J A I P U R
I’ve now been in Jaipur for almost one week and I feel like I never left! I thought it would be nice to keep people updated on my visit here and what I see or experience.
Jaipur is a crazy, magical place to be and it’s been brilliant to come back a second time and not feel so overwhelmed. The weather is hot and steamy but not nearly as bad as when I was here last September. They have experienced an average monsoon so far which is a shame as last years monsoon was above average and gave a lease of life to this expanding city. Still, it’s beautiful and green and the other day we drove up to Nahargarh Fort (also known as Tiger Fort) to bathe in the stunning views over Jaipur and walk around the crumbling palace. It’s always a good idea when you’re staying in Jaipur to visit one of the towering forts above Jaipur because for me it allows the soul to take a deep breathe and remember it’s deeper purpose in life. To put it simply, you can feel lost and overwhelmed in Jaipur, but once you take a step back, or up in this case, you reignite a feeling of being grounded.
I’ve been meditating here in India too which I’m currently struggling with because I’m still finding my feet and self. Vipassana is all about practice and I’m presently only doing a little a day. Still this is an ideal opportunity to practice being compassionate to myself and allowing myself time to adjust. I don’t want to cling to meditation, I want to be able to meditate with a natural intention because I know how good it is for me. Life really does endlessly change and believe me, there is no better way of experiencing this than in India or Jaipur in my experience. Everyday you see something new, people change their minds endlessly and the price is never the same!
I still don’t know what I’m going to do in life but I do feel that I have been able to finally witness the change this year that has occurred within. I also feel a lot of energy surging up inside but again, no idea how to channel it into something outside of myself. So lets see where Jaipur takes me, where the rest of 2011 takes me and all the wonderful people and books I read take me.
So far we have done:
Today we visited the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. Tucked away behind Amber Fort, the museum doesn’t offer too much but with kids it was a fun outing. They won an award for the work they did on renovating this beautiful pink Haveli and also for how they did it by using all local skilled artisans to make sure the original architecture and concept could be kept alive. With the kids we met a man who was making the printing blocks by chipping away with different tools and later we went to the block printing area to watch a brilliant looking artisan using this ancient technique to hand block print some material. I couldn’t believe how much skill went into this process and we’re going to go back and print our own t-shirts and scarves. We were disappointed that we couldn’t get lunch here but had to quickly buy some biscuits for the boys. It’s an extremely quiet, tucked away little place and if you walk along you will discover the most beautiful step well. The picture on the right is the well which doesn’t hold much water but it’s a fabulous treat to see plus excellent for photos. You feel like you’ve stepped back in time and you can’t help admiring the great architects who built these marvelous places.
We also went to the Bazaars in the old city which is hectic and bright with plenty of strong smells to fill the nostrils! I highly recommend not only Love Jaipur guide book but also a book called Jaipur 10 Easy Walks by Dharmendar Kenwar. You can buy this in Crossword here in Jaipur plus Amazon UK sometimes have copies but most places in Jaipur, especially the tourist areas, sell the book. It’s filled with top tips on where to walk in the city and last time I was here it led us to the exciting lanes of the Bazaar and slightly off the normal tourist tracks. It does say that sometimes getting lost is the best way to see and discover what lies amongst the endless shops and people shouting – excuse mam, my shop, come see my shop! We visited firstly the Tripolia Bazaar which was filled with pots and pans, colourful metal trunks and later we even stumbled upon Birthday Bazaar which when you live here is a great delight!
I’ll write more soon, but tonight we’re off to Steam, a restaurant set in an old steam engine in the gardens of Rambagh Palace Hotel. The kids love it and if you’re here when it’s cooler in November, sitting outside amongst the stars whilst eating a delicious wood oven pizza is a huge treat! December even boasted fires outside to keep the guests warm.