My husband always tells me that I am lucky to have hobbies. He feels that atleast I have something to escape from the monotonous life and get lost for few hours in the world that I love. Now this was the perfect time to act. Without giving a second thought I handed him the rough draft I had written about Jaipur Part-II and said go lock your self in a room and finish it! By acting on time I got him engaged for an hour and somehow escaped the long tedious conversation he was telling me he had had with his boss that day.
(Now at this point let me tell you that my husband plays a major role in editing most of my posts. It makes him feel important. )
Any way so here is the remaining Jaipur Trip written by my husband.
Day-3: Amer and Albert Hall Museum.
Daily we devoted one and half hour to breakfast. The variety and the taste of assortments was very good. From butter toast to puri sabji , from chola-Bhatoora to paratha, from corn flakes and muffins to idli ,vada, dosa upma ,poha, and from boiled egg omelette & egg fry to juices ,tea and coffee, everything was at our disposal and we made sure nothing goes untasted.
After loading ourselves with more than a heavier breakfast we headed to Amer. I had heard that Amer hosts an amazing light and Sound show in the evening But we decided to give it a miss as it was not feasible to wait that late in night. We hired cabs. The drivers preferred to take a shortcut and took us through the small gulleys showing us the unseen pictures of Jaipur which was not at all good. The roads were filled with stinking garbage with pigs rolling over it. The sight remained the same till we came out to main road near Jal Mahal.
Amer is real far from the city and it took us an hour to reach there. This was my second visit to Amer, but still I don’t have any majestic detail to share here. All I could remember was that while the whole family was leisurely learning about the details of Deevane khaas-Deevane aam, I was dealing with my toddler’s tantrums and trying to find the exact thing she wanted to eat. I am sharing here one crazy carving that my brother in law found on a pillar. It has many animals. See how many u can find out?
We saw two huge kadhai at the exit. These were made for the movie Jodha Akbar and were left behind after the shoot .
We also went to the contemporary art gallery-” ArtChill” established near the exit gate where the work of India’s top artist was on display. I spent 30 minutes there and was quite lost in it. The work ranged from 3D work to nature, modern art, big strokes-small strokes oil painting etc. Photography were prohibited. Out of curiosity, I inquired for quote of one of the paintings by Subrata Gangopadhyaya and found out that it was costlier than our life time savings.
We had Lunch at Handi a very popular place for eating “Laal Mans”. For detailed review you can visit Zomato- our own source of choosing the restaurants.
Indian food is not at all photogenic like the other worldwide cuisines but believe me the mutton was amazing.
We had no plans for evening as Amer visit was very tiring. But seeing some energy left in gentry, we proposed to go out to either Albert Hall museum or Birla Temple. Only God knows why we chose to visit the museum to see that Egyptian mummy and the artillery . The museum had nothing but the pottery work and various trays at the ground floor and some stuff on the Second floor too. Lesson learnt – whenever to choose between museum and temple always choose temple. (At this point I had warned my husband not to touch this paragraph or else you would have been reading the details of the weapons at the museum right now)
Day -4: Pushkar and Ajmer
Pushkar was indeed well planned. Not by us but by parents. Dad had researched that Pushkar is actually the holiest pilgrim place in India where one can give offering to ancestors. He had plans to perform ritual there which he had not shared with us.
Jaipur to Pushkar was three hours drive. Pushkar has huge cultural and religious relevance. It is famous for the Bhramaji Temple. We were welcomed by the sight of colorful camel carts and typical Rajasthan local dressed up people.
We visited the temple where my husband and father performed the Pooja. It turned out to be “Amavasya” which is highly auspicious for worshiping the ancestors.
Panditji and the inquisitive family
Cow asking for her share
After the Pooja we ate lunch and then it was the time for shopping. The local market was full of small one shutter shops but the stuff was cheaper than Jaipur. While I picked elephants and dolls for my friends, others got bagful of things. Since our priorities were different, we couldn’t spend much time there. But my advice to fellow traveler is that Pushkar is the place where you can do the best shopping of Rajasthan. From Blue Pottery to Rajasthani Quilt, Hand bags to Lehenga Choli, Rajasthani Pagdi to all the possiblities that a true shopper can explore .
Ajmer was 40 minutes from Pushkar. I was very apprehensive about the trip partly because few friends of mine had alerted me that the road to “Dargah” was filled with butcher shops and the sight could be highly inappropriate for us. But nothing of that sort happened. The road to Dargah was clear from any such thing. Later I came to know the pathway that they were talking leads to “Dhai din ka Jhopda”, another historic place that we didn’t visit.
Our friend had given us contact details of a person who guided us to the Dargah. These guides are called ‘Banda‘. Dargah was beautifully lit up and the smell of itra (perfume) was all around.The road leading to the dargah was another intersting place for shoppers. Don’t forget to buy the very famous ‘Sohan Halwa’ from Ajmer which is available almost everywhere and it is very delicious.
Sohan Halwa (PC: http://www.traveldglobe.com)
We got chadars and rose petals for offering and entered the main dargah. It was crowded yet manageable. Our banda took us in and offered prayers for us. The whole atmosphere was so peaceful and soothing.
Finally I got to see what I had come here for, Yes! the Live Qawwali. Verese sung for the praise of Khwaza Garibnawaz. I had never heard live Qawwali before. The voice was heavenly, I closed my eyes and found myself lost in the sweet sound of rhythmic clapping. My hand came together to clap in unison, but I was stopped by people. Perhaps the clapping by others disturbs the singer’s rhythm. I came back to my senses when my daughter came to me and said that she wanted to play uncle’s piano (She had never seen a harmonium before) . She took money from us and very happily offered to the harmonium player.
Then my mother started to remind us that we should leave before it gets too late. Our ‘banda’ asked us to have Prasad which was actually non-veg . We politely declined the offer as we were still under the effect of Pushkar and the word non-veg prashad sounded like a taboo. Now when I think about it I regret it because I don’t know what tastes better- the Lucknow Biryani or Ajmeri Biryani.
At exit gate we saw two big vessel. In one people were offering various things; fruits, grains, rice, money, etc. In other something was cooking. We were told that in one vessel they collect offering from people and in second food is cooked for whosoever want to eat in dargah same like the “Langar” in Gurudwara.
Day-5: Shopping and departure
Parent’s train was in afternoon. We had only one place left in our diary which we had not visited, it was “Rawat Kachori ” and it was very close to railway station. So we headed to the place and ordered Pyaj kachori ,Mewa kachori and Choorma. Everything were very delicious but very heavy to digest.
We set our parents off and while coming back we stopped at Lassiwala of MI Road and had Lassi . It was yummy and it gave good competition to Chaudhuri Lassiwala of Amritsar. Since I had forgotten the taste, I asked my husband to arrange another trip to Amritsar and I am not kidding here.
The itch for shopping was still left in us and we decided to visit the Bapu Market again. There we went on a did three hours shopping marathon.
Finally the trip came to an end and it was time to say bye bye to Jaipur. We all had a big smile on our face and my toddler had another place imbibed on her mental map .
Every evening/night, we used to gather in one room and chat for hours. We skipped our dinner few times due to the late afternoon ghee rich Lunch. We ate peanuts, snacks, fruits together and talked till late in the night. It was quite fun to sit in one room leisurely and just talk.
It was a leisure trip; every step was taken to make sure that the stay and journey must be as comfortable as possible . Nobody was allowed to have tea/coffee in the hotel (except in breakfast which was complimentary). It is against the ideals of my husband, he never approves sipping a 100 Rs tea of Hotels which essentially has nothing in it. My whole family is a tea lover and to resist their temptation and quench their thirst, my husband would take a flask, visit the nearest tea stall, ensure the ratio of all necessary ingredients and bring hot tea for us. My father accompanied him, it strengthen their bonding too, I used to find them sharing Rajnigandha from the same packet throughout the trip . Anyway, it was so nice to sip that rajasthani Chai. It always added flavors in our late night conversation.
The Real Chai Shaukeen
Reviews of Handi: https://www.zomato.com/jaipur/handi-restaurant-mi-road
Hotel Souvenir Peppermint: https://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g304555-d2064904-Reviews-Peppermint_Hotel-Jaipur_Jaipur_District_Rajasthan.html