Jaipur 2

July 6, 2006
Khandu's marriage trip coming soon here!!

That was a message posted here 5 months back. Phew!! Such a long time since I got a chance to write anything. Today being the last day of 2013, with less than couple of hours remaining, let me try to finish this blog (and another customary one for the year) quickly.

Khandu, for those who dont know, was my classmate at IIT Delhi. A year after finishing our MTech, Khandu decided to take the plunge. Surprise for most of us as he was (we too) reasonably YOUNG.. This marriage trip was the second one in the series (first was of another batchmate Sonal).

Attendees: Me, Anoop, Sandip Dwivedi (a junior of ours).
Source: Delhi (Me and Anoop were doing our Phd and Sandip was enjoying his final days at IIT).

Being a hot and humid season, the trip was planned for night travel. We headed to Jaipur House (on Pandara Road, New Delhi) to catch the volvo bus run by the Rajasthan State Transport Corporation. We hadn't booked our tickets earlier. So we dint get the Volvo. That's ok. We were college guys and our trips were on shoe string budgets. We settled for a deluxe bus that left Delhi at 11.45PM (there were buses every half an hr) so that we reach Jaipur in the morning.

Was it really 11.45PM? This happened 6 years back! Do I have such a good memory? Well.... You can check with other fellows.. hi..hi..

We had couple of hours to spend before our bus starts!!
Dinner was on the agenda and we found a decent "Punjabi" restaurant near Jaipur House, shouldnt there be a Rajasthani one nearby? Anyways, the dinner was superb and heavy. We had a walk to the India Gate (very close by).

India Gate, as you all know, is an iconic landmark of Delhi overlooking the Rashtrapati Bhavan at the other end of the Rajpath (royal walkway). The lawns at the India Gate is a nice place for a relaxed outing in Delhi. The place was brimming with hordes of people, aunties and uncles settled down on the picnic mats, kids running around, couples walking hand in hand, hawkers selling chats, popcorn, ice cream, toys, balloons, etc, tourists posing for photographs, some paying homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. The crowd hangs around till around midnight so we had enough of eye-candy.

Back to the blog topic. The bus journey was uneventful, with just one stop for tea at Behror RTDC restaurant. The place was super-full. It seemed everybody on this highway stops here.. But I heard recently, that this place is deserted after the upgraded 6 lane Delhi Jaipur highway.

We reached Jaipur at 6AM. Khandu (or probably bhabhi) had arranged for our stay at a nice 3-star hotel not very far from the marriage venue. Dumped our bags and slept for some more time, we had planned to stay awake for the wedding.

After breakfast, we set out for sight seeing. Me and Anoop had been there before but we hadn't covered all tourist locations. So we decided to visit the Museum, Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar this time. Albert Hall Museum is mostly like any other museum in Rajasthan (or any other place that was erstwhile Princely State). There were lot of paintings of the kings, armour and other items used by them, many artifacts they collected (or got as gifts from around the globe, mainly Europe). The place is well maintained and there was enough space to sit down and enjoy the winds blowing through the marble windows.

It was nearing noon and we needed a place for lunch. As we dint know the place much, we went for the nearest restaurant. The less I talk about it, the better. It was a totally avoidable to say the least.

From there we headed to Hawa Mahal. This is the most awesome place in Jaipur, especially in the summers. As the name suggests, Hawa Mahal is known for the existence of wind (cool wind) in its every nook and corner. The famous facade full of small windows made in pink marble is the heart of the architecture. As the wind passes through the facade and the building, the heat of the wind is transferred to the cool marble. We spent almost an hour there.

Next destination was Jantar Mantar. It was next to the Hawa Mahal. In fact you could see parts of the Jantar Mantar from the top floor of Hawa Mahal. The scorching sun and the cool ambiance of the mahal prompted us to drop the idea of Jantar Mantar. We headed straight back to the hotel.

In the evening, two more friends of ours, Raja and Bhupi joined us. When they reached, we noticed lot of noise downstairs at the hotel. It seemed like a baraat! Where is Khandu? We cant find him. After some enquiry we figured out that it was not his baraat.. :-P Khandu's baraat had assembled in another place, luckily not so far from the hotel.

As we got ready to go, Raja and Bhupi revealed that they had some last minute chores. Raja had to get his suit ironed and Bhupi had to get a shave.. Come on man, cant you have done this earlier? Chal chod yaar, teri shaadi thodi na hai.. No way.. Chal dhoondte hain.. Roaming around the locality, fulfilling both their needs, we were finally ready for the baraat. And that means dance... dance..

And Lo!! Raja!! He is the expert baraat dance. Actually he has got it in his DNA, as does his whole family, that we found many years later at his wedding!!

Everybody dressed up in sherwanis, suits and expensive sarees, walking down the streets of Jaipur, dancing to the dhol (rather forced to dance by Raja). It was probably the first time for me and Anoop. I have been to many north indian weddings before but never been part of the whole baraat.

Update: I couldnt finish the blog before new year.. So the rest comes from Jan 1, 2014.

The marriage ceremony was mostly routine as all other north indian weddings - dwaar pooja, some bargaining with "Saaliyaan" for entry, var maala exchange, group photographs. Then came the dinner part. There was huge crowd, probably one of the largest weddings I have seen in the North. It seems bhabhi's parents were pretty popular in Jaipur.

Oh, I forgot to mention the DJ. Raja and Bhupi had been talking about showcasing (or was it show off) their dancing skills at the dance floor. Unfortunately, there was no DJ. This pissed them off and Bhupi kept cribbing about missing it. That seemed to have gotten to the ears of the bride's side, which led to our next ordeal - the dinner.

In Rajasthan, people close to the groom - his relatives, friends - are served food by the bride's relatives. This is a tradition. So we were all made to sit on tables and they started serving. Usually there are so many items on the buffet and you are free to choose what you want to eat. But here, we were supposed to eat everything on the menu. Oh man!!

On top of that, they had to make sure that Bhupi (and his accomplices, i.e. us) was fully satisfied. Aakhir DJ ki kami mahsoos nahi honi chahiye. There was a procession of people, chacha, tau, phupha, mama, mousa, bhaiya, and I dont know who else, all wanted to feed us with a piece of sweet with their own hands. Uff.. That was hell lot of sweets, easily the most I have eaten in my entire life.

The actual marriage ceremony was pretty short and with very meager crowd, and most of them half asleep. It was almost dawn (which is pretty early in the summer) and there were no auto/taxiz, so we decided to walk back to the hotel. Slept for few hours, had breakfast at the hotel (I still remember how nice the bread toast was), headed to the bus terminus, got seats in a deluxe bus and by evening we were back in Delhi.

It was one of those trips which will be remembered for the amount of sweets that I ate. There is another one of those, which I will blog some other day. That is in the land of Bengalis, of course for another wedding.


Bhupendra Kumar said…
It was awful to me when I talked about KHATIRDHARI (hospitality) to them, They all popped up! I screamed and said that I could not hold this much khatirdhari!
I will never forget Khandu's marriage....just like Girish ;-)

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