Typically, when we travel as part of a group tour, we pass on some of the nighttime optional cultural dinner theater type shows.
To be completely honest, on at least one occasion after a big dinner and a few adult beverages, we have nodded off in the confines of a warm, dark theater. Especially after long days of touring and traveling.
There are exceptions to every rule.
In India, we took the advice of friends who had traveled the same itinerary last year. They spoke highly of the optional dinner at a local Jaipur restaurant with cultural performance. It wasn’t in a big theater, and it was local performers and not a big production.
Enjoy the exotic flavors of Indian cuisine at a popular local restaurant. You’ll be entertained by performers in traditional attire with folk dance and music. This is a typical folklore show, not to be construed as a professional performance. Included will be an amateur puppet show, dancing with props, and audience participation. Transfers to and from the venue are included. $29.00
So, for $29.00, including transportation, dinner, and a show, it was worth the investment.
Additionally, each of the men was given a colorful Rajasthani turban and the ladies a beautifully woven scarf. Chuck was able to trade his turban to another travel companion for her scarf, so we got one of each.
We were transported to the beautiful Shahpura House. An old palatial home converted into a Heritage Hotel in 1991. The family operates several Heritage Hotels that have been restored to their majestic glory.
The Shahpura rulers were the direct descendants of the Shekhawat clan, rulers of Rajasthan. And the opulence and splendor of the royal family shows in the incredibly restored property.
We were greeted by some of the performers and given a tikka and a garland of marigolds as we entered the hotel.
We were escorted through the building to an incredible sitting room where our group asked one of the staff for a group photo while we waited to be escorted to dinner.
Unfortunately, because of the weather, our rooftop dinner was moved to the hotel’s restaurant. Dinner was a buffet, and truthfully was less impressive and had fewer selections than many other places we had eaten.
One thing of note: nearly every place we traveled and dined the beer offered or included in our meals was a local beer usually Kingfisher. Without asking, I ordered the house beer included in our dinner and got a Budwiser!
Rajasthani Cultural Performance
As luck would have it, the weather broke enough for us to enjoy the rooftop for the local cultural performance.
We arrived to the sounds of two musicians, one playing a drum and the other an instrument that looked something like an accordion.
They were joined by two women in traditional attire, the first danced with clay pots stacked on her head. The second woman continued to pile the vessels on her head; at one point, she had FIVE stacked on top of each other.
She was dancing with them, but she dropped down into a split and leaned over, picking up a bill in her teeth. All while still balancing the containers on her head.
The second woman did a bit of dancing but was mostly there to assist and did some incredible displays of bending and twisting.
Lastly, the evening ended with a local puppeteer and traditional Rajasthani puppets. The included a dancing woman, a demon and snake charmer, and a snake.
Overall the evening was nice, and we really enjoyed the company of our fellow travelers.
*Several images are from the Shahpura House website as noted by their logo.