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Lohri and Sankranti Jaipur’s way

Do you know what one of the best things about our country is? That no matter where the festival originates, it just belongs to and spreads its joy across almost the entire nation J On this note we wish you all a very happy Lohri !! This festival originated in the state of Punjab to celebrate the harvest of Rabi crops, and went on to become a way to celebrate the fertility and joy of life.

Lohri is celebrated and enjoyed with a lot of dhoom dhaam in our lovely pink city as well. This festival offers a beautiful sight of people, friends and family dressed in bright colored attires, singing and dancing to the drum beats along with bonfire. The Punjabis in Jaipur living in Raja Park and Malviya Nagar areas especially started preparing for Lohri celebrations few days back and are all set for the energetic bonfire tonight !!

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Apart from just dancing and doing the all time favorite Bhangra dance, everyone throws sweets, puffed rice, peanuts and popcorn into the flames signifying letting go of all the worries and grudges while singing popular folksongs and exchange greetings.  Last but not the least comes that thing which is the life of every festival; Food 😀 Since it’s Punjabi, it has to be the mouth-watering and delicious winter traditional dinner of makki-di-roti (millet bread) te sarson-da-saag (cooked mustard herbs) !! For dessert or meetha, sesame seed or Til is an inseparable part of the Lohri celebrations. Eating Til in any form like Til ke laddoo is considered be auspicious both for the festival and for the taste buds 😉

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Kai Po Che !! 

The celebrations don’t end here!! As the fire of Lohri fades away, it gives way to another festival that is enjoyed with crazy fervor in Jaipur; Makar Sankranti, celebrated on 14th Jan every year. By the way did you guys know the meaning of Makar Sankranti? Makar means the zodiac sign Capricorn and Sankranti means transition of Sun from the Sagittarius zodiac sign to Capricorn, interesting right??

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While all the men gang up at the roof tops and start flying their kites as soon as the sun rises, most of the women are passionately cooking the delicious dishes for the day. Friends come together for the day and even strangers meet at the flying get-togethers and are seen having the time of their lives.

And just for your information, kite flying is not just a festival in Jaipur, it’s a war 😉

Once the competition sets in, hardly anyone is a stranger, and the fun and excitement is unbeatable! Kites are flied across the city, at terraces, community parks, pre-decided venues like the Chaughan stadium, Ram Niwas Garden, etc.

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Jaipur Tourism Development Corporation organises the International Kite Festival at a local stadium every year, where kite enthusiasts from all across the world show off their skills. A kite market is held, alongside which are food stalls, cultural performances and special kite displays at night, when illuminated kites – known as Tukals – are flown (14th January – 16 January 2014).

As and when the kites are being flown, comes an arena of amazing food i.e. dal ke pakode, peanut chikkis, jaggery (gur) and what not !!

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The entire pink city looks like its bathing in a riot of colors in the form of different kind of kites that brighten up the sky and the sound of ‘Woh kaata’ is musical to the ears and talks about what the lively pink city is all about !!

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Down the memory lane with Jaipur: Alvida 2013 !!

As we are all set to enter the new year, let’s go down the memory lane and reminisce all that happened in pink city in 2013 🙂

Jolly January

The year 2013 began on a positive and clean note when Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Jaipur for Chintan Shivir. Even though the motive was to ‘connect’ with the urban middle class, Jaipur got a great deal as the entire city was spick and span, a view that we hardly get to see 😀

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At the same time, there was one thing that sure was loved by us; Inauguration of Ghat ki Ghuni tunnel in Jaipur by Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi on January 19th. This 2.8-km long tunnel in Jaipur offers an alternative route to connect Pink City with Agra. The tunnel has sensors for controlling air pollution, display boards and cameras for checking vehicles’ speed !

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Jaipur Lit Fest, Asia’s leading literature event that happens every year in Jaipur was this time graced by the great Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who came and enlightened us with his knowledge and superb wisdom.

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Classy February

Royalty, class and pride, hail the Indian army !! The civilians of Jaipur got a golden chance to witness the 61st Cavalry’s annual parade, an elaborate cavalry drill organized by the army for the first time in the history of pink city.

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This took place in Rambagh Polo Ground where 130 officers; sardars and sawars dressed in ceremonial outfits were seen mounting the well groomed horses. But of course the audience was seen behind the cameras clicking pictures like there would be no tomorrow to those precious moments 😀

Merry March

The pleasant march came with something that is close to all our hearts: luxury and cars. The 15th Edition Vintage and Classic Car Rally was held and people were seen mesmerized as it included rare cars like a 1923 Austin 7 Chummy, 1956 Thunderbird and a 1941 Packard that happened to be the first AC car that greeted the visitors at Hotel Jai Mahal Palace.

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March came with a little hitch though. The much acclaimed Elephant festival this year was a little disappointment for the tourists as the major highlight “Elephants” were missing due to the ban by Government.

Exciting April

Our very own Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur proudly and gladly welcomed its first match of IPL Season-6 between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders. Jaipur was seen overjoyed as the cricket freaks for whom cricket is more of a religion, could show their love by screaming and jumping in the stadium seeing their own team play.

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With this, Jaipur also got a taste of Kingfisher beerup !! The famous Kingfisher Beerup event that happens every year, for the first time was also experienced in pink city.

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Beer games combined with live screening of IPL, lots of food, dance, music and Jaipur blasted with endless masti. It was organised at The Forresta Kitchen & Bar and encashed really well on social media with the twitter world buzzing with hastag KFBeerup.

May dismay

As the summers were on the peak, every creature had their own way to deal with it. In an unusual incident, while two Italian tourists were having a happy elephant ride in Jaipur, the elephant decided to jump in the Maota Lake below the Amber fort to escape the terrible heat !!

Scorching June

The super hot June came with the sight of the largest Supermoon of the year!! Coined by astrologer Richard Nolle, the term “supermoon” means a bigger and brighter full moon. Many Jaipurites clicked and sent their pictures of Supermoon to Jaipur Beat.

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In this glorious month, our historic beloved Amber fort made it to the UNESCO’s world heritage list in the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee. A proud moment that was 🙂

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Progressive July

Bidding goodbye to summers, came July with some relief from the heat !! Along with this, The Jaipur International Airport also bid farewell to its international terminal, Terminal 1 and all the domestic and international flights to and fro are now taken care of by the Terminal 2 😀

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Jaipur created its own textile park called ‘Jaipur Integrated TEXCRAFT Park Pvt. Ltd.’ The Park has been created to prevent and control the pollution caused in Sanganer and nearby areas due to the chemical disposition from dyeing and painting of clothes in a large scale in the area.

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A two-day weekend festival called ‘Jaipur by Nite’ was held to promote Jaipur as an all-year destination. The colorful event saw the main historical monuments all decorated and the famous bazaars situated within the city walls were open till late night.

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Included in the itinerary were two cultural evenings showcasing live music, fashion show, sound and light show, shopping, food and drinks at the City Palace and Hotel Clarks Amer.

The happening August

As the rain showered Jaipur, the Teej celebrations filled the pink city with joy and Jawahar Kala Kendra pepped up with a lot of folk dancers performing to this cheerful festival !!

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Apart from these celebrations, there was one more thing that was seen rising and rising high: the onion prices. This was followed by a weird incident where an onion laden truck was robbed by a group of three armed men at Shahpura village on Jaipur-Delhi highway, believe it or not !!

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In this month itself, one of the best schools of Jaipur; Maharani Gayatri Devi (M.G.D.) Girls school, that changed the way of girls’ education and took it to a new level, completed its 70 years.

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Run September

With a lot of noise and excitement came chugging the Jaipur Metro with its first trial run on September 18 that was done between Mansarovar and Shyamnagar stations. The metro when it begins will hopefully ease off a lot of traffic issues and transport facilities in the pink city.

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Along with this, to the delight of Jaipurites, started a tourist bus service namely ‘Hop on Hop off’ connecting all major tourist spots and market places of Jaipur.

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Sporty October

Even though we love October for a plenty of reasons, this time it was for Indian cricket and the great wall of India. Yes, you got it right ! The gentleman of Indian cricket and then skipper of Rajasthan Royals, Rahul Dravid, retired after winning every match that he played in the S.M.S Stadium, Jaipur in 2013.

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Moreover, in the ODI series of India vs Australia, Jaipur became the city to host India’s biggest ODI victory so far against the Kangaroos 😀 India recorded its highest successful run chase in this match scoring a 362 against 359 by Aussies with 9 wickets and 39 balls remaining.

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Sweet November

As the cold winds entered the domains of Jaipur, it celebrated 286 years of its foundation on November 18 with a lot of dhoom-dhaam !!

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This time, Jaipur hosted its first Art Summit at Jawahar Kala Kendra 😀 It was a true pleasure to watch the royal Rajasthan’s art being expressed in the forms of canvas, visual and digital art, sculptures, interactive art and other contemporary and folk-centric expressions.

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For the first time ever, Jaipur hosted an electric concert ‘Rahmanishq’ by none other than the Oscar winning and soul touching music maestro A.R. Rahman, who came and sizzled the city with his voice.

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Chilly December

Like it is said ‘Last but not the least’, this year December was surely the month that changed everything for the pink city. Rajasthan State Assembly Elections were held on 1st December with a voter turnout of approx. 74%, that was the highest ever for the state. With clear majority, BJP won the elections and Vasundhara Raje replaced Ashok Gehlot as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

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Along with the new CM, came vrooming into our lives the brand that defines what bikes are all about; Harley-Davidson. Harley opened its first showroom in Jaipur at Sahakar Marg, while the owners celebrated it with a huge launch party and a rally of bikes.

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 After an eventful 2013, just hold your breath and get set for another year, that is about to begin !!

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The Golden Tale of Pushkar Fair

After a long soothing bath, he steps out. Dressed in classy colors and adorned with gorgeous jewellery, as he walks towards you with a jingle in every step, with an innocent look in his eyes, he asks “Are you here to see me, admire me or take me to your world??”

And all you do is find yourself staring without a blink at this tall, brown and composed creature, the mighty king of the desert; camel.

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Wrapped in the golden sands of Rajasthan and a deep riot of colors, comes the Pushkar fair to bathe you in the spirit of festivity. The festival does not celebrate an occasion or a victory but vividly rejoices the rich culture, happiness and the chilly onset of winters in November. The fair embarks in Kartik Shukal Ekadashi and is celebrated till five long days till the Kartik Purnima with the aim of trading cattle including camels, horses, cows, goats, sheep etc.

A pleasant winter morning at Pushkar
A pleasant winter morning at Pushkar

Pushkar Camel fair is an event in Rajasthan treasured with vigorous activities such as cultural and musical events, thrilling camel safari tours and a stay in the traditional camps. Traders from various parts of the country can be seen in the fair. Dressed in sophistication and roaming in open jeeps, these men travel to the fair for the trading of livestock. Groups of camels, herders and traders begin to appear from out of the desert and set up camp in the dunes around Pushkar. There are lively discussions as groups of vendors and purchasers meet around their animals and negotiators help to arrange deals.

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Amidst this, you see a stadium in the middle of the ground where all the interesting activities and traditional competitions take place. As fascinating is the voice of ‘kabaddi kabaddi’, equally fun is the sight of horse and camel racing where the participation is not limited to Indians alone. The foreign tourists get involved with equal zeal and enthusiasm.

A foreigner making her way through the Pushkar fair
A foreigner making her way through the Pushkar fair

This does not end here. Pushkar fair always has more to offer than you think !! Another factor that lures travelers to this charismatic fair is the camel competition. This is different from camel races. An array of camels is decked up in beautiful clothes and interesting patterns for the awe-inspiring beauty contest. The owners leave no stone unturned in making their camels look dynamic and eye catching as the one looking the best takes the prize. The sights of bedecked camels with their owners sitting on the backs are astounding and leave many jaws drop out of enthrallment.

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People taking camel rides and admiring the beauty of this festival

In one of the competitions, a large number of people are made to sit on the camel’s back. The camel then lopes across the sand and throws its riders off its back, amidst cheers and jeers from thousands of spectators. The camel which succeeds in accommodating the maximum number of people on its back, wins the competition.

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The wonders of this fair are such, that it does not limit itself to the borders of the country, many international tourists are drawn to this festival like bees to honey and are seen enjoying every bit of it. If there’s someone that enjoys and cherishes this festival more than anyone else, it’s a photographer. This festival is undoubtedly a vivid photographer’s delight. From the cultural Kalbelia dance to the joyous tourists, the golden land is a plethora of expressions.

A lady walking in the colorful streets of Pushkar
A lady walking in the colorful streets of Pushkar
Believe it or not, these are painted stairs leading to the shop where all these services are offered
Believe it or not, these are painted stairs leading to the shop where all these services are offered

Apart from the exciting competitions, the tourists and locals also get a chance to witness the varied art of colorful Rajasthan. From jewelry items for cattle, ranging from beads, strings, saddles, saddle-straps and cowries to items specifically exhibited for the human folks, a plethora of artifacts exhibited is just endless.

Silver ornaments and bead necklaces from Nagaur, patchwork, printed textiles as well as the famous tie ‘n’ dye fabrics from Ajmer are a major attraction. Fashion however does not end here. The fair is also known for the varied body tattoos it offers. Since this is the time to gear up the town’s otherwise slacking business, every household is seen to set up some or the other stall to allure the passing crowd. A rural bazaar that it is, one either has to walk or hire a camel cart while trotting around. There are yummy food stalls seen as well.

The camel traders stay here and are seen taking small water breaks as they move ahead with clear visions in their minds. As the day comes to an end, the sunset makes a perfect silhouette and there’s a priceless sight of dust and gold blending and brightening your senses.

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Different shades of pink city on World Tourism Day

On this World Tourism Day, how about planning an awesome weekend at Jaipur and enjoying the colors at pink city like never before !!

As you open your eyes early in the morning, just pick up your bag pack and drive away to the Jal Mahal palace standing in the middle of the Man Sagar lake. When the sun rises from behind the palace , the sky takes a shade of the vivid orange and the sparkling lake turn the sight into a silhouette of the most beautiful sunrise.

IMG_2336 - CopyAfter the breath taking view, go further and reach the Amer palace, one of the most precious gems of Jaipur that shines with pride in the hues of yellow. The Suraj Pol gate welcomes you with warmth, the name signifying the first ray of sun falling on Amer turning the gate into a glowing orange colored splendor.

Suraj Pol Gate

After the delightful morning it’s time for an equally delightful breakfast !! Thinking where and what to eat?? Don’t bother and head towards the Rawat Mishtan Bhandar on Station road. Is the smell of freshly prepared pyaaz ki kachoris already making your mouth water?? Enjoy the yummiest pyaaz kachoris in town with a big glass of lassi here and get all charged up for the rest of your journey in Jaipur.

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A perfect beginning of the day must be followed by an interesting afternoon and what can be more interesting in pink city than shopping ? So it’s time to go the walled city and see that it has an offer that you can’t refuse; a matchless shopping extravaganza !! While you see the city side wrapped in bright colors, you can pick your block prints from Chaura rasta, Tripolia bazaar. If you’re fond of jewellery or your friends/ girlfriends or mothers are fond of them, get some exquisite pieces from Johari Bazaar, Bapu bazaar, M.I. road. These markets are also clad with bandhej (tie & dye), lac bangles and jootiya that are specially found here. Now that your hands are full of shopping bags and heart is filled with joy, your belly surely needs a good treat.

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The one place where you’d enjoy both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine equally is Niros, located on M.I. road. The lal maans and chicken is the specialty if you’re a non-veg freak, and you can try baingan bharta if you’re a vegetarian. Make sure that you keep a little space in your bellies for some delicious desserts at Jalmahal Ice cream parlor situated right there.

Watching a sunset is as precious as the sunrise, isn’t it? Drive to the Nahargarh fort and witness the wonderful sight of the sunset from the top of the fort. As the sky gets into a blue mood, the city is lit up and the view from the top is spectacular and worth capturing. It’s time to catch the “Light and Sound” show at Amer. The show presents the symphony of the scintillating shades of light that illuminate the Amber fort after sunset along with narrating the history of the fort in the baritone voice of Amitabh Bachchan (the famous superstar of Indian cinema).

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Now it’s your turn to decide whether you want to come down and have the famous Rajasthani dal baati churma at LMB ( Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar) or leave for a long drive that will take you through the way Jaipur has changed its shades in the last few years. If you have decided to watch the city at night, then drive to Hawamahal to see how its windows have now been back lit and tells a different story at night.

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While going towards the Albert Hall Museum, have a look at how the State museum of Rajasthan reflects the deep rooted culture Jaipur is soaked in. On your smooth drive on JLN marg leads to the well lit Shree cements building making way to the newly developed shopping mall; World Trade Park of Jaipur. Now it’s time for a scrumptious dinner at Chokhi Dhani. Gorge on the Rajasthani thali festooned with the freshly cooked dal baati churma served with warmth and affection.

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If you are planning to spend one more day at Jaipur, you might go to see the grand City Palace and Jantar Mantar the next day and check if Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) is hosting any theater or exhibition for your visual delight.

So are you ready to have the most amazing weekend at Jaipur ??

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World Tourism Day: What’s Up in Jaipur today?

If there are days like ‘Mondays’ that we hate, there are days like Anniversaries that we love and always look up to.  Likewise, there are some notable commemorative days that government observes and celebrates with a purpose to raise awareness of issues that are of national interest.

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Well, we are going to talk about one such special day i.e. ‘World Tourism Day’ celebrated every year on September 27 which is today. This day is meant to recognize the importance of tourists and tourism industry across the globe.

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The Department of Tourism of every state is doing something on this occasion to foster awareness about social, cultural, political and economic values of tourism, so is Rajasthan’s.  The Hon’ble Minister Tourism, Art & Culture, Ms Bina Kak graced the celebration of the World tourism Day by inaugurating the website of ‘Rajasthan State Archives Department’ yesterday. The website displays more than 35 lakh historical documents of erstwhile princely states and the state’s history.

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For today, a number of events are lined up in the city to delight tourists.
There is going to be a bonanza of Rajasthani folk music and dances for music lovers at the open air theatre in Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) in the evening.

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During the day, a photography exhibition on heritage tourism will also be displayed at the JKK. Besides this, there are going to be performances of folk dancers, shehnai and nagada players at Jaipur’s most prominent and ancient museum i.e. Albert Hall, astronomical observatory which is Jantar Mantar and the beautiful fort, Amer fort during the day.

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Not just this. The foreign as well as domestic tourists visiting Jaipur today will be distributed tourism literature and will be accorded a warm welcome by being garlanded at Albert Hall, Jantar Mantar, Amer fort, Tourism Reception Centre, Air Port, Railway Station and the Bus Stand. To add, there is a free entry to all museums and heritage structures today.

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When so much is happening in our Gulabi Nagari on World Tourism Day then why not be a part of its celebrations. Right ?

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IPL charm casing the Pink City in its colors!

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Spin, Wide ball, it’s a Six, Halla ‘bol’!! Yes the season is back again with a bang! The cricket fans are thrilling and already going gaga with the anticipation of IPL 2013– thrilling than ever, zealous than ever and crazier than ever. IPL matches are meant to take the cricket insanity to a next level.

This year, nine teams are vying for the one ultimate title and their fate lies in their very own hands (of course! On their performance). The year is going to add more action, more zeal and more competition to the IPL. This year each and every team is balanced and has capabilities to clinch first spot.

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IPL 6 is expected to be a huge success, in fact, the most successful IPL season ever. The crowd has continued to fill the stadiums and TRP (television rating percentage) is rising continuously. In fact internet viewership has risen up to 56 percent this year. And fashion is not lagging behind anywhere. Designers have already predicted the style codes for this IPL season. Delhi based designer Malini Ramani quotes “I think it’s great to be well-attired while watching the game, but one has to feel good as well. I’d vote for wearing something that blends into the energy of the game. Since this is summer, women could go for a classic crisp white shirt and denims. A white shirt dress with big aviators, light shoes to match and a tote also makes for cricket chic,” Cricket TV show host and game aficionado Mandira Bedi feels what one wears depends on where one is sitting in the stands. “If it’s in the special invitee box, you should go with wide-leg trousers, a smart top and few accessories. But if you’re in the stands, then jeans and a casual shirt or top will do.”

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Beside fashion IPL is strongly connected to the tourism industry. During IPL cities are hit not just with Indian tourists but with inflow of foreign tourists as well. Some decide to watch IPL during their trip or some land down especially to watch IPL matches. Particularly, Australian tourists are lured by their favorite Australian cricketers. They come to watch their favorite cricketers. Overall, cricket, particularly, IPL seems to contribute a lot to the tourism industry of India.

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Let’s now peep into the real game. Well, we are talking about the performances of our team at IPL. Our “Rajasthan Royals” have been playing well till now. By far, “RR” led by Indian player Rahul  Dravid has played five matches and has carried the day in four of them,. At the moment its leading the charts and we hope that it keeps the ball rolling.

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The team will have its next match in Jaipur on 27th April at the Sawai Man Singh stadium. We are keeping you updated with the schedule of matches that Rajasthan Royals will be playing on home grounds. Let’s have a look:

Date Time Teams Venue
27.04.2013 16:00 IST Rajasthan Royals VS Sunrisers Hyderabad Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
29.04.2013 16:00 IST Rajasthan Royals VS Royal Challengers Bangalore                    Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
5.05.2013 20:00 IST Rajasthan Royals VS Pune Warriors India Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
7.05.2013 16:00 IST Rajasthan Royals VS Delhi Daredevils Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
12.05.2013 20:00 IST Rajasthan Royals VS Chennai Super Kings Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

Will Rajasthan Royals come home with flying colors? Will the team repeat the history? Will 2013 trophy belong to royals of Rajasthan? Fingers  crossed!!

Halllaaaa Bollllll……….Zor se Bolllll!!!!!

 

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International Non-Fiction authors to regale readers at DSC Jaipur Literature Festival

The sixth annual DSC Jaipur Literature Festival has begun from today i.e. 24th Jan, 2013, at Diggi Palace in Jaipur. This year 285 speakers would be attending the festival. Non-fiction has always been particularly strong at the Jaipur Literature Festival and this year it is completely outstanding.

The festival has numerous award winning authors like Nobel prize, Booker Prize and Sahitya Akademi Award, prominent winners like His Holiness Dalai Lama, Howard Jacobson, K Satchidanandan along with Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction, Frank Dikkoter on Mao, Wade Davis on Everest and Orlando Figes on Stalin’s purges, while Pulitzer winner Andrew Solomon will speak on his remarkable new book, Far From the Tree.

Three of the world’s most acclaimed artists will be in conversation in the session ‘The Artist’s Eye’ – Glen Lowry, the director of Museum of Modern Art in New York discusses the eye of the artist with three of the greatest eyes in modern art, Marc Quinn, William Kentridge , and with leading cultural theorist Homi Bhabha.

Nandan Nilekani will discuss Breakout Nations with Ruchir Sharma, author of this year’s bestselling book of non-fiction. Sharma argues that the astonishingly rapid growth over the last decade of the world’s celebrated emerging markets is coming to an end. China will soon slow, but its place will not necessarily be taken by Brazil, Russia or India. Ruchir Sharma shows how weaknesses and difficulties were often overlooked in the inflated expectations and emerging markets mania of the past decade and that India’s chance of economic success is no better than 50/50.

Other stand-out sessions include:

“The Global Shakespeare” – We look at how is it that Shakespeare, a sixteenth century Englishman, managed to write work that still resonates around the globe four hundred years later? Celebrated Shakespearian Christopher Ricks talks to Tim Supple, the director of the Indian Midsummer Night’s Dream and the leading cultural and literary theorist Homi Bhabha.

The Elephant Paradigm, Dragon Paradox. – Most authorities agree that the 21st century belongs to India and China, but beyond that consensus breaks down. Can India ever catch up with China? Will China fall apart due to its own unresolved contradictions? Peter Hessler, New York Timescorrespondent and author of the great Chinese Trilogy, River Town compares and contrasts the two countries with Gurcharan Das, author of India Unbound, in conversation with Daniel Kurtz-Phelan a former advisor to Hilary Clinton.

“Roots of Yoga” – Yoga has taken the world by storm and is one of India’s most universal exports. But how ancient, and how authentic, is its modern form as practiced in gyms around the globe? Sanskrit scholars David White, James Mallenson and Mark Singleton discuss authenticity and innovation in conversation with art historian Debra Diamond and historian of yoga Birad Rajaram Yajnik.

“Beyond the Khyber: Future of Afghanistan” – Western troops will finally leave Afghanistan next year after another failed intervention in that most untameable of countries. Leading experts on Afghanistan, Edward Girardet, Jason Burke and Lucy Morgan Edwards, all of whom have covered the country for many years, consider what may happen next with Faisal Devji

The Art of Biography” How do you pin a life to the page? Four leading biographers David Gilmour (Curzon, Kipling) Wade Davis (Mallory) Andrew Lycett (Ian Fleming, Kipling and Conan Doyle, John Zubrzycki (The Last Nizam of Hyderabad) and Pico Iyer (Graham Greene and the Dalai Lama) discuss techniques and literary obsessions.

“Dispatches As India experiences a non-fiction renaissance, four leading war correspondents describe the life of the journalist in a war zone, and talk about how such experiences can be transformed into works of literature. Jason Burke, author of the acclaimed 9/11 Wars, Anjan Sunderam, author of the eagerly-anticipated Stringer, Lucy Morgan Edwards, author of The Afghan Solution and Edward Giradet, author of Killing the Cranes, discuss the journey from reportage to literature with Madhu Trehan of Newslaundry.

Saving Face: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is an Academy Award and Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker, named by Time Magazine in the annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.. Her recent films include ‘Saving Face’, ‘Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret’and ‘Pakistan’s Taliban Generation’. She discusses her remarkable and award-winning body of work in conversation with Shoma Chaudhuri.

The Decline of America: Westerners and Resterners In his new book, Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline, Edward Luce argues that the US faces a world of rising new countries that will compete with it ever more fiercely as its own power is declining. He argues that in order to slow and improve this steady leakage of power, the US must change course internationally, economically and domestically. Ian Buruma. Peter Hessler and Frank Savage, the author of “The Savage Way” analyse Luce’s ideas in conversation with the author.

From Harvard we have Diana Eck, whose book India: A Sacred Geography has been one of the hits of the year, the philosopher Michael Sandel who brings his popular BBC Radio 4 series, “The Public Philosopher,” to Jaipur and the leading cultural theorist, Homi Bhabha. From Columbia comes the much-revered post-colonial and post-modern literary critic and thinker Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak and from Oxford comes acclaimed authority on Eastern Europe, Timothy Garton Ash and the Shakespearian Christopher Ricks.

We have sessions on subjects as diverse as the history of miniature painting and war reporting, the Jewish novel, the 18th century sexual revolution, detective fiction and the literature of 9/11. We focus on new writing from Latin America and Iran, examine the economic prospects of India. We’ll look at the mixed legacy of the British Empire, the decline of America and the rise of China. Never before will any literary festival in India have such a rich feast laid before it. Its an extraordinary list and we’re thrilled to be presenting it. Jaipur is only getting better and better.

About The DSC Jaipur Literature Festival The DSC Jaipur Literature Festival is considered to be Asia’s leading literature event, celebrating national and international writers, and encompassing a range of activities including film, music and theatre. The festival has already hosted some of the best-known national and international writers including Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, John Berendt, Kiran Desai, Christopher Hampton, Ian McEwan, Vikram Seth, Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, Pico Iyer, Simon Schama, Thomas Keneally, Hanif Kureishi, Vikram Chandra, Anoushka Shankar, Michael Frayn, Stephen Frears, Alexander McCall Smith, Donna Tartt, Tina Brown, Shashi Tharoor, Mohammed Hanif, Paul Zacharia, among many others. The Directors of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festivals are William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale and the festival is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy and Sheuli Sethi of Teamwork Productions. DSC Limited is the principal sponsor of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival.

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DSC Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 Kicks off with Mahasweta Devi’s keynote speech – ‘O to Live Again’

 Ashok Gehlot – CM of Rajasthan and Margaret Alva – Governor of Rajasthan graced the inaugural event with their valuable presence

Mahasweta Devi, Ashok Gehlot - CM Rajasthan and Margaret Alva - Governor of Rajasthan at the inaugural ceremony of Jaipur Literature Festival 2013
Mahasweta Devi, Ashok Gehlot – CM Rajasthan and Margaret Alva – Governor of Rajasthan at the inaugural ceremony of Jaipur Literature Festival 2013

The 2013 edition of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival started with an inaugural speech by eminent author and social activist Mahasweta Devi. She reflected her long and illustrious life and writing career in a speech laced with references to the rich world of ideas she has imbibed from the tribal and rural cultures that have been the subject of her work.

Ashok Gehlot, CM Rajasthan and Margaret Alva, Governor of Rajasthan at the inaugural ceremony of Jaipur Literature Festival 2013
Ashok Gehlot, CM Rajasthan and Margaret Alva, Governor of Rajasthan at the inaugural ceremony of Jaipur Literature Festival 2013

Having written on the “culture of the downtrodden” throughout her life, Mahasweta Devi referred to the simple dreams of simple people in her speech. She called for the “right to dream” to be the first fundamental right of all human beings.

Mahasweta Devi at Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 with her keynote speech - Oh to Live Again
Mahasweta Devi at Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 with her keynote speech – O to Live Again

In a speech poignantly titled ‘Oh to Live Again’ renowned author Mahasweta Devi said “My early years proved to be formative for my future work as a writer and activist. I also have a different approach to my writing process and I mull over the subjects in depth before setting out on the creative journey”

Mahasweta Devi at Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 with her keynote speech – Oh to Live Again

The five-day haven of literature that starts today brings together renowned authors, thinkers, philosophers from around the world to Jaipur. It will have speakers who will bring their thoughts, ideas, journeys and experiences to the Festival through debates, discussions and readings. With her keynote speech, Mahasweta Devi set the tone for a meaningful exchange of ideas through the rest of the festival.

Mahasweta Devi at Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 with her keynote speech - Oh to Live Again
Mahasweta Devi at Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 with her keynote speech – O to Live Again

Commenting on this, Namita Gokhale, Festival Director – DSC Jaipur Literature Festival said “We are delighted to begin the event with Mahasweta Devi’s warm keynote which was not only inspiring but thought provoking. She has been constantly working for Human Rights and Women rights to bring a change in the society.

The other sessions thorough the day to watch out for, are – ‘Remembering Sunil Da’ – A session that will mark the tribute to iconic author Sunil Gandopadhyay. It will be a session that will focus on his journey in the Indian Literature. Another session on that will catch the visitors attention will be Colliding Worlds: The Quest for Justice’ will speak across the divides of ideology and conventional identity tags. There would be an intriguing session by musical genius Javed Akhtar and Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press, Pakistan called ‘Ismat and Annie’. It will be a session where two brilliant minds will discuss literary argument between two Urdu writers Ismat Chughtai and Qurrat-ul-Ain Haider.

About The DSC Jaipur Literature Festival

The DSC Jaipur Literature Festival is considered to be Asia’s leading literature event, celebrating national and international writers, and encompassing a range of activities including film, music and theatre. The festival has already hosted some of the best-known national and international writers including Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, John Berendt, Kiran Desai, Christopher Hampton, Ian McEwan, Vikram Seth, Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, Pico Iyer, Simon Schama, Thomas Keneally, HanifKureishi, Vikram Chandra, Anoushka Shankar, Michael Frayn, Stephen Frears, Alexander McCall Smith, Donna Tartt, Tina Brown, Shashi Tharoor, Mohammed Hanif, Paul Zacharia, among many others. The Directors of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festivals are William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale and the festival is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy and Sheuli Sethi of Teamwork Productions. DSC Limited is the principal sponsor of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival.

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Jaipur : 285 Years and many more ….

Proud to be known for my work as a Photographer. I am equally privileged that it was Jaipur where I honed my skill as a Photographer. Here is a tribute to my favorite city through my lens…

Panoramic view of Badi Chaupar (4 pictures stitched together)

BADI CHAUPAR –  It’s a square that occurs at the intersection of east west roads with three north south roads. Each Badi and Choti chaupar are  around 100m x 100m. They were used for public gathering on festive occasions. The width of the square chaupars was three times that of the main street.

The lampposts running through the center of Johari Bazaar, Jaipur depicts an image of the rising sun, a common symbol of the rulers.You can not miss the Pigeon sitting on them 🙂

Hawa Mahal (हवा महल or  “Palace of Winds”), is a palace in Jaipur at Badi Chaupar. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokas.

An old gate inside the walled city. JMC (Jaipur Municipal Corporation) has stamped it in the year 1948.

Beautiful stone carved Elephant at Roop Chatrubhuj temple at Choti Chaupar

Isar Lat or Sargasuli is known as the tower to heaven. It is situated near the Tripolia gate in the capital city of Rajasthan. It was built by Sawai Ishwari Singh in 1749 to commemorate a grand battle victory.

Stepwells, also called bawdi (बावड़ी) inside Panna Meena Kunda near Amber in Jaipur.

Puppets for sale inside the walled city of Jaipur

Painted Elephants during Elephant Festival that is held every year in Feb/March

Maharaja High School at Badi Chaupar, Jaipur. Probably one of the oldest school of Jaipur

Johari Bazaar, the jeweler’s market of the city.

Boat ride to re-discover Jal Mahal which is likely to be constructed by Sawai Jai Singh II around 1734.

A beautiful Chatri at Badi Chaupar, one of the hidden treasure of Jaipur

Jaipur’s walled city was one of the most well planned city. The rules are still quite strict and generally followed.

Rays of hope on a winter morning at Kulish Smriti Van, Jaipur

Domestic and Foreign travellers rubbing shoulders to witness Elephant Festival which is held every year a day prior to Holi

Few of the 953 small jharokha (Windows) of Hawa Mahal Jaipur

Darbar Hall of Hotel Diggi Palace during Jaipur Literature Festival, perfect fusion of heritage, literature and glamor.

Choti Maharani ka Nauhara at Gangauri Bazaar, Jaipur. You can’t miss the Pink here 🙂

Restored Jal Mahal at night, Jaipur

Mandana painting at Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur. This is a traditional painting which is done on the houses in village.

Pink all the way. Although there are many theories floating around as to why Jaipur was painted Pink, the most accepted one is that pink is the traditional color of hospitality, and the city was freshly painted and paved with pink gravel to warmly welcome Edward VII for his visit here in 1876.

Jaipur : a perfect blend of all activities

Goddess of Teej during Teej Festival

Jal Mahal at night, Jaipur

Folk artist performing Fire trick at a festival

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur another perspective

Jaipur is all about splashing colours.

Vivid Colours of Jaipur, painted Elephant legs during Elephant Festival

The heritage town is now a technologically developed city. A board during JLF where visitors can download festival schedule on their mobile. There are number of wifi zones available for travellers.

This is Phase -I of the blog. This is scheduled to be updated and eventually will be available as an app on Android and iOS. Keep following this space.

Gaurav Hajela (gaurav@pathfynder.in)

Jaipur Beat