India is many countries, colors and flavors inside one. Once you have decided that you would like to take a big step and get into an amazing and totally opposite country to the western culture, you will notice that the most touristic side is the North. The golden triangle and Rajasthan: the land of the Thar desert, old magic palaces, turbans and exotic fairy-tales. It is a good starting point from Delhi and then going west from Jaipur to perhaps Udaipur, going through Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, among others.
Introduction to Rajasthani Style
Two of the largest and main cities from Rajasthan are Jaipur and Jodhpur. Both have a fort, Royal palaces and a big amount of different temples. Jaipur, the Pink City, is hosting more than two hundred temples like the well-known Monkey Temple. And Jodhpur, the Blue City has the most outstanding fort that you can find all over the way.
The main religion is Hinduism followed by Islam; so if you are vegetarian, you will find it very easy to follow your habits. The Rajasthani food is consistent and good for winter days, because is a diet based on the war-like style followed by their inhabitants. There are many gypsy nomad villages that hold a very rich culture with a colorful and layered like clothes, arid folk music style and hypnotic dances like the kalbeliya, that you can enjoy around Jaisalmer. A tip to fashionistas: you can find jhotis or commonly called babuchas everywhere. Beautiful leather slippers that will transform your occidental outfit into an authentic oriental look.
A Tuk-Tuk Ride Exploring the Narrow Streets of the Blue City
Jodhpur is known as the Blue City, regarding the indigo color that tints the houses of the main city. The narrow streets are full of life and you can find any kind of business even in less than ten square meters space. They really try to get the most of any space they have and of any opportunity they have for selling. Their selling methods sometimes can be impressive, as they can start talking to you about a random topic that at the end it will give them the chance to sell you anything. The best way to get immersed of Jodhpur is arranging a tuk-tuk for half or full day. There is even a narrower model for being able to get into the trickiest ways of the blue area. It is common that after the whole day with your tuk-tuk driver, he will invite you to his place to meet his family and enjoy a chai. The Rajasthani hospitality it is well-known and every moment can be filled with a courtesy chai, do not ever reject it, besides they are really good.
Life Inside Mehrangarh Fort
What really gives personality and shape to Jodhpur is its 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort, a former palace that is now a museum. Wherever you look, there is that strong presence set on a rocky outcrop. There is many forts all over the estate, but the Jodhpur’s one is the most special and enigmatic one. The landscape that draws all over the city cannot be compared. Inside the Fort there is various amenities as restaurant, shops and different shows. It is very well maintained and you can easily imagine how it used to be the life inside on the Maharajas golden era. The galleries all over the indoors museum, gives you clear examples on the history of the city and the fort by itself. Ancient customs and war utensils are displayed with explanations in Hindi and English. The entrance is less than ten dollars, but if you are carrying a camera, there is an extra fee for being able to take pictures. This is a very common requirement in many museums or interest places all over India.
Local Delicatessens with Panoramic View: 360 Restaurant at the Stepwell Square
Close to the Clock Tower there is an impressive stepwell that it has became part of a revolutionary project. The Stepwell Square by The JDH project it is becoming a design and lifestyle hub with contemporary cafés and boutique stores. Everything begun with Raas Hotel situated on one side of the stepwell. A boutique hotel that marks the style difference on the blue city. Part of this project is as well is the 360 restaurant, situated on a panoramic rooftop with the best views of the city. During the day it’s charming, but to enjoy a romantic dinner under the stars and with the enlightened Fort, try to go by night. The decoration is quite simple providing all the attention to the stunning views. As it was opened less than a year ago, some areas of the huge rooftop look like if it is still need a last touch. In winter time it can get a little bit cold, so buy first a pashmina from Sardar Market, few steps from the Haveli that hosts 360 restaurant.
Authentic Rajasthani food covers the menu and it is served with delicate taste from a tray that helps to serve all of the diverse dishes. The delicious flavors are for being enjoyed with brown rice and butter naan. One of the details that would delight western clients is when they ask for the level of spice that you would like to enjoy; you will find on your mouth the right amount that you have requested. Even they can pleased to those with spice intolerance, maintaining the quality and flavors of the dishes with no hot chilli, which sometimes is not easy around the region.
Some of their signature vegetarian delicatessens are Peanut Masala, Ker and Kishmish and Govind Gatta Curry. The color and explosion of flavors are always very potent leaving you with the desire of trying the full menu. They have also many non-vegetarian options for those who prefer fish or meat on their meals. The must-try dessert is gajar halwa, an Indian carrot pudding with dry nuts, it is just superb!
Indian customer service can be sublime and at 360 they really know how to do it, the same style that is provided at Raas Hotel or The Stepwell Café. Besides its young age, it is already situated on the top notch of Jodhpur’s gastronomic offer.