The trip to Jaipur had been long due, but it finally happened on a good occasion in the monsoon of 2017. My blog about this trip is equally guilty of delay. Nevertheless, reminiscing good memories, reliving the happiness and writing simply because I want to do it at this point and not just for the sake of writing is never a bad idea.
The Pink City as Jaipur is fondly called is not an unknown place to me. I have spent four years of my early 20s in this city. As much as I know the alleys, bazaars and mishthaan bhandars (sweet shops) famous for Jalebi (sweetmeat), Lassi (a popular yogurt-based milk) and kachoris (a spicy snack or pastry made with gram flour stuffed with onions, potatoes or lentils), I had never known of their blue pottery and their craft of block printed fabrics before. I had neither seen Amer Fort up-close-and-personal and nor had I walked in the rains with glee on my face.
For the first time in my life, I was about to experience this town in an extraordinary way. Monsoons never felt so beautiful. Of course, I saw rains in this city. But this time, it was a delight! Clicking selfie with Jal Mahal at the backdrop and eating bhuttas while it rains. The time was just wonderful. Visiting this place didn’t feel nostalgic at all. I felt new to it. The city welcomed us with open arms and it had let us create wonderful moments and live every bit of it in the best way we could.
I had an inkling that 24 hours in Jaipur was going to be worthwhile. We were going to experience the charm and the unrushed nature of this city. People who live in Delhi can quickly take a weekend trip to this town. It is 280 kilometers, which will take you 5 hours or so to reach there. We started off from Gurgaon and it took us 4 hours to reach.
Start early and save your second half of the day for leisure and local sightseeing. Since we had just 24 hours, we couldn’t afford to visit every monument and check off all those things-to-do and we didn’t want to do that way either. All we wanted was to make our trip worthwhile. Pick two things, but immerse yourself completely in the experience. That was our mantra.
So let me take you through our experience – it was a short itinerary, but we loved every bit of it!
Blue Pottery of Jaipur
Before this visit, I had no idea that Jaipur is known for its Blue Pottery work. There are only a handful of people who are carrying over this traditional craft with an intent to pass on this artistry to their coming generation. The craft will die away lest the younger ones are willing to devote their time and energy to hone their skills with patience and love.
There are a couple of centers selling this work. We visited one of the famous stores – Jaipur Blue Pottery Art Centre which is near Jain Mandir, Amer Road.
Crossword Bookshop & Anokhi Cafe
It was a Sunday and local bazaars were closed. Besides, the rain didn’t make it easier for us to freely walk in the streets. We braved posing for a selfie with Jal Mahal behind us during a sudden downpour, but we desperately looked for a shelter where we could sip a cup of cappuccino and something warm to eat. I suggested my friend that we should head to this bookshop called Crossword, which is quite spacious and we can sit there for hours reading and satiating our desire to possess books. Bibliomanes!
Luckily, there was a cafe on the floor above, called Anokhi Cafe. By the way, Anokhi is a clothing store popular for its hand block printed apparels. They have a museum and cafe by the same name. If you visit this cafe someday, you can go for some retail therapy at the Anokhi store, standing next to it. The food was quite average, the taste wasn’t that great. Yes, the ambiance is good – soft lights, comfortable seating and a crowd that reverberates an air of erudite nature. But I believe there would be better cafes in Jaipur than this one.
We spent around three hours eating and surfing books. It started to rain again. We decided to return to our homestay. Later in the evening, we watched a movie and ended the day with an amazing dal (Lentil), rice and mixed veggie curry for dinner.
Amer Fort a.k.a Amber Fort
Next day, after breakfast we headed to this Amer Fort. Our guide told us that it was built over a period of 137 years and was ruled by the Kachawas for many centuries
I have only a few words to add here. Visit it. It’s worth every minute you spend here and take a guide along!