Rajasthan through eyes of Lalit
LALIT VIJAY | July 20th, 2017
Khamma Ghani traveler, echoed every kite flying in that lustrous vivid sky. It was Makar Sankranti, a festival in North-India which flags the arrival of prosperity. That was indeed a special feeling for me to breach the fortress and explore the Pink-City. There was joy everywhere and maybe I felt it more because I was on a business trip, the company had paid for the travel, there wasn’t anything major on the cards and I could be myself and feel the city.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), is so named because this palace was built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. The palace is a five-storeyed monument that rises 50 feet from its high base. The front part is like a honeycomb web of a beehive, built with small portholes. Each porthole has miniature windows and carved sandstone grills, finials and domes. It gives the appearance of a mass of semi-octagonal bays, giving the monument its unique façade.The most interesting aspect of visiting it was that I got to talk with Balram Saini. Balram mans the India Post’s kiosk there. He shared how he feels proud sharing his knowledge about India and the historic importance to the people visiting Jaipur, especially the foreigners. I did buy some stamps and postcards from him. He also enlightened me about India Post’s new marketing strategy and how going personal has rewarded them millions in the turn-over.One sincere request, start using more of India Post. Their employees aren’t lazy and inefficient. And, their network is the best. Next destination was Amer Fort.
The palace was the residence of the Rajput King and their families. Amer Fort is known for its artistic style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the major aesthetic ambiance of the palace is seen within its walls. The opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-e-Aam, or “Hall of Public Audience”, the Diwan-e-Khas, or “Hall of Private Audience”, the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) and Jai Mandir. And the funniest part, there’s a Café Coffee Day in there too. CCDs are literally everywhere. Wherever you go, a CCD follows you. If you are wondering if I had coffee there or not? NO. It was freaking expensive there. I made a truce with the tea-vendor selling tea on the bicycle outside, near the boundary wall. Looking at the boundary wall, I could clearly deduce that the city is an encapsulated region inside forts across all sides. This part of the city had Nahargarh, Jaigarh, and Amer protecting the realm. The next on the list was to visit Birla temple
I got into those private buses and asked the conductor how to reach Birla Temple, my next destination. The same place where I got lost as a kid. He advised me to get down at the Reserve Bank of India and walk. Did the same. One advice, if you are tired of walking, board the electric rickshaws. They travel on shared routes and are very light on the pocket. I took an e-rick for Birla Temple and boom! In 3 INR, I was there! I observed a lot of locals in that trail and I must say, the women are beautiful and nothing can beat the swag of those sexy male-moustaches. It reminded me of the Coke Studio song “Chaudhary” by Amit Trivedi ft. Mame Khan. I was constantly humming that in the ride and finally, as I got down opposite the temple, I couldn’t believe what my eyes just saw. Plagiarism of the finest quality. There were roughly 20-30 vendors selling Pav Bhaji under the same name ‘Pandit Pav Bhaji’ and everyone claimed others to be fake. I tried my luck and went to the one with the maximum crowd. I don’t even have the tab of the extra bread which I had ordered. So I decided to end my appetite now with the most famous Rawat Kachoris.
Rawat Kachori specializes in pyaz kachoris. This renowned shop is at a walking distance from the Sindhi Camp bus station has gained immense popularity too. It is an institution for cult food in the heart of the city. Priced moderately, it’s queued up like crazy with the tourists and locals all the time. I tried their pyaz kachori, Mawa Kachoris and ras malai and it made me fall in love with it. It’s a must go if you are in Jaipur. Hands down. The waiting time is just 2-5 minutes, hence in no time you are served with some orgasmic exuberance. Finally, my eventful day was wrapped with a mango paan from Annu Mobile Paan Bhandar in Bapu Nagar. He’s the Shahrukh Khan of Pan Industry. He has the privilege of catering for celebrity weddings. You’d be amazed to know that he was the common factor in Saif-Kareena and Mira-Shahid wedding. His paans range from INR 10 – 10 thousand. I was delighted with mine worth INR 20. I couldn’t try their famous fire paan. But it’s on the list. PS: Jaipur! I’ll be back soon.