Rajasthan’s state capital is a compelling blend of huge hillside forts, extravagant palaces, bustling bazaars, memorable heritage hotels and almost comically thronged streets.
Travel bucket list idea:
Raj Mandir Cinema
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India|
Commonly referred to as ‘Bollywood’ and mainly centred on Mumbai, the Indian film industry is huge and probably the world’s largest. Its staple themes of romance and melodrama are famed above all for their elaborate, frequently surreal, song-and-dance sequences. In this ever-popular genre, reality and pure escapism live side by side, one blending into the other. Seeing a Bollywood movie is thus an authentically ‘Indian’ experience.
If you only venture into one Indian cinema, this should be it. Opened in 1976, it immediately became a landmark for its size and design – a flamboyant confection of late art deco style with lobby chandeliers, ornamental ceilings and floral scent piped through the air-conditioning. Seating is divided into Pearl, Ruby, Emerald and Diamond zones reflecting its owners’ gem dealing business which helped fund its construction.
Although movies are not in English, Bollywood stories are usually very easy to follow, and simply sitting among an all-Indian audience, who tend to clap, cheer and sing their way through movies, is an experience in itself.
Getting there & doing it
Standing in down-town Jaipur just south of the Old City near Ajmeri Gate, the cinema is easy to reach and find. Every taxi and rickshaw driver knows it. Chandpole and Chhoti Chaupar metro stations are closest to the cinema – about 10-15 minutes’ walk.
Virtually all screenings are Bollywood movies in Hindi or other Indian languages. Expect an interval, sometimes two, and plenty of cheery audience participation at key moments of drama.
Tickets are bookable on-line (but there are anecdotal reports of cloned card details so might be best to turn up and pay in cash).
When to do it
Typically, there are four screenings per day and being a popular cinema it’s almost always busy, particularly at weekends.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience
India’s cultural essence combined with its most iconic sights and greatest bucket list experiences, all distilled into one compact, diverse and vibrant region.