India Travel Journal 2017 – Jaipur the Jewel

It was a jolly time at Jaipur.

Background: on Christmas, my dear friend Karmen gave me, among other things, a small notebook for me to journal in during my travels. This is a snippet of that journal, pretty much verbatim but edited for length, clarity, and grammar.

So yesterday I forgot to do the journal. But anyway it was pretty much uneventful as we mostly sat in the car enduring the hours-long ride from Agra to Jaipur.

We stopped at Fatehpur Sikri on the way. It was beautiful and grand but what I remembered most is the sheer number of hawkers just hounding me to buy souvenirs. The contrast was quite jarring. It got quite annoying and I had to try hard to contain my emotions.

Fatehpur Sikri is well known for its blend of architectural styles including Mughal, Hindu, and Chinese.
Tomb of Salim Chisti (a holy man) inside Fatehpur Sikri complex
Excellent Jali (Latticework) at Tomb of Salim Chisti. Carved from one stone.

We also stopped by Abhaneri Step Well or also known as Chand Baori. It was impressive. I really liked the geometrical symmetry and the fact that they were used for cooling oneself in the arid weather of Rajasthan. Humans have always tried to find ways to cool themselves down – thank God for air conditioning, am I right?

Chand Baori with its pleasing geometric patterns of the steps. It is not allowed to go into the step well, hence the fences.

Then today we went around Jaipur. It was messy and chaotic which seemed to be a running theme in our India trip so far. In the morning we visited the Amber Fort. We elected not to do the elephant ride as it was expensive and also cruel to the elephants. The fort was beautiful and had thrilling views over the city. Its protection wall ran around the palace complex and looked comparable to the great wall of China.

Amber Fort.
Inside Amber Fort complex
View from Amber Fort

We then visited Jantar Mantar. They looked like a playground with slides but they were actually sundials! The Maharaja was really interested in physics and all, and built a complex to observe the sky and sun. My physics-challenged brain couldn’t understand everything fully despite the best effort from our tour guide, but it was impressive nonetheless.

I could not find a good picture in my stash of Jantar Mantar, so enjoy this picture by Garrett Ziegler under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 License. They look like children’s slides but they are actually sundials!

After that it was the City Palace even though I felt it was a bit rushed. I got to learn about the many royal families that used to rule multiple different areas before it was all united into one India.

One of the gates of City Palace Jaipur
Very intricate work adorning the City Palace Jaipur
I really quite like this peacock decoration inside City Palace Jaipur

Today we also visited a tailor and I got a set of clothes made! Tunic + pants + shawl all for very reasonable price. They were custom made to my measurements and delivered to the hotel the night of. It fit me perfectly and was really comfortable to wear. I had not been that happy about clothes in a long time!

Tomorrow is the last day of sightseeing, soon enough it’s back to reality…

The next day, sightseeing in Jaipur…

We started our day visiting, or rather just taking pictures of, Hawa Mahal. Apparently there was not much to see behind the impressive wall of windows. I guess that could be true. Anyway we would not be able to take pictures of it from the inside, would we?

Hawa Mahal, which means “Palace of the Winds”

We then made a quick stop at the Albert Hall museum but didn’t go in. Our main attraction was walking through the many pigeons!

Albert Hall Museum
Albert Hall Museum. Do you see the birds?
Pigeons, pigeons everywhere

Afterwards we made our way to Nahargarh Fort, again one of the many forts protecting Jaipur. It is even higher than Amber Fort and we could even see Man Sagar Lake with Jal Mahal (Water Palace) on it. Our hotel was located just overlooking the Jal Mahal.

View from Nahargarh Fort overlooking Jaipur
Nahargarh Fort had a number of antique cannons such as this one..
View from Nahargarh Fort overlooking Man Sagar Lake. jal Mahal is barely visible.
Jal Mahal / Water Palace, half submerged in Man Sagar Lake.

There was also a step well at the fort complex but it did not have the geometrical symmetry that the Chand Baori had.

Step well at Nahargarh Fort

We left Jaipur tired, but fulfilled…

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