Now there's another to add to the list: sitting under the ramparts at a 550-year-old desert fort listening to master percussionist Pete Lockett jam with Rajasthani folk musicians.
It was late October in Jodhpur, at the so-called Rajasthan International Folk Festival (there was folk music, a lot of it, but it wasn't folksy in any way). I'd mentally bookmarked it at the start of the year when I'd seen a poster for it in Jaipur, and then promptly forgot about it till I got a notification on Facebook. Usually travel plans are scuppered by something, whether it be the inability to take a day off work, or train bookings, or hotel rooms, but all the ducks managed to line up and Jason and I got there on an overnight train, our very first trip to Jodhpur.
I do love Rajasthan, it's every cliche come to life but better because it's real.
The festival was on at the Mehrangarh Fort, which is not just large and imposing but extraordinarily well maintained. There's even a lift.
The first must-see on my list was a session called Living Legends, held in the Moti Mahal, a small marble hall just off a courtyard, through a maze of rooms and hallways. I stupidly forgot my batteries, meaning I couldn't take photos nor record any of it. And it was marvellous: it turned out to feature Patashi Bhopi, the wife of a man called Mohan Bhopa who was featured in William Dalrymple's Nine Lives. The chapter on him told of how he and his wife were among just a few to be the custodians of the oral legend of the Rajasthani folk deity Pabuji, told in song that takes a day and a night to recite. Patashi Bhopi - now a widow - recited a few verses while her son played his rawanhatta and marched, duck-like, so the bells on his ankles tinkled in time. (More reading)
Then it was through a decorative arch to another courtyard where a bar was set up. So as the sun went down we looked up at the sky and all around at the intricately carved archways and up at the small windows where courtesans once hung out of, with wonder.
Afterwards, we headed to another area of the fort that was converted into a nightclub, a kind of open-air courtyard with a roof terrace from which you could lean over the shin-height barrier and look at the dancefloor below. Or you could lounge on a mattress, lean back on a bolster, and look up at the fort lit up by the moonlight as you sipped your g&t.