India is very beautiful and very diverse country. Every part of this sacred land is rich with culture, history, ancient wisdom, spirituality and evolving future. India is truly incredible. There is just something so magical and special about it. For me, India is a spiritual home, a place to grow and learn into yoga and recharge myself through its authenticity.
And ever since my first trip to India, I dreamed of visiting Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state in northwest India. The beautiful architecture and royal heritage of the Pink City seemed like a fairytale. The land of kings. So on this journey, after we had visited the other two golden triangle cities, it was time for Jaipur!
And this was where I realised that, although I love mama India, there are certain places after visiting once is enough for me. Jaipur was like that for me. After being merged into spiritual India through our pilgrimage along the Holy Ganges, the pressure from the tourist focused sales man and tuk tuk drivers with the pretentious fake friendliness, made me feel like there is no humanity left, just the material world of ones own wealth. And yet India being the queen of the diversity and paradoxes, our airbnb hosts, a kind and honestly welcoming retired Indian couple, were a pure pleasure to stay with. Their lovely home became our peaceful refuge.
But if you ignore the overwhelming attention and the chaos, where everything still manages to function, the city is truly beautiful! All coloured in shades of pink with desert red sand tones, the old city of Jaipur, holds treasures of stunning architecture and design, culture and craftsmanship. The picturesque corners and the stillness of these monuments surrounded by the liveliness of the city. Never ending traffic of Indian style of driving, where roads are the metropolis of the life happening. People, from locals to tourists alike. With thousand and one shop and old bazaars selling the traditional block print fabrics, to precious stones and silver jewellery to all leather goods made from India’s own holy cows. But as the biggest paradox of India, glamorous royal palaces shining with wealth mix with poverty and dirt. Where outside the gates, the buildings are let to be taken by time. Decaying with peeling paints and fading colour, inhabited by the pigeons and backgrounding the laying garbage and beggars.
Like that, one comes across the iconic building of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal. Palace of windows or also known as the palace of winds. Setting aside of a busy road, it’s impressive design surprises as you shift your gaze up. Built in rajput architecture, it’s like a honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small latticed windows. Back in the time, being part of the city palace structure, it was serving royal ladies as a perfect hideaway from the society eyes to allow them to observe the daily life of the city without being exposed.
At the heart of the old part is the city palace itself. Partly museum and partly still home to the current monarchy. It’s a showcase of the most detailed and most stunning designs, luxury and exquisite art. Rooms and galleries with crystal chandeliers and paintings, exteriors with the most detailed marble cuts. Inside the walls of the Pink City Palace, one can dive into the time of royal rulers and be amazed by the life hood of kings and queens of India.
But taking it centuries back to the original capital of Rajasthan state, Amer. Just few kilometres outside of the current city centre, lays one of the most beautiful palaces, Amber Fort. The complex is built on the hill, and one can truly spend hours and hours exploring and wandering around this UNESCO world heritage site with its stunning architecture and design wonders. From floors all the way to ceilings, it is a pure art. A perfect attention to detail and speechless craftsmanship of artistry.
Built in red sandstone and marble, it’s a collection of beautifully crafted gates, courtyards, temples, pavilions and central garden. The walls and ceilings are decorated in fresco paintings of colourful patterned flowers, tiles and mosaics, windows latticed like antique lace fabrics and every corner of this huge complex, is a postcard art from simple and clean linings to a glass mosaic laid Mirror Palace. Shimmering with reflections through the pieces of silver shading glass and mirrors, the Sheesh Mahal is like glittering jewellery box under rays of the great Indian desert sun.
Amber Fort, being the highlight of Jaipur was like a pot of sweet honey to dip in the adoration of this beautiful man made creation. But overall, I might have had a high expectations of Jaipur, that all built up to this perfect dream city. Yet where I have learnt that, without the expectation comes the most beautiful spontaneous moments. But at the end, only the good memories remain and the Pink City will remind of the heritage culture and India’s fairytale kingdom.
After some time in the north, we headed to the south, through the IT capital of India, Bengaluru, to deep dive back into the soul journey through the sacred land and to Sri Ramana Maharishi ashram by the holy mount Arunachala.