My top fives won’t be your top fives but you might just find them helpful if you’re planning a trip yourself. I’d love to hear yours because I know I’ll be going back!
- Chaphati cooked on an open fire in the desert near Jaisalmer
- Masala Dosa from Hotel Saravanaa Bhavan, branches throughout India; we ate in Delhi
- Peanut masala from The Gulaal, Jaisalmer
- Home cooking at Pratap Bhawan, Jaipur
- Thali from Hotel Priya, Jodphur – R145 of heaven
Top 5 things to drink
- Chai on the trains – R10 of pure joy, often that’s just from the slogans on the cups
- Makhani Lassi, Jodphur – pudding in a glass
- Rosewater Lassi, Udaipur – my absolute favourite lassi but this contest was hotly debated amongst my travelling companions
- Sweet Lassi, Lassiwalla, Jaipur – some would say the original and best, came in its own clay pot which are made new everyday
- Fresh Lime Soda – available everywhere, the best ones come with sugar syrup to get the sweet/sharp balance just right
Top 5 places to stay
- Pratap Bawan, Jaipur – a lovely 4 room homestay run by the delightful Himanshu a talented wildlife photographer and guide. Excellent home cooking available on request.
- Rawla Narlai, Narlai (Between Udaipur and Jodphur) – luxurious heritage hotel with a really lovely pool. Situated in a small village with astonishing rock features that begged to be climbed for sunrise or sunset. I wish we could have stayed longer.
- Pleasant Haveli, Jaisalmer – the most helpful and friendly staff we encountered in Rajasthan. We loved their camel safari and their rooftop.
- The Gulaal, Jaisalmer – an oasis of calm with the biggest hotel room I have ever stayed in. Bigger than some flats I’ve lived in. Also the best peanut masala I ate in India.
- On the night train (2 AC class) – I LOVE travelling overnight on trains. I sleep well and the Indian trains are extremely well run. First class is unnecessary but 3 AC felt a little bit cosy – fine for a day journey but for me personally not what I’d choose for overnight. Check out seat61 for the low down on travel on Indian railways
Top 5 sites
- Hawa Mahal, Jaipur – Palace of the winds; a beautiful mini palace. Built to house the women of the court it was essentially a highly ornate prison. Fascinating and tranquil, with a lovely breeze.
- Anokhi Museum of hand printing , Amber, Nr Jaipur – A hands on museum in a beautifully restored haveli. Learn how hand printing blocks are made and then have a go. Make sure to stop at the old palace baths.
- Kumbhalgarh Fort, between Udaipur and Jodphur – an atmospheric although less ornate fort off the coach tour tourist trail. Its walls are said to be the second longest in the world after the Great Wall of China. I particularly loved this fort as I got to hold a super cute Indian baby that the parents shoved in my direction for a photo.
- Patwon-ki Haveli, Jaisalmer – an unexpected gem of a haveli complete with fantastic fort views from the rooftop, a great turban collection and some beautiful furnishings. Again photography featured heavily here with one of the owners acting as photographer for us in a number of slightly odd photo shoots around the building.
- The night sky in the Thar Desert – we requested a shooting star and lo and behold 30 minutes later while eating fresh papaya one appeared. Absolutely magical.