IN JANUARY, ALL ROADS LEAD TO JAIPUR!
Little Jaipur has quietly morphed itself into India’s capital of cool
In his brilliant piece for the John Adams Institute on what makes a city cool, Ross Tilchin draws one’s attention to Amsterdam. He writes, “Amsterdam has a strategy worthy of your attention. Since 2000, the city has administered a robust set of policies aimed at supporting artist studio spaces and creative incubators. A municipal government agency known as the Bureau Broedplaatsen helps groups of artists transform abandoned or underutilised spaces into places for creative work. The agency provides subsidies, credit guarantees, project management expertise, and legal assistance to get the incubators off the ground, and then the spaces are run as independent organisations. With a fifteen-year budget of only €48 million, the city has created over 60 incubators housing over 170,000 square metres of highly affordable creative space. Thousands upon thousands of artists have benefitted.” I see Jaipur headed in the same direction. I have always maintained that over the past few
years, it has swiftly morphed into the cool capital of the country. There is a subtle sass in its stride. A silent swag. And it is all under the radar. Very few cities in the world carry the weight of tradition with the gait of cool. Jaipur does that. It plays effortlessly on the seesaw of the then and the now.
OLD & NEW
I always stay at The Sujan Rajmahal Palace. It is crushingly cool. The hotel is old-world in its architecture yet hip in the chemistry it exudes. There is a vivacity in its calm. Where else will you find ultra-violet cushions resting on tealcoloured sofas? Or a bottle of 4711 Eau De Cologne in the washroom? They have a guy who walks around the central garden waving a flag to keep the pigeons away. And because Jaipur is rather windy, the ashtrays have little stones. Sand has this habit of flying in the wind.
Detail is the presiding deity at Rajmahal. And the food has its own flourish. The Rajmahal Café is now the dining table of the discerning in Jaipur. I had the Lal Maas Sliders – a brilliant fusion. There’s the Coniglio Kaachar Pizza – rabbit meat cooked the Rajasthani way. There is a surprise in every serving, a wink in every course.
Rajmahal serves as the perfect preface to the poshness of Jaipur.
Tapri is another hipster hangout. Tea with Parle-G biscuits. Maggi Noodles with tadka. The Kala Chana Chaat is playful, as is the Kachumbar Khakra. Tapri is no jaded café. It is wit in wheat, satire in sevaiyan. It is run
Tapri is no jaded café. It is run by two m en who are showing their middle fingers to convention
majestIc A decorated gateway at the Amber fort in Jaipur brings alive the history of the royals
cool anD classIc The Rajmahal Palace is old-world in architecture yet hip in the chemistry it exudes (below)