Tag Archives: Galtaji

Whats Free In Jaipur?

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My father used to remind us time and again that nothing in life was for free but he also said that the streets were paved with money and one only had to pick it up.   His implication was that a little work would see to it that our pocket were full of money. He was right naturally but don’t  we move mountains to get some thing for free or relatively for free.

This is such a list!

A list of  things one can enjoy for free or relatively for free in Jaipur.

This list assumes that you have your own transport to get around the city and a little money.

If you can wake up before day break get your digital camera out and go for a walk. You can photograph Jaipur in all its moods. You can make a photo feature on a day well spent. Some examples of where to go for a walk would be, the Central Park of Jaipur or  lake shore of  the Man Sagar Lake or the quite streets of the city.

If you are into Yoga & laughter therapy there is a session in the Central Park you can join.

Read the local newspaper. Around 5.30 am to 6.30 am you will see the newspaper boys on their way to delivering the morning papers to different houses of Jaipur. You should get one and find a quite place to read it.

Drink a cup of tea at the Sahu tea stall in walled city.

If you do not mind a snack early in the morning you can get a Kachori  near the panch batti circle or at the Rawat Misthan Bhandar.

Or in summers you can have a lassi at the Lassiwala on the M.I.Road.

Time to head home for a shower a change of clothes  and some breakfast.

At 10 a.m you can go for birding & a nature walk in the Simriti Ban on J.L.N.Marg. They also have a museum here where they have displayed the photos of the birds and plants and flowers found in the  area.

If the local handicrafts are your thing, you can head for the Jawahar Kala Kendra for a look. There might be a mela on .While there you can visit the museums and the art galleries  too. More often than not there are painting exhibitions and plays being put up  during the course of the day. These fixtures are not to be missed. Another such venue is the Ravindra Manch and the open air theater there.These two places are the hot bed of cultural activity in Jaipur.

Time for lunch. You can have Dosa & Coffee in the canteen of JKK  managed by the India Coffee House & head home for a  siesta.

At 4.30 pm you can go for birding in the central park.

Once a month weather permitting there is a classical recital in the Central Park by a famous artist.

Every year from 21 to 25 January a literature featival is held where you can hear  the writers talk about their books and even get their autographs.

Two book fairs are held in the second half of the year for the book lovers of Jaipur by the two local papers.

Jaipur was also known as Choti Kashi in the days of lore because of the huge number of temples here.You can visit Galtaji or Birla Mandir or Ganesh Mandir at Moti Doongri or the Kala Hanuman Mandir for divine blessings.

On Diwali you can go around the walled city markets to see the hustle and the bustle and the city dolled up  with colorful lights and ‘jhankis’ and decorative gates.

On Holi Chaugan stadium is the place to be where, every year, an Elephant festival is held by RTDC.

On 14th January, Sankrat, watch the city go crazy over some kites and string.

Watch Teej maata’s Savari on Teej Festival.

Get photographed in front of the magnificent Hawamahal or the Sculptures in The Central Park or The Amber Fort.

You can climb to the top of  the Isar Lat for the view.

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Makar Sakranti

Four Days After The Kite Festival

Every year at dawn on the 14th January a lot of people of Jaipur go to the Galtaji for a dip and there after give alms and donate blankets to the poor and feed cows green fodder and grain to the pigeons. Later in the day children and adults alike get on the roof top of their houses and fly multicolored kites, play blaring bollywood music and eat dal ke pakoras, revaries, gazak, phinie and til ke ladoos. One and only aim is to cut as many kites as possible. Food , body functions etc. can wait. The street urchins have a busy day as they try to collect as many cut kites as possible without any regard for their life or limb. The serious kite enthusiasts get invited to a home in the walled as that is where the real action is going to be.
A day before 14th January young and old alike shop for kites and string ( Sadda & Manjha) to fly them with.Budgets are the least of the constraints. Kites come in all colors and all shapes and sizes. They are even made of thin plastic sheets. Companies have their messages put on kites and on some photos of film stars are used to attract customers.There are even chinese made kites being sold in the markets.The master craftsmen who make kites and manjhas have been doing it for generations.
Once the booty is brought home the kites are readied for the next days action by stringing the kites and putting manjha on a sadda charkhy. Nobody wants to waste a single moment of the precious day on mundane details. There is a huge demand for black colored manjha as it is thought to have legendary powers to cut oppositions kites. Chinese manjha is to be avoided as it is coated with metal powder and can conduct electricity and can disrupt power supply if it falls on naked high tension lines.
Kite flying is simple enough if there is some wind blowing and somebody preps the kite for you. Long months of wasted youth flying kites are needed to learn the art of cutting the other guys kites. But once you get the knack every year 14th January will see you on your roof top enjoying the highs and lows of kite flying Jaipur style.
In 1878 Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh ji started the practice of flying kites on Makar Sakranti. Preparation for the festival would start 2 months before the festival date. Master craftsmen from Bareily & Ahemdabad were called to make manjha and kites.The Royals used to fly kites made of silver and gold and their charkhis used to be inlaid with gems. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ji was also a great kite flying enthusiast. His kite collection is on display in the City Palace Museum even today.There is mention of Lord Ram having flown a kite in Ramchrita Manas of Tulsidasji.
A couple of things to keep in mind when flying kites this 14th is to say no to manjha of any kind and to take good care of ones self. Because accidents do happen. Remember there will be other sankrats. There will be other kites to fly. And the manjha can seriously hurt the birds sharing the sky with your kites. If we will not be considerate of our feathered friends who will be.

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