My Gastronomical affair with Jaipur

22.10.2017:

It was noon by the time I completed my visit to the City Palace, Jantar Mantar and the Hawa Mahal. Am hungry! Jaipur is not only famous for its palaces, architecture and bazaars, but also for its rich cuisine and hospitality! The streets are filled with roadside ‘tapris’ selling hot chai and doodh-jalebi and the restaurants selling their famous kachoris and ghewar. The other day when I asked my auto-wallah to suggest me a good place to have my lunch, he asked me to go to ‘LMB’. Frankly, I don’t know what this LMB stands for! :-p

When searched over the internet, the search will throw a list of famous restaurants of Jaipur likeΒ  Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar (LMB), CM Karodia Namkeen and Gopi Kwality Sweets at Raja Park, and bars and cafes like Anokhi CafΓ©, Polo Bar at the Rambagh Palace hotel and Chaandi at the Hilton Jaipur. This is from where I recognized that LMB stands for Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar :). Soon after coming out from the Hawa Mahal, I saw a street hawker selling hot pakoras on his cart and I bought some pakoras. They were served hot with a spicy green chilly and mint chutney. I strolled through the market lanes surrounding Hawa Mahal eating those hot pakoras! πŸ™‚

The streets around Hawa Mahal are also good for shopping. And to my relief, LMB is also near to this Johari Bazaar. I took a tuk-tuk to get dropped at this famous eatery and the tuk-tuk wallah charged me Rs. 10/- from Hawa Mahal. The entrance leads us into the sweet section of this franchise and a further doorway leads us into the restaurant. The restaurant was dimly lit with moderate furniture and the staff are in their traditional headgear! They gave me a warm welcome and placed a high priced Menu Card. The restaurant is a vegetarian one and they serve the typical Rajasthani food along with continental dishes too!

Ofcourse I know that no trip to this beautiful city would be complete without having an elaborate Rajasthani meal and LMB offers one such incredibly authentic meal. Also equally famous is the Marwari thali, which includes bajre ki roti, dal bhati churma (which is composed of a lentil curry, mopped up with a bhati – a roundel of stuffed flour that’s baked in a charcoal fire or oven), pyaz kachori and other local varieties. But the quantity would be too much for me. So I chose a simple menu – Bajre ki roti with paneer makhani.

There are few other restaurants like the Chokhi Dhani, a village a little outside the main city, which offers an ambience akin to a typical Rajasthani village and fair, complete with thatched roof huts, bangle and jewellery sellers, camel rides, elephant rides. Customers are served traditional Rajasthani recipes prepared in pure ghee in a manner similar to the locals and make the guests feel the true heritage hospitality. Though the people at my hotel suggested me this option, I dropped this from my list as I was running short of time! 😦

Having had my lunch, I returned to the sweet shop πŸ™‚ The first dessert which I picked up was the Rasamalai – it’s yummy! The others to follow are the raj kachori and mawa kachori. Finally before leaving the place, I got some Rasa Malai packed πŸ™‚ I have left out a lot more stuff which I would be trying the next time I visit Jaipur! πŸ™‚ My bus is waiting to drop me in Delhi!!

My Shopping Adventure in Jaipur!

21.10.2017:

14.45 hrs – My auto-wallah dropped me near the Jal Mahal or Water Palace, which is a small palace set in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. This 200 year old palace attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year and interesting fact is that though this is a five storied building, four floors of the building are under the water and only the fifth is visible. Jal Mahal was constructed by Sawai Madho Singh to lodge himself while he was on his duck hunting parties, but later his son converted this into a more beautiful palace by extending its courtyards and having a garden there!

Tourists are not allowed to enter this palace and we could only see it from the main road. Watching it for a few minutes, I moved towards a road-side dhaba to have my lunch. This is not the place to end up for a good Rajasthani meal – but as I was feeling so hungry, I decided to settle down here! Having had my lunch I reached my hotel to grab some sleep before I set onto my shopping adventure! πŸ™‚

18.00 hrs – I overslept! :-0 , but then, it’s ok! I need this much rest after going all around those beautiful forts! πŸ™‚ Well, my lunch was not upto my expectations – so I decided to eat something first and then go shopping. Rajasthan is famous for its cuisine – and especially Jaipur is famous for its mouth-watering pyaaz kachoris, ghewar and jalebis! I took a cab from my hotel to one of the most popular bazaars of Jaipur – the Johri Bazaar. As the name suggests, Johri Bazaar is famous for gems and jewellery. But I chose a different thing other than gems – I am here to get some good juthis πŸ™‚

Jaipur is famous for its block printed textiles, blue pottery, finely-crafted jewelery, miniature paintings, it’s well known Jaipuri shawls, tie-and-dye salwars and last but not the least their traditional jutis. As this day was the auspicious β€˜Bhai-dooj’, most of the shops were closed by the time I reached there, but few were still bustling with customers looking for their best bets! I walked straight to a Mistan Bhandar or a sweet shop to have some pani-puri before exploring this market further! Having had a papdi chat and pani-puri, I returned to my shopping adventure πŸ˜€

The Johri Bazaar is studded with numerous shops selling gold and silver jewellery, precious gems, stone and other customized jewellery. I walked a little longer and arrived at a shop where I found few Juthis hanging outside. The shop was full of people checking for various varieties of footwear, trying them on and bargaining. I too got settled down on a chair and soon a person was there to help me out on trying those beautiful and elegant juthis. Always remember, that bargaining hard is the mantra here! While the shopkeeper offered the price at Rs. 1100/-, I bargained them for Rs. 300/- and got them! πŸ™‚ Still my friends told me that I paid more indeed! 😦

I picked up two more pairs for my mom and niece. Though Johri Bazaar is also a good place to look for sarees and lehangas, I couldn’t try my hands at them πŸ˜‰ Don’t forget to get a glimpse of the iconic Hawa Mahal here! I returned to my hotel after helping myself with few more kachoris πŸ˜€ . Though it was as hot as in Summer, there was a drastic drop in the temperature during the night. So if you plan to visit Rajasthan these days, do carry a jacket or sweater πŸ™‚