( Recipe in the next post )
Jaipur in Rajasthan is a city of Kings and Queens, of camels and elephants, of Palaces and marble quarries. It is a city of pink walls and pink sandstone buildings. It is a city of men with brightly coloured turbans and women with equally bright saris contrasting the ochre desert behind, Of innocent eyes and hearty smiles and above all, of great food.
We were lucky to be able to enjoy a small holiday in India this spring. We spent four days in this magical city.
I would like to share with you what we saw and what we ate.
“There are over 900 small windows”, he said pointing his first finger upwards. This was followed by a palpable pause, as if giving us time to come to terms to the information he just shared. Amit, an energetic twenty something, was our tour guide showing around Hawa Mahal, or Palace of winds ( top picture ), this iconic landmark of Jaipur, India. Built in 1799, the Hawa mahal, was where the royal ladies enjoyed the outside world from, without themselves being visible.
There was architecture to cherish every which way.
The City Palace gave a glimpse of the splendour of the royal life. The textile exhibits and the armouries were exquisite and worth a visit.
My eyes were drawn to the shiny pots being neatly arranged for some celebration later in the evening. I counted 13 servings on each side. Try to imagine their contents !
Jantar Mantar, our next attraction, literally translates to “Calculating Instrument”. Completed in 1734 it allowed the observation of Astronomical positions with the naked eye.
The Amer fort stood majestically against the blue sky. The geometric pillars and elaborate windows made me think of the days gone by. Mystery, romance, intrigue and so much more, If only the walls could talk!
It was time to head out for some food. Amit directed us to the “Pink city” restaurant. We wanted to try the local fare. The place was packed with locals and tourists alike. We started with sweet lassi, a yoghurt drink garnished generously with pistachio slivers and rose syrup.
The vegetarian Thali (plate), was an elaborate affair, containing nine or ten small bowls neatly arranged around a big dinner plate. Mouth watering yoghurt dish, soul satisfying lentils, curry made with Poppadums, dry dish with cauliflower, raita, rice pudding each calling my name. Rice and two different flatbreads, salad to accompany the above.
“Virasat’, was the next place we headed for food on day 2. This was a royal dining experience. Plush low sitting stools, food in silver ware, live folk music, complete with a throne, as a photo opportunity.
There was sweet cotton candy and spicy fried Poppadums on the streets.
We took a day trip to Pushkar, a sleepy, small town about couple hours away. This town gets busy in November hosting the largest Cattle fair in the world.
The choices for transport were many. You had the luxury travel bus, Hyndui sedan or brightly decorated double humped camels. Take your pick.
The roadsides were packed with hawkers selling sweets of all shapes garnished with rose petal and nuts.
Evenings were spent enjoying the local culture. Beautifully dressed women balancing pots on their heads while effortlessly swirling around.
Rajasthan has so much to offer, I need a longer break to savour it all.
Khambagani, as they say respectfully…