Jaipur and Jodhpur


The Palace of the Winds, Jaipur. Just out of shot: 2,389 people trying to sell me a variety of objects whittled out of wood.


One of the reasons Indian cooking can seem daunting – the sheer number of spices, many of them unobtainable in the West, and the rest unobtainable fresh in the West. Even the onions are special – they look like normal red onions, but are far less sweet than Spanish onion.


These were the lovely ladies and their son who opened their haveli, the Sankotra, to us in Jaipur and showed me how to make some local dishes.


Alexander McCall Smith in inaction at the Jaipur Literary Festival.


The ingredients used to make up paan, which all middle aged male Indians seem to chew habitually, turning their teeth, lips, tongue and, ultimately, the gutters of India rusty red.


Jodhpur's fabulous – in the literal sense of the word – Mehrangarh Fort.


I chanced upon a Bollywood movie being shot at the Fort. WIth proper, famous Indian movie stars, apparently.


More of the astonishing sandstone architecture at the Fort. It was the most impressive and magical fort we saw in India, but receives fewer than 100,000 foreign visitors every year. Mildl interesting Indian tourist statistic No.2: India as a whole receives fewer foreign tourists than Madame Tussauds (around 4.5 million per annum, of whom a large part are from Bangladesh and Pakistan). 

This is the view from the Fort, of the 'Blue City' below – its houses painted blue by the Brahmin inhabitants to alert everyone to their high caste. Also, it is said, the blue repels mosquitoes and helps keep them cool. 


Street food in Jodhpur: small droplets of batter are deep fried, then the resulting pea-sized balls are rolled together to make sugary, bite-sized snacks. Molecular spherification! Pah!


Tandoor ovens bring out the food nerd in me, I am afraid. These are just a couple of the terrible, excited-blurry photos I have taken in Indian restaurant kitchens while on our journey.


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