High Fives of Pink City! Jaipur
Under the desert sun, a dancer dressed in bright hues, doing graceful pirouettes, while the silver of her jewellery catches your eye. A memory so mesmerising that you shan't forget it for decades to come. - Dance form: Ghoomar. Place: Jaipur
And the 'atypical' fairytale goes....
A long time ago, this pink city was blessed with a king who favoured science over wars and victories. The then ruler, Raja Sawai Jai Singh II was a town planner and astronomer at heart, who defied conventions and ordered to design a city that was based on the science of Vaastu Saashtra. And for ages to come, the people of Jaipur will remember the king for the legacy he left behind.
Image Credit: Trek Earth
Jaipur, the capital of the desert state is unusually captivating for reasons other than what it is typically known for. Of course, when you think Jaipur, you invariably think of the Rajputi tales of valour, and their unconquered forts and majestic palaces.
Yet, there are layers that need to be unravelled and essentially so, to know what it is about this arid place that lures maximum number of tourists every year.
It is actually the people who have infused colour in it. The vibrant dyed turbans, pink hued structures, score of colourful bazaars and of course its history spellbinds you.
We at Black Swan Journey feel honour- bound to tell you why you should be more charmed by the city's rich cultural content than its regal sheen.
In the lap of Luxury- Heritage hotels
Image Credit: Lebua Resort, Jaipur
When in Jaipur it is tough to resist the delights of the royal fanfare, and the city doesn't disappoint you; the opulent palaces converted into palatial hotels treat you like royalty, while the dated structures and their elaborately manicured gardens exude a regal sense of history. Leisure properties by Taj and Oberoi offer you every luxury in the book, by bringing you a touch closer to the by-gone era – be it the royals' favourite sport Polo or enjoying a stately ride on an elephant back.
Then there are boutique Hotels and budget hotels that present some lyrical offsets to the Rajasthani grandeur and are equally charming.
Sci-Fi Exhibit- Jantar Mantar
Image Credit: Wikimedia
Legends often speak of Sawai Jai Singh’s obsession with mathematics and astronomy. A fitting testimony of his love for the field is the surrealistic observatory - Jantar Mantar. Though a layman cannot figure out the techniques of using these 19 awe-inspiring structures that measure time, the position and movement of planets, you can always go for a guided tour.
Masterpieces that transcend time
Image Credit: Ranjit Pawar
The sandstone citadels perched high on hilltops, cenotaphs and chatris and arched vestibules, all significantly resonate in the landscape of the city.
We often talk about the city’s famous architectural marvels - the majestic Amber Fort, Jal Mahal, the pink sandstone structure Hawa Mahal and the opulent palaces, but we seldom hear a mention about the awe – inspiring Stepwells near Jaipur.
Chand Baori is one such forgotten marvel...Situated near Jaipur, it is a 13 storeyed stepwell that runs as deep as 100ft, making it one of the deepest stepwell in the country.
The pattern of the steps creates an illusion like the one pulled right from the Matrix series.
Tourists get so enamoured by the old architectural charm of the city that they fail to explore some of the contemporary Masterpieces. Jawahar Kala Kendra, an art centre dedicated to preserve the art and culture of Rajasthan is an exact analogue of the original city plan of Jaipur. Like the city, it is based on the nine house mandalas and the beautiful courts represent each mandala. This place is a must visit for those who delight in art and Architecture.
Retail Therapy- Shopping
Jaipur is a veritable playground for compulsive shopaholic; the city boasts of street hawkers to designer boutiques. Tourists can score through the labyrinth of tie and dye textiles, intricate jewellery, antique furniture and still not tire of swishing through the colourful maze that these bazaars represent
Jaipur is famous for its craftsmanship and to miss out on appreciating their gem craft and blue pottery would be a crime. Those with a foot fetish, we vouch that the Mojaris will surely bring cheer to your feet! This local footwear is in fact an UN supported project aiding the leather workers.
Romance in the air
Image Credit: Sky Waltz
You wish to charm the socks off your partner? Then a rendezvous up in the air as you glide over the mighty forts and palaces, capturing the riot of colours that smear the vibrant city will seal the deal for you.
Hot air Balloon ride is available in the city and allows you to be airborne for 1 hour without the usual jitters fogging your mind, because it’s not so much as the balloon leaves the ground as the ground leaves the balloon. This is a once in a lifetime experience that should surely not be missed!
Jaipur is so blessed with cultural content that it warrants several visits to truly unearth every fascinating aspects of the city. The ghee soaked sweets from the mishtaans, the colourful tie and dye fabrics and the camel back rides are waiting for you. And the best part is - you don’t have to don your rose tinted glasses. After all, you are in ‘Pink City’!
Must See Must do list
- Anantaya AKFD a studio by designer Ayush Kasliwal that designs and stocks indigenous Rajasthani crafts created with a twist on tradition. www.akfdstudio.com
- Visit the city in January to witness the riotous celebration of Kite Festival and watch the colourful kites invade the sky. January is also the month of the famed Polo season and the best royal parties are hosted during this time. You never know, you might end up at one!
- Take cycle tours of the city or go on a day long village trip to feel the pulse of Rajasthan.