Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Travel Diary: Jaipur Day- 1. Alsisar Haveli + Albert Hall Museum.


I spent 5 days in Jaipur this past week and I am so glad I to go to a city that has been on my 'must visit' list for absolute ages. 

We, my sister and I, had been planning a Jaipur trip since the beginning of the year. We booked our tickets and even booked our hotel after doing some research. We knew we wanted to live in a haveli/heritage property because when in Rajasthan why not live a historical setting if one can manage it? Of course, there are hotels for every budget and every persuasion. For us, being people who like being cozy and ones who will be spending a fair amount of time indoors and spending our evenings in, we wanted to live in a nice place. 

We flew in on a super-duper stupidly early morning flight. We took off at 6:00 am and landed in Jaipur at 7:30 ish and Uber-ed to our hotel/haveli- Alsisar Haveli. 

First and foremost, say hello to the beautiful Stella! 
The resident puppy at Alsisar. She is a gorgeous little dog who loves sunbathing, crumbs and getting cuddles. She was one of the highlights of my trip!

Since we arrived dreadfully early, we couldn't get our room straight away, check-in time is at noon. So we waited and grabbed some breakfast. 
The morning was surprisingly cool and it was wonderful to just sit outside and soak in our surroundings. 

I was so impressed with how utterly gorgeous the property is. As we were driving in we were a little spooked seeing how commercial the neighbourhood was, we were bang in the middle of Loha Mandi- an area full of ugly shops. Luckily, the haveli was far enough from the market to keep the honking sounds at bay.  

Some early glimpses of the property during our first hours there. We were so smitten. 
There is beauty and charm and history in every corner. 

Above: A little lounge area. 

Below: The haveli looking gorgeous in morning light. 

A fountain in the courtyard. 

Gorgeous Stella sunbathing like a Boss Lady. 

Once we wrapped up breakfast, we waited for a little bit in the reception area and by 10:00 AM our room was ready and we could finally check in! Praise the lord! We were by this point super tired and ready for a power nap! 

Glimpses of our room. 
We had a room on the first floor, which was comfortable and tastefully done up. 

We got to the room.
Took showers.
Jumped into bed for a much needed nap! 
We napped for around 3 hours and then got up, got ready and headed out. 

Since we only had half a day left- everything in Jaipur shuts down at 5:00 PM- we decided to make our way to the Albert Hall Museum. Turned out it was the 132nd Anniversary of the Museum and the tickets were free. Which was great but it also meant it was packed to the gills! 
We got the Audio Tour, which was affordably priced at ₹ 118 and was very well narrated and presented and was a fantastic way to explore the museum. 

The museum building itself is gorgeous and a sight to behold. It is built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, which combines Mughal and Hindu elements with some Victorian influences. Such a lovely mishmash if there ever was! 

See the domes and the arches? Those are the Mughal influence. Isn't this a gorgeous building? 

The exhibits at the museum can be broadly divided into three categories- metal work, fabrics and paintings. 

The first gallery is the metallurgy gallery and has some great examples of metal work such as this shield, which is fully engraved on both sides with the story of the Ramayana. 

As you can see, the figure in the centre is that of Sita doing the agnipariskha or the test of her "purity" by fire. Just look at all the details on this beautiful shield! 

The carvings on the pillars are so intricate! 

The next section was the fabric section and we got to see samples of all the fabrics that Rajasthan is famous for such as bandhni (tie-dye), bagru, ajrakh, block printing and even some zardosi work. 

Some examples of zardosi work on display, including a cloak belonging to one of the Kings. 

Some examples of the different styles of printing that I mentioned above. 

Now this is an interesting bit of fabric. This is a block printer's sample sheet. Every block printer used to put together a sample sheet like this displaying the different block print and colour options that he had on offer and brought it to the mandi (market) and this helped him get orders from customers for cloth lengths. 

A cute little figuring of a block printer working on printing fabric. 

The painting and art gallery was easily our favourite. It featured a lot of great examples of the Rajasthan School, which is very influenced by the Mughal or Arabic style of illumination and miniature painting. 

The Albert Hall Museum is not overwhelmingly big and the audio tour is very easy to follow along and very nicely done! So, if you have about an hour or so to spare in Jaipur, we'd definitely recommend stopping there. 

After this, we went to Anokhi and shopped there a bit, they have a much larger and varied selection as compared to their Bombay store. I highly recommend you visit the Anokhi in Jaipur.

After which, we had a long-winded quest for finding a tea/ coffee and snacks type place! We went to two different cafes before we found a cafe that was not over-crowded and muggy! Most cafes had their AC and even fans off! WTF! It was 33 degrees Celsius and not pleasant in the very least. 

We finally went to a place called Nibs for coffee and a quick bite. A full post on that coming soon. 
We also stepped into Soma and I bought a couple of things. We made a quick stop at some shops outside of Hawa Mahal and bought some mojris and some embroidered leather bags from shops my sister has bought from before, a little bit of bargaining and some truly beautiful things were acquired. Will share some of my buys on the blog later. 

Then it was time to head to the hotel- where we had a light meal and called it an early night. 

Hope you enjoyed this little look into our Day 1 in Jaipur. Be on the look out for more such posts later this week. 

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