Monkey’s and Munchies

09 March 2015

What a very educational day and interesting weekend it has been!

Today, we visited the Amber Fort in Jaipur, where there once lived a King with 12 wives… But this didn’t stop him indulging in a good pamper wherever possible!

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These pictures show a steam room, which operated by servants boiling water in the next room and steam entering through little holes and a Jacuzzi, which was filled with hot water which bubbled somehow through some law of physics that I’ve totally forgotten now. The entire place was also air-conditioned, by having water run behind the marble walls and cool air pushing through little holes as a result.

He also had quite the wok!

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That must have been some dinner party!

The high-light of this visit for me was a nifty instrument I bought from a street seller…

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A Ravanhatta!

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With a coconut base and a bamboo neck, I thought this was an impressive piece of craftsmanship! While I haven’t quite sussed how to play it yet… I’m sure, with time, I’ll become an expert!

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Saturday was an awesome day. We visited the Krishna temple, took in the breath-taking views of the Nahargarh fort, and an absolute high-light for me… The Monkey Temple!

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On the drive, we also saw the Water Palace, which was first brought to my attention by a particularly tasty episode of Reza: Spice Prince of India, leaving me to associate this view with tasty curry and therefore build up a sharp appetite.

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Then came an evening of delicious delights.

An event was being held called Chowkhi Dhani- a rainbow of Indian flavours for just 500 Rupees!

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Despite this giant menu greeting us at the entrance, I still have no idea really what I ate, or at least which was which. But I can tell you my favourite was Yellow!

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Oh, Yellow!

Places were paid on entry, then seated on a first come first serve basis. And thank goodness we got in on the first sitting, because the queue built up quickly! The team behind it gave great service, were very attentive, and kept our plates loaded with various Thali flavours!

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I hope to find a recipe for Yellow soon enough.

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After dinner, the event also had a variety of dance performances, fun-fair style games to play, shops with lovely bits and bobs (really regret not getting a set of teacups now) and an Artisan Village to explore, which included jungles, caves, slides and houses, offering a sample of the many colours and diversities in style that fill India.

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I can’t believe we’ve been here only two weeks and seen so much already! India is extraordinary!

 

Camels and Camping

05 March 2015

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This day has held very many firsts for me!

We took the bus 3 hours from Jaipur to Pushkar, a small holy town effectively consisting of only one street running right the way through with market stalls and a great temple in the centre, and a Holy Lake where the people go to pray.

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We were first taken through an example of prayer, which culminated in a wish for our loved ones, and throwing flowers to the river to seal the wish.

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We then briefly explored the market and temples, but kept it quick as the town was all a hustle and bustle in preparation for tomorrow’s annual Holi Festival, which will take place all over India!

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So we grabbed a quick spot of lunch overlooking the beautiful Holy Lake

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Before heading off on our adventure!

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We took a camel ride, two and a half hours right through Pushkar’s Thar Desert, taking us past beautiful hills and mountains.

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I absolutely loved this! Considering I’ve never so much as rode a horse, it was very new and… bumpy! And my camel was a little naughty, more interested in talking to other camels than walking anywhere, but I loved him all the more for it!

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Finally, we arrived at our destination. Camp! Again, other than a night in mum and dad’s back garden with my sister, something I have never done before! We got there just in time to witness a serene desert sunset

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Before tucking in to some chicken and paneer tikka skewers.

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Mmmmm.

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Since then, we’ve all been relaxing together around the campfire. But now, at 10:00, the time has come to get a reasonably early night, (in a tent that, by the way, is held up by bamboo) as we need to make a sharp start tomorrow at 5:30, in order to be back to the bus in Pushkar and return to Jaipur in good time to beat the Holi Festival traffic.

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Night!