We love: Wonderful Workshops in Jaipur

Sari pops

Our freshly made mung bean dumplings and chapattis drying in the sun on old saris.

A couple of years ago, I treated myself to a trip to Jaipur with the Wonderful Workshops crew. We had a magical week of learning how to cook, Rajasthan style, with the lovely Sandhya Singh and Jyotika Kumarik, based at the faded but still grand Diggi Palace, which is also their home. We got to make the best curries, Indian bread and cheeses as well as learn a huge amount about what it was like to live in a moderately grand Indian household (Sandhya is the sister and Jyotika the wife of the owner of the Diggi Palace, a sort of mini Maharaja).

For me the highlight of the week were the trips to the local wholesale fruit and veg market, where the bottom pictures were taken and the spice bazaars and the flower markets. Everywhere you looked was a photo opportunity, with amazing smells, colours, textures and sounds.

Each morning, my friend Doris and I would risk life and limb by jumping into a tuktuk (driven by our driver, the madcap and possibly short sighted Ashook) at our hotel and joining the crazy wildness of Jaipur traffic, which included camels, free roaming cows, a million bicycles, donkeys, a couple of elephants, buses and the odd truck to get to the Diggi Palace (you can stay at the Palace but you have to get in quick with your booking as they only have a few rooms). It felt like a mad adventure just arriving at the course each morning.

Needless to say there were lots of buying opportunities and Doris and I went well over our baggage allowance on our return flight due to (proper) pashmina scarves, brightly printed quilts, long threads of beads, other irresistible jewellery bits and huge bundles of pungent spices

We loved our cooking course but running alongside this was a very popular mud resist block print class run by Nathathalie Gibson and Di Livey and Indian miniature painting with Olivia Dalrymple, and everyone on these also raved about them.

The courses have always run in January, but this year, due to their growing popularity, Frances (who runs the week) is offering an October hit (15th – 20th Oct), which will also coincide with the highly recommended Jodhpur Music Week (21st -25th Oct), which is just down the road and where you might bump into Mick Jagger, who is a regular apparently.

For information on the course and help with travel arrangements, contact Frances on 0208 741 5696 or email [email protected] . The courses are about £380 per person, with travel on top of this. More info at wonderful workshops


Puddings made with real silver flakes, silver is supposed to have unspecified health benefits


Piles of radish and onions at the market, we loved the weighing scales and tried unsuccessfully to buy them…
Bags of chillies, Doris and I wondered if these would fit in hand luggage? (we wanted the sacks as much as the chillies)


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