The “Pink City” of Jaipur, one push-pin point on the “Golden Triangle” (along with Delhi and Agra), has so much to recommend it, it’s worth more than one cursory day trip.
- Ride to the top of Amer Fort atop an elephant, like the Raj’s used to do it. OK, so it’s touristy and you’ll get lunged at by photographers hawking those pictures taken of you on the ride up, but, hey, where else are you going to do this? (And, how did these hustlers find you, anyway, among all of those hundreds of people? Impressive). Once up top, take time to tour the Palace within the walls of the fort for its magnificently adorned rooms.
- Ogle the bejeweled walls of the Amer Fort Palace in the Hall of Mirrors (Sheesh Mahal), tiny convex mirrors and colored glass compositions that form a breathtaking kaleidoscope. The Palace complex itself consists of four courtyards, each with its own use and history. But the mirrored series of rooms are by far the most captivating – and one can only imagine what it was like to see tens of thousands of tiny reflective surfaces aglitter in candlelight. Historians have compared it to being inside a dazzling jewel box.
- Take a picture of the pink Wind Palace (Hawa Mahal) – quite possibly the most photographed and iconic structure in Jaipur. It is essentially a multi-tiered latticed screen wall, built in 1799 to hide the faces of the female Royals who could look upon the street processions below while protecting their modesty.
- Tour the City Palace, Jaipur. One of the more “modern” palaces, this series of buildings and courtyards was built in 1729 for the Maharaja of Jaipur, and is a delight to tour – if just for the ornately designed doors and archways alone. Be sure to look for the courtyard sporting fantastic peacock renderings – they look like the real thing, but if you can imagine, even more colorful.
- Wander among the soaring sundials at Jantar Mantar – an outdoor observatory park.This collection of 19 astronomical instruments, some the size of two-story buildings and spread out over a couple of acres, could pass for a popular playground in the USA. The various architectural structures built in masonry, stone and brass are just aching to be climbed (but you can’t). Built in 1734, it is an engineering and scientific wonder – and a prime example of Ptolemaic positional astronomy, the theory shared by most of the world’s scientists of the day.
- Learn about the cuisine of Northern India by helping to prepare it yourself with Divya Singh. It might take awhile to find her home – as it’s in a back ally amidst the craziness of Old Jaipur Bazaar. (Divya sends an employee out to fetch her customers when they get lost). And it may seem as if you’re heading to a less than stellar abode, but do not despair. As soon as you walk in the door, the mayhem outside melts away. Divya begins her cooking class, over tea, with a cultural exchange of ideas in her lovely living room. Then it’s time to move up to the instruction and dining area – another eye-catching surprise. Divya enlists your help to prepare and then eat a meal in a newly stenciled large blue room. It’s a wonderful way to learn about Indian cooking methods with a gracious host. The meal itself is delicious. For now, contact Divya Singh at divyakalwara@ to book a cooking class. (Divya also runs a B&B – ; pretty pleasant rooms with shared bath cost just $20-$26 per night).
This article is originated from http://dnasyndication.com/dna/dna_english_news_and_features/A-culinary-trail-Kalwara/DNJAI61286
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