The first time I went there, I was spellbound by its beauty. It is very difficult for a city to impress and leave an unforgettable experience on people’s mind in the very first glance and Jaipur, the capital of the largest state in India definitely surpasses that. My first visit there fifteen years ago can be summed up in two words : Royal Beauty. But watching the community shape up in the last decade and a half, Jaipur has successfully got itself a position in the ‘Golden Triangle’.
Referred also as the pink city due to its gorgeous cupcake frosting coloured buildings, Jaipur initially attracted mass tourists owing to its forts and palaces. I remember going for a traditional elephant ride from one fort to another. But, soon the city became a hub for culture as well as for business. In my next visit after two years, I witnessed mushrooming shops of pure silver jewellery and precious gem stone processing units with the most skilled craftsmen working for them. I remember my mother buying my first pair of pure silver payal (Indian anklet) for me from one of those shops. The never-seen before meenakari works, which is filling jewellery with color became increasingly popular in all cultures worldwide. Before I even knew the people commenced coming to Jaipur in order to buy their raw materials for jewellery and textile business, giving a rise to the export market in Jaipur. Owing to cheap labour costs, mass production of camel leather wear in a town called Bagru became the speciality of the Jaipur. During 2009, the beautiful block printing, vegetable dyes for cotton, tussar etc, handmade cloth material called bandhani (tie and dye) attracted me to the city for the third time. With major Bollywood stars making a fashion statement in India, jaipuri prints became a worldwide fashion.
As you can see, In less than a couple years, it was the no more the stereotypical elephants or the forts attracting and promoting tourism but, a lot of the deep embedded culture, food, music, business etc became instrumental in making Jaipur today a cosmopolitan hub. Owing to its royal historic pasts, the infamous ten course meals were something every foreigner definitely tried before leaving the city. Soon, there were designer hotels showcasing and promoting their rich culture and hoisting royal weddings for big Hollywood celebrities. The fashion outburst of henna went on a drum roll, making it a famous form of temporary tattoo worldwide.
Therefore, I feel extremely lucky to have witnessed one of the biggest transformations in community and tourism boom of Indian history in a decade.