The Pink City - Jaipur

February 13, 2008 - Jaipur, India

The group met at 7:45 to get a bus at 8:30 from Agra to Jaipur- 'The Pink City'. The highways were mainly good but the whole trip took 6 hours. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, a desert area of India. After checking in the group met to go see the Hawa Mahal (honeycomb palace).We were then given time to stroll around the city palace area. From there we walked to a temple where evening prayers were taking place. It was quite fascinating seeing the rituals and hearing the music and chanting.

Most of the group headed to dinner but five of us had a late lunch and were getting a little tired of the places our guide was taking us to eat. They were very touristy and were relatively expensive. Our mini group walked the streets of Jaipur, past all the shops with the amazingly bright fabrics and One of sidewalks we walked was elevated, about four or five steps up from the street. At one point I quickly turned around and came within an inch of running into a cow that was strutting by. How on earth the cow got up the steps was beyond me but it was funny site. We stumbled across a bakery type place that served ice cream. The girls wanted to stop. On our way out Joanne noticed the somasas so she went back in and bought five. They were really good but I little too spicy for some. From there we searched for a place to have a drink but the only bar we came across was really dark so we skipped it. We ended up going to a roof top restaurant. It didn't serve drinks so we had a few snacks before calling it a night.

Our second day in Jaipur started early, meeting the group at 6:45. It was a very cold rickshaw ride to the base of the Amber Fort. We got there early to see the sunrise and get in queue for the elephant ride up to the palace. I had a t-shirt and zip up sweat shirt on while I anxiously waited for the sun to get high enough so the rays reached us. I really wished I had worn my jacket. We could actually see our breath! I thought India was hot. In fact, by afternoon, it was sweltering in the heat of the sun but if you stepped into the shade it was cool.

The fort and palace were pretty cool. The (old) city wall was 18 km in length and looked kind of like the Great Wall of China - at least how I picture the Great Wall. It weaved up and down the mountain with the intent to contain and protect the occupants. Our tour guide was good. He had been doing it for over 40 years. The most famous part of the palace was the hall of mirrors. It was used for entertaining and private meetings. In the winter months it was used as the residence. With heavy drapes protecting from the outside, the mirrors would reflect the light and heat from oil lamps.

From there we took photos of the floating palace and went for breakfast (it was 11am). I mentioned to the people sitting near me that I was going to have a Dosa. They wondered what it was, so I explained it and a few of them followed my lead. However, they (in particular, Krista) threatened me saying that it better be good. Everyone loved the Dosas. After that I became an expert in Indian food and people were asking me questions which I had no idea what the answers were. Really, all I knew is what Namita and her family introduced to me a week earlier in Mumbai.

After brunch we went to a government run store (supposedly fair prices and no haggling but it was still fairly high pressure). We spent a long time there before heading to the City Palace area. Most of us took a tour of the observatory which highlighted 'instruments' that were built in 1728 used for astrology and astronomy. The grounds actually contain the worlds largest sundial that is acurate within 2 seconds. The group then bailed on the City Palace tour and headed back to the hotel as it had already been a long day. The entire group went out for an Italian dinner that night.



Waiting for a Fare
World's Largest Sundial
Floating Palace
Close-up of Mirrors
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