Saturday, December 20, 2014

Opulent Jaipur

This was my second visit to Jaipur and a business trip at that.  I was here for an annual CEO summit: three days of round-tables and panel discussions held at the luxurious Fairmont Hotel.  While the location of the hotel can be inconvenient because of its distance from the airport and the city centre, the hotel itself is another splendid example of five-star opulence in a city that boasts of top-notch resorts.

Farimont Hotel, Jaipur

Our dinner on the first evening was at the poolside, but the setup just blew me away. The entire place had been turned into a scene out of the Arabian Nights, with tents of silk and hundreds of oil lamps and lights reflecting off the water.  The food was equally impressive and showcased the royal Rajasthani cuisine in all its glory.  It was unusually cold this evening but it still made for a memorable evening for all the right reasons.

Fairmont Jaipur

The staff at the Fairmont has crafted a pair of elephants during the turn-around that was rather nice.  My wife, who had to cancel at the last moment, would have loved them!

Fairmont Jaipur

On the next evening, a stream of spanking new Volvos drove us to the foothills of Amergarh for a demonstration of elephant polo.  While it was a wonderful touristy experience, the game itself was incredibly slow.  Given that the players are on top of elephants, I should have expected that!  I guess this was still more exciting for the bored Englishwomen who patronised this game during the British Raj.

Elephant Polo, Jaipur


The gala dinner on the final evening of our summit was truly extraordinary.  We were driven to Jaigarh Fort on a hill called the Hill of Eagles which overlooks Amer Fort.  Elephants, horsemen and traditional musicians dressed in royal costumes welcomed us.

Fairmont Jaipur

We walked through the ramparts of the fort as the fort was brought alive by dancers and musicians who recreated the magic of Jaipur’s princely past.

Jaigarh Fort

We sat back on cushions as qawwali singers regaled us with songs, eating and drinking through the night until it was again time to get back. Clearly Jaipur has much to offer, no matter if you are on vacation or on a business summit.

Like the organisers of the events mentioned to me during one of our chats, there aren’t many places in India that can host a high-profile business summit efficiently and in as much splendour.

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