“Travel is the healthiest addiction”
I admit to being a little envious of my friend who will be attending a conference at Four Points by Sheraton in Jaipur. Rajasthan has been in my travel wish list for months now. Somehow, every time we plan a trip, something happens and we have to shelve it.
Take last October, for instance. We were all set to go, and had made an itinerary. In the last minute, we had to cancel, as we had to be at home for police verification of my son’s passport renewal.
Actually, my first ever chance to visit Jaipur was when I was in my twenties—and my colleagues at work were planning a trip. I had to miss it because of some family events during that time.
Years later, I made a business trip to Delhi and two from our group were planning to visit Jaipur after the seminar ended. I had to rush back home as my son’s term exams were around the corner.
Then there was another opportunity last year, when my friend suggested I hop over when the Jaipur Lit Festival was on. That didn’t work out either. And to let me know how annoyed she was with me, she sent me photos of herself with the Hawa Mahal and the Jal Mahal as the backdrop. Very motivating, indeed! She knows I have a solid thing for historical places. Sigh. However, getting accommodation at heritage hotels like this can be cumbersome. You can always visit these places to have food and look around, and check out hotels around Jal Mahal, Jaipur for staying.
There are several reasons I want to visit Jaipur, the pink city. By the way, “pink city” because the city was painted ink before the British visited. Imagine!
The first one, obviously is the Jal Mahal, Jaipur, whose photos my friend is bombarding me with. After almost two centuries of neglect, this beautiful heritage monument was restored a few years ago.
There are boat trips to its gardens in the middle of a beautiful lake. The little islets on the lake attract scores of migratory birds.
Forts and palaces
The second reason is the forts: Amer Fort, Nahagarh and Jaigarh, with their great walls traversing the area. Of course, I also want to see the step well, inside the Panna Mian ka Kund near Amer fort.
Then, palaces. There’s something about the architecture and ambiance of palaces and havelis that is so enchanting and takes one back in time. Interestingly, in Jaipur one can actually go stay in one of the restored palaces that have been turned into heritage hotels. I wonder if one is allowed to just go look around these palaces-turned-hotels.
Hawa Mahal, yes, for its stunning architecture.
Art and crafts
Jaipur is a hub for art and crafts. Gem cutting is a specialty and Johari Bazaar is where everyone heads to, to get their fix for glittering rocks. And oh, the local bazaars are something I would just love to explore! I’d love to see how the pretty Jaipuri quilts are made, and naturally, shop for kundan meena jewelry, mojaris—the pretty colourful footwear, bandhej and leheriya print fabrics.
I see bangle bazaars, brass workers and marble art in my future!
What is travel without food? Rajasthani cuisine is delightful and I look forward to enjoying their special kachoris, “ghewar”, and much more. We have a restaurant nearby that serves a special Rajasthani thali once a week and it is delicious! Imagine a walking tour around the old city of Jaipur, shopping and sampling their delicacies!
Elephant rides and camel safaris are definitely on my itinerary.
I’ve seen too many Bollywood movies to miss that experience!
Rajasthan has a number of vibrant festivals such as the Teej Festival, Kite festival and Gangaur festival. It would be wonderful to experience the city in its celebration mode. But that means one must plan the trip around these. I am picturing the colorful turbans, painted elephants and the legendary twirling mustaches.
Then there’s the more contemporary Jaipur Literature Festival, celebrating local and international writing.
We did think of making a trip in the summer, but the last three months have been hectic for everyone—Sury has been traveling continuously on work; Vidur has been busy with his summer internship; and all we could do was manage a few local outings with guests. Moreover, we were also advised not to visit in summer as the heat is pretty intense.
Next week, it will be time for my son to return to college, and we have planned an impromptu trip before he starts the next semester. Of course, being monsoon-time, our choice is somewhat restricted. But we figured that it is more about spending us-time together, taking some walks in nature, and if there’s a monument or two to feed our history-buff side, we’re okay with that. Still working on the itinerary, so I am not yet sure of where we are going. All I know is I am looking forward to the break, as brief as it is. I do wish we could have planned better, but we were just not sure whether we’d be able to coordinate our schedules.
So for now, I am quite determined to realize my dream of visiting Rajasthan this coming October. Universe, are you listening? Of course you are!