It was 5th day of January 2013 and we had geared up our car for the journey from Pushkar to Jaipur. I wanted to reach the pink city as early as possible so that at lest half day sight seeing becomes possible. We still hadn’t taken our breakfast so decided to have some early lunch on the way to Jaipur. Reached Ajmer within a few minutes and off to Jaipur on the highway. Trucks loaded with marble slabs all over indicated the presence of the famous marble town Kishangarh nearby and there it was , marble and granite everywhere. On the highway itself there were some side shops selling the marble ware of various patterns. You must have understood now that mt wife commanded me to stop there so that she could shop for small gift items and souvenirs. I gave her 15 minutes to follow her instinct and needless to say, after 15 minutes I was on horn please mode which helped me in bringing back her and so again a smooth drive on the highway. Weather was very pleasant . Just after half an hour stopped to fill my stomach on a nice looking Dhaba and carried on. Meanwhile we had zeroed in on the place to visit that day in Jaipur, Albert Hall Museum.
I had wanted to visit Galta Ji in Jaipur but thought that enquiring about the place and reaching there would kill a lot of time so the former choice. After reaching Jaipur first thing was again to search a hotel to stay as we all did not want to stay at the place where we earlier stayed while going to Udaipur. I had remembered that area and had observed that there were quite a few hotels in that area( Sansar Chandra marg, near Chandpole). By instinct , I stopped at HOTEL SHEKHAWATI, inquired for the room that suited our requirement and also the tariff( that should be within budget for an aam aadmi tourist). The person at the counter stated Rs. 600 for a 3 bed room so no questions asked further and checked in. After resting for a while we were ready for the museum. I just asked the way to M.I road as I knew that the place was on that road. Tackled the congested roads of Jaipur somehow and reached Ram Niwas Bagh complex housing a zoo, an aviary, a green house and Albert Hall museum built in Indo sarcenic style.
ALBERT HALL MUSEUM:
The museum is built in Indo-sarcenic style and was founded by Sir Swinton Jacob( Appointed as chief Engineer of Jaipur state in 1867, the museum was built under his supervision between 1880 and 1887). My observation of this museum is that this one is different from other museums that we had seen on this trip in the respect that this one had an international flavor to it whereas other museums had only Indian artifacts and things for display. The museum is a big one divided into many sections on its two floors. A brief description is like this:
A. COIN section: A marvelous one as the section displayed so many coins belonging to different historical periods. We were keenly amused to see the coins of Maurya period, Gupta period, Delhi Sultanate, Mughal period and those belonging to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. I was unaware totally that the museum had such a vast collection of these coins. I was really impressed by it.
B. TEXTILE section:
The section had got textiles of various hues and designs on display, some clothes even about 300 years old. The section had on display various blocks used for Sanganeri prints and Jaipuri designs. The section also displayed how Bandhej suits were prepared. On the way the museum had got revolving glass display showcasing the various designs of laces. The section was just beautiful as it presented the textile history of this area in detail.
C. POTTERY section:
This one was the largest section in this museum and one gets to know and learn a lot about the pottery of all varieties in this section(Khurja pottery to Kashmir pottery to pottery from Patan, Jalandhar pottery of medieval era, Japanese pottery, pottery from Afghanistan, French pottery, from victorian period and much more). The section is just beautiful one.
D. EGYPTIAN MUMMY: The presence of Egyptian mummy is a highlight of this museum. Displayed in a glass case , this was brought by the erstwhile ruler of Jaipur Raja Ishwar Singh from Cairo in 1887. Had heard about the phenomenon of Mummies and alse read about these in the text books but were seeing for first time. Just spell binding.
E. RAAGMALA painting section: Second floor of this magnificent museum consisted of some rare books on display and a series of Raagmala paintings on display.These paintings are based upon different Ragas and Raginis of Indian classical music system. Different types of Raagmala series have been painted in different parts. Pahari style, Deccan style, Rajputana style. Each Raga is personified by a specific color, mood , time of its singing is mentioned on the painting and a story is told about a Nayak and a Nayika. I had read about tese paintings but was seeing these for the first time. I also had the privilege to see the paintings based upon stories from Hitopdesha and Panchtantra. Just beautiful. Another surprise for me was the the presence of classic book JANGNAMA by Shah Muhammad(original).
Overall we spent about 2 hours in the museum and were tired. The big walls of this museum are adorned by the life like portraits of erstwhile kings of Jaipur state. Now was the time to have some snacks for the evening and visit the famous zoo of Jaipur, if not so big then not too small also. Dear Pavani’s desire was to have a look at the lion and the tiger which was duly fulfilled here.
THE ZOO: The desire was of Pavani was duly fulfilled as the first cage in the zoo was that of Leopard and next to it lay the cage of Tiger (wish double fulfilled).
Despite these animals being furious in nature a majority of kids only want to see them. Apart from these the zoo boasted of the presence of Hyena , wolf and various kinds of species of deer(Ibex, spotted deer, yellow deer and chinkara) The chinkara is state animal of Rajasthan and the innocent looking animal also reminds of some celebrities. Is,nt it? The bird section of the zoo is small and very few birds there. Just near the exit point we heard a roar and realized the presence of jungle ka raja in a nearby cage. Just delighted. I was thinking, chalo Ranthambore nahi jaana pada na hi Sariska as demanded by wife 2 days ago. Next and last stop in the Pink city was to visit Johari Bazaar .
JOHARI BAZAAR: At the entrance of the bazaar itself from the museum side I came to realize the immense pressure of rush in the market and no parking space available. Crawled at snail,s pace but no parking( Meanwhile also crossed the famous LAXMI MISHTAN BHANDAR). I had come to the market for this purpose only and the purpose of visit to the Bazaar for wife and daughter Bhakti can be self explanatory…….. So no parking at that side of market, I decided to took U-turn and come to other side where I spotted a miniscule parking space( just for my Maruti to crawl in). A Wagon -R with Rajasthan number was also in wait for that and a policeman also standing there so no chance now I thought but he indicated that car to move forward to find another space and helped me in parking my car there in the spirit of ATITHI DEVO BHAVA..…..The man had personified the spirit of PADHARO MHARE DES.…. We crossed the road to the other side and there started the street shopping for the ladies (Lacquer Bangles, souvenirs and all) till Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar. I had thought about some Rajasthani dishes to be savored there but apart from Paneer Ghevar(a speciality) the shop now looked like any pther fast food shop, the traditional look was somewhat missing though the variety that was offered there was very tasty. still………somewhat missing….. After about one hour we went to our hotel which was to be last night in this trip in Rajasthan . Next day it was back to Punjab. I end my SAFARNAMA here with those famous words…
ZINDAGI KE SAFAR MEIN GUZAR JAATE HAIN JO MUKAAM WO PHIR NAHIN AATE.