For those of you who want to feel what it is like to be a guest in India, as the saying goes “mehmaan bhagwaan hai”, Pink City- Jaipur is your destination.Not far from the main city area, there is Chowkidhani in Jaipur known for its mehmaan-nawazi. You not only get a glimpse of true India here, but the essence of the myriad hues that color the country.
If you’re staying in any city hotel, a cab can take you there.
All you need to buy is the entry ticket and the rest is free. The ticket costs Rs 450/-, a small prize actually to live a day king size. The place opens at six in the evening to eleven at night.
The moments you step in, there is a grand welcome awaiting you. The welcome, a traditional tilak ceremony gives you all the importance the humanity can afford. The ritual is crowned by showering flowers over you and an aarti to please you. A traditionally dressed village girl provides you matka water to drink.
Go a little ahead and you get to drink the purest hot milk ever from Tauji who pets two cows. I bet all those kids who concoct hundred and one excuses every single day to skip drinking milk will love it too. There is a customary dance program going on at small distances, which is very engaging and a treat to watch. The damsels make you dance along too. You cannot miss the camel and the elephant rides, although you have to wait in queue for it. It is worth the wait. The puppet show is a great attraction for tourists and inhabitants alike. The music that accompanies all events is so profound that you hum it days after your trip.
If you are curious enough to know your future, then this is the place for you. Three knowledgeable pundits sit there to give you a glimpse of your future. These things are hallmarks of India. One thing that I particularly liked and found catchy was the future prediction by a parrot. This parrot does not come out for everybody, but is a moody one and comes only if it likes you. On an upraised structure, you find an amma sitting, who prepares for you the best baajre ki roti. It is a Rajasthani delight where you get this hot roti with a spoon of desi ghee, green chillies and gud. You must excuse me for using their original Indian names, but it would be really unjust to call it something very English and scientific. That would just ruin the flavor of this delicacy.
Now, it is time to tell you about the crowning glory of this place- the food court. There is a real long queue which you must surpass, but, the wait is worth it. You get to sit on traditional Indian chonkies, and then starts a never ending serving ritual. If I go by the number, then there are more than twenty nine dishes they serve you. I say twenty nine, because I could recall the names of at least these many.
This is the most appetizing, fulfilling and delicious meal of one’s life time. All those who claim that vegetarian food is not as good, this is a reality check. It is an answer to the great misconception of the twenty first century. The food here is sufficient to turn the non vegetarians into vegetarians and I am not joking. You are served over eight types of vegetables, more than five types of breads, number of sweets, salads, appetizers and white butter to accompany all of it. The white butter is served in small diyas which make it look even more salubrious. If you try avoiding the fat content, then your hosts make sure that you have it with proper taste, having ghee is a must. Trust me; you wouldn’t want to refuse either. It is a heaven for foodies and the diet conscious alike as the food is rich in fibre content and proteins. What pleases you most is the humility of the hosts. They just love serving. And you would just love eating.
One day to live life king size, without the codes of superficiality and sophistication, with unimaginable comfort and that too affordable in Rs. 450/-, I think is the best bargain possible. You get the feeling that life is really worth it and you are really worthy of it. Why showcase India as a slum to the international community when so much of it is enchanting beyond imagination. You don’t get to witness such humility and such benign gestures in any international community at so affordable a prize. It is only an Indian heart that is big enough to accommodate unconditioned love and humble beauty and present it with a humble attitude.