Explorer’s Nest in Jaipur, Rajasthan, is a quaint, homely and charming little homestay tucked away in a quiet colony in the centre of town.
The owners are Arvind Grover, a retired Lieutenant Colonel and his wife, Shoma, a thoughtful and interested woman who is a professor of Botany. The little guesthouse is remarkably cheap but certainly has everything that I need; hot water, speedy wifi and a lovely roof terrace on which you can sit and watch the world go by. Each room is ensuite and very clean and if you are travelling alone the budget option of a single room is very cosy.
Arvind is a keen collector of antiques and has an eccentric collection of vintage furniture, a curious collection of telephones and telegraph machines as well as other assorted Raj era trinkets which fill the rooms and adorn the walls.
Breakfast is a communal affair and every morning I met a new character. There was the Cavalry officer who ‘likes to hang out with the hippies’, the video game art student who was volunteering at the Jaipur Literature Festival, the young NRI couple who were in town for a wedding, the sleep deprived English backpackers who resembled Nora Batty presumably because of the cold and the swotty but sweet English Literature student not to be seen without a novel clutched to her chest.
If you want to have supper at the hostel then you must simply ask Arvind in the morning and the result is a delicious and very generous Thali with an endless supply of chapatti.
This little haven is definitely worth choosing if you are travelling in Jaipur on a budget and looking for somewhere with a comfortable and hospitable environment.