For two years I’d wanted to attend the #JaipurLiteraryFestival. Ironically, when I lived in Delhi, I was so busy with my job that I couldn’t make the time to go there. Only after I moved back to Goa I was able to have the mind space to plan a trip there. My Jaipur visit was part of a long-held dream of wanting to visit the Pink city anyway. So, it made sense to couple my visit with a literary-festival-author-talk binge. I’d been to Jodhpur years before, but again, for work. And everyone knows a work visit isn’t quite the same as a holiday visit. There’s a different kind of focus.
I booked a room with a heater (it was a cold, windy January in the Rajasthan desert at the time) in an old haveli that was kept together by a few family members and some strutting peacocks. They were all over the place, the peacocks, that is.
The literary festival itself was fun, though packed full of people. I managed to get a seat to most events I wanted to attend and learned about a few new authors that sounded interesting. I listened to Jeet Thayil interview Will Self, heard Hanif Kureishi talk about his writing, watched a fascinating presentation by Simon Singh about the show The Simpsons and where all the mathematical principles presented in the show come from (the show’s writers are all Ivy League graduates in Maths), heard ex-president Abdul Kalam speak to a packed audience that almost caused a stampede. I saw travel writer, Mark Tully, and Welsh novelist, Sarah Waters, strolling around the grounds and attended the launch of Granta’s ‘India’ edition, presented by Urvashi Butalia, founder of Zubaan books.
I took two days out to rent a cab for a tour of the city and saw these gorgeous highlights, in photo form below:
Hawa Mahal (the palace of winds):
Exterior views –
Interior views –
Jaipur city Palace:
If you have time to only see one thing in Jaipur, its the Four Seasons doors at the City palace. Pay the entry fee and wander deep into the palace till you find the courtyard with the four doors. You’ve got to get close-up to each one to spot the unique detailing and vibrant colouring of each one, that tells a story of its own. These photos below barely do it justice.
Ok, I openly admit that I have a fetish for Blue (and Iznik) pottery. I spent a couple of hours at the place below buying soapfishes, coaster tiles, bowls and toothbrush holders.
The Albert Hall museum (state museum of Rajasthan):
They had a LOT of beautiful objects that I whisked past due to limited time, including an armoury with medieval weapons and lots of interesting earthenware. There was a floor of fascinating folios from a version of The Panchatantra that I loved.
And I spent an entire afternoon at the Anokhi showroom, buying ethnic wear in print block patterns (yes, yes, another thing I have a fetish for!) and stocking up on their gorgeous blank diaries.
Visited Jaipur in Jan 2015