Saturday, May 14, 2016

Jaipur Junction - 10 things to do in Pink City

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you say - JAIPUR…?

Jaipur… well… Pink City? Think more… Culture? Art? History? Colors? Yes… now you are moving in right direction… Jaipur is full of colors. You step out in the streets, and your eyes instantly meet a feast of colors! The markets are full of irresistible clothes and jewellery… Yes, the ethnic jewellery! It’s like a revisit to the traditional India that we all hear about or read in textbooks. It will leave you mesmerized and let you breathe… Unlike big cities, where life is lived in a haste, Jaipur provides you a calm aura. It like to move at ease. Nobody is in a hurry, Jaipurwalas believe that life should be enjoyed and they make sure that it is reflected throughout the city. The cuisine, the clothes, the way they speak, all of it has a grace and charm of its own that will surely leave a lasting impression on you. The apnapan of Jaipur is hard to ignore and that is why, today I take you through the lanes of this beautiful city. Here are 10 things that you just can’t miss to indulge in while on a trip to Jaipur.

1. Treat yourself to some Delicacies: Jaipur maybe known for a lot of things but the food stands out among all its specialties. It’s a paradise for food lovers. This time when you visit Jaipur, take out time to explore some of the popular joints here - Nand Gol Gappe Wala, located in Raja Park, offers hands down the best economical and hygienic gol gappes in the city. Julie Furniture Bhel Puri Wala will leave you claiming that you have had the best bhel puri ever! Sampat’s kachori is yet another thing to look out for… Banna Ji Coffee Shop, located aside Mr. Beans at 22 Godam, is definitely a great coffee shop and a nice hangout spot with just the best ambiance. Jaipur aaye aur paan na khaaye!! Don’t even think of missing this out… you dare not call yourself a fan of paan if you haven't heard the name of Anu Mobile Paan Bhandar. Initially run in a Maruti Van, with time and efforts this joint earned a big name for itself, big enough to supply Jaipuriya paan for Saifeena’s wedding. Winters and ice creams… sounds like crazy! Saras Parlour offers the best ice cream for you to gorge on… And the list goes on and on… C’mon… Get, set, and eat…

    2.   Click-o-Mania: Photography lovers get your shutters ready… and click, click, click. The best thing to do in Jaipur is to wake up early in the morning and go on a photo-walk… The view from Nahargarh Fort at 6 in the morning is breath-taking and you can’t afford to let it go. You can rope in some of your friends and experience the calmness of the city. The Jaipurwalas are never in a rush, so the city stays peaceful till late morning hours…. In a nutshell, the ideal time to explore the city is 6-10 in the morning. An evening can be well spent at Birla Mandir.

     3.  The Royal Appeal: The list goes bigger and better here… Jaipur is the Royal City full of majestic Palaces and Forts that sing of its timeless glory. Amber Fort, City Palace, Jaigarh Fort, Rambagh Palace, Sheesh Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Samodh Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Jantar Mantar observatory… and so on. The city has been an eyewitness to the days of galore, when legends and sagas were sung in traditional folk songs for the beautiful queens and princesses. Jaipur is a mysterious land of snake charmers, enigmatic royal safaris, vivid colors and festivities!

     4.   Cultural Treat: Jaipur epitomizes the adventurous spirit of Rajputana. In spite of growing into a busy metropolis, it has managed to retain its character and rich cultural heritage. It has carried forth with it the traditions of yesteryear… Jaipur thus is a beautiful fusion of age old values and modernity. The music and dance reflects the culture of the city most aptly. Rajasthani music is so appealing to the senses that the listener can’t stop his/her feet from swaying to the beats. The iktara is used to play soothing tunes and the famous dance forms include ghoomer and kalbelia. Mehndi too plays an important role at times of celebration. Kite flying tradition of the city seems to be undying too. The language of Jaipurwalas is a very soft spoken language and can win hearts of other people. Learning the language and engaging in dialogues with local people is one way to have fun.

    5.   Puppet Shows: Jaipur’s most popular form of folk entertainment and traditional occupation is the Puppet Shows. The art of puppetry is practiced by a community of agricultural laborers of Rajasthan, known as the Bhats. No village fair, no religious festival and no social gathering in Jaipur can be complete without these shows. The puppets are also known as kathputlis, where kath is wood and putli is doll. These puppets are readily available in markets of Jaipur and form a wonderful gift. The puppeteers use the strings to move the puppets around the stage. A lot of interesting short stories are narrated through these puppets, making it a thorough learning experience. The pair of Moomal-Mahendra, Dhola-Maru and other legendary pairs are still popular with the general and local folk in Jaipur. Such shows can be seen at Nahargarh Fort, Hawa Mahal, and many more places in Jaipur.

       6.   Bike Racing: I know what you are thinking!! Jaipur and Bikes? How’s that even possible… but then Jaipur is a blend of both the worlds. As much as its cultural roots are strong, it has embraced the modern source of entertainment too. There are various clubs and organizations taking this forward. SAAHAS (Society for Adventure Awareness Humanity & Automobile Sports) is dedicated to promote motor sports and is on the way to develop Jaipur, Rajasthan as the most popular International destination for Motor Racing by regularly organizing variety of Motor Sport Events which provide a platform to Amateur Motor Racing Enthusiasts. SAAHAS also offers proper guidance to the youngsters who are passionate for Adventure on Wheels. This organization is registered under Rajasthan Society Registration Act, 1958 & is affiliated member of The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India.

      7.   The Safaris: Completely drenched in extravagance, the city offers camel, horse, and elephant
safaris. Camel Safari is arranged by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC). Camel rides in Jaipur city attract large number of tourist every year. In ancient times, the elephant was used as a Royal Vehicle for the Kings. One can enjoy the heritage trip of the Pink City on these elephants and get a feel of royalty, especially while visiting Amber Fort. During Holi festival, an elephant festival is also held every year in Jaipur. A game of Polo is the main highlight of the program. The horses were earlier used by the Rajputs and Royal families of Rajasthan in battle fields and for hunting. Nowadays, one can enjoy horse riding during Jaipur Tour. For security reasons, tamed camels, elephants, and horses are used for the ride. These safaris will add to your memories of the city and give it a tinge of adventure.

   8. The colorful markets: Did you say shopping? I can see that smile across your face broadening! For the shopaholics, Jaipur is a perfect destination. The markets in Jaipur are full of hand-looms and trinkets. The multi-hued dresses add to the color and vividness of the markets. The bangles are a sure shot buy. You can take a lot of good stuff for family and friends. The bazaar offers a wide range of ethnic jewellery, handicrafts, textiles, the mirror work on clothes and other items, the colorful dupattas, precious gemstones, the pottery, and the leather goods. The Johri Bazaar is most famous for inexpensive gold and silver jewellery, the Bapu Bazaar offers crafts and home décor items. Also, you can find camel leather bags near Hawa Mahal. 

   9.  The Literature Hub: The city of palaces date literature and it is magical. Jaipur attracts the lovers of literature from all around the globe every year. The Jaipur Literature Festival is widely known and hundreds of people visit the historic Diggi Palace Hotel to attend it. Authors from India and abroad address the various sessions that consist of readings, discussions, and questions and answers segment. One can catch up with these authors, buy their books, and get them signed too. In addition, drink the Pushkari chai, eat the Diggipuri and slurp on the molten choco lava. Live music performances are also staged in the evenings.

10.   Of hot air balloons and the metros: The city is also acknowledged for its hot air balloon rides. As you sail over the Pink City, the beauty of the historical monuments, placidlake and the never-ending stretch of golden sand will surely leave you in a trance. Please mind the gap, there may be short delays in the journey, please do not sit on the floor, beware of pickpockets inside the train, male passengers are advised not to sit on the seats reserved for ladies, please do not obstruct the automatic doors; doing this is a punishable offense… Oh! By the way Jaipur City is now enjoying metro rides too. Do I need to say more?

You can also visit chowki dhani for a mini Rajasthan’s experience and can taste the traditional food items like daal, baati, choorma. And by the time you will relax in the afternoon, you will find yourself crooning to - Shaam Gulabi, Sehar Gulabi, Dopaher gulabi, hai gulabi ye sheher. Main bhi gulabi, tu hai gulabi, Din bhi gulabi, hai gulabi ye keher… The city will make you fall in love with the aura!
 For more pics - click here

Indian Youth more suicide prone?

By Ila Garg

Suicides have lately become a great cause of worry. More and more children are seeing suicide as an easy escape route for their problems. Of late, the suicide rates have been on an alarming rise, especially among Indian youth.

According to a study conducted by WHO, every year about 8,00,000 people commit suicide worldwide. Among these 17% are Indian residents, mostly falling in the 15-29 age group. The reasons for these can be variable. However, the one thing that can be clearly observed is that the Indian youth is under pressure and the high expectations, peer pressure, falling grades, lack of job opportunities, workplace harassment, etc. can be the driving force towards the path of ending their lives.

Akash Shukla, a print journalist from Lucknow says, “One must have the right to end something that they don’t like. They should have the right to reject life. Suicide is, in a way, liberation – a liberty from a screwed-up life that you never wanted but became yours, inadvertently. We all have a sense of responsibility towards ourselves. No matter how close someone is to you, no one can understand the deepest pain that a heart hides, except the self. That’s why a man is responsible for any choice he takes – either life or death.
The youth thus, fails to understand that suicide doesn’t end the pain, but simply passes it on to those you love. They are so blinded by their sorrow that they see suicide as the means to end it; not giving it a second thought.


“Suicide should be the end of extreme problems, but not every problem,” says an ardent blogger, Shwetabh Mathur.

If reports are to be believed, Indian youth residing abroad are most prone to committing suicides. A recent data reveals that majority of suicides in Fiji are among the children of Indian descent. The statistics are nearly same for Indians in Malaysia too, as quoted by the Asia-Pacific Psychiatry journal Indians account for about 40% suicide deaths in Malaysia.

Poisoning and hanging from the ceiling have emerged as the most used methods to commit suicide.
With the number of suicide cases increasing, the Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy has expressed his concern, “There needs to be an investigation… Everyone here is important – the parents, the school.”  In addition, he suggested that passing a law to cut down on volatile substances that may lead to death might help in bringing the suicide rate down among children.
Earlier, in 2003, the draft of Volatile Substance Abuse Decree could not proceed due to constitutional requirements. This draft, spearheaded by the national substance abuse advisory council, stated that the wholesalers and retailers who are found selling the banned products can be punished. Reddy believes that legalising this decree might help to some extent but still the question that remains is why the children are driven to commit suicide!

Social isolation has been found as one of the major reasons for committing suicides. A feeling of being the odd one out or not wanted in the peer group has also compelled some to become self-centered and a victim of depression. A prolonged case of depression then leads to suicide attempt.

“Suicide isn’t something natural. Unless one has conjured up a philosophical reason to die, the person is usually depressed, psychotic, severely impulsive, or is simply crying out for help and doesn’t really want to die. So, it’s almost always an avoidable step,” says Roshni Chakrabarty, who hails from Kolkata.

“We need to be more aware of the people around us in order to notice any behavioral changes and also give them the chance to reach out for the help they need,” she added.

The article first appeared on NewsGram.