After planning, hoping, waiting, fighting, and crying over it, the husband and I finally managed to co-ordinate our days off and go for a vacation – after years and years!! The destination: Jaipur. Although we had been there before, about 5 years ago, and had done all the touristy things, we hit upon it due to paucity of time, and the fact that I wanted to indulge in some retail therapy. And what better place to sooth a girl’s heart than Jaipur, where you get lovely silver jewelry, and much cheaper than you’d ever hope to find in Delhi!So on a balmy Saturday morning, off we went! Being an eagerly anticipated trip, and one that came about after such a long time, I was hypersensitive to everything around me – including wanting to control the weather, which had started to deteriorate as we were approaching Jaipur (heavy downpours). Luckily, though, it stopped raining in the city by the time we reached, and the roads were clean and dry. So, after checking into our hotel, grabbing a cup of tea and a snack, it was time to hit the market! Time was short, as the main jewelry hub, Johri Market, is closed on Sunday, and we were to head back to Delhi on Monday morning. Time changes so many things, and Johri Market was no different. Where there used to be lots of tiny silver shops selling cool “junk” jewelry, this time around there were more shops selling gold and diamonds!! But we (or rather the husband) found a small little shop that had some absolutely fantastic pieces of jewelry – for daily office wear, as well as beautiful pieces for formal wear – and all of it really reasonable. We must have spent about 2 hours there, looking at all his collections, choosing pieces that appealed, and finally short listing the ones that I really, really loved. And the husband is such a treasure with this – he was the one who helped me choose, by telling me which pieces looked good on me and helping me pick out some real show-stoppers!
The next day was earmarked for a little bit of sightseeing – mainly to put our “new” digital camera to use, and some bedsheet shopping. Jaipur block prints look gorgeous, and of course are very cheap when you know how to bargain! So, our first stop was Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), where we first did, what else, shopping!! at the market outside Hawa Mahal. Picked up some lovely cotton block print bed covers, and two absolutely regal brocade silk bed covers – all of which we got at throw away prices, so much so that we barely bothered to bargain!!
From there it was on to the monument itself. The gorgeous carving on the outside is, curiously enough, completely lacking on the inside. Made by Mughal emperors at a time when women were in strict “purdah,” the Hawa Mahal was originally intended to allow the royal women to be able to observe life outside the palace without being seen themselves. In fact, the side facing the street outside the palace complex has 953 small windows, which allows the breeze to circulate within the palace, keeping it cool even in the hot summer months, and of course, giving the palace its name. In spite of the lovely breeze, though, the heat was too much for us to bear, so we took ourselves back to the hotel, where we spent the rest of the afternoon/evening lazing around in the room (reading Tara Road by Mave Binchy) and spending some time in the lovely gardens outside.We had dinner at an Italian restaurant – Mediterrano –that was walking distance from our hotel. It is in a complex called Ambe Towers, on the top floor, and the lifts weren’t working! Climbing up about 6 stories definitely whipped up our appetite! The food more than made up for the strenuous workout – their pizza had a nice, thin, crisp crust, though with negligible cheese (which was a bit disappointing), though their Ravioli was to die for!
Monday, unfortunately, came too soon. The carefree interlude was over, and it was time to get back to the reality of daily life and the stress of living in a big city. Not that I’m complaining too much about it, but a vacation is like suspending reality. Getting right back into the groove can be a bit of a shock! The memories, and the shopping, will stay on, though!