The thing about attending The Jaipur Lit Fest is that one only gets nights to explore the city beyond the Diggi Palace (the venue of the Literature Festival). That’s what I did- Made most of the three nights that I got in the Pink City. In fact, by walking to my room at 3 am, I made a Bombay out of Jaipur.
Here are top 6 ways how to jazz up your nights at Jaipur:
6. Ride an Auto Rickshaw
I know there are rickshaws everywhere in India, but, Jaipur nights are the only venue that offer broad & empty roads to enjoy them. There’s a surreal joy in letting the cool breeze of the velvety winter tying knots in your hair. The rickshaw drivers of Jaipur make a lovely company with their warm, caring & yet non chatty approach . (This however, doesn’t mean that one doesn’t need to haggle the fare. Do it before getting in)
5. Go spinnin’
On the 14th floor of the Om Towers, there’s revolving restaurant, which they’ve very creatively named as ‘Revolving Restaurant’! It’s a lazy bum’s paradise. Just sit on the dinning chair & let the floor twirl & show you the entire city in its glistening glory. You can always add sugar & spice to this experience by ordering the traditional Rajasthani thali of ‘Dal Batti’ & ‘Churma’.
Though, they didn’t serve alcohol, the conversation kept pouring in. I don’t remember any of the talk, except that I was giggling & high five-ing through out the dinner. Something was there in the air that a complete stranger proffered to be my new best-friend & I accepted the offer.
Image Courtesy: @aashi09
4. Sway with the folk tunes
It’s rejuvenating to have a couple of ‘thumkas’ under the stars after an intellectually stimulating day at the Lit Fest. For the shy at heart, there’s always an option to watch the gyrating ‘Kalbaliya’ (Rajasthani swirling folk dance) dancer. Or maybe just sing along with the troupe- screaming ‘Aa Raa raa raa raa’ isn’t that tricky? Is it?
3. Quench the wanderlust in the lanes of Old Jaipur
Image Courtesy: @monologue_ish
Cross the bridal Ajmeri Gate & enter the walled Pink City of Rajputana architecture adorned with traditional motifs. The impregnable daytime lanes of Masala gali & Johri Bazar now titillated like a trained concubine. No touts. No eve-teasers. No hawkers. Just the half a moon, serenity & I
As you wander in these lanes, you will cross Hawa Mahal. Snub it. Ignore it. Don’t even take a moment to look at it & walk away. Reason? It’s nothing but a beautiful cage. The harem of the rulers weren’t allowed to roam in the city. So this Mahal was built so that they can sit & enjoy the panoramic view in natural air conditioning. It is symbol that represents the oppression of Rajasthani women. It shouldn’t be appreciated.
2. Go biking to Nahargarh fort
Image Courtesy: mygola.com
While most people like to watch the fading sun from this point, we went biking on a Kohl dark sky. The fort gets shut at this hour, but there’s point that the locals call ‘Rang De Basanti’ (Masti ki Pathshala song from the movie was shot here) point that’s the place to hang out at.
Frankly, I didn’t care much for destination. The bike ride was the real fun. Snaking through hair pin bends, where a handful of stars are the only street-light you’ve got; that’s some adventure. Pro tip: If you see a pair of three lights on the road approaching towards you, just stop. Those aren’t lights but the eyes of momma panther crossing with her two cubs!
There’s another road also that leads to this point. Skirt through the cramped streets of old & conservative Jaipur & you’ll find it. It’s not meant for biking. You will have to trek. I did. And then, after four steps I gave up. Every horror story that I had ever read was resurfacing in my head, thank God! I wasn’t alone, but with a sturdy companion. You’re welcome to try & share your experience with me.
1. Chill at Jal Mahal
Image Courtesy: tripadvisor.com
The fact that I am using a tripadvisor’s photograph proves how lost I was. Although, even if I had clicked away a million snaps, none of them would have been able to replicate the blissfulness of the moments that I had there.
My childhood home was near a lake & I would spend the mornings plucking lotuses in a boat. Sitting beside the Jal Mahal lake felt like coming home. I was welcomed by migratory birds, who were enjoying the night sky, just like me. Whispering in between the murmurs of birds, my friend was wondering aloud about Deja Vu viz a viz Hans theory of Parallel Universe. It was so surreal! I wouldn’t have left that place, but I had a dinner promise keep.
Important pointer Jaipur isn’t a city for solo female travelers, especially at nights. So move in herds, like I did.