Pam, I’m havin’ Anokhi…

Shopping in Jaipur does entail some planning, otherwise you risk ending up in a driver’s choice of shop, which means overpriced shoddy tat that they get an 80% cut of the final price. I had a list of stores I wanted to visit, ahhh interweb, you are not all evil and trolling, you do serve up some naughty but nice options.

Day 1 proper here was picking up where it left off last time re sightseeing, first up to the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, set near Amber Fort, showcasing the history, tools and techniques if block printing. The pieces in the restored haweli are stunning, and the setting of the renovated building is perfect.

Amber Fort was heaving with tourists, guides, touts etc. I’d been before but had only a vague recollection of it and that we had had a guide….left a lasting impression clearly. Nahagarh Fort, aka Tiger Fort has had a bit of a makeover, which was good to see, as the rushed last minute viewing as it was closing (back in 2013) involved being shown all the hideous graffiti left by tourists. The guide was palpably upset, and at the end of our whistlestop viewing refused any money for having taken his time up.

I had kept the day to a 4pm stop, so a quick Sweet Lassi at Lassiwallah with Imran, my impeccable driver and I was home in time for a quick explore to Anokhi. By explore, I mean a mad purchasing moment.

Anokhi has been around for about 40yrs, creating high quality block print products across a wide range of homeware and clothing. The men’s shirts are a win for me,  as I can actually fit into them. The homeware is a joy as I don’t need to fit into any of it, however that makes you (me) become slightly irrational in the purchasing dept. Therefore one quilt, bed sheet, 4 curtains, 2 shirts later I staggered out into the night, after an early supper in the cafe, planning the posting home of my recent acquisitions and promising myself no more shopping…in Jaipur…Still, no harm in looking…right?

So I made a plan for day 3, post office, and a ‘stroll’ a long MI Road, visiting a number of particular stores, oh, and maybe a lassi at Lassiwallah too. When I say stroll, I really mean a forced march, avoiding the traffic that sweeps up behind you, horns a-blazing, and the taxi drivers, rickshaw wallah’s, and cycle rickshaw wallahs asking where you are going.

I was doing pretty well, I was on MI Road for a start, so that was a win, I’d divested myself of my parcel, win 2, sun was shining and I was pretty oblivious to the traffic when I heard a well mannered voice say ‘Madam, hello, what are you doing today?’, and I turned round to be greeted by an immaculately dressed cycle rickshaw driver with a shock of orange hennaed hair. Normally I’d brush off anyone who approaches me but he had a calmness and gentleness,  can’t really explain it. ‘We are going for lassi’, I said. ‘Would you like one, I’m buying?’


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