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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 November, 2003, 07:10 GMT
Prince Charles gets into Indian groove
Prince Charles in India
The Prince got into the Rajasthan rhythm
Prince Charles beat the heat to put on his dancing feet during his current tour of India.

As he travelled through Rajasthan he was spotted bobbing along behind a procession of pipe, drum and castanet players, with both hands in the air and fingers pointing.

The heir found his rhythm as a group of musicians played a number of rousing renditions for him on a rooftop in a village near the Amber Fort in Jaipur, northern India.

Prince Charles was in the desert state, also known as the Land of Kings, on the fifth day of his official visit to India.

One musician blew onto his hand to demonstrate how he used circular breathing to play two pipes at once.

'Brilliant'

Earlier, as he sat tapping his feet to the tunes and nodding his head, Charles watched as a man performed close in front of him - alternating between dancing and playing a matas drum.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles marvels at a fingernail portrait of himself

He described the man's mastery of the bhapang, which is held under the armpit and plucked, as "brilliant".

The state capital Jaipur is dubbed the pink city after its terracotta-colour dwellings.

It was founded in 1727 by the Moghul astronomer king Sawai Jai Singh.

At the settlement in the Aravalli hills, where he encountered the musicians, the Prince also saw how local crafts people have restored a deep step well and a small building with an open air atrium known as a haveli.

He was particularly was keen on the conservation work and attempts to preserve the architecture in the area.

Some women in saris gathered to meet him as he walked through the small village.

Welcome

He also met his five-year-old godson Crown Prince Padmanabh Singh at the grand City Palace, where he is staying during his short spell in Jaipur.

Prince Charles
This magnified portrait took three hours to create

On a tour of the palace's school, Charles met pupils in a reception class, before planting a tree in the garden to mark his visit.

In the evening, Charles met an assortment of craftsmen at the City Palace, who sat cross-legged in a semi-circle showing off their colourful goods including sandalwood carvings, jewellery and miniature paintings.

One man had painted a sketch of the Prince onto one of his thumb nails, which had taken him three hours.

Babu Lal Marotia held out the tiny portrait for the Prince, who showed his surprise at the creation.

He was showered with gifts from the walkabout including a number of enamelled elephants.

Niru Chhabre had painted on a single grain of rice: "Heartiest welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales The City Palace Jaipur, Niru."

As she handed her intricate work over, Charles remarked it was "wonderful", and when he learned it had taken her four days, he said: "Rather you than me."

Eleven years ago, Charles visited Jaipur with the late Princess Diana.




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