Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed June 22 2016

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  • Shannon Wolf | June 22, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    A Bazaar Experience in Jaipur

    A Bazaar Experience in Jaipur

    PHOTO: If there is one fort to see in all of Jaipur, it’s the impressive Amber Fort. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    I went to Jaipur in a search for semi-precious gemstones because I wanted to make jewelry. The clincher was, I had not the slightest clue about the difference between a real gem and a fake one but figured I could wing it.

    Of course, everything happens for a reason and on my shopping day in Jaipur, ready to spend, I walked from bazaar to bazaar, and searched without finding an open store. As it turns out, they had just gone on strike. No gems for this girl, but it was probably a blessing in disguise.  I later heard wild and wicked recounts from various travelers about how they had been swindled in attempted gem scams, so although I came out empty-handed, it could have been a costly mistake.

    READ MORE: Experiencing an Indian Ashram

    Truthfully, aside from purchasing gems or camel leather goods, or to view the many Forts, the city of Jaipur is somewhat drab and, in my opinion, worth skipping. That said, the wonderful people at the Roadhouse Hostel made me want to extend my stay.

    Best Accommodation: Roadhouse Hostel

    Out of all of the hostels and guesthouses I stayed at in India, Roadhouse stood high above the rest.  The owners have strived to create a hospitable environment for backpackers that provides just the right degree of comfort, cleanliness, service and hospitality — and I have to admit, they nailed it!

    When I stayed here, I instantly felt as though I was hanging out at a friend’s place, rather than just being another Rupee sign. We ate family-style meals together and drank fabulous chai. I met tons of like-minded people and spent evenings on the rooftop with beer in hand and in the Chill Zone playing pool until 2 a.m.

    The facility includes clean, comfortable dorms with A/C or Fan; ensuite bathroom; a rooftop terrace with ping-pong table; incredible home-cooked meals; the aforementioned “Chill Zone,” which houses a flatscreen TV and PlayStation, a pool table and lounge; large lockers and no curfew.

    The hostel is centrally located two kilometers from the railway station, and one kilometer from Jaipur’s main street, M.I. Road. With the Roadhouse wristband, you get discounts on local cafes, restaurants and massage spas.

    PHOTO: Wandering through the many markets, you will find a handful of vendors selling the famous Paneer Ghewar

    Top 3 Bazaars:

    Sireh Deori Bazaar: Opposite Hawa Mahal is one of my favorite markets. You can buy antique textiles, clothing, accessories and top quality camel leather goods. For shoes and bags, be sure not to skip this one.

    Bapu Bazaar, Sanganer Bazaar: Here you can find top quality textiles as well as traditional block printed textiles and prints.

    Johari Bazaar, Gopalji Ka Rasta Bazaar: This is where you can purchase precious and semi-precious stones. Be forewarned about authenticity scams. Be certain that know your gems beforehand.

    Top Desserts: If you have a sweet tooth, visit Lacmi Misthan Bhandar near Johri Bazaar and sample its famous Paneer Ghewar.

    READ MORE: Insight Vacations: Take the Imperial Tour

    PHOTO: The wonderful part about the markets in Jaipur is that you can easily haggle for everything.

    Must Do:

    If you want to visit a temple that pays it forward, head to Akshay Patra Temple where they support the community by feeding the poor each day for free.

    Of course, you could wander through the many bazaars, but if shopping is not your thing, visit the captivating Amber Fort and the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. It sounds boring but it’s one of the best museums I’ve attended. For 30 Rupees you get to try out the art of stamping, and watch how the local artisans make handmade stamps that create beautiful garment patterns.

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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