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Pink Mornings

Jaipur is a highly recommended destination for food and heritage lovers. And this story is about my best morning here.

What will the perfect morning be?

This question had me interested as I crossed dhabas on the NH48 (the former NH8).  I had the solution in the back of my head as soon as we passed the Amber fort.

Yes, this is about my perfect morning in Jaipur.

Jaipur a.k.a. Pink City is the administrative capital of the state of Rajasthan. The city is the gateway to Rajasthan for those arriving from the eastern states like Delhi and U.P.

Home to some magnificent architecture from the Kacchawa dynasty of Rajputs and a plethora of delicacies. These mouth-watering specialities range from spice-laden kachoris to malpuas with a chashni overload. My idea for the morning too will include some of the most remarkable places and recipes in Jaipur’s old city.

The rising sun marked the beginning of my trip. The first destination that I arrived at was the famous Jal Mahal. The elegant yellow structure lies in the heart of a human-made lake. Hence the name Jal Mahal which means “Water Palace”. The history surrounding the place is as vibrant as the palace itself. The roughly 250-year-old building initially served the purpose of the royal lodge for king Madho Singh. The exceptional construction techniques have restricted leakage in even the foundations (yup, the palace has two levels beneath the water).

Since the Mahal is closed of late due to a property dispute, one can only view it from a distance through a fence. I managed to find a gap in the wall and voila!. I snuck in just at the edge of the lake for a clearer and, more extraordinary view of the palace.  Once at the side of the lake, I understood why the scene was perfect for a duck hunting lodge. The number and species of birds around the place is praiseworthy. I lay down on the ground to take the shot. Once down, I felt that the decision wasn’t the best as I was lying on sludge. The picture is frame-worthy, but the cost was a slimy and dirty t-shirt. Worth it.

From personal experience, a visit to the Jal mahal is the best throughout the monsoons. The water level of the lake is on the rise, and the mercury is low. The sandstone of the Mahal presents a gorgeous contrast with the lake. The result is a charming sight like none other.

Multiple photography experiments at the Jal Mahal had my super hungry. To satisfy the stomach, I left for the Johari Bazaar area. Johari Bazaar is the old market of Jaipur and address of the most excellent street food that the city offers. Stop number one was Sahu Chaiwala.

Sahu Tea stall came up in 1968, a time when the city was still trying to expand beyond the borders of the walled city. One glassful of tea here, and it is evident how, with age, fame only increases. The super hot tea, in the tall glass vessels, is an absolute delight. The tea stall itself is a rather cute establishment. One striking feature of the tea there was the proportion of milk. The milky flavour, paired with a light brown shade of tea gives it a taste as unique as the city of Jaipur itself.

Tea alone can’t fill the stomach. So, I went straight to Samrat Restaurant to complete my breakfast. If you love street food, Samrat Restaurant is the place. The eatery’s menu is a blend of a wide variety of delicacies, from jalebis to samosa and from pyaaz kachori to lassi. The ones I had the former three types for my breakfast.

Given my particular liking for pyaaz kachori, I always tend to judge Kachori outlets by this dish. The gold standard being Rawat Mishthan Bhandar in Jodhpur. Samrat nearly equals the taste. The crust is crispy yet mildly flaky. The insides are what matter the most. Equally distributed stuffing that just tastes so balanced with flavours and spice. The vibrant flavours are a treat for the tongue. These kachoris don’t come alone. They can be had with kadhi, chutney or sabzi. One thing is for sure, it is next to impossible to stop at just one kachori.

A meal isn’t complete without balancing the masala with some sweetness. The jalebis and lassi serve that very purpose. Jalebis are overloaded with ghee and chashni and are super heavy. The lassi comes in earthen kulhads and is filled to the brim.

Combine all these together, and it’s the most filling and fantastic breakfast. A beautiful end to the most perfect morning I’ve had in the Pink City.

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