Even the most often travelled-to cities hold certain secrets that many travellers don’t pay much attention to. To the shopaholic in me, these also mean souvenirs and I never fail to cram my bags with must-buy things from wherever I travel to. While a lot has been said and written about holidaying and sightseeing in the city, here are five things you absolutely must buy in Jodhpur.
1. Tayeb Khan’s handcrafted sarees
While royalty, palaces, camel rides feature in any Jodhpur visitor’s to-do list, but a lesser-known celebrity of the city is Mohammed Tayeb Khan, a shy craftsman to royalty, who needs a lot of cajoling to get his pictures clicked. The fact that he is a Padma Shri awarded master dyer is an affirmation of his incredible craft. He actually invented a technique of ombre dyeing in shaded lehriya – an innovation for which he is famous the world over. The last I went to him, he was putting together a batch of safas for an NRI wedding in London. His tie-and-dye technique is so intricate that it is difficult to find a dot bigger than the head of a pin. He also uses pearly pastel colours – different from the bright hues normally synonymous with bandhej. And the best bit – he is rather affordable. So you can stuff your bags with sarees, safas and dupattas in hues of happiness
Lac, glass, imitation bone and even stone, take your pick from a wide variety of bangles. While the more expensive ones are in Jodhpur’s many souvenir shops, I suggest you go to the Sadar Bazaar in the old part of Jodhpur to get the most rustic and most colourful (and darn cheap!) varieties.
3. Chillies and spices
Mathaniya’s chillies are renowned the world over for their rich dark red color and a pungency to set your palates on fire. Visit this town about an hour’s drive from Jodhpur and grind your own stock of the most flavoursome chillies. If that is a chore for you, visit the bylanes of Sadar Bazar and pick the most flavourful spices and chillies ever!
If the chillies set your taste buds on fire, soothe them with a melt-in-the-mouth ghevar. Ghevar is a Rajasthani delicacy especially prepared during the festivals of Teej & Rakhi – but at leading sweet shops, such as Janta Sweets or Jodhpur Sweet House, it is usually available through the year. Choose from plain, mava (with dry fruits) or malai and you will be craving to go back for more.
5. Mawa Kachori
A mawa kachori is a sweet that has a longer shelf-life than ghevar. I refrigerated it as soon as I came back from Jodhpur and enjoyed it after heating in the microwave for about a week. These have a sweet stuffing (of khoya and dry fruits) and are ooze sugar syrup. You have to be brave to finish one as they as really filling. Bet your taste buds and your stomach will be arguing about whether to pick a second one!
Text and images by Aarti Kapur Singh