As promised, today we have been to the Albert Hall. Technically it is the Jaipur Central Museum and it is housed in the Albert Hall. No, not THAT Albert Hall, the one here in Jaipur.
This Albert Hall is an outrageous architectural confection of mixed Indian and British architecture. It was designed by Sir Swinton Jacob and the Lonely Planet Guide describes it as “florid” and who am I to argue with that. It is part of the expansion of building outside the walls of the Pink City during the later 19th century and was very much the Jewel of Jaipur when it opened in 1887. It is called the Albert Hall in honour of the then Prince of Wales, Edward Albert, Queen Victoria’s eldest son who laid the foundation stone when he visited India a few years previously. According to the excellent audio guide they then had a foundation stone but no building, so they commissioned the building that didn’t have a purpose so they made it into a museum. Phew, we got there in the end!
In fact it’s a very pleasant way to while away a couple of hours. It’s an eclectic collection of stuff, in fact one cabinet contained two items each labelled “stuff” which delighted me but looking closely I decided that it was a spelling error and should have said “staff”; I do hope they leave it as it is. It’s by no means all Indian exhibits, they have an actual Egyptian mummy that was the star of the show when the museum opened.
We particularly liked the pottery gallery with exhibits from all over where we could compare Indian artefacts with Wedgwood, Milton etc.. It also showed different Indian styles and there is some really beautiful old Jaipur Blue pottery. There’s a good armoury and a wonderful gallery of Indian fabrics. A couple of hours is plenty so we went into their on site coffee shop (decent coffee and air conditioned) before rendezvousing with our excellent Tuk-Tuk driver who took us an interesting route through more bazars (Pet Bazar/Book Bazar/Motor Bike Bazar) back to our hotel.
We’ve packing to do as we’re off in the morning to go and see the tigers. Hopefully.
7 March 2017