A memorable road trip to the Pink City of India with Savaari
Soon after finishing masters, I moved to Delhi for a job. As someone from a second-tier city, moving to Delhi was nothing short of intimidating and overwhelming. But now when I think of it, living in Delhi has been a blessing in disguise. Delhi gave me wings to fly. On some weekends, I find myself enjoying the hills in Shimla, on others, I am devouring Kulche Chole in Amritsar. If I am lucky enough to enjoy a long weekend, I am in Goa for a short break.
For nearby destinations, I do not mind hitting the roads with my car and just enjoying a great drive on winding roads. But for solo trips, I like to rent a convenient cab service with a driver to avoid the hassle of driving alone. Sometime in January, I was blessed with a long weekend. And this was the first long weekend of the year, so my traveller mind started chalking plans for a road trip. I hadn’t explored Jaipur yet but had heard so much about this place that I had to go see it myself. So after a quick google search and a couple of phone calls, I decided to book Savaari's reliable cab from Delhi to Jaipur.
Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur is a beautiful blend of royalty, old-world charm, and modern lifestyle. Also known to the world as the Pink City, its charming landscape is dominated by red sandstone and marble structures. With its artistic heritage and rich history, Jaipur has stolen a chunk of every traveller’s heart who has ever been to its palaces and monuments, and now it was finally my turn to leave a little bit of my heart in Jaipur. This ever so gorgeous place is best visited during the winter months of October to January, for summers here are brutal.
My road trip started at 6 am in the morning. Now, one very important lesson I have learned over the years. Planning a great road trip is as important as planning your entire vacation. Your time on the road can make or break your perception of road trips. It’s not just about great roads, great company or even places along the way. It is important to choose a reliable travel partner, a car rental that lets you have a great time and not make things worse for you in the middle of nowhere. Please do your research. It may take some time, but it will save you from a lot of unfortunate incidents on the highway.
Thankfully, Savaari ticked all boxes for me. My driver was a humble man in his mid 50s who had lived in Delhi for the longest time. He told me all about Delhi from the time India got partitioned and had a bunch of interesting stories lined up for the road trip. Needless to say, I had an amazing time.
A very wise person once said it isn't just about the destination. In fact, it is everything along the way. And that is why I love road trips so much. My first stop was obviously a breakfast stop. We stopped at Rao Dhaba (locally called Old Rao) off NH 48 in Gurgaon famous for it’s thick buttery paranthas. After washing down all the butter with a tumbler of lassi, I was sorted till lunch.
Busy reading a book, I failed to notice when the cityscape of Delhi and Gurgaon were now replaced by the barren lands of the countryside Haryana.
In two hours, we were near Bhiwadi and my driver was quick to suggest Pataudi not very far from the highway. Known for the erstwhile princely state and the sprawling mansion of the royal family of Pataudi, this palace exudes royalty and is the same mansion where scenes from the movie Veer Zaara were shot. I was thrilled to my heart’s content.
After clicking countless pictures of the palace, we continued our journey to the gorgeous pink city. By noon, we reached Neemrana which my cabbie suggested should be explored with a camera. We stopped here for the majestic fort and I gobbled down some great pakore and chai from a roadside eatery. By lunch, I was sitting inside Just Desi, near Kotputli enjoying their gardens and alfresco seating, and cherishing their Rajasthani dishes.
My road trip to the Pink City turned out to be one of the best trips I undertook this year before the lockdown locked us all indoors. I loved how the trip started with food, a little bit of history, a peek into India’s royalty and some mind-blowing chai to soothe my traveller soul. Everything about this was memorable and I could not have had so much fun, had it not been for the cabbie who kept me on my toes with suggestions with every turn and a new highway. Once I reached the destination, my tour guide had booked a seat for me in a tempo traveller in Jaipur the next day with other inquisitive travellers like myself who had come from different corners of the world, all ready to leave a chunk of their heart in the palaces and monuments here.