Showing posts with label Jaipur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jaipur. Show all posts

Chokhi Dhani- Jaipur


Last day at Jaipur, today we have kept ourselves more or less free for shopping. Had breakfast at hotel lawn for the first time. The buffet breakfast at Hotel Madhuvan worth only when you have time to enjoy it. We met one Indian family who were travelling from Gujrat for the Diwali weekend to Jaipur and wanted to join us at Chokhi Dhani later in the evening. Around 10 we left for shopping with Mr. Singh. Many shops were closed on account of after Diwali mood but still we managed to hop from one shop to another - Rajasthali, blue pottery shop etc. Then we tried the famous Ram Chandra Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream) in Tripolia Bazaar on way back to hotel for a siesta and left for Sanganer & Chokhi- Dhani around 5ish.
We took Jaipur-Tonk Highway and did more shopping at Sanganer famous for its block printing, screen printers, blue pottery and hand made papers. According to Mr. Singh many store/small factories do not let Indian inside as these stuffs are bit expensive for common Indian and mostly for export.
Choki Dhani basically gives picture of rural life of Rajasthan a miniature theme park. Bit expensive but worth going for the dinner alone. This resort is divided into two sections, one for daily visitors while the other for overnight stays. The first section charges an entrance (350 INR) fee that includes authentic veg Rajasthani dinner with traditional floor seating arrangement and allows the visitors to enjoy traditional rural activities such as tightrope walkers, camel cart rides for minimal fees. There is also an A/C section for food which charges around 700 INR.
Ram Ram Sa!!! Was first thing to hear. First we had dinner there which was wise decision as crowd was getting thicker with time. According to the ticket schedule our dinner time was 10 PM; but as it was around 8 there not much crowd and we got a seat quite easily. The elaborate Rajasthani thali have many varieties of Chapaties (bread) and vegetables which is served until you ask them to stop.
Took few rides to give Aarush exposure of all those village life; different type of Rajasthani folk dance and songs were performed live. The whole place is lighted with modern days lantern but as they are not very bright you get a feeling of going back in time. Over all had nice time and then we were back to hotel around 11.00pm
Next morning had flight back to Banglore in the morning. A bientot!!!!

Jaipur


We woke around 7ish and left by the same Cab with Mr. Singh (who took us to Shekhawati) around 8:30 from hotel. As Mr. Singh said jokingly lets start the day in auspicious way – which mean Birla Temple was first on the list and we reached the parking lot at dot 9. The journey took us trough the posh residential area of Jaipur with huge bungalows which have similarities with the Lutyens’ Delhi but a rarity in modern India.
Birla Temple of Jaipur like any other Birla Temple is made with pure white marble. There is Moti Dungri Fort in the back ground. Next to the Birla Temple is most famous Ganesh Temple which we skipped. After the quick tour of Birla Temple Mr. Singh took us for Breakfast. The choice was very simple Jalebi and Samosa as coming from Bangalore we were craving for it. The street we stopped  was full of traditional sweet makers. The Samosa was just made in front of us and it was so fricking hot that we both burnt our tongue but both were too good.
Hawa Mahal was our next stop  - the iconic building of Jaipur. We entered from the side and bought a combo ticket that allows entering 5 Government maintained attractions. At ticket counter, we were told Audio Guide wasn’t available but which was not right as we saw the counter once inside. We hired a guide for 150(posted price was 200 we were  his first client).The guide was a gentle person who knew the history and the Kodak-spots very well.
From the back Hawa Mahal does not look that appealing, it has two big courtyards.  The building was made for the royal ladies so that they can view the world without being seen. There are around thousands (937) of windows which over looks the Delhi-Jaipur highway. In those days, all the big parades or activites used to happen on this road. And that allowed ladies to watch royal processions and festivities. In this five storey building , top floor was for the maids and small children. The outer wall is not 90° rather inclined at 70° to give much better visibility from the top. The small windows on the fa├žade gives it a honey comb look. From the top we could see city palace, Jantar Mantar clearly and the whole Aravalli (one of the oldest mountain range in the word) range which gives a natural protection to the city of Jaipur.
From here went to Jantar Mantar; this time we were not that lucky as there were no concession in terms of hiring a guide. The Founder king of Jaipur was great in astronomy, he built five such Jantar Instruments & Mantar(calculation) in India. Jaipur has the largest and best preserved of all. The largest sundial of the word has an accuracy of 2 seconds. The other instruments are more complex and innovative. There always a small replica made before the big ones are constructed to ensure the accuracy is maintained. The Jantar Matar is quite well maintained but as usual there were few Indian who don’t follow rules and step into the constructions for their photos.
The Sun was getting hotter in each passing minutes and so the naughtiness of Aarush. Not sure it was due to Sun or just like that. But after running around in Jantar Mantar we crossed road and entered City Palace. The city palace is divided into two parts one for the public and other where the current ruler still stays. The administration is private here. The ticket is quite expensive but the monument is very well maintained. Chandra Mahal is part of the private part of current Royal family a seven storey building which host the royal flag of Jaipur. Almost after 90 minutes we made our exit from City palace and by that time the heat was too much. We got some curd and fruits for Aarush on way towards Amber ford.
On the way we did stopped for few minutes at Maharani ki Chhatri and Jal Mahal. Jal Mahal is  on man made Man Sagar Lake.
Amber Fort was the royal fort and Amber was capital before Man Singh moved his capital and Royal Palace to the modern Jaipur. It has plenty of history and details for which a guide is must. Amber fort is build over centuries and the cost of the building is unknown but some say it might cost 3 to 4 times the cost of Taj Mahal.  The palace has the famous Sheesh Mahal (palace of mirrors) which lights up with a single candle.  There are many passage which carries water and air to ensure there is enough cooling for the hot summer month. The concept  of sustainable architecture is at it best.  I must admit the architects ensured every drops of monsoon rain is saved and properly used so they can survive a harsh drought if needed.
It took us more than an hour to walk around different parts of the palace.We had a simple vegetarian lunch (very late one) before moving to Jaigarh Fort. You can walk between Amber and Jaigarh fort if your legs and lungs permit; with car one needs to take a long detour. Aarush fall asleep as car started to roll. We paid extra so we can take our cab inside which was a great idea with sleeping Aaursh. Jaigarh Fort is situated on a higher hill and that gives it a complete view of Amber fort. Jaigarh fort was a army station  so in case of an emergency it can save Royal Family located at Amber fort. It was closing time when we came out of Jaigarh fort.
Last on the list was Nahargarh Fort, it is on the edge of the hills and overlooks Jaipur city. We were lucky enough to catch Sunset but  sky was not very clear.  By the time we finished Nahargarh Fort and headed back to Jaipur city it was dark.
We stopped at one shop for some shopping before returning to hotel where we had a simple dinner after getting freshened up. That midnight,we had our train to Jodhpur. It was a very long day indeed.

Shekhawati - Open Air Art Gallery


29th Oct - We took SpiceJet flight to Jaipur but unfortunately could not make it within time due to technical problems and traffic congestion we were made to wait for 3 hrs inside flight. We reached around 22:00 to our pre-booked Hotel Madhuban by prepaid taxi.
On reaching hotel driver says "kya bekar hotel liya hain sir"....ughh. Lump in my throat as all booking was done by me. It was a laborious, monotonous job going through website after website, jotting down details regarding price. With heavy heart went in but found everything as per internet photos only. We asked for next day car-hire for Shekhawati daytrip which they arranged.
30th Oct - Morning 7.00am nice, clean amby was provided to us and we started our day trip towards withering Land of kuber. On way we had hot tasty parantha idly as breakfast from Dhabba. It takes 3hrs to reach that region.  On way after talking to our cab driver we made our circuit starting from towns like Fatehpur, Mandawa, Churi-Ajithgarh, Dundlod, and Nawalgarh back to Jaipur.
Shekhawati is world renowned for its painted havelis and paintings, their frescos depicting mythological and historical themes. Actually, when the Marwaris made their first foray with the Maharajahs and Thakurs, they found that there was money to be made from establishing business in distant centres. Under the British their prosperity aspired even higher, and they took their business to Calcutta, mumbai and other pockets of influence. Tradition in those days was whoever made it good would come back and build 4 things-haveli, baoli(well), mandir and dharamshala. With the money they made, they ordered lavish havelis back home and in order to make them attractive had them painted in what has come to be defined as the Shekhawati fresco style. A sense of competitiveness brought in excess, since this provided the worth of the owner's presumed wealth.
Today’s eminent business group Birla, Goenka, Singhania, Poddar are all from Shekhawati region which has now immerged as open art painting gallery well preserving its historical heritage. Havelis are guarded at the entrance by large wooden doors. Within these, a smaller door is normally used for daily movements. Intricate wooden carvings with fancy brass iron fittings demonstrating the owners’ wealth. The ground floor is normally recessed in such a way that balconies overhang the street. It was from the latticed windows on the balconies and over the courtyards that women were able to get a glimpse of the men’s world. The facade, the gateways, the courtyard walls, the parapets and ceilings, were all covered with frescoes.
All these paintings are made with natural colors. For example yellow was also obtained by evaporating the urine of cows fed for ten days on nothing but mango leaves. The resulting paste was rolled into small round ‘gayagolis’ and produced a brilliant yellow when dilated with water.
They  used  the ‘Fresco Buono’ technique -  in this method only a part of the wall was plastered at a time with three layers of very fine clay. Sketches were made on the walls scratching the outshines into the wet plaster with a sharpened stick. It remained without fading for almost as long as the building lasted. A gum made from local plant or a derivative of camel fat was used as the crucial binding agent.
At Fatehpur main attraction was Nadine la Prince which is bought and restored by a French artist Nadine. At Mandawa its Castle Mandawa besides Sneh ram ladia ,Gulab rai ladia haveli and JhunJunuwala golden painted haveli, Murmura and Double Goenka haveli (we could not visit as it was closed) at Churi Ajithgarh it’s Sheonarayans haveli at Dundlod its Goenka haveli and at Nawalgarh its Poddar haveli.
TIPS: Best way to visit this regions by own transport but still you need to do a good amount of walking once you reach one particular destination. Hire guide(negotiable) to take you around. No doubt beautiful painting, awesome architecture but one thing is sure at Shekhawati after craning your neck whole day long at end you feel like every other painting is same. After sunset there is no sense to be there as artificial light will be not sufficient enough to see the intricate painting details.
We skipped lunch to cover our itinerary and had very early dinner on way back to Jaipur and by 9.00pm we were at our hotel door.