Jaipur almost did not happen!
The flight to the Pink City was ready to take off, but guess what? It was missing more than 50 passengers! The Daawat-E-Ishq Food Yatra team had STILL not arrived! Panic calls, hoarse announcements, scurrying airport and airlines staff and pandemonium was everywhere at the Ahmedabad airport. But the team did arrive, with just 3 heart-stopping minutes before take-off! Phew!
From the moment they landed in Jaipur, the beauty and grandeur of Rajasthan took over and left Aditya and Parineeti mesmerized. The grand Taj property Jai Mahal Palace, where the team checked in for the Jaipur leg, is one of the finest examples of the colours, the architecture, and the food of this city that is legendary. But there was little time to dwell on the beauty alone, because it was time to soak in some culture and get knee-deep into the very pulse of all that the state has to offer. And what better place to do that than Pride Amber Vatika, a miniature Rajasthan that packs all the good things in the state in one festive place. There were jaunty camel rides, mesmerizing Kalbeliya dancers, wizened fortune-tellers, impossibly intricate Mehndi Art, tricky pot-balancing and so many other fun things to do and watch… Some people were even caught tip-toeing into the ‘Black Magic’ tent! 😉
But the best part was about to come! Remember my hint on the musical surprise yesterday? Well, ace singers – spunky Sunidhi Chauhan and velvety-voiced Javed Ali – turned up and completely surprised Aditya and Parineeti. They got into two teams and fought it out in an impromptu Antakshari session, with Parineeti belting out one track after the other like a pro, and Aditya finally joining in with his signature song ‘Tum Hi Ho’ from Aashiqui 2. And then the lavish food spread arrived and all thoughts of winning or losing in Antakshari got focused into eating!
If you asked me, I would find it difficult to choose between the tangy-sweet-spicy Gatte Ki Sabzi and the rich n crunchy Dal Baati Choorma. But the stars chose well, because the first was Aditya’s favourite and the second was Parineeti’s and they both had second helpings of them, and even personally treated it to their fans during a meet-n-greet interaction. Sadly, the legendary Laal Maas from Handi Restaurant had to be missed as it got really late by the time they wound up from here 😦
But there was a make-up plan for that too, thanks to the sweet guys at the Yash Raj Films team. Despite a late finish last night, first thing in the morning today, just before hitting the road to Fatehpur Sikri, the whole bhukkad gang stopped by at Kota ka Kachori to gobble up a few of the hot delicious, crunchy kachoris with a spicy, green chutney that would make you hit the roof! Bravo!
So it’s ‘Mannat’ time at the Sufi saint Salim Chisti’s tomb at Fatehpur Sikri. Let’s give a few moments to Parineeti and Aditya as they seek the blessings of the saint, and offer a ‘Chaadar’, housed in the beautiful, intricately-carved white-marble Dargah. And while we are doing that, here’s a little secret just for you, dear followers of the Eaten Path. The music director duo Sajid-Wajid who have composed the beautiful songs of this film, are putting up a musical feast of their own tonight in the historic city of Agra. A Qawwali Night with the ethereal Taj Mahal in the backdrop. Pure, soulful Sufi songs… Foot-tapping, upbeat Qawwalis… Sigh! Romance is in the air, and this right here is history in the making, folks! And I can bet anything that this is one memory that will live on in the hearts of each member of the Food Yatra team, for eternity!
Wanna know more about the Qawwali concert and where the road trip is headed next? Come back tomorrow and I’ll be right here with more food, travel, music and fun tidbits on the Daawat-E-Ishq Food Yatra. See you on Day #4!
Daawat-E-Ishq releases next Friday, 19th September.