Hidden amid the high-end multi-storeyed residential buildings and luxurious bungalows of Bani Park, is a green haven that has an inimitable rustic charm of yore – the Jaipur Inn. As one enters the homely family-run Bed n Breakfast, the extravagant collection of plants coupled with unusual elements like an ejected pilot seat of a Mig 21, a jhoola made out of the nivar (webbing) of an old charpai and a plant holder upcycled from a discarded water pump, welcome the discerning travellers.
A Rich Legacy
“The history of Jaipur Inn goes back to as early as the 1960s when an 8000 square yard land was bought by my grandfather in Bani Park, which was then a barren land. After making three rooms, he moved on to something else. Later the land was divided into four sons – out of which my father, late father retd. Wing Commander R.N. Bhargava inherited the 2000 square yard portion which today stands as the Jaipur Inn. In 1975-76, it was born with just two rooms in the unfinished house”, tells Pushpendra Bhargava, the owner of the inn.
Originally a camping and caravanning site, the first guests at the Jaipur Inn were mainly overland travellers from Europe who came in vehicles as diverse as caravans and buses to tandems and camel carts. While most carried their kitchens with them, others also brought their pets along. Back in the day, the inn had only one room with an attached bathroom and most of the guests stayed either in the dormitory on the ground floor or in rooms with a common bathroom.
Slowly Pushpendra took the reins in his hands and crafted the place with his labour of love. Today it stands as a family-run 20-room boutique inn. “As a child, I travelled the world sitting at home. Interacting with the visitors gave me an opportunity to interact with travellers from across the globe and learn from their stories and experiences. From architects, electricians and carpenters, the guests belonged to diverse occupational fields and contributed with their skills, knowledge and advice in making what the place is today.”
Tastefully crafted and curated
Each corner of the Jaipur Inn tells a unique story. Thanks to the inspiration from their neighbour, Kripal Singh Shekhawat, who was the doyen of blue pottery, the walls in the ground floor café have inbuilt water coolers that are beautifully camouflaged with broken blue pottery plates. Chipped and broken pieces of blue pottery plates have been aesthetically put to use at various spots in the guest house. The staircase is filled with photographs clicked and shared by the guests who have stayed with them over the years.
Other memorabilia like a lamp, churner, a large collection of empty bottles and even a scooter — all belonging to Pushpendra’s father have also found a place in the retreat. A handwritten note near the lamp reads: “Please rub. If you spot him, say hi from our side too”. There are books and games that guests can borrow and signature Rajasthani block print bedsheets that they can take back home with them as a souvenir.
Just like his father, Pushpendra actively takes new initiatives to connect with his guests in unique ways. Currently, he is working on building a recipe book of different dishes from around the world. “We have gotten recipes from our helpers and guests from many different countries who have cooked at Jaipur Inn and are looking for more. We hope to eventually compile them into a recipe book and publish it as ‘Recipes of the Jaipur Inn’”, tells Pushpendra.
In another interesting initiative, Pushpendra takes his guests for a 12,000 step walk from Jaipur Inn to Nahargarh Fort to catch the sunrise. “This is a great way for them to know the city and also to meet and interact with our guests”, adds Pushpendra.
Offering a number of options to stay — like a treetop room, luxury room, pet-friendly room, among others — there is also a stay exchange option that Jaipur Inn offers. As a part of this, guests who want to stay for a longer period of time can choose to offer their skills and services in exchange for a stay. For instance, a yoga instructor can take yoga classes for the guests or someone who knows how to paint can create artworks for the hotel or refurbish the paint on the iron structures and wooden doors and windows in the inn.
While you may not get an exhaustive buffet breakfast or on-call room service here, Jaipur Inn offers an old-world, homely experience that is sure to be a welcome break from the run-of-the-mill hotels.