Finally, it’s time to write about the place I was born in – Jaipur. Most famously known as The Pink City, this city holds the history of many rulers and their flamboyant lifestyles are still seen in the great palaces and forts. Jaipur, a place where marriages are very much destined to and where our governments increasing obsession with pink color is making the city more pinker than it ever was.
Typically a Marwari city, it rents most of its heart’s space to kachoris and jalebis. Apologies to the growing western breakfast and keto diets, we still crave for high calorie sweets and food containing high amount of fat. So, welcome to the Rangeelo Rajasthan’s Gulabi Nagari – Jaipur.
Anyway, instead of just a regular itinerary I would like to go a bit deep into what’s more here than just forts and palaces.
Dal Baati Churma
Our festivities are completely incomplete without Dal Baati Churma. If you have ever cared to research a dime about Rajasthani culture, Google must have filled your screens with Dal Baati Churma. Just say these three magical words in front of a Rajasthani and you’ll see them instantly craving for some big bites. Let me just introduce you to this very incredible dish. Dal is just normal pulses you eat daily but Baati is just not that usual, it’s the ball of wheat dough roasted inside out and dipped in desi ghee(pure indigenous butter) and served with churma(mashed wheat chapatti and sugar mixture).
Best places to have Dal Baati Churma : Chokhi Dhani, Khamma Ghani and Spice Court
Sweets you have never heard of…
I am sure you might have heard of jalebi but to our eastern and southern friends, fini and ghevar are somewhat alien. Though we openly accept sweets from all over India, some of our in-house must try sweets are : Ghevar, Fini, Malpua, Rabri, Imarti.
This is the first thing to be done when in Jaipur. Dal Kachori or Pyaaz Kachori with imli chutney is the best treat the city gives you.
The localites of Jaipur mostly have kachori samosas either in breakfast or at tea time in the evening. Therefore, fresh snack will be available at 8 in the morning or 4 in the evening.
Some famous stores : Rawat Mishthan Bhandar and Sodhani Sweets
Tie and dye
No, not suicide. Tie and dye is a technique of dying a cloth in a pattern. It is called bandhej in local language. Bandhej and Lehariya are the most famous textile works in India, locally done in Jaipur. These are one of the essentials in every lady’s wardrobe in Rajasthan.
Shops : Go to any local market in Jaipur, Bapu Bazaar, Gulabchand.
Undoubtedly you have heard of handicrafts of Rajasthan. Out of many handicrafts available here, the best one is blue pottery.
This is an ancient Turko-Persian craft. Beautiful patterns of flowers and birds are intricated by blue ink(the reason it is called blue pottery) on white or yellow base. The elegance and fragility of this craft is magnificent.
You can find many Blue Pottery studios in Jaipur : Neerja Jaipur Blue Pottery and Aurea Blue Pottery houses some of the finest works.
Who does not know about these handmade shoes that make our traditional wears way more trendy!! Every shoe brand is selling it for not less than 1000 bucks but here you can get these mojaris in just Rs 300. Made of tanned leather with little colourful pom poms, this is a perfect thing to buy when in Jaipur.
These light-weight quilts are not only comfortable and snugly but also beautiful with all kind of flowery and shapely motifs. As it becomes very windy in Rajasthan in winters, people here prefer cotton quilts over woolen blankets. This is one of the best buys that you can take home.
Where to buy : You can find a large number of shops in Bapu Bazaar to buy Jaipuri Razai.
Block Printed Commodities
This is a technique of printing patterns on a cloth with a wooden block. Block printing is widely done in Jaipur. You will find the local market of Jaipur completely filled with block printed clothes and bed sheets. Even you’ll find block prints on Jaipur Razai.
Enjoy a gist of Culture
This is one damn dance form for which the whole country went gaga in 2018.
One of the many images that come to one’s mind when talking of Rajasthan is the women wearing flowy heavy ghagaras with colourful embroidered chunri. Though it’s our traditional attire but now it is only worn while doing Ghoomar -the Rajasthani folk dance. The energy people put in while giving performances makes everybody tap their feet.
If you wish to enjoy a performance or two, you can visit Chokhi Dhani, where these performances are held very frequently or you should be lucky enough for Jawahar Kala Kendra to organize a dance event.
Again, a Rajasthani folk dance but it is not known by many. This is the dance form mainly performed by Kalbeliya community of Rajasthan. Black lehangas swirling with colourfully intricated patterns, showcasing the movements of a snake, this dance is only performed by women while men play the instruments.
Growing Cafe Culture
Not only does people here eat their traditional dishes with love, they also experiment with dishes from all over the world. Over the past decade, the city has seen an exponential rise in the number of western cafes coming up. Some cafes are also known to be most instagrammable.
The Tattoo café (in front of Hawa Mahal)and Stag Café(in front of Amber Fort) are known for their views.
Jawahar Kala Kendra
It is an art centre which was made with the purpose of preserving Rajasthani art and craft. It houses two art galleries. It holds many exhibitions where you can find clay pots, silk sarees and shawls(none of our business!!), plants etc.
It is a hub for historic plays, sufi nights, classical dances and many known singers perform here.
Biggest and Fattest Indian Weddings
And who hasn’t heard about the copious Marwari weddings!! Larger than the life size processions, over the top food, grand entry of bride and groom, overly dressed relatives, extensive decorations, bollywood style dances, chittering, chatting and bickering. It is a one month event to be honest. Engagement, sangeet, mehandi, haldi, wedding and reception, every day is just as much a great deal. Make this as a bucket list entry if you are visiting Jaipur lately.
How to get into these weddings?? Well, befriend some localites.
Jaipur Literature Fest
It is the biggest literature fest in India, which is organized in Jaipur every year in the end of January. Writers from all genres and all over the world can be seen here conversing with people. It’s a great opportunity for people to have a one-to-one conversation with their favorite writers. Many activities, book launches and book fairs can also be seen here with some very expensive food (like bhelpuri for Rs. 150).
The Royal Hotels
Jaipur houses most of the 5-star hotels and resorts where you can stay and rejuvenate yourself. Here, hotels are not just for staying, it’s an experience. You’ll instantly feel like royals as you enter the hotels and the services provided by these hotels are extensively overwhelming.
Some of the best known hotels are : Ram Bagh Palace, Shiv Vilas, The Oberoi Rajvilas, SUJAN Rajmahal Palace, Jaimahal Palace and the list is endless…
In my next post, I’ll be writing a quick itinerary to tour around the city and will be listing some great places to eat.