Friday, March 30, 2012

Jaipur : Kite Festival

Jaipur is a part of the famous golden triangle that connects Delhi to Agra and a must visit for Indians as well as foreigners alike.
jaipur_kite_festival_11
The pink city Jaipur is incredibly colorful and also known as Paris of India. It is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, after whom the city has been named. The list of things to do and see here is very elongated. Besides things, that can be seen anytime in the year, my Jaipur tour had an added attraction… the annual kite festival that is held on 14th of January every year.
jaipur_kite_festival
How to reach Jaipur?
Delhi to Jaipur is around 260 km. Jaipur is well connected by many trains to most of the major cities in India. Apart from these trains, a special train called “Palace on Wheels” which covers all popular tourist destinations in Rajasthan is also available. Sanganer Airport located at Jaipur is nearly 10 km from the heart of the city, and taxi charges about Rs 200 from the Airport to the city. A/C deluxe bus services are available from Delhi. It charges about Rs 750 for a person. However driving through a car is most pleasant among all. Depends upon traffic it takes 4 to 5 hours to reach Jaipur. I started around 2 pm and reached Jaipur by evening. My accommodation was planned at a friends place which was near to Birla Temple. We had dinner and call of the day to start early the following day.  
Places to see in Jaipur
It was decided to first witness the kite festival at Jal Mahal and then to cover the forts of Jaipur.
jal_mahal
Jal Mahal is a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur. The lake palace is surrounded by Aravali hills. It is a combination of Mughal and Rajput era of architecture which is pretty common in Rajasthan.
jal_mahal
It’s a five storey building and four floors are in the water. Jal Mahal is known for its majestic architecture and sophisticated design. This palace was built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 AD. I heard from locals that soon it is going to be converted into a luxurious hotel.
Back to kite festival, it was a splendid cultural extravaganza.
jaipur_kite_festival
The venue was packed with Indian and foreign tourist and locals alike. There was a sense of excitement on every face.
jaipur_kite_festival
The land and sky were filled with colors. Colorful kites were floating in the sky and the crowds were cheering on every move.
There was a famous kite master of Jaipur; Babu Khan. He must be preceding champion because he was alone getting 50% attention of media and tourists and also flying the longest chain of kites.
jaipur_kite_festival
Then started the culture and dance program. One can easily notice the way people of Rajasthan dress themselves, especially the ladies. It was exceptionally colorful coupled with bangles and ornaments.
jaipur_kite_festival_13
Like me everybody wanted to have the share of these unforgettable moments.
jaipur_kite_festival_4
At Jal Mahal parking was free and guides were available for as low as 50 Rs. These guides usually have arrangement  with local shopkeepers. They persuade tourists to buy footwear and clothes. We hired a guide; he took us to some shop, since we were not interested in wasting time in shopping so within few minutes we asked to proceed for next monument that was Kanak garden near to Jal Mahal.
kanak_garden
He told us that he will wait outside and we went to explore the monument. When we came back he had already left without taking any money. I guess the guide charges are not enough for them and they largely depend on the commission that they earned from shopkeepers.
Kanak garden is a famous shooting location for Bollywood films.
There were temples of various deities
kanak_garden
It was located in a picturesque landscape
kanak_garden
Where to stay in Jaipur?
Jaipur Hotels vary to suit all needs and preferences. Ranging from star hotels in Jaipur to low cost budget hotels, Jaipur has it all. There are a good number of budget hotels in Jaipur that offer good comfort and facilities at affordable prices. Also there are number of home stay options are available on www.rajasthantourism.gov.in
What to eat in Jaipur?
Recognised as a Rajasthan speciality, Dal-batti-churma, is a wholesome Rajasthani meal. A deep-fried sweet dish, Ghewar is in great demand during festivals. What is interesting about Rajasthan is the variety of rotis one gets, even in the smallest eating place. Bajre Ki Roti, Makki Ki Roti, Jau-Channa Ki Roti, Besan Ki Roti, Cheelra, Paratha, Puri, Methi Puri, Rumali Roti… the list is endless. Gatte ki subji, Rajasthani curry, Mangori, Pakodi and Ker Sangari, the traditional subjis, are part of the daily meals here. A papad - plain or masala – is a must to sum up meals, as a tradition in Rajasthan.

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