Travel Diary: Rajasthan, India

Travel Diary: Jaipur

With quarantine blanketing our daily lives, it seems a lifetime away since any holidays or trips. In the midst of Covid-19, a reflection of my trip to India is what seems to be taking over my mind and what better way to document that journey than to share it with you lovely lot.

Having not been to the motherland in over 10 years, my recent trip was my first visit back as an adult. Having travelled to Punjab and Rajasthan, I will be particularly reflecting on my time in Rajasthan, Jaipur. This was a trip with my parents and two aunties…

As we drove into Jaipur, I was under the impression that the ‘Pink City’ would not be so literally pink. It was magnificent! In the late 19th century, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur had the whole city painted pink in order to celebrate the arrival of Prince Albert. Every building and wall are still to this day maintained and thrives as a pink hub.

Our hotel was called the Golden Tulip. On arrival the entrance seemed grimy and I’m not going to lie I was a bit worried, however, once our driver passed through the car tunnel the actual hotel entrance was a calming contrast to the street on the other side (phew!). We were greeted by the politest staff and throughout the stay they were fantastic. The hospitality industry in India never fails to impress and the staff in Jaipur were no different- not many people would put up with the number of pictures I made these guys take of me!

CITY PALACE: hoping the Prince will stumble upon me being candid as hell

Our 4 days in Jaipur were overflowing in history and food and we were lucky enough to have a driver who bought the honesty of a true Punjabi to Jaipur. Following the 8-hour drive from Punjab to Jaipur, we went straight to the hotel restaurant which filled our bellies, ready for the epic sleep that would prepare us for the next day.

The overall feel of Jaipur magnified with each and every sight, from the historic buildings to the traditional jewellers that made you feel like you were in Jodha Akbar (which I actually visited the palace of- *squeals). We found a Hindi speaking tour guide – literally came up to us in the middle of the road – who showed us the beauts of Jaipur and thank god that one of my auntie’s had exceptional Hindi speaking skills – because I butcher that ish.

I did have the pleasure of going to an elephant sanctuary, however, on reflection I’m not sure how much of a sanctuary it was. I still let the tourist in me take over and went on a short elephant ride, but next time I would definitely ask more questions about the care of the animals.

The Top 5 sites that I would recommend in Jaipur, signed sealed and delivered by myself would be:

  1. Amber Palace – This old school architecture will seriously blow your socks off.  This palace was a military marvel as well as a representation of old Rajasthan.
  2. Hawa Mahal – Literally translates to Palace of Winds.  I would come here at night to see the many windows light up. Back in the day, princesses could sit in here and look at parades down below without people being able to look in (major stalker set up I reckon).
  3. City Palace – This is home to the royal family, even today, and is a chance for you to learn more about Rajasthani monarchy and India’s interactions with Britain at the time.
  4. Rajmahal Palace – this gorgeous palace was one of my favourites, and not just because Bollywood movies were filmed here… The intricate designs and grandeur of this foundation made me feel separated from the built up word outside. Like I was inside a story, cringe I know, but it’s true.
  5. Jal Mahal – This palace floats in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake and because of the rising water level is not yet open to the public. It is rumoured that renovation means that the public may soon be able to visit inside in the next few years. For our trip, we gazed at the structure from the river side. I saw Jal Mahal at sunset and it was amazing, next time I would go at night when the Mahal is lit up.

Jaipur is definitely a must if you’re visiting India, and was a great first trip for to the state of Rajasthan. Can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of the state and, indeed, even more of India.

If you dare to dream of a post Covid-19 holiday:

Golden Tulip Hotel: https://jaipur.goldentulip.com/en-us?arrival=2020-03-29T00:00:00&departure=2020-03-30T00:00:00&rooms[0][adult]=1&rooms[0][child]=0&location=

Humble The Poet: A Live Experience Tour 2019

Gracing Shaw Theatre in Kings Cross, Kanwer Singh AKA Humble The Poet gave an insight into his writings with the aid of his trusty raps and backstory.

H U M B L E

Even though I was in the back row, the intimate theatre meant that Humble was addressing the entire audience with his story and how he went from extreme debt to touring the world with his book tour. With a teaching background Humble made it clear how his skill set lay in making a lot of information digestible for anyone.

Unlearn and Things That No One Else Can Teach Us not only began as self-published pieces of writing, but are an aid to many people to make the most out of their life and enforce the best mindset to succeed. As a speaker himself he was very honest and passionate about the downfalls of life, which is typically atypical of motivational speakers and writers.

From hard hitting life losses to re setting his priorities , Humble doesn’t spare his audience the gritty details of his journey and how it was not plain sailing his life. It was uplifting, sad and motivational all at the same time. It was great to see a Sikh take to the stage and magnify his creative platform to inspire and help others as well as revealing his work revolves around the notion of Seva (selfless service). His tour was used as a platform to promote this primary belief in other people and encourgae support of on another.

I appreciate that his book is not designed to be read in any particular order, but to cater to even the laziest of readers, which works perfectly for me. All of his works have a high recommendation from me and you can flick to any page to get a small life lesson.

HUMBLE’S WORK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Humble-Poet/s?rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_27%3AHumble+The+Poet

When I say Kojo, you say Funds…

The Golden Boy has given us a Warning that his tour around the UK is going to keep us in Check. He’s Dun Talkin, and ready to entertain the nation.

I had the pleasure of experiencing my first mosh pit in Manny last weekend. The vibe was hosted by Kojo Funds and his guests. Hosted at the o2 Ritz in Manchester, he graced the stage with his Golden Boy Mix tape and I thoroughly enjoyed!

We came into the venue and have to admit we weren’t there at the 7pm doors opening time… Asian Timing. We got there around 8:30pm when support act Alicai Harley was performing. She seemed very fun, kinda reminded me of Stefflon Don, but I don’t know if that was just the hair or not…

Fund’s hype man then took over and did as the title given to him, we got hyped! With tracks played, by Kojo Funds, as well as other tracks within the grime and hip hop genre I can say that this was just what we needed before the gig. As with standard for hype men, we did a right vs left side of the room competition, except this time the winning side had free merch fired into it. I just wasn’t strong enough to make the cut to grab a free t-shirt (sad times).

‘Brown skinned girl, get your silly on’

Then the gig began and out came Funds with a spark in his step as this was only his second performance of the tour. I must say he started strong and it was brilliant, but I noticed a lot of the time he got the audience to sing the song on his behalf. I mean I personally love it when this happens, but after a while it was a tad overkill ygm? As the gig went on, he continued to do this, but then replayed the song and sang all the way through, defo made up for this!

Me ft. Lonely Straw on the floor

I was surprised when he came off the stage and into the crowd (well near the front), and the crowd flippin loved it! I must say as well as the gig itself, the crowd was amazing and really did add to the vibe. I mean my friend and I ended up dancing with random people and eve got our pics taken (bonus – I know, I’m easily pleased).

Overall it was brill to go and see a gig in in a different city, especially a grime one as because I normally just stick to London. Also Manny is my uni city so woop woop!

How to Academy london: Peter Frankopan in conversation with Akala

Hosted in London, Professor Peter Frankopan – Global History at Oxford University, was joined by Rapper and Activist Akala to discuss the gaps in global history that we are taught in the UK. Frankopan’s book The Silk Roads highlights the importance of Eastern contributions and how today’s views of those contributions are overlooked.

With Britain often whitewashing their overview of history, European history is held at the forefront of the national curriculum which can uphold certain points in history over others. The Silk Roads outlines the importance of the Eastern network of travel and how this part of the world has contributed massively to global history. From fabrication to incorrect representation, it became apparent to me that so much of history is laced in ignorance and highlighted my own historical ignorance.

Following the summary of the book content and research, Professor Frankopan then conversed with Akala about how this ignorance still very much influences society today. From Brexit to opinions about the third world, our contextualisation of Britian is still headed with a European light. An example of this is the opinion that immigrants (note, that this type of migrant are called Expats when moving from a predominantly white country) are a drain on British resources, however, are unaware that the first generation of immigrants from Jamaica and India (who were British colonies at the time) had to fund themselves, unlike the Irish, to get into the UK. The Indian and Jamaican community were indeed contributing to the empire before their respective independences. A hypocrisy within itself.

This hypocrisy is highlighted in the conversation and outline that Greek and Roman architecture was adopted in the UK in order to uphold European ideals and reflections in history. It brings to light as to what ‘Britishness’ actually is if not a mix of chosen influences. This attitude is still mirrored in the financial world and how, as a society, we view global economy here in Britain. We are so aware that the East offers some of the richest economies in the world, and yet general consensus shows that we perceive them as inferior to the west.

After the concluding discussion, I felt more obliged to question how I had been taught history in school and how this influenced my opinion of Britain with respect to the world. I felt intrigued at how many societal viewpoints are shaped from how we are taught history. Akala outlined that when catering to ethnic monitories, Britain isn’t the most discriminatory in the world, however, there is much room for improvement – particularly in education and not upholding a one- sided curriculum. Outlining that Iran’s ratio of women to men in engineering was larger and that “Indian Aunties in sarees” are involved in the Indian technology space, on par with NASA, I for one now know that history lessons need to change.

Akala