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In no particular order these are some points about Jaipur anybody would consider as the Jewels in the Crown of Jaipur.
Everybody has to eat something some time. So let us list salient points related to food about Jaipur.
Jaipur is part of the desert state of Rajasthan & lack of adequate rainfall & transport saw to it that people ate ‘ana se ana’ as vegetables were scarce. Also because of the heat and the hard work the people put in the fields red chilies & Desi Ghee were used in abundance.
The delicacies one would consider as Jewels in the Crown of Jaipur would be
As Rajasthan is a border state & the Princes in The Rajputana were at war more than they were at peace so you will find Forts & Palaces in which ever part of Rajasthan you might venture. But the monuments of Jaipur are special as they are not only in good condition but the administration takes pains to keep them in pristine condition.
There are so many ancient Temples in Jaipur that it is also called Choti Kaashi.
Clubs of Jaipur-These are the best options for eating, drinking, staying, exercising or meeting people of Jaipur. They have rules about allowing non-members to use their facilities.
It does not matter if you like festivals to disrupt the hum-drum day to day rhythm of life or not they do leave you rejuvenated by their mere presence. These are some of the important festivals celebrated in Jaipur.
1. Sawai Jai Singh Ji II (1688-1743) A keen Astronomer he made the Jantar Mantars of Jaipur, Delhi etc and also founded the city of Jaipur.
2. Rajmata Gayatri Devi( 1919-2009) Voted as one of the World’s 10 most beautiful women by Vogue she was also an educationist & a philanthropist. She founded MGD School for girls & Sawai Man Singh Vidyalaya. She also revived the art of Blue pottery.
3.Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt- Born in 1952 he won the Grammy award in 1994 & the Padam Shree in 2002 for taking Indian classical music to new heights.
2. Nagaur- Cattle Fair
3 Looniyawas, near Sanganer- Gadarbh (Donkey) Mela
1. Jaipur Zoo Ram Niwas Garden
2. Animal rescue centre at Nahargarh
3. Deer Park & Duck Pond are located in the C-Scheme. Nice place for a visit with children or a date.
Interesting Facts to Know.
1. State Tree of Rajasthan – Khejari
2. State Flower of Rajasthan – Rohida
3. State Bird of Rajasthan – Godawan or Great Indian Bustard It is pretty rare now.
4. State Animal of Rajasthan – Chinkara (an antelope)
Today I read an article about 10 unusual restaurants of India. A facebook friend had shared the link. Being on facebook has its uses, you know! Jaipur did not feature in the list. So naturally I had to make a list of restaurants unique to Jaipur.
1.The Dining Hall, Swarn Mahal, at the Rambah Palace, with its painted ceiling
2. Steam, the Lounge Bar, at the Rambagh Palace, with restored Stem Engine & Victorian Station is very unique.
3. Polo Bar, at the Rambagh Palace, is unique.
4.Revolving restaurant at the OM Tower on M.I.Road is unique.
5.Chokhi Dhani, an recreated ethic village restaurant is unique.
6.Pink Pepper, a restaurant in a bus which goes across Jaipur while the diners eat.
7. Durg Cafeteria at Nahargarh Fort is unique with stunning view of the city of Jaipur.
8. The Dinning Rooms in the RTDC’s Royal Trains are unique.
9. 1135 AD, A Resturant on the ramparts of the fort of Amber is unique.
10. The ancient India Coffee House at the Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) & on the M.I.Road are unique for being hot bed of intellectualism in Jaipur.
11. Tapri, the tea house.
These are all I can think of. If you think I have missed a Restaurant please feel free to add it to the comments.
How To Cook A Raan At Home
Serves 4 persons
Ginger Paste 2 Tea Spoons Heaping
Garlic Paste 2 Tea Spoons Heaping
Curd 400 gms Strained ( with as little water in it as possible)
Rum 1 large peg
Kachri Powder 2 Tea Spoons
2 Tea Spoons Red Chillie Powder
Salt ½ Tea Spoon or to taste
Ghee 150 gms
Oil 150 gms
Saabut Garam Masala ( 4 Doda, 1 ½ inch Dal chini, 5 Big Tej Patta, 20 Kali Mirch,
10 Cloves, 4 Small Ilaichi)
Oninons 4 large minced
Red chillie powder 2 tea spoons heaping ( or to taste)
Corriender Powder 2 tea spoons heaping( or same proportion as the red chillies)
Turmeric ½ Tea Spoon
Salt -One Tea Spoon (Not heaping) or to taste.
Sour Curd 200 gms ( or lesser in proportion to the red chillies as this much curd is needed to take the bite out of the red chillies)
Garlic Paste 2 Tea Spoons
Ginger Paste 2 Tea Spoons
2 green chillies minced
1 leg piece Mutton ( 750 gms. to 1 Kg)
Wash the leg piece and prick it with knife thoroughly. Mix the marinade ingredients & apply them to the raan. Put it in your fridge overnight.
When preparing the mixture for the marinade make sure that it is not watery. You should get rid of the water in the curd by tying it in a thin muslin cloth.
Heat the oil in a cooker till it is smoking & add the ghee. Add all the Saabut Gram Masala fry in oil for on low heat for a moment. Add the onions & fry the onions till they are brown.
Add red chillies, dhania, turmeric & salt with some water & fry till oil sepatrates.
While adding the curd ensure to stir the mixture on high flame till the masala comes to a boil. Keep the flame on low heat and keep frying the curry till it takes the color of deep oily red chillies.
Add the Garlic paste and the ginger paste & green chillies to the curry and cook some more.
Pre heat the oven at 300 Degrees and assemble the marinated leg piece and the masala in the oven tray & put it the oven.
Once the oil starts bubbling set the temperature to 150 degrees and cook till done. If you wish you can turn the leg piece a couple of times as the oil will settle at the bottom of the tray & may not cover the leg piece.
It can also be cooked in a Cooker on a slow fire.
Serve with hot chapaties.
You made it to Jaipur! Now what?
From the autowallah who brought you from the station to your hotel to the friendly staff of the hotel all have plans for you. Somebody wants to take you shopping somebody else wants you to go out for dinner. But you want to know your options. How best to manage with limited time, money & energy you have at your disposal.
This is the list of options you have when in Jaipur…
When you reach a new town the first thing you ask is’ yahan dekne ko kya hai?’
Jaipur has forts, palaces, temples, gardens, museums & an artificially maintained recycled fresh water lake among other things.
Let us begin with the forts. The three forts protecting Jaipur, built atop the Aravali Mountains are Amber, Jaigarh & Nahargarh. These forts are especially worth a visit during the monsoons as the Aravalies are covered in a solid green of vegetation freshly washed by the yearly monsoon.
Jaipur is also known as Choti Kashi because of the number of new & old temples it has. Some of the main ones are Shilla Devi at Amber, Ganesh Temple & Birla Mandir at Moti Doongri, Govind Devji at the City Palace of Jaipur & the Galtaji.
There are museums in the City Palace Complex, Jaigarh Fort, Albert Hall, Dolls museum, Alice Garg Sea Shells Museum and the Alankar Museum at the Jawahar Kala Kendra on JLN Marg.
There are scores of gardens in Jaipur but the main ones are Sisodia Rani Ka Baagh, Kanak Vrindavan Garden, Central Park, Ram Niwas Garden & Jawahar Circle with its world class fountain & Rose Garden.
If you are visiting during the festival time, fly kites, play holi or see the Jaipur markets decorated to welcome the Goddess Laxshmi.
The newly refurbished Jal Mahal Palace in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake is definitely worth a visit. They take you to the palace in boats.
The palace section of the Amber fort with the imposing entrance gate is not to be missed, either.
An early morning walk in the Central Park or on the shore of the Man Sagar Lake.
You can go birding in the Central Park, Man Sagar Lake Or the KCK Simriti Ban on JLN Marg.
Take pictures of the monuments of Jaipur at different hours of the day like sunrise or sunset.
During the winters Hot Air Balloon rides are being provided by SKYWALTZ in the picturesque areas around Jaipur.
Take a packed meal & go for a picnic in the hills around Jaipur.
Have Dal-Baati-Choorma at Natraj resturant on M.I.Road.
Have Laal Maans at Niros resturant on the M.I. Road.
Have rajasthani vegetarian meal at the LMB in Johri Bazar or at Chokhi Dhani.
Have barbeque at the Talk Of The Town,M.I.Road
Sample Heritage liquor/ buy some to take home.
Have Chaat at Link Road next to Saraogi Mansion Or in one of the Kanah Restruants
Buy Ghewar & Mishri Mawa at LMB to take back home with you.
Buy mawa ki kachori from Rawat near Polo Victory Complex, to take back home with you.
Have piyaz ki kacori & mirchi badas at Rawat.
Have Methi Lassi on M.I.Road from the Lassiwalla next to the Charmica.
When on a fast have Falahar at the Falahar counter at the Saraogi Mansion Counter or the Ahimsa Circle counter or at the Raja Park Counter.
Take in a Bollywood Movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema Hall, a single screen movie Hall.
Have a date with ‘heavenly bodies’ & visit the Planetarium at the Science Park in Shastri Nagar or at the Statue Circle.
When visiting Jaigarh Fort hire a guide to learn how cannons were built there because it is also the home of the biggest cannon of the world, the Jaibaan. The Jaibaan was built here and is housed here presently.
Take in a light & sound show at the Amber or at the Amar Jawan Jyoti out side the SMS stadium.
Have your pictures clicked at the Birla Mandir in a traditional costumes
or have a black & white picture taken from an antique camera outside the Hawamahal Palace.
Buy & learn to tie a Saree or a Dhoti or A Turban.
Ride in Jaipur Bus
Buy & read A Princess Remembers by Maharani Gayatri Devi
Pay a token sum to JDA and plant trees in remembrance of a loved one or to mark an occasion.
Read local news-papers one morning. You will realize that the Jaipur folks concerns are more or less the same as yours.
Take a walk in the walled city and see the numerous wares on sale.
Take a walk in Amber.
Buy a puppet to take back home.
Buy Pabu ji ki Paad painting & find out its stories.
Go shopping for Lac Bangles or other stuff made of lac.
Buy stuff made of terracotta & blue pottery.
Buy a bhandej or laheriya Saari.
Buy Jaipuri Razaais(quilts).
Buy choorans & sooparis from Link Road near Sarawgi Mansion.
Spend an evening at the JKK visiting an art exhibition or a play & have a cup of coffee at the India Coffee House counter there.
Have cakes & pastries at the Bake Hut off M.I. Road or Hot Breads on Sarojni Marg or Bakewell in Raja Park.
Have Gulabjamun & rasmalai at the Natraj resturant, M.I.Road.
Visit the stamps museum in the Jaipur GPO on M.I.Road.
Have Dosa at the Garden Cafe near Statue Circle or Sankalp off M.I.Road opp. Tanishq.
Have “kangan” at Gangaur Sweets near Bagdia Bhawan Market.
Visit the Samode Palace Hotel in Samode for lunch.
Buy marble statues from Khazanewalon ka rasta.
If you have the time and the inclination visit Pushkar( Brahma Temple) or Bhangarh (ruins of a haunted town) or Abhaneri ( a huge stepwell) near Jaipur.
This list could have missed your pet past time in Jaipur so please feel free to share it with others in the comments section of this post.
As I write this post it is well above 42 Degrees Centigrade out side. My FM radio says the roads are deserted. The ceiling fan in the room is just throwing more hot air around the room. This post is about all the cool things you can do, only in summers, when the mercury in the thermometers is raising northward. It might not be the most pleasant of seasons but it has its uses. Imagine how you would define cold if there was no heat. The heat of the summer brings the rain bearing clouds of monsoon to India.
Here is a list of lesser known reasons to appreciate the summers you might not have considered before.
Cleaning and getting the air-cooler functional for the summer is a yearly ritual. In the dry heat of Jaipur where even the AC fails, the cooler keeps life bearable.
This is the season when you can take long afternoon siestas without any guilt.
The days start earlier and you can go for long walks in the nearby parks & gardens.
You have perfect excuse to wear minimum clothes. Cotton clothes in summer are a rare luxury.
You can store water in buckets to have bath with later when the water is colder & nobody will laugh at you.
There are hardly any mosquitoes around. Aside from heatstroke etc. this is a healthy season.
You get to MAX on watching IPL cricket at the beginning of the summer.
Now a days you can even go boating on the Man Sagar Lake.
You get to go swimming & enjoy pool side parties and freak out at the rain dances.
If you like to gamble you can bet on all aspects of the coming monsoon.
You can relish cool water from surahi or matka.
You do not see many flowers in summers but Water Lilly does bloom gloriously just now.
If you like mangoes all through summers a different variety of mango is available in the market for your pleasure.
At no time is a glass of beer more welcome than on a hot afternoon.
In these health conscious days drinking sherbet might be out of fashion but I am very partial to sherbets in summers. They can cool you off better than a carbonated drink.
You can write a whole post on the wonders of having chach/lassi/ butter milk & curd in summers. You ought to try the meethi lassi in a kulhar on the M.I.Road at the Lassiwala next to Charmica to know what I mean.
You can have Paani Patasi with Iced-water on the Link Road next to Sarogi Mansion.
You get to drink iced tea & mint tea in summers.
This is the season when the whole family gets together to make mango ice cream in a bucket at home.
You get different types of melons to eat to cool off.
I hope reading this post took your mind off the heat for some time!
If you can think of some more cool things to do this summer please feel free to list them here.
While you are surfing the net you get to know a lot different things you might not have known about before. Some you might have use for, some you file away for future reference, some might trigger something in your brain and you are doing something wholly unrelated to the job you were trying to do on the net in the first place.
While searching for websites related to Jaipur I came across the website of SKYWALTZ, they are on Facebook too, the company is providing hot-air balloon rides around Jaipur.I started reading the information provided there and I was hooked. I just had to go for a hot-air balloon ride. I sent them an email and they fixed the date to fly as 13.3.2010, a Sunday. There were 2 or 3 days to go before Sunday and I started having doubts. So I read some more information available on the net. I found things like in their attempt to fly humans used the hot air balloons first of all.
The colorful nylon oval ball is called an envelope and the wicker basket suspended from it is called a gondola-this is where the passengers ride. The envelope can store hot air which when heated some more with burning gas can makes it rise. In India they use LPG.
You can only go up to 10,000 feet without oxygen.
And like all aircraft it needs atmosphere to fly.
It is called an aircraft as soon as it leaves ground.
World altitude record is held by Shri Vijaypath Singhania who took off from Mumbai and landed 240 km away in Panchale setting the record by reaching a hight of 21,027 meters or 68,986 feet on 26 November 2005.
The cost of procuring the equipment and the hassle of getting permissions is such that people opt for buying rides from people like SKYWALTZ.
On the Skywaltz website they have given clipping of previous coverage where correspondents took the ride themselves and then wrote up about it.Their detailed description of the flight & the professionalism of the pilots and the outfit sort of quelled my fears about the flight.
The only issue I could find was about landing the craft. But when the moment came to land, our pilot Mr. Imo Singh from Manipur saw to it that it was not an issue at all. The landing was perfect. We were down in a couple of bumps and bantering with the villagers who had seen our descent and had gathered around the gondola.
In the morning when we reached Amber I saw some people gathered around a couple of huge envelopes which were being inflated in the dry part of the Mawatha. And soon enough the burners were lit and the balloons were standing tall in the morning sky. Somebody provided a step ladder for us to get in the gondola. Besides Mr.I Singh there were seven of us in the gondola. The other balloon was being piloted by Mr.Fernando from Spain and was already in air moving and gaining altitude towards the Amber fort. Mr. I Singh also opened up the burners and removed an empty cylinder of gas from the gondola and we were air borne. The first sights we see are the Amber fort, the Kesar Kyari and then we move on in to the raising sun. There is no anxiety. We are floating in the air the other passengers are exclaiming at the beauty of the Amber Fort bathed in the rays of the raising sun. I am taking pictures of the other balloon and the ground. We move some more in the general direction of the Delhi Jaipur highway . There is a lot of smoke here as there are a lot of brick kilns here. Mr.Imo Singh is providing small nuggets of informations. We move towards an area near a brick kiln which is clear enough to land. Mr Imo Singh asks us to take landing positions and pulls some ropes and we are down with a couple of bumps. The first to arrive are the villagers who want to know where the foreign tourists are from. The site team is right behind and are already preparing to deflate the balloon. Once the balloon in down on a big piece a plastic canvas the step ladder makes an appearance again and we get down. In 5 minutes the driver from the Skywaltz team, who got me to Amber finds me and the other passengers and we are on our way back to Jaipur.Just before leaving the landing site, Mr.Rishi from the Skywaltz team hands over to us our first flight in a Hot air Balloon certificates. These certificates will be cherished for all times to come.
Later on I find out that we had landed some 30-40 km, by road, from Amber about 9 km from Nailla and had to drive through some body’s farm house, in a village to get to a road which would take us back to Jaipur.
“The winds have welcomed you with softness,
The sun has greeted you with it’s warm hands,
You have flown so high and so well,
That God has joined you in laughter,
And set you back gently into
The loving arms of mother Earth.”
The Balloonist’s Prayer by Anon.
These are some of the photos of the newly renovated Jal Mahal Palace in the Man Sagar Lake,Jaipur. It is a huge project as you can see and a lot of work has been done. But a lot of work needs to be done yet though the buzz is they are going to open it to the public in the near future.
I have been to the Man Sagar Lake a lot of times but have only seen Jal Mahal Palace’s view from the Amber Road side. It was a novelty to view it from another angle while sitting in a boat, no less. They have put in a lot of research and effort to faithfully reproduce the finer details as they must have been in the past. The look of the boats has been copied as they were depicted in paintings of days gone by when the boats of Royalty used to ply on the Man Sagar Lake. The top floor has also been faithfully preserved or reproduced as it was in ancient times. There are fountains and marble flooring and lights. The chatris you see from the Amber Road have been painted with murals. A gallery is also being developed on the floor below the top floor. Original ancient paintings are being blown up and each detail is being reproduced as per the original drawings. I think the artist is going to have his work cut out for him as he will have to maintain them in pristine condition as the moisture from all the water in the lake is going to play havoc with the murals.
They are also trying to save trees threatened with extinction because of various reasons by transplanting them at great cost in the campus here.
A recent Time Magazine article suggests it is one of the top reasons to visit Jaipur.
All in all this project is a winner and it was an evening well spent.
If for some reason you have to stay in Jaipur for a longish period of time-what do you do-how do you pass the time of the day? You have been to all the Forts in Jaipur, shopped for all your friends, seen all the museums, now what?
You can delve a bit deeper in to the Jaipur other people breeze through, here are some options…
1. Make friends with other expats living and working here.
2. Learn a new skill. If art is your forte you can learn miniature painting from the masters.
Or you can learn yoga.
Or you can learn to read, write & speak a local language like hindi or sanskrit.
Or you can live in the elephant village near Amber and learn how to care for the elephants and how to train them & drive them.
Or if you want to continue your higher education the Rajasthan University has an excellent faculty for the foreign students wishing to do just that.
Or you can learn to cook the various local indian cuisine.
3. You could ask the expats already working here, if they would like a helping hand at their trade, while you gained a few pointers in their trade.
4.You could write a book!
5. If not that you could write an article about your trip for a journal back home.
6. You could write a blog about your stay in Jaipur from your personal point of view.
7. You could get involved with a charity in Jaipur, there are lot of reputable ones around.
8.You could take classes in teaching your mother tongue to the young folk of Jaipur.
9. If books are your forte you could help out at the Jaipur Literature Festival and meet writers galore!
10. If you still want to travel some more there are places near by which you can visit for a day or two and return to Jaipur. Here is a list.
11.You could learn to dance a local dance like kathak.
12. You could learn to play a local musical instrument like sitar or harmonium.
13. You could teach the young folk of Jaipur how to do some popular western dances you might be proficient at.
14. You could hire a Royal Enfield Motorcycle and explore the nearby villages.
15. You could hire a bi-cycle to explore the city.
16. You could make videos of your daily life to put up on www.youtube.com
17. You could start a 365 day photo project to post still photos of your daily round to www.photoblog.com a photo blogging website.
18. If you are learning hindi and like movies you could watch a hindi Bollywood movie everyday. It will improve your hindi & who knows you might fall in love with the song and dance in the hindi movies.
19. You could help manage a hotel or guesthouse catering to foreign tourists.
20. You could learn to fly kites the way Indians do. It is a very addictive past time.
21. You could make Indian friends. They will welcome you in their lives!
22. If you are a Motorsport enthusiast you can go for weekly Off The Road (OTRs).
23. You could race bikes on a dirt track.
24. You could do social service in an old age home or a hospice.
25. You could teach your local cuisine to the young ladies of Jaipur.
27. You could do a course at the Jaipur Vipassana Centre
28. You could visit the local fairs and festivals taking place round the year.
29. You could take long early morning walks in the hills surrounding Jaipur.
30. You could try out all the heritage liquors available in the local market and find out the ingredients used, the legends associated with the liquor and the family history of the house to which the liquor recipe belongs to.
31.You could learn to play Polo. Or learn horse riding. Or you could watch Polo matches during the Polo season.
32. You could buy a book detailing the birds of north India and go birding in the parks and the hills and lakes surrounding Jaipur.
33. You could reaffirm your marriage vows according to hindu customs in a local temple. Or you could have a grand affair and get married again in a Rajput wedding ceremony and have your friends flown in to witness the ceremony at one of the heritage hotels.
34. You could honey moon at the luxurious Rambagh Palace or at the Rajvilas Hotel.
If I have missed an activity please fell free to add it in your comments to this post. I will be glad to add it to the list.