Jaipur Lit Fest 2016 is India’s cultural epicentre this week. The world’s largest free literature festival opened today at Diggi Palace in the Pink City, and tourists and literati have already arrived in thousands. If you’re in town, and have some time between sessions, you must visit our favourites:

Go Sightseeing

Visit stunning old temples at Galta, 3 km east of Jaipur. The ancient temples hug the sides of a narrow ravine, with a few pools of water that punctuate the topography. Catch something more interesting than the temples itself, the sight of monkeys splashing about in the water. One can get a bird’s eye view of the entire valley from the Surya Mandir that is located a few meters up. Walk along the 1km ridge of the towering Nahargarh fort at sunset, north of Jaipur. Built in the early 18th century, the fort offers a mesmerising view of the city bathed in a soft evening glow. Some other forts on your list should be Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort.

 

Mutton rogan josh with naan may be the best thing you eat in Jaipur.
Lal maas or red mutton curry may be the best thing you eat in Jaipur.

Mouth-watering Delicacies in Jaipur

Tapri, on Prithviraj Road is Jaipur’s favourite hangout. Drop by to listen in on music jam sessions sometimes and to buy chai souvenirs for friends back home. Visit Suvarna Mahal at Taj Rambagh Palace for its brilliant ethnic ambience. The former dining room of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the restaurant’s classic vibe and command over local cuisine is sure to make a dinner special. Try the Lal Maas (spicy lamb curry dish), the signature dish of Rajasthan.

A Shopaholic’s Heaven

3 Must-Visit Stores

  1. AFKD Studio: Renowned Designer Ayush Kasliwal’s design store in Jaipur. He uses local crafts and materials to create the most extraordinary indo-fusion lifestyle and decor products in beaten brass and stone carvings. You can spend hours just admiring the products and then deciding what you really want to pick up!
  2. Hot Pink: A store which curates fashion and decor accessories from designers such as Abraham & Thakore, IDLI by Theirry Journo, and Rajesh Pratap Singh.
  3. Gem Palace: If you love jewellery, then you can’t come to Jaipur and not visit Gem Palace. It has the most exquisite and stunning collection of traditional and antique jewellery. It is one of the oldest jewellery stores in the city and definitely a must visit.

For more rustic style-hunters, the markets inside the red walled city of Old Jaipur are a great discovery. A robust collection of silver, textiles, leather and tie and dye spill out from shops that vary from a-hole-in-the-wall size to layered and labyrinthian boutiques. For Silver jewellery visit Johari bazaar, and to add to your shoe collection, visit Bapu Bazaar for mojris. You can also check out Khazano Wala Rasta if you are looking for stone sculptures.

Tip: Don’t plan your market trip on a Sunday which is when most shops are closed.

Intricately woven carpets and rugs is another reason why they are crowded with shoppers. Designs are made from wool, silk, jute and several synthetic fibres. Even now, the carpet industry thrives in the city’s Kishanpol Bazaar, Haldiyon Ka Rasta, Maniharon Ka Rasta and M I Road.

Try and not get too lost in this magical city as the fest has interesting sessions by authors and speakers. Read more here.