stories associated with them. Chittorgarh fort was the capital of the kingdom of Mewar. It saw several glorious years before it came under attack by the Muslim rulers.

Chittorgarh fort

Across the expanse of Chittorgarh fort

Several spots and sites inside the fort tell tales of the heorism of Rajput men and women, across these battles.

As we started our day, we took the Udaipur – Chittorgarh highway. Since the highway is in excellent condition, we reached Chitoorgarh in 2 hours. After crossing the town, we reached the small hill atop which lies the Chittorgarh fort. Just like all other forts, this one as well has very robust walls and a great defense system in place. From the foothill itself started our visit to the interesting spots of this fort, the first one being the fort gates.

7 Gates of Chittorgarh fort

The Chittorgarh fort is guarded by not one but 7 robust gates. Each of these lies a few hundred meters ahead of the previous one, on the incline of the hill. As is evident, in the ancient times, an enemy had to conquer all the 7 gates one after the other to be able to reach the fort. Since the fort premises start right at the foot of the hill, from the first gate (or Pol as it is called), and the fort is too large, vehicles ply till the top. As we drove through the different gates, we started feeling the majesty of the fort.

We crossed through all the 7 gates before reaching inside the fort. These gates are named Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jodla Pol, Laxman Pol and the main gate named the Ram Pol. We reached the fort after crossing all the pols. Then we stopped our vehicle near Vijay Stambh.

Rana Kumbha Palace

Rana Kumbha Palace is the oldest monument in Chittorgarh fort. Alas, it is mostly in ruins now. While reaching the Vijay Stambh from the main road of the fort, one passes through the ruins of this palace. This palace marks the birth place of Maharana Udai Singh, the king who later went ahead and formed Udaipur. As per the legends, when Maharana Udai Singh was born, his life was under threat of enemies. In order to protect him, a devoted maid of the palace named Panna Dai, had replaced him with her own son. While the maid’s son was mistaken as the prince by the enemies and killed, Udai Singh was hidden in a basket of fruits and transported to a safer spot. Several elephant and horse stables are part of this palace, which are mostly in ruins now. A pathway through the palace garden leads towards the Vijay Stambh.

Chittorgarh fort

Ruins of Kumbha Palace

Vijay Stambh or the Pole of Victory

Unlike all other forts that I have visited, the prominent structures of Chittorgarh fort are scattered over several acres. The first one that we stopped by is Vijay Stambh or the Pole of Victory. It was built in 1440 AD by maharaja Kumbha. He built this pole to commemorate his victory over Mohammad Khilji. This tower comprises of 9 floors. The outer walls of the tower are engraved with beautiful carvings of Hindu deities. There is a narrow flight of stairs that leads to the top of the tower. At the top floor, there are balconies. These balconies provide a great view of rest of the fort. Overall, Vijay Stambh is a great example of great ancient architecture. Since the way the structure stands tall through hundreds of years is the testimony of its strength.

Chittorgarh fort

Kalika Mata Temple or Sun Temple

Just besides Vijay Stambh is the Kalika Mata Temple or the Sun temple. Actually there are several small temples all across the fort premises devoted to different God and Goddess. However, this is one of the most prominent ones. The temple is located towards the left of the Vijay Stambh. While crossing the Vijay Stambh and reaching to the temple, one can encounter several ruins of ancient structures in between. Near the temple, you might find some vendors and artists selling different stuff. I bought some prints of paintings done in the traditional Rajasthani style. Since I paint, I can use those small, easy to carry prints to motivate my next painting 🙂

Samadhiswara temple (Shiva Temple)

Just besides the Kalika Mata Temple lies the Shiva temple. There is a stone bull and a Shivling in the temple. However, other than that, this temple is very similar to the Sun Temple in it’s architecture. A small temple, open on all four sides. And, a small flight of broad stairs leading up to the temple.

Gomukh Water Reservoir

Unlike any other forts in India, the Chittorgarh fort has water canal along it’s boundaries as an extra defense system. Due to the water, it was not possible for enemy troops to enter the fort without making a noise while crossing the water. Gomuhk Water Reservoir is a part of this water defense system. As well as, it serves as one of the many water reservoirs inside the fort. This reservoir can be seen from besides the Shiva Temple. A narrow flight of stairs nearby leads to the reservoir. As the name suggests, Gomukh means “cow’s mouth”. Cow is considered a holy animal in Hindu religion. There is a mouth of cow constructed at a height through which water circulates and falls off into the reservoir. Hence the name. Good thing is that you can take the flight of stairs and reach all the way up to the water.

Chittorgarh fort

Gomukh water reservoir

The Chiitorgarh fort has several other lakes, ponds and wells as source of water. So much so that it is believed that the capacity of all these water bodies put together was enough for the whole town of Chittorgarh and it’s army to survive for several years without requiring to step out of the fort. 

Padmini Palace & the story of Rani Padmini

After visiting the temples and Gomukh water reservoir, we came back to the main road. A walk of 2 minutes by foot leads to Padmini Palace. Padmini was the wife of then king Maharana Ratan Singh. The Padmini Palace is where she resided with other ladies amongst the kins of the king. This palace is constructed as a 3-floor building. And, it lies in the center of a big pond. It is believed that the structure of this palace actually inspired the formation of several ‘Jal Mahal’ kind of palaces all over Rajasthan later on. It is said that she was very beautiful.

Chittorgarh fort padmini palace

Padmini palace

There is a deep story behind the final seize of the fort of Chittorgarh and the beauty of Padmini that goes like this:

Story of Rani Padmini

A sorcerer is banished by king Ratan Singh. He finds refuse in the court of Allauddin Khilji in Delhi. He narrates the tales of beauty of Rani Padmini to Allauddin day in and day night. As a result, Allauddin starts caveating her. He sends a message to the Rana that he wants to see his wife once and that his intentions are just friendly. The Rana takes the proposal to his wife. However, call it the intution of a woman or her sixth sense, Rani Padmini doesn’t feel comfortable about the proposal. So, she, in turn, proposes that Allauddin can see her but not directly. He can see her glimpse in a mirror. Although, not very happy, Allauddin agrees to the proposal. Thus he is invited over by Rana Ratan Singh to Chittorgarh palace. He gets to see a glimpse of Rani Padmini in her palace through a mirror.

However, after seeing her, the madness of possessing this beautiful lady grips him more than even before. He returns back with his troops and attacks Chittorgarh. The mewar army fight diligently but a defeat seems inevitable. Upon learning that, Rani Padmini and several of her fellow ladies in the palace conduct Jauhar. Jauhar came to be known as a ceremony where the women kill themselves by jumping into fire. As a result, although Allauddin Khilji was able to win over the fort of Chittorgarh, what he ultimately found was only remains and ashes..nothing else. Highly disappointed, he returned back to Delhi after some time.

Keerti Stambh or Tower of fame

Keerti Stambh is a 12th Century construction inside the fort of Chittorgarh. It was built by a Jain merchant Jeeja Bhagerwala. The tower marks the glory of Jainism in this era. Built in the style of Jain monuments, the tower has beautiful carvings all around it. During this era, Jainism had a big influence on the kingdom of mewar. As is evident from Jain temple inside the Chittorgarh fort and all over rest of Rajasthan.

Chittorgarh fort

Keerti Stambh

Meera Temple

The infamous devotee of Lord Krishna, Meera Bai, is also believed to be born in the temple of Chittorgarh. She is a mystic poet and a great devotee of Krishna. So much so that legends say once she was made to consume poison and she still survived it by the grace of Lord Krishna. This temple, right inside the premises of Chittorgarh fort is devoted to Meera. The temple is built in a mixed architectural style. It reflects combined architecture of aryan and other prevailing styles. In conclusion, it is one of the most peaceful temples inside the fort premises, where one feels utter calm. So, a very beautiful one.

Chittorgarh fort

Fateh Prakash Palace (Government Museum)

Fateh prakash palace is yet another palace inside the Chittorgarh fort premises. Built by Maharana Pratap Singh, it was his resident for several years. The palace is built in Rajasthani style of architecture. Thus preserving the culture in it’s walls forever. The palace has a huge collection of paintings, crystal items and several other collectibles. Looking at the historical and cultural importance of these items, the palace has been converted into a government museum. And it’s door are open to the public for visiting.

Overall, Chittorgarh fort is one of the most important historical places in India. It has seen several centuries of glory. There are so many stories that each part of the fort narrates. Whatever stories I had heard about the glory of the fort seemed well justified upon visiting. We were glad that we included it in our itinerary while visiting Udaipur.

Tips for visiting

  • You must wear comfortable cloths and walking shoes. The fort premises are too huge and you will have a lot of walking to be done.
  • You can hire a cab or use a self – driven vehicle. You can also reach Chittorgarh from Udaipur via buses and trains.
  • From the foothills of the palace till the top, autos ply all the time. You can use them in case you are not having your own vehicle.
  • Don’t forget your sun glasses and a cap or hat. The day we visited, it was quiet a hot one, with scorching sun overhead.
  • Chittorgarh – Udaipur highway is in very good condition, you will reach in 1.5-2 hours. Start early to beat the heat and take your time to visit the huge fort premises.
  • Internet is full of resources about the details of Chittorgarh fort and the stories of it’s era. Educate yourself a bit so that you can understand and relate to the spots that you visit.
  • There are several packaged food and water vendors inside the palace, so, you need not worry about them. There are several good restaurants in the town of Chittorgarh as well.

Although Chittorgarh is a well known destination in Rajasthan. There is an offbeat destination Menal, just 60km from Chittorgarh which is a great combination of both natural beauty and historical marvels. You might want to checkout this article on Menal for the details of this gem of a place.

Chittorgarh fort

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3 days in Jaipur – how best to utilize

Jaipur keeps bemusing me. As a destination, it has so much to offer. However planned an itinerary we create, at the end we feel short of time. However, this time around, we did a trip to Jaipur wherein we spent 3 days in the City. What we feel is 3 days are good enough to cover most of the places in the city. However, a little planning is required for the same. Moreover, once we started writing about places in Jaipur, we got queries from readers about the planning / itinerary part. So, here , we are going to list out for you a three days itinerary of Jaipur. If you want to visit many places around Jaipur, that can be done in day trips with your base in Jaipur. There are several places of historical as well as natural interest around the city. And to cover all of them will require at least 15 days to a month. So, here we cover places only inside the city for which you need not travel far and wide.

Amer fort

The grandeur of Amer fort

This is not the exact itinerary we followed. But, this is the itinerary we wish to have followed. Though we covered most the places in this list, at the end we felt if we had a week or so extra, we could have covered lots of places around Jaipur. Nevertheless, here goes the list of what to do and where to go in Jaipur given you have three days at Hand.

First Day in Jaipur

In our opinion, it is good to keep the first day light. You might be tired from your journey. You will need some time to get fresh and settle down. So, here’s what we recommend for your first day in Jaipur. Visit the historical places in the center of the city. So that you will not need to venture far. These places can be covered in half a day. Here’s the list of places (in order) to be visited:

  1. Hawa Mahal (Duration: 1 hour)
  2. Jantar Mantar (Duration : 1 hour)
  3. City Palace (Duration: 1 hour)
  4. Albert Hall Museum (Duration : 1.5 hours)
  5. Moti Doongri Fortress (Duration : 0.5 hours)
  6. Birla Mandir Temple (Duration : 1 hour)

You can start your day trip with a visit to Hawa Mahal. Next, go to Jantar Mantar, which is located at walkable distance from Hawa Mahal. From here, head to City Palace whose entrance gate is located just across from Jantar Mantar. Once you are done visiting City Palace, head to Albert Hall Museum which is 3.5km from City Palace. You can take an autorichshaw or a bus. From here, head to Moti Doongri Palace and Birla Mandir which are just besides each other.

Call it an early day since the next day is going to be a long one.

Our first day

I had to observe a fast (as a part of my religious custom) on the first day of the trip. So, I decided to keep it really light. And the above itinerary helped me achieve my goal. It would have been really sad to waste one wonderful day. And it was not possible for me to venture far and wide with the “no food all through the day” limitation. So, we decided to explore the heart of the city and that included these sites that were quiet close by. I felt quiet energetic enen at the end of the day. Moreover, I was able to get back in time to complete some rituals that I had to observe as a part of the ceremony. It was like a win-win. Having been able to keep the fast and also complete the day at a wonderful note.

Second Day in Jaipur

Reserve day two for an endeavor with forts and palaces of Jaipur. Today you can visit:

  1. Amber fort or Amer fort (Duration : 3 hours)
  2. Anokhi Museum (Duration : 1 hour)
  3. Nahargarh fort (Duration : 2 hours)
  4. Jaigarh fort (Duration: 2 hours)
  5. Jal Mahal and boat ride (Duration : 1 hour)

We would recommend you to start early on. Have an early breakfast and head to Amer fort. Reach here by the time it opens (8:30am). Near Amber fort, there is a hand printing museum called Anokhi. We were very interested to visit here. But alas, it is closed on that day of the week (Monday), so we couldn’t.

Next, visit Nahargarh fort which is quiet near, almost 20 minutes drive from Amer fort. Many will suggest you to visit Jaigarh fort before Nahargarh. But the reason we tell you to go to Nahargarh fort before is reasonable lunch option available here. Such facility is not available at Amer or Jaigarh forts.

After completing a visit to Nahargarh fort, head to Jaigarh fort. Next, visit Jal Mahal. As the sun sets, have a nice boat ride on the beautiful lake surrounding this palace. This will bring us to the end of day two of our Jaipur trip. Actually, we bet you will be very tired at the end of this trip. Since there is a lot of walking done through the premises and stairs of three massive forts. So, have a nice dinner at your hotel and take rest.

Our Experience on day 2

We had an awesome trip to the trio of the forts but we ended up missing a boat ride to Jal Mahal. Since, we started little late in the morning. Since the little one took her own time to get ready. We still could have made it. But, we were not in favor of hopping from one destination to another. Instead, we decided, whichever places we are able to cover, we will spend sufficient time there. So, we ended up visiting the three forts. By the time we reached Jaigarh fort, it’s doors were almost getting closed. The security guard was humble enough to not only show us around. But he even extended his duty time to show us all over. And only after we left, he secured the gates of the fort and called it a day. However, we do wish to have been able to take one boat ride around Jal Mahal.

Nahargarh Fort

Stunning view of city from Nahargarh Fort

 

Nahargarh fort 7

See the vast span of walls running all the way to Amer from Nahargarh fort

Third Day in Jaipur

Today, head back to the locations within the city. Visit these places :

  1. Monkey Temple (Duration : 0.5 hours)
  2. Taj Rambagh palace (Duration : 1 hour)
  3. Sishodri Rani Garden (Duration: 1.5 hours)
  4. Jaipur Zoo (if you have kids with you, they will get a break from the historical endeavors you so far had) (Duration : 1.5 hours)
  5. Chokhi Dhani or the likes of it (3-4 hours)

This is going to be another long day ! Start your day with a temple visit. Next, head to Taj Rambagh Palace. From here, go to Sishodri Rani Garden. You can visit the Jaipur zoo if you have kids with you. They will enjoy a break from the usual historical sightseeing that we have been doing so far. From here, head to Chokhi Dhani or similar ethnic village setup in Jaipur.

Our experience

We went to Chokhi Dhani on our last day of stay at Jaipur. Again, we reached here by 8 in the evening. By this time the place had got quiet crowded. May have been because it was a Sunday evening also. Nevertheless, we were left carving for more. Our experience at Chokhi Dhani was really great. And, we can’t think of a better way that our vacation in Jaipur could have ended. But, we wanted to experience more at Chokhi Dhani, which we couldn’t because of crunch of time. So, we recommend you reach here by 6:30pm and then you can stay all the way till 11pm (when the place finally shuts down) if you wish. The experience will surely be worth it.

Hope you enjoy this itinerary. If you have any suggestions or feedback, we will love to hear back from you.

Actually, sometimes it’s best to talk to locals and figure out the details on what to see, how to see etc. Like we did during our shopping and sightseeing in Jaipur. Your Local Cousin is an organization that is doing a wonderful job of connecting you with authentic locals when you head somewhere. In case you would like to try and want to connect to someone in Jaipur, just head here and talk to an authentic local guide who will give you all the details for your travel and answer your questions.

Where to stay in Jaipur

Jaipur is famous for it’s heritage havelis and palaces. Many of them have been converted into hotels. And some of these hotels are run by renowned hotel chains in India. The most authentic stay experience in Jaipur will be to stay in one such place and get a real feel of the royalty that Rajasthan stands for. To check out some beautiful such properties, head here. Apart from these beautiful properties, the city abounds in other stay options as well – something to suite all budget types and tastes. Isn’t that wonderful?

General tips

  1. Start your day as early as possible.
  2. Club the places that are nearby together in one day. So that you can visit them all without wasting too much time in travel.
  3. Visit temples in the morning. They open as early as 6am in the morning.
  4. Some sights close by 5pm while there are few that open till 6:30-8pm. Line them up accordingly in your itinerary.
  5. You can buy combined tickets that cover multiple destinations. Some of these tickets are valid for multiple days. This way you will save money.
  6. Don’t rush. Jaipur mostly comprises of historical places. If you rush through the places, you are not going to get their essence. The journey through a fort or museum doesn’t become interesting until you know the story or the history that lies behind it. So, take your time.
  7. Go for a guided tour. Guided tours are useful in places of significant historical importance.
  8. Wear comfortable cotton cloths, preferably full sleeves as Jaipur mostly has a hot weather in the daytime.
  9. Carry plenty of drinking water with you all the time and keep yourself well hydrated.
  10. Carry your sunglasses and hats with you.
  11. There are plenty of means of communication inside the city including autorickshaws and buses. You can take make use of these while transiting from one spot to another.
  12. Spare some time for shopping. Rajasthan is one place full of beautiful traditional crafts and garments. You should explore the market here.
  13. Take direction from locals when required. They are very friendly and helping.

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How best to spend 4 days in Udaipur – itinerary 

An evening at Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur

The unconquored fort of Nahargarh, Jaipur

One day trip to Amer fort, Jaipur

10 must do when in Rajasthan

Shopping in Rajasthan

Hotel Ram Pratap Palace, Udaipur

Bagore ki Haveli Museum, Udaipur