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! 🙂

18.00 hrs – I overslept! :-0 , but then, it’s ok! I need this much rest after going all around those beautiful forts! 🙂 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 🙂

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 ‘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 😀

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! 🙂 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 😉 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 😀 . 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 🙂

Goa – The shopping Paradise

24.12.2016:

@20.00 hrs – We left Calungate to explore further. Our next destination is the most famous beach of Goa – the Baga beach. Usually it takes about 20 mins to reach from the Calungate to Baga beach, but we took a bit long coz we went on shopping. Shopping in Goa is an experience in itself, as the markets, plush shopping malls and the flea markets turn Goa into a perfect shopper’s destination.

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Perhaps this is the first time, I was literally on a shopping spree. Our shopping list included a lot varying from common accessories to shorts, T-shirts and some frocks for Shweta. Yeah, how can she forget telling me to shop for her when I am at such a shopping destination 😉 . Trust me, we didn’t leave any shop in between Calungate and Baga untouched. Lol!! Offering amazing varieties and price, Goa is truly a shopaholics dream.

Shopping in Goa was a new experience from me as we can bargain to any extent in a flea market, we can spend till the last penny indulging into a luxurious shopping mall without a bargain at all or we can own few fashion clothes and accessories with a luxurious touch after a good bargain. That’s why shopping is so famous in Goa I think 🙂 . Goa has a lot of flea markets at different places on different days to make shopping a truly different experience.

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Anjuna Flea Market, a market paradise, will be held every Wednesday on Anjuna Beach while the Mapusa market will be on a bright friday morning and is one of the most important place and the traditional Mapusa market is popular for Goa’s famous ‘Chouricos’ sausages. The Calungate market is held every saturday along the beautiful Calungate beach and Baga flea market competes with this on the same day 😦 . The products available will be all sorts of beach wear, accessories, clothes, shells, shell jewelry, books (mythology to fiction – everything will be available), souvenirs etc..

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It’s Thursday (no flea markets available on Thursdays) and was already 21.30 hrs by the time we reached the Baga beach. It is the most happening beach and was way too crowded. The shacks on the beaches, shops on the road side, discotheques and restaurants were full of people. We took a walk along the beach and entered the Mackie’s Night Bazaar. Held under the open sky along the beach, this is a shopping secret to unravel. I could see some locals as well as foreigners selling clothes, beach wear, local handicrafts, and beautiful souvenirs.

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One more interesting thing here is the live performances of by the local music bands and the local musicians playing some live music on their instruments, and this adds an extra color to the already brightly lit market with vibrant colored clothes and accessories hanging infront of the shacks. The market also offers food from different cuisines like Chinese, Tibetian, Goan, Mexican etc.

22.30 hrs it was! Time to get back to our rooms, we have got a lot of plans the following day 🙂 🙂

A Day in Delhi..

Day 1:

One fine morning, Neetha called me to say that she is leaving to Netherlands to join Ruthwik. As usual, and like a tradition being followed for years, before she leave, we have to meet each other for a day or two 😀 . I thought of going to Bangalore, but then, why all time Bangalore, why not some other place? I don’t wanna go to Bangalore; neither Neetha wanted to come to Trivandrum, as we both have been to these places.

It was at this time, she told me that she had to go to Mumbai or Delhi for her visa stamping, and the idea stuck my mind. I told her that we will catch up either in Mumbai or Delhi for a change. Neetha opted Delhi as she never been there and I was ready for any of those two places. Neetha flew two days before me to finish off the formalities while I left a day later to join her. I reached Delhi on a hot Friday morning in July.

The drive from Delhi’s airport to Hotel Justa, Panchasheel Park was a hectic one, as it was too hot, humid and the traffic of Delhi sucks. It took about an hour and a half to reach the hotel where Neetha waited for me. After pleasantries, I refreshed and the first plan was to go and meet some of my seniors and then visit my aunt who stays in Safdarjung.

As I couldn’t meet my seniors in the afternoon for some reasons, we decided to meet my aunt at a place near to our accommodation rather than travelling all the way to Safdarjung, so that we can save some time and roam around the city. The place has been decided as Sarojini Nagar market, as Neetha wanted to buy some stuff and see the real Delhi (though I didn’t understand what exactly she wanted to see :-p). It was noon when we reached Sarojini Nagar and stepped into the famous Haldiram’s outlet where our aunt joined us over lunch and some sweets 😉

It’s shopping time! The time which I always try to avoid. But this time, I couldn’t :-p . Sarojini Nagar market is quite a happening place with lots of shops selling clothes, accessories and other stuff and buzzes with people all time. The shop-keepers do their business not only in the shops, but also on the roads 🙂 . Neetha and aunty were quite busy in choosing their outfits while I kept myself busy watching the happenings around us. And it was at this time, I heard a whistle from a distance and soon the shop-keepers started clearing their stuff off the roads.

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Within minutes, the roads were clear with lot of space and we saw a truck with people sitting on the back and dumping all the stuff they come across on the roads. Aunty explained us that they are the Kamety log (the Municipality people) who raid the streets every now and then to keep a check on such kind of illegal encroachments by the shop-keepers. It was fun watching the funda of clearing the roads in a few minutes and restoring all of them again when once the truck is gone 🙂 🙂

Aunt asked about our next day plan and we told her that we were thinking to visit Agra and didn’t decide yet whether we have to hire a car or go by a train. But we decided to hire a car later and aunt helped us with this. Once done with the shopping, we rushed back to Dwaraka to catch up my seniors and after a brief chit-chat we left to Janpath market area. This is yet another hot-spot for shopaholics and an ideal place to hang out with friends. Soon after the shopping, we checked into a Marathi restaurant in Connaught Place, where the food is ok-ok.

It was around 9.30 pm when we reached our accommodation and retired to our beds as we have to wake up early the next day!

Exploring Port Blair..

Day 9:

There is no plan of going out of Port Blair today. All of us were tired of our continuous travel and activities. All were like it’s time to sit back home and relax for sometime. It’s a lazy day; I woke up around 8 in the morning whereas few of my other friends only by 9. As there was nothing much to do, we (the ones who woke up early) thought of visiting the Radha Govinda temple which is just behind our uncle’s place. The temple is a simple contemporary one without much architecture, but it’s serene. We prayed for a while and walked back home.

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While some of my friends went for a body message, few of us stayed back home and watched TV. It was around 3 PM we left home and reached the water sports complex to go out for a jet ski. The Jet ski experience here is different from that of Goa. While in Goa, they give you the ski to drive on yourself, in Port Blair a person will ride the Jet Ski while we sit back. The drive is from Port Blair to Ross Island and back. Nevertheless, it was a thrilling ride 🙂

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Once we were done with it, we loitered around the beach and tried our hand at fishing. While Sahil and I were trying our hands at fishing and didn’t catch a single one, I was startled to see a Nicobarese who came later than us and walked away before us with good number of fishes in his basket. It was then I learnt that the Nicobarese are very good at fishing 🙂

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It was around 4.30 PM when we reached Gandhi Park which is located at the centre of Port Blair. Built around the Diltaman tank, the park provides amusement rides, the nature trail around the lake and boating. We went on boating for a while, and then ended up playing see-saw and swinging cradles and fighting over them. Funny, isn’t it? 😉

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There were various food stalls outside the park and how can we miss the pani-puris? Again there was a competition about the highest number of pani-puris one can eat. Not only this, in Port Blair, we can experience a wide variety of seafood dishes from all over the world and also dishes from North and South of India to Thai and Burmese specialties.

Later we went on for shopping. There are a plenty of shacks on the beaches and the beach markets to buy some souvenirs and get them back home along with you. From there, we went on to the Aberdeen market to buy some pearl jewelery as well as accessories made of corals, donno whether they are the originals. It was around this time when we came to know that our final year results were out and we became engineers 🙂 🙂

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By the time we reached home, aunt asked us to refresh ourselves quick and come down to the dining hall. When once we were there, she gave us a surprise with a cake and celebrated our graduation day 🙂 Later uncle joined and congratulated us.  We had our dinner and went to bed early as we need to make out early tomorrow 🙂