India – Jaipur

Jaipur lies in the usually visited triangle by both national and foreign tourists, so you might probably know this famous destination as the “Pink City”. Pink symbolized hospitality (although to me this one looks more orange-ish), so in 1876 Maharaja Ram Singh ordered to have all the buildings painted in this color for the visit of British King Edward VII (by then Prince of Wales). This earned the place its fame and now the law compels citizens to preserve this color on their houses.

First day

The name of Jaipur comes from its founder, Maharaja Jai Singh II, who was a warrior but also an astronomer with an excellent educational background. For this reason, next to Jaipur’s city palace lies Jantar Mantar, an impressive astronomy complex with small buildings used as measurement tools where the Maharaja used to study the sky.

One of the astronomy measurement "small tools".

One of the astronomy measurement “small tools”.

The palace is again a mixture of Rajasthani and Mughal arquitecture, colorful and with intricated designs, housing many halls, gardens and courts, and exhibits about clothing, weaponry, paintings and even huge metallic vases.

Us reflected on a big silver urn at Diwan-I-Khas section of the palace.

Us reflected on a big silver urn at Diwan-I-Khas section of the palace.

Diwan-I-Khas, which was an audience hall of the Maharajas.

Diwan-I-Khas, which was an audience hall of the Maharajas.

The tall building at the right is called Chandra Mahal, current residence of the ascendants of the rulers of Jaipur.

The tall building at the right is called Chandra Mahal, current residence of the ascendants of the rulers of Jaipur.

Detail of the doors at the plaza in front of Chandra Mahal.

Detail of the doors at the plaza in front of Chandra Mahal.

Back to Diwan-I-Khas, people with musical instruments are resting, probably playing before.

Back to Diwan-I-Khas, people with musical instruments are resting, probably playing before.

Mubarak Mahal, a reception building now used as a museum. There are curious displays like the huge clothes worn by Sawai Madhosingh I, who weighted 250 Kg and was 1.2 meters wide! Sorry no pictures allowed.

Mubarak Mahal, a reception building now used as a museum. There are curious displays like the huge clothes worn by Sawai Madhosingh I, who weighted 250 Kg and was 1.2 meters wide! Sorry no pictures allowed.

After our visit we go around the palace following the archway of a bazaar in search of typical Indian copper bowls. We also try some super tasty street food hoping we won’t get sick (we don’t) before entering Hawa Mahal, a historic multi-leveled building whose function was to let royal women peep the citizens below without being seen (any woman in my town would love to have this!).

20150328-165550-DSC07175

20150328-170606-DSC07177

20150328-171922-DSC07178

For sunset viewing we need to haggle hard until finding a rickshaw that would take us the 7km away to the top of Nahargarh Fort. The monument is already closed, but there is a cafe where one can sit and have good views of the city. We barely make it in time for sunset pictures at the top (where the scenery is not that good) but we enjoy the better views on the way up. We make up for our deception with some cold drinks and return to the parking lot. There, we take Gill and Adrian, a very nice British couple who have no other means of coming down but to walk again back to Jaipur, and we distribute ourselves between the back seat and the hard but fun baggage compartment. This is travelling after all!

View off the sunset at the top.

View off the sunset at the top.

On the way to the hotel, a quick stop to see the Jal Mahal palace. It's a five store building with four floors underwater.

On the way to the hotel, a quick stop to see the Jal Mahal palace. It’s a five store building with four floors underwater.

Second day

Outside the city center there are tons of other monuments, but we focus on the famous Amber Fort. Carlos had come here on his first visit to India 12 years ago, but back then there weren’t as many closed areas to the public as today. 12 years ago there also were elephant rides climbing the stairs to the fort as a tourist attraction, but now they seem to be gone, thankfully since we don’t support elephant riding for tourism . Unfortunately, after asking some local people we discover that today is an exception, and that touristy elephant rides are still going on some days in the fort. Damn it!

Our rickshaw driver!

Our rickshaw driver!

The fort from below before starting the climb.

The fort from below before starting the climb.

Many people are hanging out in the gardens next to the main entrance, and they all seem to stare at us as we pass by. The building is incredible, even with so many visitors. This is one of the forts we enjoy the most after Jodhpur.

The second courtyard after climbing the stairs from Jaleb Chowk. On the left, the Diwan-i-Am or Public Audience Hall. On the right is the Ganesh Pol gate.

The second courtyard after climbing the stairs from Jaleb Chowk. On the left, the Diwan-i-Am or Public Audience Hall. On the right is the Ganesh Pol gate.

Views from the top.

Views from the top.

Detail of the arches and columns close to the baths.

Detail of the arches and columns close to the baths.

View of the Maota lake and garden.

View of the Maota lake and garden.

Detail of the windows.

Detail of the windows.

Ceilings of the Mirror Palace, covered as the name says with mirrors. The interior was open 12 years ago, but now there is a fence and it can't be visited any more. Consequences of mass tourism...

Ceilings of the Mirror Palace, covered as the name says with mirrors. The interior was open 12 years ago, but now there is a fence and it can’t be visited any more. Consequences of mass tourism…

Detail of the mirrors on walls and ceilings of the Mirror Palace.

Detail of the mirrors on walls and ceilings of the Mirror Palace.

An old water lift. The fort had a complex system of water. The baths even had hot and cold water. Also, some courtyards used soaked curtains for old fashion air conditioning. Really impressive.

An old water lift. The fort had a complex system of water. The baths even had hot and cold water. Also, some courtyards used soaked curtains for old fashion air conditioning. Really impressive.

The fort is full of corridors and stairs that lead to numerous levels, patios and openings. This is one of them.

The fort is full of corridors and stairs that lead to numerous levels, patios and openings. This is one of them.

View from... we don't really know where we are at this point, hehe.

View from… we don’t really know where we are at this point, hehe.

The gardens next to the Mirror Palace.

The gardens next to the Mirror Palace.

Baradhari pavilion at Man Singh I Palace Square, where the queens of the royal family used to meet.

Baradhari pavilion at Man Singh I Palace Square, where the queens of the royal family used to meet.

Then, what looks like an innocent snap with Irene and an Indian woman becomes a photoshoot with a whole family of some 20 people; now with the sisters, now with her only, now with the men, then with him only (Can I put my hand on your shoulder?). We still don’t know why, but Indians love their pics with random tourists and Irene sure loves the interaction with them, so it is a win-win situation.

One of the many pictures Irene takes with the numerous family.

One of the many pictures Irene takes with the numerous family members.

After the Amber Fort and before leaving Jaipur our rickshaw driver takes us to the monkey temple, lying on a very high hill with views of the city. Monkeys are fed by visitors with fruits sold by local vendors and are present around the beginning of the hill until the 76415374630th step upstairs (the day is so hot that the climb seems twice as hard, lol). Although the site is not that interesting, the views are nice.

People giving food to monkeys.

People giving food to monkeys.

A monkey enjoys some fruit.

A monkey enjoys some fruit.

View from the hill.

View from the hill.

The monkey temple from inside.

The monkey temple from inside.

Some monkeys contemplating the views up the tree.

Some monkeys contemplating the views up the tree.

Another view from the hill, almost down.

Another view from the hill, almost down.

We ask our driver to stop for food anywhere before taking us to the train station, so we end up in a random restaurant where they make pastries of all kinds and artisanal lassi in clay cups. Finally, we see the real lassi.

20150329-162110-DSC07241

20150329-162520-DSC07246

20150329-162553-DSC07250

In another new rush, we run for our train to the last must see destination of our Indian wanderings before returning to Delhi. Can you guess where…?

One thought on “India – Jaipur

Leave a comment | Deja un comentario