It’s quite wonderful to know how sometimes a single picture revives a whole lot of memories, a whiff of smell reminds you of things long forgotten, or, a particular song virtually brings back some good old days. Yesterday, my cousin was humming the song, शाम गुलाबी शहर गुलाबी / पहर गुलाबी है गुलाबी ये शहर from the film Shuddh Desi Romance and, suddenly, it resuscitated the memories of a trip we made long ago.
Perhaps, you got the hint through the song. Yes, it’s Jaipur, the Pink City of India, famous for its vivacity of colours and, the vivacious environment with which it embraces the tourists. When we made the trip, I happened to be eight years younger, accompanied by friends only (that doubled the fun). Actually, we had a Marhwari friend with her ancestral house in Jaipur. Though there are a plethora of hotels in Jaipur, but Meera’s (our friend) parents insisted us to stay with them. During our stay, we managed to visit just a couple of the famous tourist attractions, but we learnt about the history of the city from Meera’s (my friend) grandpa. They were wonderful hosts, served us with delectable and authentic Rajasthani dishes soaked in pure ghee, including the flagship dish of Rajasthan, daal-batti-churma.’Daal’ is lentil curry, ‘churma’ is made of stuffed flour baked over charcoal fire and, ‘churma’ is a sweet dish made with flour, jaggery/sugar, and ghee. I still savour the taste of those homemade ‘ghewar’, a traditional sweet dish.
What attracted me most to the city was the planning and intelligent architecture. It’s all done with immaculate elegance and calculation. The history of Jaipur traces back to almost 300 years and, was established in the year 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II who was a Kachhwaha Rajput. Though the city was the dream of Maharaja Jai Singh and, was named after him, but the maestro behind its architectural marvel was Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Bengali architect who hailed from Naihati, Kolkata. It took four years to the completion of the city. The city was divided into nine blocks, seven blocks allocated to the use of the local people and, two blocks holding the state buildings and palaces of Maharaja. Later,Vidyadhar Garden or Vidyadhar Ka Bagh was built as a tribute to the designer of the city.
Jaipur was, undoubtedly, the finest city at that time and, the magnum opus of Maharaja Jai Singh. It is said, when Prince of Wales visited Jaipur in the year 1853, the entire city was painted pink as a mark of honour to him, and, hence, the name. Still now, you can see an abundance of pink in the city adding more allure to its beauty. The stucco buildings lining Jaipur’s wide streets hold proof to the same.
During our stay, we managed to visit only two places; Nahargarh Fort, the fort used to serve as a strong defence ring around the city, and, Jal Mahal (Water Palace), being a perfect concoction of Rajputana and Mughal architectural style, the fort stands amidst the Man Sagar Lake.
Though it was one of the most memorable and enjoyable tours ever in every respect, I regret missing the visits to City Palace, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind), Jantar Mantar…the list goes on. I wish to explore the Pink City once again, soon.
Enjoy the song I mentioned in the beginning of the post to have a colourful glimpse of the Pink City.