First things first once we got settled in at the Narain Niwas Palace hotel, we did what was necessary. We went shopping! In the pink city! The pink city is basically like ‘downtown Jaipur’ and has streets and streets each with a specific kind of goods in a whole street, like in one street you will find only silver jewellery, another will be for clothes, another will be for gold jewellery, another for ornaments. Its simply irresistable. I was on a mission to find those colorful big scarves that all the Rajhastan ladies were wearing. I found a bright Sari, which was kind of similar, but I did not find exactly what it was I wanted. Apparantly, you’d only find that in the villages. I did get a tradional village outfit which I LOVE Here it is
And here is Gaby in the shop trying to not die of boredom
And this then to prevent death by boredom she ordered some tea from the tea brewer on the pavement outside
After the shopping, we were really exhausted and went to the hotel snoozed, splashed about in the pool, lazed by the poolside, got massages and had some dinner and then watched these shows by the locals that the hotel organizes. The one was traditional indian dancers. Really skillfull traditional dancing. Lots of spinning, lots of intricate dancing, by the beautiful ladies, all while balancing an ever increasing pile of clay pots on their heads. And after that a puppet show which was also really good. The sad thing about it was that it turns out the hotel doesn’t pay these people for putting on the shows. They rely exclusively on tips from the audience. And there wasn’t much of an audience that evening (or the next) and the audience (us) was a bit irritated that the hotel didn’t pay the performers because the hotel was REALLY expensive (at least for me).
Next day we set out to see some sites. starting with the Birla Mandir temple. This temple forms one of the major attractions of Jaipur. The temple was built in 1988, by Birla Group of Industries, owned by large business tycoons in India. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan). I think India is one of the few places where modern buildings are still constructed in such intricate artistry. Very rare in the modern world.
Looking up to a hill from the temple is a fort. The fort is closed to the public. Most of the historical sites up on the hills are not open to the public, and its such a pity.
Then just accross the square was the Moti Dungri Ganesh temple. This temple was constructed in 1761. Its so old! I would not have guessed this. When people enter the temple, they ring these bells that hang over the three entrances. In the picture below, you can see one such entrance. I asked Santosh why they do that, and he said its to let Ganesh know they are there. The bells are constantly ringing because people are constantly coming in. Also the path to the front where Ganesh sits is like a maze. Interesting.
Coming out of the temple, I leaned on one of the orange poles and it turns out the paint was wet on the poles, which is usual I think. Because people dot their foreheads with the orange paint, and its quite attractive. I did it too. I think of course there is some religious significance.
After the temples, we headed to the Jaipur museum. They had some nice old things there.
After this, Gaby needed to sort some dental pains out so Santosh and I carried on siteseeing alone without her. hmmph. lotsa tempation hey. But in that heat, its hard to feel very shmexy. So firstly we went to see some elephants
Then to Hawa Mahal. The poet king Sawai Pratap Singh built this palace. This is easily the most well-known landmarks of Jaipur and is also its icon. Located in the City Palace complex, it is best viewed from the road outside. This five-storey building overlooking the busy bazaar street is a fascinating example of Rajput architecture and artistry with its delicately honeycombed 953 pink sandstone windows known as ‘jharokhas’. It was originally built for the ladies of the royal household to watch everyday life and processions in the city from their veiled comfort. Most people come here to get a view of the facade but they can also climb to the top for a wonderful view from the latticed windows. There is also a small archaeological museum there.
Then to Nahargarh Fort, which was beyond Majestic. It is located on the Aravali Hills. The fort overlooks the city. It was built in 1734 and extended in 1868. Nahargarh meaning abode of the tigers was built by Jai Singh to bolster the defence of Amber. It was used by members of the royal family for excursion in summers.
Then our bat boy took us past the Jal Mahal/Lake palace. It was a sight to behold. Jal Mahal (meaning “Water Palace”) is a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city. The palace and the lake around it were renovated and enlarged in the 18th century.
Then for supper at the hotel, where we were reunited with Gaby, and then some more of the same puppets and dancing and then some rest. There were peacocks on the grounds of teh hotel. One cannot imagine the sounds they make. They sound like they are laughing in a very rough, vulgar way, like drunkards. ALL NIGHT LONG! How we got any sleep only goodness knows.