Since it is Diwali today and I miss my trip to India and the food I had at India so much, I would like to share about this no frills eatery nearby Nitin’s home that we dined at for brunch since it was already past noon after volunteering at Nitin’s NGO and we wanted to fill our tummies prior to our trip to Amer Fort.
A3 – A6, Queens Road,
Vaishali Nagar, Jaipur,
Rajasthan 302021, India
Since the Choley Bhature was recommended by Nitin and we wanted to try different dishes, Laurie and I decided to share the Choley Bhature and Dal Makhani as shown in the first picture. Dal Makhani depicted in the second picture is a staple dish in the Punjab region but has become a common dish in the Indian subcontinent after the Punjabis migrated to the northern regions of India. Dal basically means lentils, while makhani refers to butter. Thus, the red dish beside the naan in the photo comprises of tomato masala mixed with butter and slow cooked with whole black lentils called urad, red kidney beans called rajma and spices for about 6 hours. Once the dal thickens, cream is added.
As seen in the third picture, the Choley Bhature also takes a long time to prepare. The bhature is prepared by mixing flour, oil, lukewarm water, sugar, salt and baking soda into a smooth dough and covering it for two hours. While storing the dough to be ready, the choley is prepared by cooking the tomato masala, chick peas, cottage cheese and spices. After two hours, the dough is ready to be made into small balls then binded with flour and rolled into oval shape. In order to cook the bhature, the dough must be deep fried in very hot oil. Can you believe how much oil is used to cook the bhature? The dish served in this eatery is delicious among us foreigners and even within the locals. The Choley Bhature and Mango Lassi are the top popular items served in the restaurants and we enjoyed it a lot too! Usually, the locals will take Choley Bhature paired with Mango Lassi as their breakfast meal too and I am glad that we had that! The mango lassi was not too sweet yet very rich but not “jelat”.
The best thing about this place is the price of the food because we had Indian lunch buffet near Fatephur Sikri the previous day and it was very bad. The buffet had limited varieties, did not serve hot food items and the beverages were too sweet. It costs 600 INR per person (USD$8.22 / SGD$11.30 / CAD$10.78). As for Kanha, the Choley Bhature costs 120 INR (USD$1.64 / SGD$2.26 / CAD$2.15), while the Dal Makhani costs 129 INR (USD$1.77 / SGD$2.43 / CAD$2.32). The Mango Lassi costs 35 INR (USD$0.48 / SGD$0.66 / CAD$0.63). How inexpensive is that? Furthermore, the eatery is very hygienic and there are many chairs to cater a large group of customers.
Opens daily from 8AM – 11PM
After our volunteer with Saksham during our third day at India and second day at Jaipur, Gina, Simon, Laurie and I spent most of our day at Amer Fort, also known as Amber Fort.
Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001, India
Amer Fort is located in Amer, which is 11km away from Jaipur. The town is originally named as Ambarikhanera since its name was derived from the king of Ayudhya named Ambarisha. However, it was later abridged to Amer or Amber after. Traditionally, Amer was the capital of state as ruled by the Kachwaha Rajputs and it continued to be the capital for 600 years. There are four categories usch as Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras that Hindus are divided in their caste system, which originates from the Hindu God of Creation, Brahma. There are beliefs that Brahmins came from Brahma’s head, which is why the category comprises of intellectuals such as teachers and priests. Since the Kshatriyas were rulers and warriors, they were believed to originate from Brahma’s arms. As for Vaishyas that came from Brahma’s thighs, they were traders, farmers and merchants. Shudras were created from Brahma’s feet and did laborious job that do not require skills. Kachwaha were previously considered as peasants and stigmatized as Shudras. However, the Kachwaha eventually managed to take control of Amer in the 17th century.
When we went into Amer Fort, the first thing that caught out eye was the Ganesh Pol due to the many frescoes built on it based on the orders of Mirza Raja Jai Singh from 1621 to 1627. It is simply beautiful and we spent some time taking pictures there. The third picture shows the Hindu deity, Lord Ganesh, which is how this part of the fort obtained its name. Since the Ganesh Pol provides access to the inner and private palaces of the Maharajas, Lord Ganesh is believed to remove all obstacles in life. Thus, his symbol is always placed on the main entry of many buildings.
Above the Ganesh Pol is the Suhag Mandir, where royal ladies gather in the chamber to witness functions held in the Diwan-i-Aam through lattice screens as shown on the third and forth pictures. It was funny how when we asked the local tourists to snap shots of us using our camera, all of them started taking out their cellphones to take pictures of us. We told them that we were no celebrities but they still wanted to take pictures of us and with us.
Diwan-i-Aam was constructed and ornamented in carved patterns of elephant head and vines using red sand stone and marble masonry in 1621 to 1667 A.D on the orders of Mirza Raja Jai Singh. Since this was constructed during the Mughal empire by the Kachwaha Rajputs rulers, there is a confluence of both Mughal and Rajput styles of architecture for this courtyard. The roof is supported by two rows of columns. One of which is the outer column, which is made of red sand stone. On the other hand, the inner column is made of cream marble. For people who do not know, the function of the Diwan-i-Am is for the Raja to receive his subjects and officials, as well to celebrate special occasions such as the Raja’s birthday and victory in a battle.
Yet another gorgeous part of Amer Fort that took six years to complete is the Sheesh Mahal, also known as the Mirror Palace due to the mirror glass work done on the walls of ceilings of this area. It was mentioned that the queen loves sleeping under the stars but since women are not allowed to sleep in open air, the king’s architect solved this problem by building this so that when candles lit up, the queen will be able to mesmerize on the thousand of glittering stars on the ceiling.
The first picture depicts the Kesar Kyari Bagh, which is also known as the saffron garden because saffron flowers are planted in the garden. However, the change in climate does not allow the saffron plant to survive well in Jaipur. The Kesar Kyari is located in the middle of the Maota Lake. Maota is an abbreviation of Mahavata as the huge banyan trees grew on the edges of the lake once upon a time. Rainwater flows into the lake from nearby hills and thus, the lake is the main source of water for the people in the palace, which was drawn by domesticated animals through the water lifting system located in the south-eastern area of the palace.
The next three pictures show the inner garden called chahar bagh, which is located in front of the Sheesh Mahal. Chahar Bagh directly translates to four garden. People who researched on chahar bagh have different opinions about the meanings behind this word. On one hand in the Iranian historical and cultural context, the number four represents the four elements being air, water, fire and earth. As for garden, it is a universe whose architect is God, which seedling is planted by human. On the other hand, chahar bagh is referred as a garden split into four parts via water flow. As seen in the second picture, the dominant motif in the middle is a star, which symbolize the Hindu equivalent of the union of yin and yang.
Facing the Sheesh Mahal is the Sukh Mandir, which is used to cater to the royal families’ mid-day stay during the summer season. This is because the stripped channel connecting the cascade of the back wall to the perforated marble screen used to carry cooling water through the room. Additionally, the doors are made of sandalwood adorned with ivory inlay works. This enabled the place to be cooling during the hot summer day.
Amber Fort is huge and exploring the fort in less than five hours is not enough because one part of the fort already takes awhile to absorb the beauty of the architecture and explanation of that particular part. Therefore, I will leave the rest of the pictures for your viewing pleasure.
200 INR FOR FOREIGNERS WHO ARE STUDENTS
550 INR FOR FOREIGNERS IN GENERAL
OPENS DAILY FROM 10AM TO 5PM
I always knew that Taj Mahal is one of the wonders of the world and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site but I never knew that Amber Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. If I never stepped foot in the Rajasthan soil, perhaps I would have missed out on the great deal of witnessing the exquisite architectures of Amber Fort. Therefore, I highly recommend this place to be visited at least once in your lifetime.