Lit-hiker’s guide to Jaipur & more!

It’s not the Foucault’s Pendulum we are known for, we have the incredible Jantar -Mantar, the largest in the country. As you get knee deep into the Maha-Kumbh of Literature & music, there is a reason its setting could be none other than the beautiful Pink City. The capital of music, culture, literature and art, Jaipur is the home of ‘Lekhaki, Kalakaari and the Kaarigari‘. The quiet & the solitude that this city can offer contrasts with the bursts of colors, its long winding bylanes of history, the languid green hills, placid water bodies, the intricately carved architecture, soulful rustic music and over 1000 temples,  it is aptly called the ‘Paris of the east’ and ‘Choti Kashi’ in the same breath.

With beautiful yet poignant experiences that this city offers, it is all that the thirsty soul of an artist seeks. If Marco Polo could describe Venice over and over again as 55 Invisible Cities, Jaipur in its folds carries endless layers still to be unraveled.

Here, we play the ‘Babel Fish’ to you and make you bite an indelible slice of Jaipur’s Vastu Purush Mandala.

See: Meet the city in person.

The picture perfect postcards of Hawa Mahal, Amer fort, the old city, and the gorgeous Jal Mahal have described Jaipur for ages. We bring you some of the lesser known yet exquisite places to see in Jaipur.

Ghat ki Ghuni Complex: Sisodia Rani Bagh+Vidhyadhar Ka Bagh
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It is located 8 kilometers from Jaipur on the Agra road. Laid out in Mughal style, it is painted with the legends of Radha and Krishna. The garden is multi-tiered and has fountains, watercourses, and painted pavilions. Vidhyadhar Ka Bagh, the Architect of Jaipur is also abutting this complex.
Galtaji: 
img1Galtaji is an ancient pilgrimage center in Jaipur. Set amidst low hills and packed with locals and tourists alike, the attractive spot has temples, pavilions, and holy Kunds.
Panna Mian Ka Kund:
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Built in the 16th century, this 8 story Kund or Step well was used actively by the community around as a source of water, it was also the place of community gathering where people would come to chat, relax or swim in the cool waters.
 Nahargarh Baoli:
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Image courtesy google.
This stunning organic steps of this ‘Baoli’ are mesmerizing, to say the least. It is located inside Nahargarh fort where the song  ‘Masti Ki Pathshala’ from the movie ‘Rang De Basanti ‘was shot.
Gaitore Cenotaphs:
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Image courtesy- google
Just off the Jaipur-Amber road is Gaitore, where the former Maharajas of Jaipur are entombed. The chhatris (cenotaphs), made of white marble display the distinctive Rajput style of architecture. The open pavilions with ornate domes are supported by delicately sculpted pillars. The crematorium is located in the middle of yellow sandstone hills.
Jantar-Mantar
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The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is considered to be the largest of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. It contains fourteen geometric devices, designed to measure time, track celestial bodies and observe the orbits of the planets around the sun.
Maharaniyon Ki Chattri
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Image courtesy- google
This is a tomb/ Chhatri for the women belonging to Jaipur’s royal family and is located on the way to Amber fort. This crematorium has several exquisitely carved cenotaphs built to commemorate them. The magnificent beauty and the historical significance of Maharani ki Chhatri makes it one of the most visited tourist attractions in Jaipur.
Isar Lat :
7Ishwar Lat, also known as Swarg Suli is a 60 feet high grand minaret in Jaipur. Also called ‘Swarg Suli‘ or ‘heaven piercing minaret’, this tower near Tripolia Gate was built by Raja Ishwari Singh in 1749 A.D to commemorate a grand victory against his brother Madho Singh in the Bagru war. Ishwar Lat offers a breath-taking view of Jaipur.
Jawahar Kala Kendra:

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Built by one of the most famous Indian Architects of India, Charles Correa, it is an art & cultural center based on the 9 square ‘Vastu Purusha Mandala’ that Jaipur’s walled city plan is based on. Do try the Daal-Baati at their ‘Padharo Sa‘ restaurant.

City palace:
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The City Palace is a splendid example of the foresight that Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II had. As the founder of Jaipur, he took pains to create a magnificent walled city that encloses marvels such as the City Palace. The palace is a beautiful blend of Mughal and Rajput styles of architecture.
Govind dev Ji temple.
IMG_1825.jpgThe Krishna temple is a rare spireless temple and houses the idol of Govind Devji that Sawai Jai Singh brought from Vrindavan. It is built in the style of Diwan-e-Khas or the court of the ruler as Sawai Raja Jai believed Govind dev Ji to be the ruler of the city & he his instrument. It is based on ‘Bhakti style’of architecture with wide corridors all around.
Eat, what Jaipur eats – The historical notes in the ‘ruaab’ of Jaipur:

Bhagat Mishtaan Bhandhar, Kishanpol Bazaar: 

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Their Doodh Ka Ladoo and Choguni Ladoo are to die for and Jaipur swears by it.

Mahaveer Rabri Bhandar, Chandpole:

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Known for their Rabri, Mohanthaal, Bejar Ki roti and Aloo Pyaz ki Suzi.

Handi: (MI Road) 

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One of the older award winning restaurants of Jaipur. Number one recommendation for Rajasthani non-vegetarian food. Try the Laal Maas, Junglee Maas or the famous Handi Maas from their menu.

Once upon a time: (Nahargarh Fort): 

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The most romantic and incredible view of the Jaipur City as you dine in an ambiance of bygone times.

Baradari: (City Palace) :

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Located at City palace, this is a beautifully renovated property to see and dine at.

Tapri (C- Scheme): 

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 It’s a ‘Chai shop’ with a difference.With all things Chai and delicious light snacks, it’s ideal for breakfast or evening tea.

Muslim Musafir Khana :

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It completely reminds one of Karim’s at Jama Masjid, Delhi in its ambiance. The food is delicious, affordable and unforgettable and the flavors are very different from Karim’s, Delhi.

Santosh Bhojanalya:  (Sindhi camp bus Station)

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If you ask anybody in Jaipur where to get the best Daal-Baati from, they will either answer ‘Khole ke hanuman ji or somebody’s house and both are invited affairs. In case that doesn’t happen, head to this small joint opposite the bus station, recommended for authentic rustic flavors of Daal-Baati, the way Rajasthan eats it.

Tattoo Cafe:

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A fairly new restaurant in town, it is located bang opposite Hawa Mahal and is a good choice for breakfast or a cup of coffee. The view of Hawa Mahal early morning as the sun lights up the beautiful monument is priceless and the bonus as the name suggests, get awesome tattoos here. Instagram Alert!

City of the handcrafted, you said?

Anokhi Museum:

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At a mere ten-minute walk through the cobbled streets of Amber lies the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. Located in a magnificently restored haveli (mansion), the museum displays a varied selection of block-printed textiles alongside images, tools and related objects – all chosen to provide an in-depth look into the complexity of this ancient tradition.

Blue Pottery, (Kripal Kumbh, Banipark)

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One of the oldest and the most well-known Blue Pottery studios, it was started by Late Shri Kirpal Singh Shekhawat known as the founder of Blue pottery. they are known for their incomparable quality.

Chameliwala Silver Market, MI Road.

20161214_135445The silver market just abutting MI Road is a silver haven. You can pick up semi-precious stones, get them dressed and have them inlaid in silver.Apart from that there is meenakari work on Silver, traditional, contemporary and tribal silver jewelry is available in a huge variety.

Take Back some memories & a little something more

Rajasthali: A Rajasthan government-run emporium which also features works of Bangladeshi designer Bibi Russell. Excellent collection of handcrafted wares of Rajasthan.

Jagmohan/ Chandrahas / Kesar Kasturi: the incredible royal liquors of Rajasthan.Infused with many spices and condiments, these come in the category of collectibles.

Jaipur Watch Company:  

jaipur-watch-company-2Custom made, Bespoke luxury Watches from Jaipur.

Trunk Company, Jaipur: Bespoke, handcrafted trunk furniture from Jaipur.

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Rajputana Custom Motorbikes:

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Rajputana: A labor of love, handcrafted bike restoration/ customization Mecca.

Now, the basics

Traveling to & from Jaipur:

Air: Jaipur International Airport connects Jaipur to all major cities in the country as well as major international destinations. The capital of India, New Delhi is merely 250 Km from Jaipur. If you cannot get a direct flight to Jaipur, get one to Delhi as there are multiple daily connections between the two cities. The easiest way is to go to makemytrip.com or yatra.com and book your flights.

Rail: Jaipur Junction is a well-connected station with trains from all across the country. The easiest way to travel from Delhi is by the Double Decker train or Rajdhani.To book your train tickets, click here

Road: There are many Public and private operators of Buses as well as taxis in the city. Rajasthan government run RSRTC is a very good option or try the private operators for traveling to and from the Jaipur.

Getting around Jaipur: It is mostly a square.

Taxis: Uber or Ola: There are plenty of Uber and Ola Cabs easily available for within the city travel through the phone apps. They are the safest, fastest and most reasonably priced mode of transport. For Intercity travel Hippocabs is providing an exclusive for the JLF. Rajputana cabs.  You also have an option of using Rajasthan government run taxis for within and outside city tours.

Rickshaws: E/Cycle /Auto: There are plenty of Rickshaws in the city be it e-rickshaws, cycle (shorter distances) or auto rickshaws. They easily navigate the city through the traffic be it the old or the new city. They are available 24 X 7 and outside most hotels and public places. Negotiate & settle the fare before taking the ride as they don’t use meters. Use google maps whenever in doubt.

Buses: Low Floor buses / Jaipur Safari / Pink Pepper. The comfortable seating, a wide network of bus stands & the low prices of the government run low floor buses make it an ideal companion to travel around the city. The city also offers interesting open air private tour buses to savor the beautiful scenic view the city provides. Click to book Jaipur safari for ‘Jaipur by the night’ tour or the day Safari tour. You can also ride the Pink Pepper buses which doubles up as a restaurant.

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Metro: If you are located anywhere between Mansarover or Chand pole, take the Metro to get to JLF. The nearest Metro stations to the Diggi Palace, the venue for JLF, are Sindhi Camp Station and Jaipur Railways station. From outside the metro stations, take Rickshaws or cabs as convenient.To check the route, fares, and stops, click here.

Take this slice of Jaipur back with you in these few days of the Jaipur Literature Festival. Who knows, once you fall in love with the city, the next time you return back here not in the audience but right up on the stage.

Till the next time, so long and thanks for all the love.

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