Kate Allen Stukenberg
- October 27, 2010
Gems and saris, palace lodging and lassis, this fall is a great time to trek (and we use the term loosely) through magical India. Make a longish stopover in Jaipur for some of the chicest shopping, following the jodhpurs of PaperCity’s fashion director Kate Allen Stukenberg as she journeys from New Delhi to Mumbai.
A destination unto itself, the Oberoi Rajvilas is set amidst 32 acres of landscaped gardens with pavilions and reflection pools. Stay in one of the carefully appointed rooms, royal tents or luxury villas, the latter of which include a private pool. Rates and reservations, oberoihotels.com
. Roopraj Durries, Jodhpur
About a 40-minute drive outside Jodhpur, down a long dirt road and past several villages, you’ll find Roopraj Prajapati inside his stylish hut (solar-powered, no less), where he and his family hand-loom fine cotton, silk and wool durries that are to die for. He’ll have a few finished pieces for you to choose from, but it’s best to arrive with an idea of size and thread color, and with pictures of the rug design you’re envisioning. The process takes about three months, and Roopraj will ship it to your home. rooprajdurry.com
Taj Rambagh Palace
The first heritage hotel in India, Rambagh Palace was built in 1835 on a modest scale for the queen’s favorite handmaiden, Kesar Badaran, then later refurbished as a royal guesthouse and hunting lodge. In 1925, Rambagh was converted into a palace and became the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. It’s worth visiting for a drink or dinner even if you’re not staying there. Rates and reservations, tajhotels.com
. Yellow Tree Café, Mumbai
New friends we made on our travels introduced us to this hip restaurant, tucked away in the upscale suburban neighborhood of Bandra. Yellow Tree serves an excellent mix of Mediterranean, Italian and Continental food, which can be hard to come by while traveling through many of the smaller towns in India. 33, Ambedkar Road junction, Bandra West.
Good Earth, Mumbai & Delhi
This must be where stylish Indian brides register for their weddings. From luxury linens to china, crystal and silver, this chic home boutique carries it all. We stocked up on block-print quilts, duvets and pillows. goodearthindia.com
Visit the wholesale bangle and Indian costume jewelry shops located in Jaipur’s old city on Maniharon Ka Rasta, near the Tripolia Bazar, to find the coveted lac bangles and colorful enamel Indian earrings at bargain prices. Hot, Indeed Chic boutique Hot Pink carries edited collections by many of India’s top luxury designers, plus a variety of great Indian-inspired gifts. Narain Niwas Palace, Narain Singh Road, Jaipur, 302004; hotpinkindia.com
Veda, New Delhi
The over-the-top baroque decor of this Connaught Place Indian restaurant, lounge and bar includes oversized Venetian mirrors layered over mirrored walls with gold-leaf accents, black-leather Winchester-style sofas and domed ceilings embellished with the kri ka kaam, a special Indian art that uses glasswork from the arid regions of Rajasthan. Menu and location, vedarestaurants.com
The Gem Palace
In Jaipur, make a beeline to The Gem Palace. This historic jewelry boutique was established in 1852 by the Kasliwal family, who for more than eight generations had the distinction of being court jewelers to Moghul emperors. Today they offer gems including rubies, diamonds, emeralds, peridots, citrines and aquamarines, cut and set into collections ranging from traditional Indian to Victorian, as well as an assortment of contemporary styles. For years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has commissioned The Gem Palace to create special pieces highlighting the jewels and techniques of ancient time periods in Egypt, Greece and Rome. Mirza Ismail Road, Jaipur, 302001; gempalacejaipur.com
This retail chain can be found throughout India, but the Jaipur location is one of the largest — no surprise, considering the company was founded in the Pink City. You’ll find colorful and stylish hand-block print textiles in everything from bathrobes and tunics to scarves and bedspreads. Make time for French-press coffee and cupcakes at Anokhi Café, located on the same floor. Locations, anokhi.com
This jewelry shop has multiple locations throughout Rajasthan, but you can only make a bargain at the Jaipur shop on Panch Batti, as their other locations are fixed-price boutiques. Best-known for silver, Amrapali also carries a variety of gold collections, both contemporary and traditional Indian pieces. Locations, amrapalijewels.com
Scarves worn over the head and neck are a great alternative to a hat midday, when the Indian sun truly starts to heat up. Pack one for the trip and pick up a few along the way at the many block-print textile shops throughout town. Day Break
Take a break from shopping and refresh with a lassi. Note, the real Lassiwala is on your left, next to the alleyway, and boasts “Since 1944”; imitators are to the right as you face it. It is the undisputed best spot for the famous creamy Indian yogurt drink. Lassiwala 3i2, Mirza Ismail Road, Jaipur 302001.
Intrepid traveler Kate Allen Stukenberg in navy, with friend Elizabeth Charpiot in Jaipur