26.07.2011 - 27.07.2011 35 °C
We left New Delhi at 7:00am to head south to Jaipur, also known as the Pink City. It is the capital city of Rajasthan and received its nickname in 1876 when the whole city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales – although now only a few avenues still retain their pink façade, albeit a faded, dust covered, tobacco spit stained pink.
^^ Enjoying the view on the drive to Jaipur
When we arrived it was just after 1:00pm and we were relieved to find that the hotel (which we had pre-booked in Delhi during our moment of weakness) was quite luxurious. We decided to have a shower and let Galoo have a rest before the tour of the city began.
Our first stop was at Amber Fort. Perched on the top of the hill overlooking Jaipur; Amber Fort provides stunning views over the surrounding landscape. It was built in 1592 by Maharaja Singh and represents Rajput architecture. It is by far the most beautiful fort I have ever seen. It is made entirely with red sandstone and marble with 4 levels, each with their own courtyard. Combined with the opulent palace area and the natural air-conditioning; created by winds blowing over cascading water throughout the palace.
It is a really beautiful and peaceful place and it was nice to see heaps of locals enjoying themselves as well. We ended up getting an audio guide that bombarded us with history and whispered sweet architectural nothings in my ears. If you find yourself in Jaipur you have to visit Amber Fort!
^^ Amber Fort is BEAUTIFUL!
^^ Keeping an eye on the pesky monkeys
^^ Mmmmm sweet architectural nothings...
^^ Amazing details all throughout the palace
^^ While Kirby was taking this photo 5 locals were taking her picture
^^ Camel's can do anything a truck does, just stinkier
On the way back into town we drove past a flooded fort. Don’t know anything about it but it looked cool and mysterious!
Galoo then took us to a clothing store. We weren’t exactly interested but he insisted – I think he just wanted a cup of chai; drivers who bring customers to stores get perks, also if you buy something they usually get a commission. But we didn’t mind, we knew we weren’t going to buy anything so we just went along with the flow until Galoo had finished his tea, and then we left .
^^ The 'pink' city
We had a big curry feast for dinner which only cost 210 rupees ($4) – good value. We also found out that the stuff that comes with the bill at the end of the meal is actually a mixture of herbs and sugar that you’re meant to chew after you finish – a bit like after dinner mint – but it was hilarious when we found out that’s what you do with it because the whole time in India so far Kirby has been wiping her hands with it to remove the oil and I’ve been rubbing it all over my mouth and face hahahaha. No one fucking told us we were supposed to eat it!!! It was soooo hilarious when we realised – I can’t imagine what they thought when they saw me rubbing the ‘after dinner mint’ all over my face!!
Time for some well-earned sleep, we’ll be up early tomorrow to see more of the Pink City.
Our first stop the next morning was Albert Hall Museum. It is fondly named after the Prince of Wales who laid the foundation stone during his visit in 1876. It has an amazing collection of ancient relics and artefacts. We couldn’t believe how old some of the things inside the museum were; 4th century statues of Buddha, they even have an ancient Egyptian mummy. The only bad thing was the blatant disregard for cleanliness or hygiene that the local visitors exhibited. All of the walls from waist height down were black with tobacco spit and the stairs up to the second level were apparently the toilet. Men were pissing in the corners of the ancient sandstone staircase it was pretty fucked up – especially in such a beautiful old building that celebrates so much history and culture – what are they thinking?
^^ Albert Hall Museum
^^ There was a whole room full of ancient armour
^^ Ancient yoga statues - pubes anyone?
^^ 8th century Matrika Panel. Seven goddesses who are shown dancing with Virbhadra (emanation of Shiva) who holds a Veena.
^^ Ivory chariot
^^ Man and Tiger - a composite form of Vishnu known as Nrisimhavtar - 19th century
The next stop was the City Palace (300r adult / 150r student). It’s a massive complex with several buildings all for different things – basically your typical palace; you know what it’s like! Some of the interesting things are the Chandra Mahal – a huge mansion where the descendants of the Maharaja line still live today (can only visit the first floor).
In the inner courtyard there are four gates that are adorned with themes representing the four seasons and Hindu gods.
The northeast peacock gate – representing autumn and Vishnu. The southwest lotus gate – representing summer and Shiva-Parvati. The northwest green gate – representing spring and Ganesha. The rose gate – representing winter and the goddess Devi.
^^ Green Door
^^ Me with the Peacock Door
^^ Kirby with the Rose Door
At the front of the palace we also encountered a cobra dancer doing his thang – I got a photo for a ‘donation’.
Next stop on our epic day of epicness was the Jantar Mantar Observatory. The observatory was constructed in 1727 and contains 14 geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, and tracking stars. The largest instrument is 27m high and tells the time fairly accurately – although cannot be worn on your wrist.
^^ This instrument tracks the zodiac Sagittarius
^^ It really was all too complicated for either of us to understand what the hell they did
Finally our last stop for the day was at the Hawa Mahal. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawaj Pratap Singh (say his name 10 times fast!) for the royal ladies to watch everyday life in the street below without being seen. It’s one of the strangest buildings I’ve seen – and its purpose equally weird. It’s degraded a bit these days, some of the little viewing nooks that the royals once used are now a toilet – apparently it’s perfectly fine to have a shit while you look down on the street below. What’s with all the pissing and crapping in the monuments?
^^ Hawa Mahal from the outside
^^ Inside the Hawa Mahal
^^ Kirby in one of the viewing nooks
^^ The joker in the blue shirt was standing next to me until he saw me taking some photos of Kirby, at which point he sprinted down the stairs to get in the frame - the locals love getting in every photo they can, it's actually a mission to take photos without someone posing in them
^^ Enjoying the view your highness?
^^ The royal view
^^ A building under construction - scary?
Well the last 2 days in Jaipur have been BUSY!! But it’s good to keep moving so tomorrow we are off to Agra...Taj Mahal anyone? But for now time to FEAST