Monday, October 28, 2013

Jaipur, Rajasthan

We arrived in Jaipur on September 30 after about a 4.5 hour drive and went sightseeing the next morning. Jaipur is known as the pink city because all of the buildings within the city gates were painted pink in honor of Prince Albert and Queen Elizabeth II's visit in 1876. The memorable moments during our Jaipur visit was a magic show performed by an 8 year old boy and an incredibly uncomfortable elephant ride (I'm sure the elephant felt the same way).

We had a guide for this city since there were a good number of sights to see – the Hawa Mahal, Amber (Amer) Fort and Palace, Jal Mahal (Water Palace), Jantar-Mantar (observatory), and the City Palace.

Hawal Mahal (Palace of the Winds) was used for the ladies of the Royal Family to maintain the tradition of purdah (veil) while observing the activities on the street without being seen - this is the back of the building which is more recognized than the front.

We saw some snake charmers hanging out by the Hawal Mahal

Amber Fort overlooking Maota Lake

Amer (Amber) Fort and Palace was built by ruler Raja Man Singh I but it was fully expanded by Jai Singh I - improvements and additions were made for the next 150 years by successive rulers.

We decided to get an elephant ride up to the entrance

While riding the elephant, this was our view on our way up

I can't remember but this might be right before an elephant snotted on us

Actually, I think it was this elephant coming towards us that shared his snot

Nobody was comfortable in this situation

Awkward seating

Nice doors in Amber Palace

Looks like a face

We entered through the Sun Gate on the elephant

Ganesh Pol (Gate); the tiny window with the lattice marble screens is where the Queen would watch from a distance
It looks like a mini version of the Great Wall

That garden to the left is called the saffron garden even though it was impossible to grow in Jaipur

Cool archways at the Amer Fort

Barely fitting

Part of Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) 

You can only see my hat

Our tour guide got this photo for us

Cool arch shot

Looking through one of the designs of the marble screens above Ganesh Pol

The other side of the fort (opposite of Maota Lake) 

The background almost looks fake - in front of the gardens is Sukh Mahal (Hall of Pleasure)

Garden and Mirror Palace to the right

Guards keeping an eye on everyone

Baradhari pavilion - where the ladies would gather to gossip or discuss evening activities

I wanted Paul to get in so I could throw some water and carrots to make soup a la Bugs Bunny

Jal Mahal (Water Palace) was enlarged in the 18th century by Jai Singh II. Impressive piece of architecture yet we were more taken by the 8 year old magician who made coins from my ear fall out of Paul’s junk.

Jal Mahal in Man Sagar Lake



During these tours, the driver / tour guide is obligated in some way to bring their tourists to a shop. They always say that you don’t have to buy anything and it’s just to look but somehow, Paul and I always end up buying something. This time, we got tailor-made clothes. But before falling into this trap, we were shown the ins and outs of making hand stamped textiles and carpets.

Fun with stamps!

Using the outline stamp first


The green was the 2nd - I'm onto the 3rd stamp

Pound it!

My finished product - by the way, all the ink is made from vegetables - all natural!

I moved onto carpet making - it was pretty hard

I left the professionals to it

About an hour and a half later (and with less money in our pockets), we headed to the observatory.

Jantar-Mantar (the observatory) had some pretty cool instruments.


Each of these represent a horoscope sign - they used these instruments to give advice to royalty

Had to check out the Leo instrument...


Paul checking out the Aquarius instrument

I don't know...his looks cracked

Paul felt that this best symbolized his Aquarius sign

World's largest sundial - accurate within 2 seconds of Jaipur time

Paul trying to understand this instrument which tells you what hemisphere the sun is in

Dhruvadarshaka Pattika - North Pole star instrument

Our last stop was the City Palace which had a few different museum rooms but we only checked out a few – textiles & costumes, armory (weapons room), and art (we restrained ourselves from making a purchase)!

Chandra Mahal - the flag of the royal family "one and a quarter" is seen at the top

I liked the symmetry of this shot

I really liked the inner courtyard known as the Pitam Niwas Chowk (which provides access to the Chandra Mahal) because of the decorative doors. There are four gates that are themed by the four seasons and Hindu gods.

Northwest Green Gate / Spring / Lord Ganesha

Southeast Rose Gate / Winter / Goddess Devi

Southwest Lotus Gate / Summer / Lord Shiva-Parvati

Northeast Peacock Gate / Autumn / Lord Vishnu

Another snake charmer

Leaving the old city


  1. Amazing! Love that you got to stamp out a textile design and the Peacock gate is super pretty. Side note, did you video the 8 year old magician? I'm curious.

    1. Thanks, Marra - it was fun to stamp the design - I even got to keep my work as a souvenir! I wish I did video the 8 year old magician - he was quite the entertainer.


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