Jaipur: My solo trip – Part II

 By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

Continued from Jaipur: My first impressions.

Jantar Mantar

Jantar Mantar” meaning “instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens” is situated right opposite the City Palace in Jaipur. Coming out of the gates of City Palace, I stopped at the ticket window to purchase the entry tickets to the observatory.

As I entered I found that the observatory complex is a large one, and has a collection of several (19 in all) architectural astronomical instruments that had been constructed in the early 18th century, with stone, marble and bronze. These devices were used to measure time and space, and for observing the astronomical positions of planets and stars. One of the instruments was the world’s biggest stone sundial, which gives the local time with an accuracy of 2 seconds.

jantarmantar

 

jantarmantarJaipur

Of particular interest to me were twelve instruments, known as Zodiacic Circles, which were used for measuring the latitude and longitude of celestial bodies. There are twelve such instruments corresponding to each zodiac sign.

A visit to this UNESCO World heritage site, makes one appreciative of the scientific temperament of the king of Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh.

It was time for the place to close down, so I walked out.

Strolling through the market place, I reached the Govinddevji temple, where hordes of devotees had gathered for the evening aarti. It was a strangely peaceful experience to blend into the atmosphere of the temple, while sitting among the sea of people and listening to the evening aarti (chants ). After the aarti I came out of the temple, and took a rickshaw back to the hotel.

folkdancejaipur

The dinner on the rooftop was accompanied with a live song and dance performance by folk artists. Tired but happy at having spent the day well, I retired for the day.

On the next day, I received a call from Rajasthan Tourism that the bus tour to Amber Fort at 11.00 AM had been cancelled due to the low number of bookings received. That was very surprising, but perhaps it was due to the cash crunch post demonetization. So, after my friend arrived at around nine thirty, we decided to take a taxi to Amber Fort. Luckily I had downloaded Uber app on my phone. I used it to book a taxi, which arrived within the next seven minutes. In less than an hour, we reached Amber Fort.

Amber Fort 

From the road, we could see the fort atop a hill. The Maotha lake and the green lawns outside the fort provide a soft touch to the rugged façade of the 16th century fort. We began our uphill climb by the stairs, which was a bit tedious and reached the fort complex.

 

maotalakejaipur

amerfortview

AmerFortComplex

Inside the complex are several structures, including the Diwan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khaas, Jai Mandir, Yash Mandir, Sukh Mandir, Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors), Bhool Bhulaiya, and Zenana Dyodhi. The structures are built around a square garden laid out in the Mughal style. The architectural finesse is still evident in the stone carvings that can be seen in some of the structures. We went through many of these structures, and found that each was different from the other. On one hand, the walls and ceiling of Sheesh Mahal were studded with mirror work, on the other there are some dingy rooms and staircases in the Zenana (womens’) area. We saw a number of paintings and murals on the walls of the museum.

sheeshmahal

 

Inside the Fort complex, we found a Café Coffee Day and sat down for coffee and snacks. That was when we realized how tired we were after the walk inside the fort, and also how much we both had to catch up on, while meeting in person after a gap of more than twenty years. After chatting to our heart’s content, we decided to leave the fort. While coming out of the fort, we saw turbans for hire, and our exuberant spirit urged us to try them.

selfieatamer

 

Then, taking a taxi, we came back to Jaipur, and headed straight to the railway station, as my friend had to take the train back to Jodhpur.

Bazaars of the old city

I spent the next day walking through the colourful and chaotic bazaars of old Jaipur, observing the brightly coloured drapes that hung outside the shops. The weather on the sunny winter afternoon was just perfect for the walk. Checking Google Maps from time to time, I kept a track of the route. I would stop at each crossing and stand admiring the arched gates.

 

Jaipur Bazaar

 newgatejaipur

From a road in Bapu Bazaar in the old city, I took a rickshaw and diverted towards Albert Hall Museum, which is on the other side of the city. This part of the city is open and green. The rickshaw dropped me in front of the museum.

 

Albert Hall Museum – Jaipur

AlbertHallMuseum

 

The museum set amidst the green lawns is a fine example of Indo – Saracenic architecture that combined the decorative elements of Hindu and Islamic architecture with Gothic style of architecture.  It makes one appreciate how different cultures blend and borrow themes from one another over a period of time.

I spent a couple of hours in the museum, going through the galleries, and learnt about the history, architecture, sculptures, marble art, clay art, miniature paintings, and culture of the city.

After seeing several collections and displays at an unhurried pace, I purchased some mementos from the museum shop. Then taking an auto, I went to the Laxmi Narayan temple. The temple made of white marble is located at the base of a fort called Moti Dungri fort. Bordered by green gardens, the temple has a calm, silent and serene atmosphere.

motidungrifortjaipur

Now, with most of the locations covered, I decided to come back to the hotel. At the hotel, I enjoyed the folk music and dance show during dinner, and early next morning, I left for Mumbai, after making the most of my first solo vacation.

This trip being my first solo vacation will always be a special one for me as I learned to enjoy a vacation, while exploring a city endowed with a rich cultural and architectural heritage, completely on my own.

You may want to check out the pictures of the tour on https://www.instagram.com/schakrabarti1/

 

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40 thoughts on “Jaipur: My solo trip – Part II

  1. Oh this was a delight.. Loved your daily account of your journey and your descriptive accounts of the places you went to visit.. You painted the atmosphere and I was drawn into your world..
    Loved the photo of you too 🙂

    Love and Blessings my friend and I wish you continued joy in your explorations.. 🙂

    Hugs Sue 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah… I have made one resolution that I will try to be active in blogging frequently as I was not active so much for the past one year… hope this year will be better… I have missed so many posts from many including yours.. so apologies from my side… will catch up soon… And wishing you a very happy new year as well as a very Happy Republic Day… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been to Jaipur many times and it remains one of my favourite places.I fully enjoyed reading your well researched post providing rich information about ‘Jantar Mantar’ a World Heritage Site’,Amber Fort and Albert Hall Museum.The photographs of the various locations are simply wonderful.Regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such grand astronomical instruments. They look massive and must have been preserved for so long. Good to hear that you did not let the bus cancellation stop you from having fun, and you look so happy with your friend. And then the Albert Hall Museum the next day. Hope you weren’t drained out by then 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes Somali I can fully relate to the experience as I had years back gone through those places and it was nostalgic to go through such beautiful narration, the way you do in your inimitable style and with such finer details. I am sure I couldn’t have captured such details with such ease, I always gets swayed by the place and people and keep on observing and analyzing the things around me in such new places and when it comes to putting those thoughts into words, I get immersed in my imagination and observation, lose the track and the plot…then I never get the flow of thought and form needed to give a shape to such experiential stories.

    I remember the climbing atop the Amber Fort, it is quite a tough task and it truly tests our physical capability and our ability to fight out the mental challenge to see the beauty of history locked in time. In fact the Sheesh Mahal was something was striking and I did spend some time is wandering about the craftsmanship and the patience of the craftsman behind it. Also the window where we get beautiful view of the other side of the fort and landscape makes us stop and seize the moment there.

    Yes, the bazaars of old city that is quite like the Hyderabad and Delhi old city markets and it gives us a different experience as against our today’s drive into the modern malls and supermarkets, the joy of the lanes and by-lanes makes it intriguingly interesting. In fact I was there last week in Kolkatta for a business trip and I could steal sometime to go the Central Kolkatta area and walk through streets and was cherishing the moments trying my hands with the street food and the observing the way this smaller shops make them fully relevant in today’s digital space and make a good living out of their age old trading business, and they have a stream of customers and they a window of time and their business have been flourishing and they have the Paytm placard placed on their makeshift shopping outlet. I agree, the more I think this Uber App, the more I realize how a small change with technology innovation that we can have a big impact on our life and this app has such a high utility value…it was bound to be big success.

    I am sure Somali, you will venture into more such solo trip, it always in life to do something different and keep trying new things that makes the journey of life much more engaging and exciting…
    Have a lovely Sunday!!!
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beauty of history locked in time – there couldn’t be a more apt phrase to describe these forts Nihar. Thank you for phrasing this catchphrase.
      Like you, I too am intrigued by the detailed craftsmanship exhibited in these forts and palaces and often wonder about the amount of patience that the craftsmen would have needed to come up with such fine creations, which have lasted so long, I often wonder what would have motivated them to work so well. The chattri that gives a view of the landscape on the other side of the fort is just awesome.
      Walking along the streets of Kolkata would have given you a good feel of the city. The mention of Paytm reminds me that I met its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, last weekend, on our Silver Jubilee alumni meet in Delhi. He happens to be our college alumnus.
      So, yes small technology innovations can have a spiral, viral butterfly effect. 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. O! that’s so nice to know he was your college alumnus…he has been a star performer in the startup space and he has risen from a difficult place and he doesn’t carry that IIM/IIT tag which becomes the easy passport to loads of fund flow to such startup, he has done the hard way and he is highly humble in his thoughts and the way he deals with the industry leaders, very likable personality.

        Yes Somali I have always been in a state of intrigue trying hard to fathom the ocean of patience and the mountain of motivation they have mobilized so as to make such wonder come into reality from the world of imagination, and even today we find it unimaginable. Such is the finesse of the craftsmanship…it keeps us in awe and wonder. I still cannot believe the patience and the skill they had to spend years together to craft such brilliance on inanimate objects like stones.
        I am sure you will be exploring more such solo trip, which is good way to connect with ourselves away from home.
        Thanks Somali and by the way how is your UC News experience?
        😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Nihar, We were actually looking for someone to click our group photograph, and he volunteered. Then, we came to know that he is the Paytm founder and two years our junior. 😊
          I did not get the time to publish any more posts on UC News after the first one. Will pick it up sometime later to find out how it works. 😊

          Liked by 1 person

          1. O! That’s quite interesting, he volunteered, he has now a good media presence, I am not far from the assessment I had about him, he is such a nice guy and I like the way he articulates things and interacts with media.
            If you can, you should keep the connection with him, lot can be explored on the innovation and technology front.
            I was just wandering whether it is worth trying out the UC News…
            😀

            Liked by 1 person

  5. “Jantar Mantar” — wonderful rhyme and lyrical as it rolls off ones tongue! I loved the photo of you in a turban — so much fun you have. 🙂

    Remember that if you ever find time, please haiku with me. I’d love to collaborate with you someday, Somali. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Rose. When I was small I had a lot of fascination for that word. 🙂 It has been quite sometime that I have written a haiku. If an idea with a haiku with a dark/grey twist strikes me, I would surely pen haiku and send it across to you. Have a lovely day.

      Like

  6. Ahhhhhhh…. wonderful, nothing better than moving at ur own pace and seeing a long time friend in a new place…. I could feel ur peace and joy in this post and it goes to show that everything happens for a reason. Think if the tour bus had taken you both, how many other people would have been there but this way you both had an even more special time together without the noise. Your photos are beautiful, but for a minute i thought that “scribble & scrawl” was written on the building …I thought, look at that….hahhaha… but the mosaic temples are so beautiful… I being a woman of mixed race and mind… love seeing how the different cultures mix, as you wrote with the Hindu, Islamic and Gothic…. just amazing…
    I’m new to blogging and never thought much about it, but it has opened up a whole new world for me and ur site is really inspiring. Thank You for sharing Somali.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you so much, Issa. Yes, I suppose everything happens for a reason and happens at its own pace and time. I am so happy that you enjoyed the post.Blogging helps to connect with like minded people, though sometimes it becomes a little tedious. I enjoyed reading your post on Agriturismo. This is a new word for me. Hope you are having a wonderful day. 🙂

    Like

  8. Your Jaipur trip sounds so much fun. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, with his scientific bent, has lent some unique features to the historic structures. I had loved Jantar Mantar (not the Jaipur one, I haven’t seen it yet) as a child. Sadly, then I wasn’t interested in understanding anything much about it. I hope to see it again with adult eyes.

    Like

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