As the Jaipur bound Air Costa from Bengaluru was about to touch down at the Sanganer International Airport, the first sights from the naked eye were exactly what we’ve read about the state of Rajasthan. Patches of dusty yellow dotted the entire place. The towering forts and its walls, that guarded the city reflected it. Desert sand dust gave them a translucent appearance. And there was a complete absence of green cover.
The Airport looked small, doing sheer injustice to the ‘International Airport’ tag. The dome is even smaller than that of the MG Road Metro Station. It looked scarily empty, with very little shops open and owing to Diwali, there were very less number of taxis outside to take you to your destination. And the moment you stepped outside in the afternoon, the heat takes a toll on you, the aroma of ‘paan’ and mustard oil take center stage. The rickety buses dominate the pathways. Billboards and nameplates in Hindi take over.
Welcome to Jaipur.
The Pink city of Jaipur is full of colours. History has it that the King had specifically ordered the city be painted in pink to welcome Queen Victoria. And it is incredible to see it, the entire city sporting pinkish orange. The walls of the palace and the buildings along the road leading to Hawa Mahal have been brushed in faded pink. Pink ribbons hang over the roads. Roadside shops are full of lip-smacking sweets and hot crunchy samosas, adding to the colour. And so are the bazaars with a beautiful collection of colourful bangles, art works, paintings, sarees and lehengas.
Jaipur’s specialty is its rich history and its success in retaining it. The city palace showcases the grandeur of Rajput dudes. The paintings and designs have been worked out with forensic precision. The silver artifacts (‘Gangajali’) have its place in the Guiness Book of World Records. The Mahals are a triumph of impeccable architectural skills and are a true reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput and Islamic Mughal architecture.
Jaipur is easily one of India’s most popular cities from a tourist’s point of view and its proximity to the National Capital helps it hugely. There is every reason to love the Rajputs. For, it takes a huge effort to make a place surrounded by rocks and desert sands, a royal city. Their architectural style is so unique, every stone and marble work at the Mahals symbolize beauty and royalty. The blistering heat outside is unbearable but the rooms of the Palace and the Mahals will tell you a different story.
The city loves its colours and it is promoted in a big way by the Resurgent Rajasthan tourism initiative by the Rajasthan Government. Even the share- Autos are brushed in fancy colours. The Jaipur Metro has started its service and the Metro work near the ‘Jhora Rastha’ results in traffic jams. The other side of Jaipur houses the Legislative Assembly, an International cricket stadium, a World Trade center, towering apartments and some glitzy malls. But I’d still say, Jaipur is all about the Rajput dudes, their planning and execution. And wait, Jaipur doesn’t have a desert!!!!