The Pigeons of Jaipur

The City Palace is one of the most frequented tourist destination in Jaipur. Throngs of tourists, both Indian and foreigners, come to see this beautiful palace/museum everyday.

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The City Palace, Jaipur

All the tourists, whether they arrive in those mammoth Volvos or in the humble ‘desi’ alternative– the cycle rickshaws, have to enter the vicinity of the City Palace via a narrow gate.

I call it the ‘Pigeon Gate‘ and this is where our story starts.

Do you recall the “Coo-Coo” sound that a pigeon makes? Some people like it while some people abhor it.

Now amplify the same Coo-Coo sound a million times, add to that the sound made by the flapping of an unimaginable number of wings– that’s what standing at the Pigeon Gate feels like.

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Get Out Of The Way!!
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Now, don’t get me wrong. It is indeed an astonishingly overwhelming experience to be surrounded by pigeons who outnumber the population of certain European cities. But that’s not what this article is about.

This article is about a symbiotic relationship between humans and pigeons probably unique to this place.

Right in front of the Pigeon Gate is a massive courtyard bisected by a busy road (the same road that passes through the Pigeon Gate and eventually leads to the City Palace). The vicinity of the courtyard seems to be the favourite hangout spot of all the Pigeons of Jaipur. Boy, do they rule this place!

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The reason for this strange endearment towards this particular area, as I later found out, is food! The courtyard is perennially brimming with food grains, purposely thrown by both the tourists and the locals.

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Meanwhile, Mrs. Cow enjoying the Feast!
Flocks after flocks of pigeons accumulate all over and around the courtyard and hungrily gnaw at the abundant feast lying there. Once a flock has eaten to its heart’s content, it flies away from the spot to make way for the next flock of pigeons to do the same. Yes, all of them fly off at once! (And trust me, it is an unforgettable moment when a flock of thousands of pigeons just casually flies over your head!).
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Now here comes the interesting part. At one corner of the very same courtyard, a bunch of people were selling food-grains, which were kept in open baskets, to the tourists. Surprisingly, not even a single pigeon made an attempt to steal the food kept in the open baskets of the food-grain sellers. It was as if both the parties- the pigeons and the sellers, had made a silent agreement to keep this fruitful partnership going.

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Both of them respected each other’s territory. Both of them enjoyed the fruits!
How beautiful!

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Struck by the discovery of this constructive paradigm, I broke into a smile of cognizance.
Since it was the only thing left to do, I bought a packet of grains for 60 bucks and fed the street smart pigeons.

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I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time. Neither could they.

-Vibhav Bisht


The author is a hardworking lazy-ass! He loves to travel though!
Feel free to disturb his naps on Twitter and Facebook.

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© Copyright for all the images owned by SlowRover and Vibhav Bisht. 

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32 thoughts on “The Pigeons of Jaipur

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  5. Hmmm I’m not sure I’d enjoy this, since I’m pretty scared of birds! Looks kinda cool though so maybe I’d have to try and face my fears. India looks amazing and I would love to go one day!

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  6. I have been to Jaipur and the City Palace. I don’t remember seeing the pigeons, but then I was probably too busy admiring the Palace. Though, if I had noticed what you did, I’d smile too. Thank you, I love India 🙂

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  7. Of all the animals I imagine when I picture India, I must admit that pigeons were not one of them. Although it is great to here that both the bird and human populations of the city are able to live alongside one another peaceably unlike so many European cities where pigeons are considered to be a nuance. Have to say though, not sure I would appreciate quite so many of them around me!

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    • I know. They’re considered a nuisance by most people. However, the traditions encourage the general population to treat all animals and flora with respect, thereby forming roots of this symbiotic relationship.
      Btw, it is scary when a ferocious flock of pigeons suddenly decide to fly over you head. But an experience worth having!

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  8. It’s funny how they stay away from the seller, and strange too.
    But I have to say I hate pigeons. I’m not scared, I simply hate them. I have no religion believes that drive me to respect all the animals so, if I could chose an animal race to be extinct in the next few minutes, pigeons will be my second choice. First, mosquitoes.

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  9. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pigeons! Great photos – I especially love the one with the cow in the middle of all the pigeons. Hmmm, it’s interesting that they don’t try to eat the food the vendors are selling. It must have taken years of fending them off to get them to respect boundaries.

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  10. Oh! I’ve been to Jaipur during my visit to India in February. I really loved it and had a lot of fun! However, I didn’t stop by to say hi to the pigeons. There seem to be a lot of pigeons there!

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  11. I must really go to India soon! Aside from my normal cruising around Europe, I wanted to do an indochina trip or an India-Sri Lanka-Maldives adventure. When I get to India, I am not sure I would visit Jaipur. Just imagine walking while eating your sandwich in a place full of pigeons! Haha 🙂

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  12. I have been to Jaipur a couple of times and have visited the City Palace but never came across the Pigeon Gate. I think I might have not noticed. Though I go not like pigeons, from your photos they really look wonderful. Would stop by this place if I get a chance to visit again. Thanks for the blog.

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  13. Oh wow lots of pigeons! This looks like the one in Milan. Would love to experience feeding them since I never been on a place with lots of pigeons. India sounds more interesting to me now.

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  14. I have to admit that I don’t particularly like pigeons, but your photos look amazing! Would love to visit Jaipur one day, I’ll probably be running away from the pigeons during most of my trip! 🙂

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  15. Such a curious place! I haven’t seen so many pigeons at one place. The closest I’ve seen are the pigeons in front of the cathedral in Milan where you can feed them and have pictures with them. I’ve never been scared of pigeons but so many at one place might be terrifying. I found it very interesting that they don’t steal the food from the open baskets.

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  16. Great piegon shots.
    Yes they are not hard to find but are always a photographer’s delight.
    Especially when they take flight together and blocks the sky above your head…

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  17. The birds really stole the show huh? I’m planning on heading to Jaipur next March and hope I can see more than the birds though. The museum and city hall look interesting

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  18. Pigeons are symbols of love and peace, though they may become a nuisance sometimes. It is amazing we find these kinds of spots across cities where pigeons congregate. I found them famously in Mumbai-Gateway of India, Venice-St Mark’s square, an obscure square in Paris, among others. But they are fascinating wherever they are.

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