July 26, 2010
Inspiration India - Jaipur
After our visit to Delhi, we were off to Jaipur, also known as the pink city, in reference to many of the city’s walls and buildings, which are painted a sort of terracotta/pink color. Jaipur, one could argue, is the epicenter of Indian handicrafts, and there is an abundance of culture and arts there - with everything from bone inlaid furniture, to block-printed textiles, embroidered silks, and jewelry. It’s one of my favorite places in India so far.
The Hawa Mahal, in the city center
more pink architecture
On our taxi ride over to the hotel from the airport, we started noticing a lot of costumed men riding horses embellished with bells and colorful garlands. It seemed like every few blocks we saw another decorated horse and rider, along with men carrying musical instruments. As we approached our hotel, we saw another such group, and we asked the driver if there was some sort of festival going on. I’m not sure if he understood the question, as we got a vague answer.
Once we were up in our hotel room, and darkness began to cover the city, we could hear the faint sounds of festive music from the road. I looked through the curtains of our hotel room window and saw a procession of women dripping in bright colors and sequins, clapping their hands and dancing. They were followed by men dressed in what looked like marching band uniforms, playing trombones and trumpets. At the back of the group were fancily dressed turban-clad men perched atop their equally fancily dressed horses. Surrounding the whole party were men carrying embellished lanterns, powered by a generator that trailed behind everyone. Every so often, someone would light off a firework at the front of the group. Then the party would move forward a few feet and stop, while the men played their music and the women danced, and a crowd gathered to watch it all. We went on the street to take photos of them and then decided to go to the roof of the hotel to get a better view.
one of the many wedding processions we saw
a groom sits atop a beautifully decorated horse
On the roof, we soon realized that you could see processions like this all over the city. As far as the eye could see, in all directions of the city, fireworks were lighting up the sky and similar groups were marching along distant roads. Then it hit us - it was wedding season in Jaipur!
view of a wedding reception from the room of our hotel
That was an exciting start to our visit, which was soon followed by more beautiful things. On my last visit to Jaipur, I remembered all the amazing markets, which we didn’t get a chance to go to because our tour guide had us on a pretty tight schedule. This time, we were free of a tour guide, and free to browse the much-coveted markets! I wanted to start out at the Johari Bazaar, which is where you can find amazing beads and jewelry components. We popped into one of the first shops we saw and quickly had our breaths taken away by the array of colors, sizes, and shapes of semi-precious beads.
picking out semi-precious beads in Johari Bazaar
I ended up spending a lot here, and got strands of coral, smoky topaz, moon stone, labradorite, and emerald. I also bought some typical Indian jewelry, with the threaded adjustable closure - a beautiful necklace of teardrop-shaped emeralds, and another of ombre rainbow tourmaline.
smoky topaz, moonstone, labradorite, coral, and emerald beads
teardrop-shaped emerald beads
strands of ombre rainbow tourmaline
From there we went to visit Amrapali, an amazing jewelry showroom, where I bought these great earrings:
After oohing and aahing over everything in the showroom, we went to visit their factory and saw how all the cast jewelry was made - pretty interesting. I hope I get the chance to work with them soon!
On our last day in Jaipur, we stopped by another bazaar to buy bangles. I had a friend who sent me on a mission to get as many cheap and colorful bangle as I could. Of course I ended up picking out some for myself. Even though I rarely wear bangles, these were so pretty, I couldn’t resist!
Did I mention how great Rajasthanis are at selling things? I ended up getting one last necklace, which was so amazingly beautiful, I couldn’t do without it. Each gold bead is inset with tiny turquoise stones. Luckily, my mom offered it as my birthday present.
After our short stay in Jaipur, we were off to Mumbai, which I’ll relay in my next post!