Among the sights to visit in Jaipur is Jantar Mantar – the largest of five solar observatories built by the then ruler Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in 1734. Here you can see 16 large instruments erected outside from stone to calculate the position of the stars and planets. Indeed, they still work today. India’s ancient rulers were known to put their faith in the sky, often relying on the stars and their astrologers to guide them in their decisions.
If you’ve stopped at Jantar Mantar and are thinking about the stars and the future, then you can sample a little more of these mystical age-old practises at Rambagh Palace, the majestic Taj hotel in Jaipur, and home to Jaipur’s royal family until 1957. One of the special services offered to guests at the hotel is palm reading.
Sitting outside near the Verandah, one of the hotel’s restaurants, K.K. Dandiya waits with the tools of his trade – his wooden-handled magnifying glass and 26-years experience as a palm reader. Mr. Dandiya is the resident palmist at Rambagh Palace, a Taj luxury hotel, and, for a small fee, will examine the lines on your hand to see what your future may hold.
First he took my right hand and then my left, peering at each intently through his magnifying glass, my palms illuminated by an old desk lamp. Then he looked at both and raised one eyebrow. Nearby the palace’s evening music show was underway and the sounds of Rajasthani folk musicians drifted over. After about 2 minutes of this back and forth between right and left, Dandiya began to tell me what he’s seen in my palms.
He comments on my personality, tells me which direction I should sleep at night, my lucky numbers and colours, and the outlook for the coming few years. He’s efficient (after all, he said it would be an about 11 or 12 minute reading!), speaks directly and confidently to me, and at times is not too far off the mark – or maybe that’s just what I want to believe! He provided a notepaper and pen before he began so I recorded his predictions and he’s also happy to answer questions later via email.
Dandiya has been reading palms for more than two decades, having learnt the craft from his father. It’s good fun and with the sitar music, warm, starry night and pleasant vibe – it has a certain magically quality about it. Mr Dandiya is easy to find at the hotel – there’s a quaint old wooden sign saying “The Palmist’’ on his desk. He is at Taj Rambagh Palace in Jaipur nightly and charged 500 rupees (about $10) for the reading.
A stay at Rambagh Palace in Jaipur can be included in any of our Rajasthan itineraries.