A journey to palaces, a height to my vision, to landscape wild with sand. Jaipur has it all with glimmering lights to a proud heritage; one visit wasn’t enough to respect the integrity it has bestowed onto the country. I had gone to Jaipur to attend a typical fat Indian wedding and trust me the visit was all worth to take a leave from my tedious college schedule. I visited Jaipur during winter, where one would be enjoying splendid Jaipuri delicacies.
Being an architecture student, I did my best to visit the iconic monuments and well up pride emotions for the kind of heritage I belong to. I was staying at Hotel Shakun. The functions primarily did have the decor of ancient Jaipur. The singers were dressed in dhoti- kurtas with the glorious pagdis on their heads. I would generally attend the functions in the mornings and the nights and would escape socializing to roam in tuk-tuks to enjoy the enchanting bazaars.
The walled city of Jaipur lives up to its reputation as a pretty, planned metropolis for the most part: its enchanting bazaars bear their heritage with pride, it’s perfectly laid-out streets are easily navigated and the uniform pink hue of the ancient city walls as well as the grand, regal monuments evoke a flamboyant past. Even though it is widely considered a perfect embodiment of the bygone era, the Jaipur of today seeks a balance between the modern and the ancient, between gleaming malls and resplendent palaces.
The first stop was the splendid Hawa Mahal, also called the Palace of Winds. It has 953 ornate sandstone windows which were used by royal women to watch the street processions through the perforated stone screens. I was keen on buying mochtidis and the area opposite Hawa Mahal is Sireh Deori Bazaar, which has shops selling colourful textiles, light quilts, puppets, leather footwear, jewellery and other handicrafts Johari Bazaar, south of Badi Chaupar, is famous for bandhani and block-printed textiles. If you are a shopaholic and keen on wearing Jaipuri pints, this place is an ideal hub. To the west is the Tripolia Bazaar, known for its steel and brass utensils. Towards the east is the other end of Tripolia Bazaar (it starts from Badi Chaupar), with its metal shops. The other two important markets within the walled city are Bapu Bazaar and Nehru Bazaar.
The rest of the day I spent exploring the hotel and spent most of the time near poolside. The hotel did have a classy decor and I was fond of the variety of breakfast they served. I would help myself with doughnuts in the morning and a plate of vadas. I was busy drooling on Rajasthan dishes. The wedding destination had an amazing setup. It was a setup for a palace with a marking territory of that of a fort. With rich stonework and dawned with lights, the place had scored royalty points. I tiptoed myself to each counter
Last day of my stay, I paid a visit to the city palace. Usually visiting this place requires one person to have a good time. But I was running on a tight schedule, so had to divide my time.
The City Palace complex is an integral part of the walled city, is a sprawling enclosure with many courtyards, gateways, and gardens. The Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, displayed costumes, weapons, miniature paintings, rare manuscripts and other historical memorabilia. North of the Mubarak Mahal is the Sileh Khana, believed to have been part of the Department of Music and Dance, now houses an armoury. Located on a raised platform in the inner courtyard is the Diwan-e-Khas, a large and spatial pillared hall with rows of elegant marble pillars and arches. Diwan-e-Aam, the hall of public audience, is an enclosed area where durbars and ceremonies were held. Built by Sawai Pratap Singh, this huge hall has painted walls, cut-glass chandeliers, and massive marble pillars. I still have all the tickets to the place I have paid a visit too. Next time I would be sharing all my doodles for the same.
Travel as always bought refreshing memories but this wedding cum historic travel bought a lot much. I came back gaining 3 kgs, but couldn’t stop gorging on the ladoos. I had made a point to collect souvenirs from all the places I visit and postcards as well. Tagging the postcards on my board, I gladly relish the time I had there and pray for such unplanned travels.
Places that I would surely see next time:
- Jal Mahal
- Albert Hall Museum
- Jantar Mantar
- Amer Fort
- Chokhi Dhani
- Oberoi Rajvilas
- Arya Niwas
Next time I would make a point to visit the Jaipur Literary Festival which is held between 21st and 25th January every year, the most reputed of India’s literary festivals has hosted the likes of Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, and Ian McEwan. Events are held at Diggi Palace, cocktails at Amer and meals at Rambagh. All talks, readings, films, and workshops are free to the public. If anyone is interested, check out its bookings right away.