It is that time of the year when all roads lead to Jaipur. After all, who wants to miss the Jaipur Literature Festival 2020? But, when you have a couple of hours to spare between sessions, take out time to uncover interesting facets of the city. Here’s our guide to the coolest things to do in the Pink City.
Places to explore
Apart from the iconic Hawa Mahal, the colourful, multi-arched Patrika Gate at Jawahar Circle has also taken over Jaipur’s Instagram feed. That is because when you stand at one end, all its hand painted arches fall in perfect, creating a stunning symmetry. It is a true representation of Rajasthani culture as it symbolises the different gates of Jaipur. Hand-painted with pastel colours, the gate highlights motif of forts, palace, temples, blue pottery, and jewellery. Go early to find that perfect, undisturbed spot as it gets crowded when the sun goes up.
Where: JLN Road, Jawahar Circle
What if we told you that you could spot a leopard in Jaipur and go for a safari? Yes, within the city premises. In this 22-square kilometre safari park, that was once the hunting ground of the royal family, you can clamber on to an open gypsy and spend a couple of hours trying to set eyes on this elusive animal. Apart from the leopard, this park is also home to several animals and birds like the golden jackal, desert fox, monkeys, hyenas, spotted deer and dusky eagle, flamingos, spotted owlet, cranes, egrets, and more. It is an experience that should not be missed.
Where: Malviya Nagar Industrial Area, Malviya Nagar
If you love intricately designed jewellery, then feast your eyes on some exquisite pieces. Glare at anklets and toe rings to belts, chains and head ornaments, which have been painstakingly collected by the museum for over 50 years. The display here is a tribute to India’s centuries-old love affair with jewellery and the stunning craftsmanship of artisans over the ages. There is also a range of tribal and rural jewellery, and embellished silver pieces harking back to royal days. As your eye wanders, don’t miss the paan and tea sets, jewellery boxes, rosewater sprinklers, a pair of golden mojirs, a huge silver chariot, and wine flasks modelled like dancing figures.
Where: K, 14/B, Ashok Marg, Panch Batti, C Scheme, Ashok Nagar
If you love textiles, don’t miss visiting this traditional white and pale pink haveli in Jaipur, which is focused on preserving handwoven textiles and natural dyes. The restored building that opened months ago has studios, showrooms, library, gallery, and artist retreats. They usually have an ongoing exhibition – this time it is on textiles from the Kutch region of Gujarat. There are dyeing workshops and retail spaces as well to cop anything from rugs to cushions.And you will come across a lot of the colour indigo, the oldest natural dye dating back 4,000 years.
Where: C-86 Prithviraj Road, C – Scheme
Eat & Drink
Kudos to this cafe for being the first one to introduce the concept of farm-to-table meals to this city. Sourced from nearby farms, you can enjoy avocado toasts, savoury lentil waffles, red rice sushi, mushroom Vietnamese rolls, and more at this vegetarian café. Also what makes the difference to the ‘zero proof mocktails’ to accompany your healthy meal are the fresh syrups that are made daily to conjure up some truly fresh flavours.
Where: 27, Madrampura, Civil Lines Metro Station, Opposite Pillar 88, Civil Lines
Plan an evening at one of the chicest bars in the city that is done up in electric blue and white, and housed in a royal palace. It opens into an outdoor space with tented canopies where wandering peacocks have occasionally been spotted. Their extensive list of cocktails includes some interesting specials. Must-try includes Vodka Fly (red bull, currant flavoured vodka) and Between the Sheets (white rum, cognac, triple sec and lemon). The food is Italian all the way, so take your pick from starters like Norwegian Smoked Salmon Pate and meatballs, and move on to pastas. Wrap up your meal with a classic tiramisu.
Where: Narain Niwas Palace Hotel Kanota Bagh, Narain Singh Road
Opened a year back, this rooftop bar has already turned into the city’s favourite. A great spot for sundowners, Akh Bar has some really unique cocktails like Paan Mojito, Tiramitini (vodka with an espresso shot and tiramisu syrup), and Good Old Fashioned Popcorn (bourbon whiskey with bitters and popcorn syrup). Now if the drinks are unusual, why should the food be any different? So expect a lot of fusion dishes – beetroot panipuri, nachos with dal makhni sauce, pav bhaji sliders, and more. But don’t worry–the usual staples are also available. It is packed on weekends, so reservations are recommended.
Where: Sarovar Premiere, Sahakar Marg, Tonk Road
Created by French designer Thierry Journo, this chic boutique has apparels that reflect the vibrancy of the tie and dye, block prints, and embroideries of Rajasthan with a contemporary touch. Besides clothing (also for men), they have brightly-hued home accessories and furniture.
Where: Narain Niwas Palace Hotel, Kanota Bagh, Narain Singh Road
All images: Courtesy establishments