One of my favourite places to visit when travelling or working in India is Rajasthan - whenever you think of traditional India, the kind you read about when you were little or dreamed about from the movies, Rajasthan is the place to fulfil those fantasies. Rajasthan is full of temples, all of India is really, but visiting the temples around Jaipur is especially wonderful. There are more than I can count. There are the large, stand-out public temples that are crowded with people going there to pray or just find some peace in the middle of a busy city. But there are also smaller, more local temples hidden away that are difficult to find unless you know where to look. Each one is dotted with devotional statues, sticks of incense diffusing their scent through the air as bells are rung to signal the evening puja.
Food is another sensation that needs time and patience to experience. Unfolding and discovering the best dishes of a region is an experience I never forget, and learning how these dishes are made can be one of the best ways to acquaint yourself with a new place. Visiting a spice bazaar and speaking to a vendor about the special techniques they use to create their own masala powders or grind their chilli.
The colours combined with everything else are almost overwhelming to the senses. Everything is so vibrant and in almost constant movement – monkeys stealing flowers from a garland vendor, bright yellow turmeric being scooped into spice trays, warm chai being poured from cup to cup and passed around to waiting customers.