March 21, 2017
Best known as India’s pink city, Jaipur is a well-loved destination in India.
With its magnificent forts and palaces, the city will give you a sense of Rajasthan’s rich and impressive royal history. It’s big draw cards for visitors include Amber Fort with the Ganesh Pol, or elephant gate, and dazzling Palace of Mirrors inside. There’s also Jantar Mantar, one of our favourite monuments in India – with its medieval astrological monuments. And of course, you must see the City Palace and take in the iconic Hawa Mahal, a landmark of the city with with its fabulous pink façade of more than 900 windows.
But there’s more to Jaipur than just mighty forts and stunning palaces.
Jaipur features in two of the small group tours from Remarkable East this year. It’s included in North India Revealed, as well as Fabulous India. We believe there is a to love about this city, more than just its well-known attractions. Here are some of the things we enjoy about Jaipur which we will share with you during these tours from Remarkable East this year.
The Wholesale Milk Market – Start early to see the city’s lively wholesale milk market. This is where you will meet farmers and merchants who have travelled in from outside the city – by bike, bus, car or truck – to sell the day’s freshly gathered milk in huge silver vats. Watch the buyers test the quality by sticking their hands into the milk to make sure it hasn’t been watered down, and see families buy large quantities of fresh milk for celebrations or simply to feed extended families. For most of us who are used to buying milk in a carton at the supermarket, the wholesale milk market is a real eye opener! Lincoln Harris will experience this with you on North India Revealed in September.
Explore the city market – Dive in the heart of the city and discover Jaipur’s buzzing central market. Right in the centre of the city, the market comprises of hundreds of shops from bangle merchants to padlock sellers and souvenir hawkers who operate from the small, traditional old shops in the pink city. There’s also the narrow and bustling laneways deeper inside the market. Our resident expert guide will show you some of the market’s best kept secrets, introduce you to street snacks including Jaipur’s best kulfi and show you some of the traditional craftsmen still at work in the city. Afterwards spend some time shopping in the market – you’ll easily be tempted by the colourful souvenirs and local goods and handicrafts.
Pose for a picture – Have your photo taken by a more than centuries old black and white camera. Not far from Hawa Mahal you’ll find Mr. Tikam Chand with his street-side studio, taking photos with his antique, though still functioning, black and white camera. Originally used by his grandfather, the 150-year-old German-made camera still works and you can pose for a picture and watch it develop. You’ll get both your negative and positive image, all processed in a bucket of water in front of you. Chand is charismatic and proud of his machine. The photo makes a great souvenir from Jaipur and a portrait with a twist. Madelene Pearson will show you where to find Mr. Chand during her Fabulous India tour in November. While in the city, you will stay at Samode Haveli during Fabulous India. Fabulous India runs for 12-days starting November 10.
Modern Dining – Jaipur is now home to several modern cafes serving scrumptious, wholesome fare, while also giving you a break from Indian food. One of our favourites is Jaipur Modern – one of the best places to have organic, healthy, fresh and innovative foods we know in India. It’s cool, modern interior, green-grassed courtyard and quiet space are very inviting. On the menu you’ll find such delicious items as quinoa and beetroot falafels, fresh salads and plunger coffee. They also have a gorgeous boutique next to the café featuring beautiful locally-made jewellery, souvenirs, textiles and fashion. A wonderful place to pause during a day of sightseeing or exploring in Jaipur to refuel and shop for treasures in this modern boutique. (Be warned there are many gorgeous items in the boutique that could grab your fancy!)
Head to the Cinema – Jaipur is home to the iconic pink and blue art deco cinema, Raj Mandir. By western standards the tickets are inexpensive, so head to the cinema and marvel at the magnificent building and see why Indians love Bollywood cinema. It’s a great thing to do in the afternoon when the day is at its hottest. If you can allow yourself just to be taken by the experience even until intermission (yes the movie actually stops!), even without subtitles the experience is magic. A packed audience of locals will cheer, stomp their feet and wolf whistle their way through the action, the shirt ripping, the singing and dancing. Bollywood is one of our secret pleasures and a real snapshot of Indian culture.
Shop, Shop, Shop – If you know where to go, you’ll find a range of great shopping options from fashion to leather goods, jewellery and textiles. First head to Anokhi with its wonderful range of block printed bedspreads, table clothes and linen as well as a comprehensive range of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing. No visit to Jaipur is complete without stocking up at Anokhi. The cotton printed clothing is so comfortable in summer and beautifully coloured, while the children’s wear make great gifts to take home. We also recommend visiting Studio Kassa, one of the boutiques in the new boutique enclave at Hotel Narain Niwas Palace. At Studio Kassa you’ll find hand crafted leather shoes and bags and beautiful jewellery – the products are stunning and they can make to order within a few days. It’s worth a browse in the other boutiques nearby too, you’ll find some interesting and modern fashion, home wares and souvenirs.
For more information about Remarkable East see our website www.remarkableeast.com.au.