Jaipur, the most famous of all the cities in Rajasthan, is a city of opulence. Pink City showed us the beauty of royalty and extravagance. We were welcomed by the jewellers into their alchemy-smelling workshops, where gold flows like lava and is moulded into a jewel, precisely cut precious stones are delicately handled and placed into a piece. They had been the royal jewel makers for over three centuries.
That evening saw our photographer, screaming and holding his life in his hands, atop an elephant roaming the streets of Jaipur. Then our guests tried their hands at cooking in the Indian style. The pakoras they made tasted pretty good, making think of an alternate career plan.
From the big and busy workshops, we moved to a small room along the old city – the workshop of one of the last practising artisans of the endangered art of Meenakari, an art of fine enamel painting. Finding the workshop proved to be an arduous task, taking us through the narrow pink lanes of the city. The man himself is silent, deeply engrossed in his work - an aura of mystery palpable. The room seems so still, the passage of time adjusting itself to the steady hand movements of the artisan. Meenakari was once used to send messages intended to be for the receiver only. The secrecy associated with the craft permeated into this mysterious and intimate setting.
It was time for us to bid adieu to the desert lands that have been the oldest and the grandest patron of all. In its innate absence, it nurtured and aided the development and preservation of handicraft traditions that somehow make our lives better. It was Dussera and the terraces were full of children, men and women, staring intently at the sky, their hands swiftly moving to tug at a string of thread manja connected to the patangs that soar, dive, fly. float and fall. The sky was filled with kites waving us goodbye.