Jaipur Less Explored

My love affair with Rajasthan began when I was a collage boy. Growing up, I spent a lot of time to know about Rajasthan. To me Rajasthan spells wildlife, culture and craft. It is simply amazing how the state continues to inspire me with every visit, even now.

I recently visited Jaipur, the most fascinating city in Rajasthan and stayed at Vishal Villa, a homestay with large terrace and lovely hosts. Jaipur is bustling, sprawling, crazily busy and extremely interesting. A town built about 300 years ago by a Rajput ruler Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amer, known for his wide ranging interests and statesmanship. It was one of the earliest planned cities of modern India, designed by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya.

An evening visit to a local market is a complete assault on the senses - the colours, the sights, the sounds and the smells. For local shopping in Jaipur, some street shopping places could be well worth it. Your bargaining skills need to be at its height to get major discounts. You are at your own when you bargain, or roam around the streets looking for the items which are not in your shopping lists. Check Johari Bazar for gems, jewellery, handcrafted items, furniture and art or Tibbati Market for momos, pickles, jackets, knits, yarns and handlooms. Or go straight to Tripolia Bazar for bangles and jewellery, brassware and ironware utensils, textiles, furniture, carpets and rugs.

Eventhough Jaipur is specially known for its royalty, traditions and culture. Apart from these factors, Special food of Jaipur is also something, visitors cannot afford to miss. The well-known special mouth-watering delicious food has its own varieties and taste. The trip to Rajasthan is incomplete without having Dal-Bati-Churma, the most popular food of the pink city. A fusion of three separate food, it is a complete supper in itself. No Rajasthani merry or wedding menu is finished without this famous food.

City Palace, an imposing blend of traditional Rajput and Mughal architecture is my favourite spot in Jaipur. The vast palace complex occupy nearly one-seventh of the Pink City is divided into a series of courtyards, sprawling gardens and buildings. It is home to several palatial structures like the Chandra Mahal (home to present Maharajah of Jaipur), Mubarak Mahal (housing a textile museum), Diwan-e-Khas (or Hall of Private audience housing the two largest silver vessels in the world), the Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience), Ridhi Sidhi Pol (with four small doorways decorated with motifs depicting the four seasons) and the well known Hawa Mahal (Palace of Breeze).

I am not writing about the famous and more and more photographed sightseeing places in Jaipur and its surroundings. I am more interested in local people, life and cuisine, but need to mention about the movie theatre Rajmandir, which opened in 1976, known for its large size as well as opulent and meringue interiors. A cinema hall, that will make the audience feel like that they are the royal guest of a palace and are invited for a complete entertainment.

Last to mention the street foods of Jaipur which is healthy and cheap. You can have a brekfast at as low as Rs.20 eventhough the choices are limited. I was really surprised to see that a street vendor is selling nourishing tender coconut water at just Rs.20, where the same item is sold in Kerala (the land of coconut), for Rs.40.

Biju John
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