Category Archives: Fairs

JEWELS IN THE CROWN OF JAIPUR

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.

Ghewar

Ghewar

The delicacies one would consider as Jewels in the Crown of Jaipur would be

  1. Gatte Ki Sabzi – A veg. curry made with gram flour dumplings
  2. Ker Sangari- A veg curry made with fruit of Khejari tree & a berry.
  3. Ker ka Aachar- An aachar made with a berry which grows in the wild.
  4. Piyaz Ki Kachori – A Kachori made with a filling of onions & potatoes.
  5. Mirchi Bare- Pakora made out of green chilie & allo based filling & gram flour.
  6. Pheeni- can be had as a dessert or at breakfast with milk.
  7. Gazak – Sweet made of Til & sugar or Gur
  8. Mishri Mawa- Mawa based sweet
  9. Mawa ki Kachori – a Kachori with mawa filling served with sugar syrup
  10. Omlete by Sanjay
  11. Khatto – A curry made with gram flour boiled in buttermilk.
  12. Paneer ki Sabzee & Bejar Ki Roti  with rabri as dessert at Mahaveer Rabri Bhandar
  13. Kulfi- traditional Ice Cream
  14. Namkeens from the Sonthliwalon Ka Rasta
  15. Choorma Daal Baati- It has to be tasted to be defined!
  16. Raabri- A little atta cooked in boiling Chach.
  17. A meal at Chokhi Dhani Ethnic Village
  18. Rajasthani Thali at Natraj, LMB
  19. Heeng ki kachori -Kachories made of asfoetida flavored masala.
  20. Heeng ki sev- Sev made of asfoetida flavored gram flour.
  21. Doodh Jalebi at Breakfast
  22. Meethi Lassi on M.I. Road
  23. Ghewar, a sweet, from LMB
  24. Gulab Sakri Mawa based sweet flavored with kesar
  25. Kangan – traditional sweet made more or less like a Jalebi
  26. A late night snack at the Saras Snack counter on JLN Marg
  27. Laal Maans – Mutton in red curry
  28. Safed Maans- Mutton in white gravy
  29. Paan – chewing betel leaf with slaked lime, Kattha & Supari.
  30. Jalebi made in Desi Ghee
  31. Mutton  Sule- Marinated boneless mutton cooked on coals
  32. Shammi Kabab- Minced meat tikiya cooked on a tawa or deep fried in oil.
  33. Mangori Curry- Lentil paste dried in small pieces and later on cooked as a curry.

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.

Entrance To The Palaces Of Amber

Entrance To The Palaces Of Amber

  1. Amber Fort- Built in the 16th century on a hillock it is a majestic Fort.
  2. The Palaces at The Amber Fort are amazing.
  3. The imposing & artistic entrance to the Palaces of the Amber Fort.
  4. Elephant ride at up the Amber Fort Hillock
  5. Jaigarh Fort about 15km from Jaipur is located on a hill known as Cheel ka Teela & was built in the 16th century by Raja Man Singh & Sawai Jai singh II.
  6. Jaibaan was built in 1720 and is said to be the biggest cannon on wheels in the world.
  7. Cannon Foundry at Jaigarh- Jaibaan was cast here.
  8. Water Tanks at the Jaigarh Fort- Still in use these tanks can store 60,00,000 liters of fresh rain water. Find out about the system thru which they collected this huge amount of water.
  9. Nahargarh Fort was used for the guests of the Maharajas.
  10. Stepwell at the Nahargarh Fort- This step-well was made famous by the film Rang De Basanti.
  11. Man Sagar Lake This Lake is sustained by recycled water & a popular spot for birding. A birding fair is held here, every year.
  12. Jal Mahal Palace- Recently restored to its former glory this palace is in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake.
  13. Sisodia Raani ka Baagh- Built in 1728 by Sawai Jai Singh for his Sisodia Queen, it is a terraced garden.
  14. Galta Ji- A pilgrimage site it was built by Rao Kriparam, the Sun is worshipped here.
  15. Vidhyadhar ji Ka Baagh- This garden is named for the Architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya who designed the city of Jaipur.
  16. Kanak Vridavan Garden- Near the Man Sagar Lake this garden was the adobe of Govind Dev ji before the idol was moved to the City Palace Complex.
  17. Kos Minar at the VT Road circle was a pillar situated by the roadside, it was used to measure distances in the Mughal times.
  18. Peacock Garden- On the JLN Marg near the RCDF offices this garden was decorated with sandstone chatris & fiber Peacocks made by an eminent artist.
  19. Central Park is a most popular place for a morning walk, a date or for birding.
  20. French Sculptures in the Central Park & the Man Sagar Lake- Made by a French artist these sculptures are a thing of beauty.
  21. Isar Laat was constructed to celebrate the victory of the Jaipur forces under Sawai Ishwari Singh Ji in 1749.
  22. Jantar Mantar– An astronomical observatory having with huge Sundials etc made out of marble & masonry.
  23. City Palace-Residence of the ruling family of Jaipur. Some parts are open to public & some parts have been made into museums.
  24. Hawa Mahal Palace- Built in 1799 by Sawai Pratap Singh ji for the royal women to watch the religious processions etc. & still be in purdha.
  25. The façade of Hawamahal- It has 5 stories & 953 windows & is painted terracotta pink.
  26. The various gates of the walled city- As Jaipur was built according to Vastu Shastra it had 9 gates.
  27. Maharanion ki chatriyans- This is the funeral grounds of the Maharanis of Jaipur.
  28. Gaitore- Cenotaphs of the past Maharajas are here.
  29. Sawai Jai Singh Statue Circle- Almost all circles of Jaipur have statues installed on them but only one circle is known popularly as The Statue Circle. A statue of Sawai Jai Singh stand tall here.
  30. Birla Planetarium-Plan a visit to be updated about the universe.
  31. Conference venue at the Birla Institute of Scientific Research (BISR)
  32. Rambagh Palace Hotel- One of the best hotels in the world today.
  33. Silver urns- Huge utensils cast in silver used to ferry Gangajal to UK for the use of  Sawai Madho Singh II.
  34. Light & Sound Show at Amber Fort
  35. Light & Sound Show at Amar Jawan Jyoti in remembrance of Kargil War Martyrs.
  36. The pillarless hall at the Govind Dev ji Temple is Jaipur’s contribution to the Guinness Book of World records. It is the world’s widest RCC flat roof construction with a single span of 119 feet.
  37. Rajmandir-A single screen theatre, offering bollywood song & dance movies.
  38. Science Park in Shastri Nagar. A huge statue of a T-Rex roars here.
  39. National Flag In The Central Park

There are so many ancient Temples in Jaipur that it is also called Choti Kaashi.

  1. Thikana Govind Dev ji – The rulers of Jaipur claimed to be His Deewans & ruled in his name.
  2. Shilla Mata in the Amber Fort. It has doors made of silver with  9 roops of Goddess Durga & 10 roops of Goddess Saraswati engraved on it.
  3. Laxmi Narayan Temple- A poetry in white marble made by the Birlas.
  4. Ganesh Temple, Moti Doongri, Jaipur ke pratham poojya!
  5. Hanuman Temple, Moti Doongri, Another ancient temple
  6. Kala Hanuman Temple near the old Ram Prakash Cinema Hall.
  7. Garh Ganesh on a hill near Gaitore
  8. Nahar ke Ganesh ji- This Temple is about 175 years old.
  9. Jagat Shiromani Temple-Dedicated to the Lord Krishna His likeness in a black stone idol is worshipped here.
  10. Akshardham Temple-Located in Vaishali Nagar this temple is dedicated to the 18th century saint Swaminarayana.
  11. Ram Krishna Mission is in the C-scheme colony.
  12. Sanghi ji Jain Temple-A 1000 year old Digambar Jain temple at Sanganer.
  13. Choolgiri near Jaipur on a hillock is a Jain Temple.
  14. Padampura Jain Temple is about 30 km from Jaipur on the Tonk road.

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.

  1. Jaipur Club on Jacob Road
  2. Ashok Club on Janpath
  3. Polo Club on Bhawani Singh Road
  4. Golf Club on Bhawani Singh Road.

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.

A Bazaar Decorated For Deepawali

A Bazaar Decorated For Deepawali

  1. Deepawali- The festival of lights is celebrated with much gusto in Jaipur. The whole city is bathed in colored lights to welcome the Goddess Laxmi.
  2.  Makkar Sakranti – A day for giving. The young guns of Jaipur fly kites, this day.
  3. Holi-Is the Festival of colors.
  4. Elephant Festival around Holi- If you wish to see this huge animal in huge numbers in one place all beautified for the day, this festival is for you!
  5. Gangaur – is a widely celebrated festival of Rajasthan where, Gauri, symbolizing Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiv, is worshipped as a symbol of virtue & fidelity. A big procession is taken out from the City Palace on 2 days.
  6. Teej-The festival is celebrated to pray to goddess Parvati for a happy married life, well-being of husband and children. A procession is taken out from the City Palace.

Excursions

  1. Samode is about 42 km from Jaipur Samode Palace is used as a heritage hotel & charges an entry fee for non residents to view the Sheesh Mahal & Darbar hall.
  2. Abhaneri- About 95 km from Jaipur off Jaipur-Agra Highway it is a huge stepwell in the shape of an inverted Pyramid.
  3. Bhangarh– Ruins of an ancient town said to be haunted .It is off Jaipur Agra highway.
  4. Tonk- About 110km from Jaipur it is also known as the ‘Lucknow of Rajasthan’. Sunehri Kothi is a must visit place. It is famous for Namdahs.
  5. Sambhar-About 65km from Jaipur it has the biggest salt lake in India. It is also a birders paradise around monsoons.
  6. Bharatpur-About 175km from Jaipur. It has a rich bird life for the Nature Lover and The Lohagarh Fort for the history buff.
  7. Ajmer- About 135 km from Jaipur. Holiest Muslim shrines of the world, Dargah Sharif is located here.
  8. Pushkar– is about 145 km from Jaipur & is famous for the Brahma Temple and the Savitri Temple, Sarovar  & the yearly Camel Fair.
  9. Pachewar-About 90km from Jaipur it has a 300 year old fort which has been coverted into a heritage hotel.
  10. Sariska Tiger Reserve– About 107km from Jaipur this National Park is spread over 866 sq km.
  11. Bairath or Viratnagar – About 86km from Jaipur. This town has been around since the times of Mahabharat. It was also a flourishing Buddhist centre during the reign of King Ashok.
  12. Seel Maata ki Doongri- 35km from Jaipur near Chaksu. This temple is dedicated the the goddess of small pox. Sheetala Ashtami is her day.
  13. Ranthambore- About 180km from Jaipur. This National Park has a rich natural life to be observed by the Nature Lover besides the Tiger.
  14. Alwar-About 150km from Jaipur. Famous for its monuments & Alwar Ka Mawa.
  15. Siliser-About 110 km from Jaipur near Alwar & Sariska. There is a palace hotel in the middle of the lake.
  16. Shekhawati- Encompasses the Districts of Jhunjhunu & Sikar.It is most famous for frescos painted on Havelies.
  17. Mehndipur Balaji off Jaipur-Agra Highway. The deity here is famous for exorcising evil spirits from a person.

Personalities

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.

Shopping

  1. Silk/Woolen Carpets, Rugs & Durries made in Jaipur are world famous.
  2. Mojari-Traditional leather shoes.
  3. Lac Work – Bangles made of lac are a must for any auspicious occasion.
  4. Laheriya- A saree dyed in diagonal stripes of different pastel colors usually worn during the monsoons.
  5. Bandhej is the process of tying & dying a saree etc.
  6. Thewa-This process of fusing 23 carat gold with colored glass was developed about 350 years ago in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan.
  7. Jewelry made with silver has much favour with the rural folk.
  8. Kundan- is the process of inserting gold foil between the stones and its mount, commonly used to make necklaces, believed to have originated in Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is the oldest method of making 24 carat gold jewelry in India.
  9. Meenakari is the art of fusing metal like gold, silver or copper with different lacquers of colors like blue, red or green.
  10. Miniature Paintings are a fine rendering in water color of the court life etc over the years.
  11. Brass decorative items are a must buy on a Jaipur visit.
  12. Hand made paper of Sanganer– Paper made out of waste materials. One brand even adds a ratio of elephant dung to the formula. A variety of paper is made of Akda plant, commonly found in Rajasthan growing by the roadsides.
  13. Jaipur Blue or Blue pottery a collectors item.
  14. Jaipuri Razaai-A sheer delight to use, made according to a centuries old formula, a must buy on Jaipur visit.
  15. Bagru Hand Block Printed clothes & furnishings
  16. Sanganeri Hand Block Printed clothes & furnishings
  17. Turbans-Headgear of men in Rajasthan. Every region had its own style of tying a turban. They were made of different colorful materials & designs all with its own significance.
  18. Heritage Liquor- Traditional liquor made by Ganganagar Sugar Mills as per recipes provided by the former Royal houses.
  19. Itra- locally made traditional perfumes
  20. Supari/Churan- A huge variety can be found at Link Road near Sarawagi Mansion.
  21. Gota- Lace made of metal or plastic used to trim traditional clothes of women.
  22. Batik print- A variation of Bandhej tie & dye process.
  23. Terracotta stuff- The best terracotta articles come from Baswa village.

Miscellaneous

  1. Jaipur Bus – A fleet of Lo-Floor Buses are plying the streets the city every day & connecting the far flung areas of Jaipur.
  2. Musical Fountain, Jawahar Circle, JLN Marg performs everyday from 7-7.30 pm in winters. They even show music videos on a wall of spray.
  3. Sanganer Airport – Recently renovated one of the top air-ports of India.
  4. Akshay Paatra- Providing free mid-day meals to the school going children.
  5. Gaalibaazi- An irreverent Kavi Sammelan at Holi, a tradition almost as old as the city.
  6. Hella Khayal Sangeet Dangal have been held in Lalsot on the 2nd day of Gangaur  for more than 257 years now. Through this platform the artists inform the public about current affairs and issues, put forth problems to government officers, or comment on social, political and economic issues.
  7. Jaipuri Weddings– you have got to attend one to know the difference.
  8. Sculptures at the Circles– part of the drive to beautify Jaipur, this is priceless art commissioned for the city of Jaipur.
  9. Mandana-are the rangoli done in white & red colored lime on the floor & walls of a house on an auspicious occasion to welcome the gods.
  10. Bandarwal- door hangings tied at the entrance of a house on an auspicious occasion.
  11. Shorgar-They make traditional crackers by hand in earthen pots to be used at weddings etc.
  12. Neelgar- They dye clothes.
  13. Mehendi is used in all important occasions in life. A woman’s Shringar is incomplete without some mehndi on her hands & feet.

Educational Institutions

  1. St. Xavier’s School on Bhagwan Das Road
  2. MGD Girls School, off M.I. Road.
  3. St. Xavier’s College in C-Scheme.
  4. Rajasthan University on JLN Marg
  5. Rajasthan School of Art in Kishan pole Bazaar.

Music

  1. Maand-The local singers sung praises of the Rajput folk heros like Tejaji, Gogaji and Ramdeoji in this style of folk singing.
  2. Pabu ji ki Phad-The heroic stories of the folk hero Pabuji sung as folk songs.
  3. Kathputli- Folk songs which accompany the antics of the puppets on stage.
  4. Ravanhattha is a two-string stick fiddle used by bhopa community to narrate the epic tales of Pabuji.
  5. Panihari- songs sung by the local women, narrating the scarcity of water etc.

Dance

  1. Ghoomar – A dance performed mostly by Rajput women in groups or singly.
  2. Kaalbelia- Dance done by the snake charmer community.
  3. Therah Taali- This dance is performed in praise of folk-deity Baba Ramdeo by the Kamad community of Pokaran & Deedwana.
  4. Kacchi Ghodi- An important dance form of Rajasthan. It is performed with the help of a dummy horse and elaborate costumes.

Mela

1. Pushkar- Camel Fair

2. Nagaur- Cattle Fair

3 Looniyawas, near Sanganer- Gadarbh (Donkey) Mela

Museums

  1. Albert Hall -The central Museum of Jaipur. It has an Egyptian mummy here.
  2. Sanjay Sharma Museum-A fine collection of rare manuscripts, art & shoes.
  3. Alice Garg Sea Shell Museum- A huge collection of sea shells.
  4. In the city Palace
  5. At the Jai Garh Fort
  6. Anokhi Museum- Hand Bloc printing museum
  7. Dolls museum- A collection of dolls from all over the world.

Work-In-Progress

Jaipur Metro Is On Its Way

Jaipur Metro Is On Its Way

  1. Jaipur Metro
  2. Museum in the Old Town Hall in the City Palace complex.
  3. Pet Show- usually held in Delhi going to be held in Jaipur this year.
  4. The tunnel at Ghat ki Ghuni on Jaipur-Agra Road

Unique Eating Places of Jaipur

Rambagh Palace

Rambagh Palace

  1. Swarna Mahal, Dining Hall at the Rambagh Palace
  2. Steam, Lounge & Bar in the Bogies of a defunct train & a Steam Engine
  3. Polobar, Bar at the Rambagh Palace
  4. Neelmahal, Restaurant for snacks at the Rambagh Palace
  5. Durg Cafetaria at the Nahargarh Fort.
  6. India Coffee House(ICH) on M.I. Road
  7. Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) Branch Of India Coffee House
  8. 1135, on the ramparts of Amber Fort.
  9. Restaurant at the Jaigarh Fort
  10. Palace Café, Café at the City Palace.
  11. Cave In Natraj Restaurant
  12. Revolving Restaurant at Hotel Om Tower
  13. Pink Pepper A restaurant on a moving Bus.
  14. Tapri – A tea stall, much frequented by the youngsters.
  15. Niros- If Delhi has Moti Mahal Jaipur has Niros.

Adventure

  1. Skywaltz- A firm providing Hot-Air Balloon rides in & around Jaipur
  2. Vintage Car Rally- An annual fixture in Jaipur’s List of yearly events.

Culture

  1. Rabindramanch– The 1st venue of Jaipur where plays were held over the years.
  2. Open Air Theatre Behind Rabindra Manch
  3. Open Air Theatre near Simriti Ban
  4. JKK- A hotbed of cultural activity in Jaipur
  5. Open Air Theatre at JKK
  6. Jaipur Lit Fest – A trend setting congregation of the elusive faces behind the books we read. An annual affair.

Flowers

  1. Rose Garden- Located at the Jawahar Circle. It is a sight to behold in the winters when the flowers are in full bloom.
  2. Guldaudi Exhibition & Sale – Annual fixture. A very successful show & sale of Sevanti.

Bazaars

  1. Bapu Bazaar & Nehru Bazaar-You can shop here to your hearts content for all the stuff Jaipur is famous for.
  2. Johri Bazaar- You can buy all sorts of jewelry, women’s clothes & bangles etc here.
  3. Thatheron Ka Raasta- A lane home to the utensil makers.
  4. Maniharon Ka Raasta – For Lac jewelry & other stuff made of Lac
  5. Khazanewalon Ka Rasta- Marble stone carvers lane.
  6. Raja Park Market- A micro Punjab in Jaipur
  7. Sonthliwala Ka Rasta- For all things Namkeen
  8. Choti Chaupar- silver jewelry. Rosted Namkeen at Vijay Store. Mithai at Bhagat ji.
  9. Bari Chaupar- Flowers, Bangles.
  10. Rajasthali at Ajmeri gate. A state government (RTDC) showroom offering all goodies Rajasthan is proud of.

Birding At

  1. Simriti Baan on JLN Marg
  2. Chandlai Dam30 km from Jaipur ahead of Sanganer. Home to the Flamingoes visiting Jaipur.
  3. Man Sagar Lake on Amber Road.
  4. Central Park in C-Scheme

Zoo

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.

Library

  1. Maharaja Library 1st public Library of Jaipur home to many rare manuscripts.
  2. Radhakrishna Library Located off  JLN Marg. Popular among the students preparing for their exams.

Activities

  1. Morning Walk in the Central Park
  2. Shopping
  3. Clubbing
  4. Golfing
  5. watching Polo
  6. Camel/Jeep/Horse Safari in the dunes
  7. Attending A Conference
  8. Fine Dining
  9. Judicious Street Food Sampling
  10. watching Bollywood Potboilers
  11. Cycling
  12. Photograph Monuments of Jaipur
  13. Photograph the people of Jaipur
  14. Sightseeing
  15. Birding
  16. Going on Excursions
  17. Fly Kites
  18. Learn to cook Indian cuisine
  19. Learn a language like Hindi or Rajasthani
  20. Write a journal about your Jaipur trip & share it on the Net
  21. Bar hopping
  22. Sampling Heritage liquor & learning its legends
  23. Learn how to tie a turban & its history
  24. Learn how to tie a saree
  25. Learn how to wear a Dhoti
  26. Go for a ride in a Cycle Rickshaw or a Horse drawn Tonga
  27. Go for a ride in a Vintage Car.
  28. Get Mehandi applied to your hands & feet
  29. Learn Indian Classical music at Naad Sadhna www.nadsadhna.com

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)

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Why Love Jaipur?

Teej

Teej Festival

Living in Jaipur is as difficult or as easy as living any where else but here are some reasons why you will fall in love with Jaipur.

In the twelve months of a year you get to experience a whole gamut of  weather in Jaipur. There is hot summer, cold winter, hot & humid monsoons & the season when the winter just drifts in. Just when you are thinking I have had enough of this heat or cold or the rains the seasons change, and life goes on.

And with the change of season the eating habits also change. What food! In the monsoons you eat choorma dal baati in some picnic spot in the lap of the Aravali’s which are covered with solid green because of the rains. If you do not have time for a picnic a spot of rain & people are flocking the sweet shops for their favourite snack like samosa, pyaz ki kachri or mirchi bara or if they are watching their weight then they are sipping a hot cup of tea or a cup of coffee at the CCD. In the winters they are eating lal mans or khichda or drinking hot rabri. In summers they drink lassi & eat different varieties of mangoes which keep changing as the summer progresses.

Jaipur is a heaven for the photography enthusiast. Jaipur has it all. Besides the concrete jungle it also has monuments,huge forts, mountains, an artificially maintained fresh water lake, ancient havelies, temples, bazars, palaces, festivals, friendly people, flowers,birds & photography accessory shops.

Jaipur is doing its best to catch up with the four metropolitan cities of New Delhi,Mumbai,Kolkata & Chennai but life is still laid back & the distances are not what they are in the other metros. You can still drop by a friend for a drink or dinner an evening.

The festivals Jaipur celebrate around the year make sure that there is no ennui in the life of the people of Jaipur. Some major festivals are, holi, deepawali, raakhi,teej,gangaur and makkar sankranti.

If you thought all of the above would keep the people of Jaipur busy enough around the year, you would be wrong, because there are the Jaipur weddings! Some people just go to court to get married but others have such weddings that people from all corner of the world come to Jaipur to get married in a Jaipuri wedding.

These are some of the top reasons to love Jaipur. If you think otherwise please list your choices here below.

Elephants Are The National Heritage Animals Of India

Jaipur Elephants

Elephants of Jaipur

Who does not know about the elephants of Amber? We have seen them at the foothill of the Amber fort waiting for their turn to give us a ride up to the Fort. We have seen them around the city in marriage processions and the yearly Teej & Gangaur processions & we have seen them perform at the Elephant Festival at Holi time. But do you know elephants have been declared the ‘Heritage Animal of India’ in October 2010 by the Environment Ministry of India.

60% of Elephants in Asia live in India where they have been part of the human existence for times immemorial. There are about 27,000 elephants in India. And about 3500 are in captivity. The intention of this welcome measure is to take active & concrete measures to  protect the tuskers and the environment they live in and to count them.

 

Gangaur

The Idol

Gangaur is one of the most important festivals of Rajasthan.The word, Gangaur, is derived from joining the two words ‘Gan’ meaning Lord Shiva and’Gauri’ meaning Goddess Parvati, his consort.

As per lore, it is believed that Gangaur is celebrated ever since  Goddess Parvati returned to her father’s home first time after her marriage to Lord Shiv &  her friends welcomed her home.

Gangaur Procession Preparations

This is a festival of the unmarried girls and  married women where the girls celebrate the festival to gain a worthy husband & wish for his long life & the  married women wish for a  long life for their  husbands.
The rituals for this festival start on the day of the Holi dahan ( day before the Holi, the festival of colors). When ashes are collected from the Holi Fire to plant seeds of wheat and barley in it.
During the next sixteen days 16  Goddesses are worshiped. And on the 3rd day of Navratra ( new year according the Indian Vikram samvat Calendar) , Gangaur festival is held. When the Idol of Gauri  is taken out in a procession accompanied by horses, elephants, camel carts and brass bands playing maudlin tunes.It is said, in Jaipur, in olden times the idol of Gauri was accompanied with the idol of her husband,Isar. But one year ruler of Kishangarh state took it away with him forcefully & since then only the idol of Gauri is taken out in procession.

Gangaur Procession Preparations

What festival worth its name does not have a sweet associated with it? The traditional sweet of this festival is ‘Ghevar‘. The sweet shops of Jaipur make different varieties of ‘Ghevar’ and the people of Jaipur consume them in large quantities.

For more than 257 years,  Helakhyal sangeet dangal is held on this occasion in Lalsot near Dausa. This is when the performing  parties educated & inform the public about the societal mores  & also inform the  administration about their displeasure with current policies.

Gangaur Procession Preparations

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A Day At The Pushkar Fair 2009

Just Resting A Bit

A Merchant Waiting for Customers

A Camel Ride

The chameleon

Pushkar is about 150 km from Jaipur .So if for some reason you wish to hurry back to Jaipur on the same day you arrive there it can be done. So I planned to do just that. Even before I start the journey I am planning how it will end. That is a result of the rushed lives we all lead. It is just one more habit we can not seem to break.

Jaipur-Ajmer and Pushkar are very well connected, especially during the Cattle Fair time. So I put my camera in a bag and took a Meri Car Taxi to the Sindhi Camp Bus Stand to catch a Deluxe Bus to Ajmer. I was in Ajmer at about 6 am in the morning. I am glad to say it was a good trip and economically priced too. Only thing to note was that the citizens follow the first come first served rule and not the seat number rule when they take their seats on the bus. It worked this time to every body’s satisfaction. Or maybe they were not awake enough to fight.

At Ajmer I asked the ticket seller to sell me a ticket to Pushkar on one of the jam packed buses parked there. He answered reasonably enough that he had already sold 70 tickets on the bus to pushkar  and asked me where I planned to sit in the event that he sold me a ticket. He told me to wait for the next bus. I finally got a ticket on the next bus which started on its winding route through the Aravalies to Pushkar after a long wait. Though the holy town is only about 15 km from Ajmer we reached there about 7 am. The town was already coming alive for the long day ahead. I bought a local newspaper in hindi and avoided drinking tea some body pushed in my face and went into the town towards the ghats.

I was surprised to see dried mud and small ponds of water. Somebody told me for 21 rupees he would sprinkle a little holy water on me to purify me as it was the holy ritual one had to follow before visiting the Brahma Temple. I avoided him too and went on to the Brahma Temple. After taking off my shoes and socks and buying flowers and prasad I tried to go in but they wanted me to deposit my bag with the camera into a free clock room which was not open yet. The Prasad seller did offer to keep the bag but you know how it is when you are traveling alone nowadays – you try not to trust anybody. So I went on again. The shops were opening up. People were trying to display their wares in the best possible way. As I went along I kept noticing temples and dry ghats. What struck me was our piety has nothing to do with a full Sarovar. It is with in us. It is good to have a full tank of water and good to take a holy dip but we can still feel we are purified even with a few drops of holy water sprinkled on us when we have to.

I came to a couple of giant wheel standing silent and empty with numerous other rides. I saw a couple of giant gas balloons giving rides to their foreign guests. I saw a craft mela and a stadium where the animal competition would be held during the day and came to the animal compound. There were Camels and Horses and tourists in a big number. I took a few photos and got directions to the Helipad on the Devnagar-Banseli Road where my friend had put up Swiss Cottages in the style of Bhadrawati Royal Camps. I got to the Helipad but there were no Swiss cottages, instead there was a big elevated road there. Later on I found out that the road is where the railway tracks are to be laid and the cottages were on the other side of the elevated road.

I had some breakfast and headed back to the Ghats again had some holy water sprinkled on me and went to the Brahma Temple and had darshan.

I came out and took some more photos of the colorful and diverse wares on display in the markets. I remember a woman exhorting her husband in a loud voice to buy her a camera and just then I saw some Kodak film cameras on display too. The gap between haves and have nots is narrowing, and rightly so too. Some of these photos are enclosed here.  I had some pakoras and a cold drink as a snack. And headed back for Jaipur after 5 pm and was home for dinner after a day well spent.

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13th Birding Fair at Jaipur’s Man Sagar Lake to Promote ‘River Restoration’

That is a great age to start !

A young man in Jaipur welcoming some migratory visitors to Jaipur

In a continuing effort to conserve Jaipur’s Man Sagar lake and try to develop it as a Mini Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, and to offer better and diverse biodiversity for peoples’ welfare, the 13th annual Birding Fair will be held on 2nd and 3rd February 2010. It will be devoted to ‘River Restoration’ to enable decision makers realize how important the role of rivers is.

Two British experts will lead the 13th Birding Fair, Mr. Robert Oates, Director of The Thames River Restoration Trust, and Mr. Jim Lyons, Technical Specialist for Fish Science at UK’s The Environment Agency. Mr. Robert has been at the Man Sagar Lake some years ago and this time would like to observe how far Man Sagar has progressed towards restoration. These two gentlemen had a meeting with Mr. Harsh Vardhan, organizer of the Birding Fair, during August 2009 in Britain to discuss how the Jaipur event could be linked with lake and river conservation initiatives overseas.

Mr. Oates heads the Thames River restoration and would like to share his experiences at a lecture in Jaipur on 2nd February to let decision makers realize the importance of lakes for peoples’ welfare. Mr. Jim would like to check the fish species at this lake and suggest how to manage their population so that they may try and improve water quality and their presence can increase the migratory bird population as well. Two bird watchers from Britain will also join them on this visit to the Fair.

The Birding Fair is a citizen’s initiative. It was started in 1997 through cooperation of the British Bird Watching Fair which is held annually in August at Anglian Water in Rutland (Oakham, Leics), Dr. Tim Appleton and Mr. Martin Davies, the two main organizers of the British Fair, are appreciative of the Jaipur event.

The Fair is organized by Tourism & wildlife Society of India (TWSI), a non government and non profit organization in service of nature conservation since 1979. It receives support from WWF – India, Bombay Natural History Society, INTACH, Schools, Teachers, government departments like Tourism, Forest, Jaipur Development Authority, banks etc.

The Jal Mahal Resorts Pvt Ltd (JMRPL) is actively associated with the Fair for past some years as it has major stake at this lake owing to its commitment to develop a tourism related multi-faceted facility over vacant land south of the water body. This company, led by Mr. N.R. Kothari, a renowned jeweler of Jaipur, has initiated series of measures to control flow of sewerage of the city in to this lake to improve water quality. Introduction of aquatic vegetation in the lake, removing plastic waste, bypassing the main drain and treatment of polluted storm water are some of the main initiatives being made by this company. It is refreshing to realize that a jeweler is serious about cleaning up this heritage lake.

Outcome of such measures is loud and clear. Water quality of Man Sagar has improved and foul odor, which would not allow a visitor to stand by the main road until a few years ago, has totally disappeared. More betterment is being attempted by JMRPL which has devised constructed-wetlands to enable sewerage water flow through vegetation to get it treated. It is going to be a two-pronged strategy. Firstly to treat sewerage received from the city, through vegetation and release the treated water in to the lake. Secondly, pump out lake water (from another end) and flow it in the same process, treating it again. The entire process does not look as simple as described here: aquatic eco systems are complex to sustain.

Larger number of birds have started arriving again at Man Sagar. More than 180 species of birds have been registered in and around this lake round the year. The number looks high as the forest habitat near by supports many birds. Happy augury is that the migratory birds have found this water body, again, as their winter home: shovellers, and pintails with good number of common teals outnumber other migratory ducks. Waders are numerous at the water edges. Divers are reporting back: pochards, grebes etc. Flamingos are becoming annual guests. Painted Storks and Spoonbills, rare here earlier, have reappeared.

Three earthen islands are being dressed up with appropriate acaia trees, wild grass and shrubs to assume the shape of ‘mound plantations’ as exist at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur. They are poised to become breeding-centers (heronries) for resident bird species; when it will happen, hopefully soon, the lake will attain its long cherished objective.

The fish management is under way towards appropriate balance to be struck at this lake. Once it is completed, more fish eating birds will make this place as their breeding ground. The number of breeding birds is on rise which is a positive sign.

Despite JMRPL’s major thrust made at this lake (it has so far spent about Rs 15 crores which is about Great Britain Pounds 2 million), lot more needs to be attended to at this scenic water body by the Government of Rajasthan, which has its headquarters located a few kilometers away from the lake. The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (RTDC) is the nodal agency to monitor certain aspects of this lake while Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) is in charge of the land development, which includes areas around the lake. The Department of Forest has charge of the well wooded hills which constitute water shed of the lake. Department of Irrigation appears having minor say in water management in face of JDA’s over all control. Department of Fisheries is yet to step in to remove and reintroduce fish as per a definite plan. The sewerage treatment plant is with another agency. The Department of Tourism (DoT) takes care of promotional aspects of tourism here. The Ministry of Environment & Forest, based in New Delhi, has its indirect say at this water body, having disbursed huge amount to JDA for restoring this water body.

Man Sagar Lake is going to add a new feather in city’s cap through the various initiatives taken by the many organizations involved in its development as a world class site.

The writer of this guestpost, Mr.Harshvardhan, is a famous bird enthusiast based in Jaipur and organizer of the 13th edition of the birding Fair to be held in February in 2010.He may be contacted at birdfair@birdfair.org .

A Birding Fair in Jaipur

Ramana Athreya (center) ,discoverer of Bugun Liocichla,a new species of bird, and friends.

From the left Mr.Ashok Singhvi,Ramana Athreya,discoverer of a new species of bird called Bugun Liocichla at the Eaglenest Sanctury and Mr Subhash Uppal at the 12th Birding Fair.

On 6th & 7th February 2009, The Tourism and wildlife Society of India(TWSI) organized the 12th annual birding fair at the Man Sagar Lake,Jaipur.The theme is “Communities in Conservation”.

Ramana Athreya,from Pune,Tom Jones and Rajkumari Jones from UK,and about a dozen representatives from Keoladeo National Park,all avid bird watchers were present.

Mr.Athreya discovered a new species of bird in 2006 and named it Bugun Liocichla.Mr.Tom Jones takes care of the shore birds at Anglesey Island in North Wales.Ms.Rajkumari Jones chairs the squirrel protection group in UK.

The event was  sponsored by WWF, SBBJ, Bombay Natural History Society and Jal Mahal Resorts (P) Ltd. among others.

This was  one more of the Society’s and the authorities ongoing efforts to develop the Man sagar Lake area into a haven for the migratory birds visiting Jaipur.Recently the Forest Department has  proposed to declare  the area as the first protected area of Jaipur  instead of  a reserve and to develop the area as a tourist spot with horse safari,nature trail,dear park etc.

Extensive renovation has been going on at the Jal mahal itself for some time now.

This 250 year old lake is a natural habitat for about 150 local and migratory birds.

An Animal Fair With A Difference

Every year in the month of October, for the past 500 years, a four day animal fair  is held in Bhawgarh Bandhya, near jaipur, in the Looniyawas village. Held in honour of the Sri KhalKhani Mata-this fair showcases the best of Donkeys money can buy.There is sale and purchase of donkeys,race featuring donkeys,poem recitals in praise of donkeys, prizes for the best bred donkey of the marwari or kathiawari breed,beauty pageant to find the Ms. Donkey & Mr.Donkey among other events.The owners name their donkeys after the bollywood stars to enhance their charms in the eyes of the buyers.Even so the organisers have a difficult time every year to find VVIPs to do the honours at the fair.

As people are preferring to buy horses instead of donkeys or mules for their use these days  a lot of horses turn up at the fair every year also.For example this year there were only 300 donkeys and 50 mules but about 1200 horses at the mela.Also on display was a white colored Shyam Karan Horse  worth 31 lacs.According to the scriptures Lord Ram set loose a Shyam Karan horse when he performed the Ashwa medh yagh.

Legend has it that Sri Khalkhani mata performed a miracle for her devotee in distress by turning a bag of stones into gold coins.Since then this fair is held every year.

‘Khama Ghani Ajmal ji Ra Kanwara’

The Title of this post is how one of the Bhajans, in rajasthani dialect,  devotees of Bhagwan Ramdeoji Maharaj sing in his praise goes.A folk deity, born a tanwar rajput in village Ranuja, son of Raja Ajmal Dev,believed to be incarnation of lord Krishna,he was revered by the high and the low castes of the society- the rich and the poor-hindus and muslims- alike. He performed miracles for poor. According to the lore 5 pirs from Mecca came to test  his miraculous powers.They paid homage to him when convinced as Ramapir.Ramdeoji took samadhi in 1459 in Ramdeora a village 10 kms from Pokaran where a tomb was built and in 1931A.D. a temple was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji of Bikaner.Devotees offer him wooden horses covered with cloth to please him.He has devotees in Rajasthan,Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and every year in August-September melas are held all across these states and in Ramdeora devotees throng the village in a 10 day mela  in his praise and remembrance.There are several temples devoted to Baba Ramdeo ji in Jaipur also( like in Hasanpura, Khatipura, Sirsi Road etc )and every year they hold melas and shobha yatras and do special poojas with great entusiasm and devotion.

Bal Vipra Bankura Hanuman Ji Mandir,Baleta

Bal Vipra Bankura Hanuman Mandir, Baleta

Bal Vipra Bankura Hanuman Mandir, Baleta

On the banks of the pond of village Baleta on a sandy knoll,this ancient temple of Hanuman ji is situated.The idol is only about one and a half foot high.It depicts Hanuman ji in his child image in the guise of a brahmin.He is standing with folded hands.
According to folk lore this Temple of Hanuman ji dates back to the time of foundation of the town of Baleta.The people decided on the child image of Hanuman Ji as he would be quick to please.

Every week on Mondays and Saturdays special pooja is done.People offer the deity paan, cloves and raisins as prasad.

This temple is 33 kms from Alwar.

If you are going from Jaipur, you will have to go till Shahpura on Jaipur-Delhi Highway from there you turn for Thana Gazi-Sariska-Alwar. About 20Km before Alwar you have to turn right for Baleta village. The route is thru villages and it is time consuming. So set aside a full day for the trip.

Karan’s Guesthouse

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