Travel story contributor: Gayatri Sivakumar
Cultural extravaganza of the rustic Rajasthan is truly visible in the beautiful city of Jaipur. Fondly called the ‘Pink City’, this historic town has the magic of the kaleidoscope filled with colors, glitters and heritage. And, I had an absolutely gala time in this royal city.
One should begin from the center of the town and one of the main attraction of this beautiful town is the Hawa Mahal. From afar, this honey-combed look-alike structure is a actually wall in pink sandstone, that was used for the women of royal family to look down at the festivities while not seen in public view. Down the lanes, bright puppets of raja and rani, chiseled on wooden planks are hung. A paneer maker smiles while he opens his shops. A guy churns lassi in a big tumbler while offering me some. Colorful turbans hung from the ceiling, flap around in small textile shops. A gentleman with a pink turban sits on the pavement and smokes a beedi to warm the cold December winds.
Jaipur Palace and Albert Museum are other main attractions of this city. As the sky oranges for evening, the area around the museum gets lively with trotting rented horses, balloon sellers, awing tourists and quite a lot of pigeons looking forward to some snacking. The Albert museum is a fine example of British architecture with a hint of the Rajput style in its sculpture.
Away from the museum and the town is a silent little zoo, called the Sawai Mansingh Zoo of Jaipur which is the home of a few number of spotted deers. Tourists are not so frequent here probably because of the lack of variety of species. However, it is also the home of a wide variety of local and migratory birds. A woodpecker peeks at us through the trees and gets back to pecking a Deodar tree.
While the town winds up for the day, a few painted tuskless elephants, fully decorated with anklets walk past in a hurry with their mahouts through the Hawa Mahal road. They were marching towards the palace for the evening show for tourists. Some Rajastani music, great food, elephant and camel display are the highlights of this evening fiesta. The tickets to this can be purchased from the palace itself. As I promise myself to attend the show the next evening, a soothing rhythm from a Rajasthani dholak could be heard from playing not so far. A faint aroma of Rajasthani daalbaati linger in the air, swoop my senses quickly. The full moon is up and suddenly, I am in love!
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