Maud’s Top 5 Things To Do In Jaipur
Visit Phool Mandi the wholesale flower market
Go early, the market opens at 06.00 and watch as local farmers carry in huge sacks bursting with roses and marigolds which are traded in front of you. Later the same day you will see garland makers all over the city stringing together and selling the flower heads, which are used as offerings to Hindu deities in daily worship in temples, in offices and the home.
Whilst you are there visit the fruit and vegetable market which is alongside. The market is on the way to Amber Fort on the Hawa Mahal Road at Chandi Taksal Gate. You could combine your visit with a trip to Amber Fort and the Anokhi museum (see below).
Visit the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing
For textile lovers this is a delightful museum situated in a beautifully restored old haveli just past Amber fort on the outskirts of the city. Anokhi is a successful block printing business with shops all over India founded over 40 years ago to revive Rajasthan’s traditional block printing techniques (see the traditional block carving and printing centres in Rajasthan and Gujarat in the map above). The museum is dedicated to the collection and preservation of printed textiles. Here will you see antique to modern examples of printing techniques including block printing, dabu mud resist and ajrakh printing. You can see a demonstration of block printing (pictured above) and have a go yourself.
Anokhi works with over 1,000 craftspeople in Jaipur and the surrounding area and is known for its ethical working practices. A visit to the main shop selling block printed clothing and home accessories in Jaipur is a must.
Museum: Khedi Gate, Amber
Shop: 2nd Floor, KK Square, C11 Prithviraj Road C Scheme.
Take a guided tour of the Old City
Jaipur has over three million inhabitants and the traffic can be crazy: cars, bikes, rickshaws, trucks, cows, dogs, goats, pigs, and the odd camel and elephant all jostling for space to the constant sound of the car horn. The best way to orient oneself and get a clear picture of the old, walled, city is to get up early before the city wakes and take a walking tour. Square by Foot walks are led by architects and will give you a real insight into the history, architecture, culture and trade of the old city. There are several different heritage walks and walks start at 06.30am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Contact email@example.com for more information.
The above shots are of the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, in the old city, which was built in 1799 by Maraja Sawai Pratap Singh to allow the ladies of the royal court to observe daily life on the street below without being seen.
Watch master craftman Mr Ikramuddin Mohd Sabir Neelgar and his team create leheriya (tie-dyed) fabric.
The name leheriya, comes from the Rajasthani word for wave because the final tie-dye effect is like rippled water. Mr Ikramuddin Mohd Sabir Neelgar is a fourth generation master craftsman from one of the oldest families practising this Rajasthani dyeing technique. It’s a complex process involving rolling white cotton or silk into long strips which are tied at intervals and then dyed. The process is repeated up to eight times with different colours. The result is stunning jewel-coloured fabric, which is used for traditional Rajasthani turbans, for saris and more recently by international fashion designers. Fabric is available to purchase and the silk turbans make wonderful scarves.
This place is quite difficult to find and you may have to ask your driver to call for directions. It’s on a side road not far from the Hawa Mahal. The address is 2803 Mehro Ki Nadi, Chokdi Ramchandra Ji. Tel: (0141) 261 9848.
Browse the bazaars
Spend time wandering the bazaars in the old city and get an insight into local life. Buy fabric and sip a cup of chai with the storekeepers, see brides to be and their female relatives choosing ornate trimmings and fabric for their weddings in the local textile bazaar, just off Badi Chaupur. Find thali dishes, flat saucepans for making chapati and spice containers, in Tripolia bazaar and stock up on ornate mojari slippers in Bapu bazaar. The bazaars are open from around 10am until 8pm.
The photo above of ladies in embellished saris was taken at a Rajasthani hen party which I was invited to on my first visit to the city.
Where to stay? Check out my post on Hotel 47 Jobner Bagh