I-pur like Jaipur
Trip Start Mar 29, 2007
74Trip End Sep 30, 2009
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Where I stayed
Arrival into Jaipur was a bit chaotic because we were half asleep and and it was a bit crowded at the train station. But we eventually found our driver from the hotel for the short ride to Jas Vilas. We booked Jas Vilas for basically just a place to crash for the night before checking out the next day for a tour and then checking into a nicer hotel. But when we arrived at Jas Vilas...we liked what we saw so much we wish we would have stayed both nights here...but too late to cancel at the Taj. Sleep came quick as we were exhausted. The next morning we had a chance to check the hotel out during breakfast and I can highly recommend staying here on your next trip to Jaipur (end of commercial)
Jaipur is the largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan and was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh as India's first planned city. It's often called the Pink City in reference to the distinctly colored pink buildings in the city center which were originally painted this color to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. So of course our first stop had to be the city center to see the magnificent entrance gates, the beautifully colored pink buildings and the highlight of the pink city...the Hawa Mahal. The Hawa Mahal (or Palace of breeze) was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Singh as part of city palace. It's primary purpose was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. It is a five story high red sandstone structure complete with over 950 windows. The breeze (or hawa in Hindi) circulates through these windows giving the palace its name
Next stop was the City Palace and then Jantar Mantar which are located right next to each other and inside the Pink City. The Jantar Mantar is the biggest of five astronomical observatory build by Maharaja Jai Singh during the period 1727-1734 in north India. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices (or yantra in Hindi) for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes etc. Thankfully our guide knew quite a bit about these tools and was able to demonstrate most of them to us. It's amazing how accurate they are to this day with time measurement. Tanya and I were the subject of some intense attention by a group of local students who followed us around like little puppy dogs instead of sticking with their school tour. The City Palace is a vast palace complex occupying nearly one-seventh of the Pink City. It's divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings...and is home to several palaces within the palace including the current home of the present Maharajah of Jaipur. Also in the palace are two things that I found fascinating...the largest silver objects in the world...two large silver jars. You may be asking..."Brandon, what's so special about two large silver jars?". The interesting thing is not the jars themselves...but what they were used for. In 1902 the Maharaja took a trip to visit England for the King's coronation. He was worried about the quality of drinking water along the way so he had these two jars made and filled them with water from the Ganges river to take with him
Next stop was Jaigarh Fort which was a 30 minute drive out of the city. On the way there we got stopped by the police and our driver/guide were fined for not wearing their official guide/driver uniforms...no joke. Anyway...we drove up a long and winding mountain road to the Jaigarh Fort to see this one thing...a big gun (my dad will be very happy). Of the three forts in the Jaipur area, Jaigarh Fort was considered the strongest of the three as it was never defeated in battle...I think that has something to do with it's primo location and only having one point of access. But it's best known today as the site of the world's largest cannon, the Jaivana, which was fired only once. During the firing (according to legend), only have the half the design amount of gunpowder was used and the cannonball flew 35 km (over 21 miles). The views from the top of the fort were great and it was worth the long drive to get here.
So now we're getting hungry so it's off to a restaurant where the plan is to meet one of the many children that Tanya and Baal Dan help in India. This little guys name is Kuldeep and he's a keeper. His family is very poor so he lives in the city with a elderly lady (Sister Mary) who helps out children in need. Kuldeep is so smart, so funny and has many things in common with me (our favorite show on Discovery channel..."Man vs. Wild"). After posing for photos and enjoying a nice long lunch with Kuldeep...we were off to our last stop...the Amber Fort. On the way there we passed a dog riding on the back of a bicycle...and had this been in any other country in the world, that might have surprised me...but nothing surprises me anymore in India
But tonight is an early night as tomorrow morning we have to get up at 4AM to reach the airport by 5AM for our 6AM flight to Rishikesh!