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Previous Day 4 - Jaipur Next   

Hawa Mahal
Step Well
Bihari Ji Ka Mandir Temple
Amer Fort
Jantar Mantar
City Palace
City Market
Royal Gaitor
Jal Mahal - Water Palace
Galtaji - Monkey Temple

Up early at 0530 for a 4 hour drive to Jaipur. Since there was no one on the road the drive took only 3 hours. As we drove into downtown the first thing we noticed was Hawa Mahal. It is just a facade - no building behind.

Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. Constructed of red and pink sandstone, the palace sits on the edge of the City Palace, and extends to the women's chambers.
After checking in with the hotel - which was a palace - we linked up with the city guide. It was 0830 and the drive/guide wanted to know if I needed breakfast - nope out to see India. This was to be a pattern - no stopping for lunch.

We drove to Amer and the first stop was a Step Well.
We walked across the street from the Step Well to a Hindu temple. Wonderful stone carvings from the street all the way into the temple.

The Bihari Ji Ka Mandir Temple, built during the reign of Mirza Raja Jai Singh I (1611-1667), is typical of seventeenth-century temple architecture in the region.
A couple of the statues on the temple - liked the little puppy looking up at the women.

A ring of stone elephants wrapped the entire temple

A short drive and hike to the Hanuman Sugar Lake which is a reservoir with a good view of the Amber Fort high on the surrounding mountains. You can climb to the fort from here - but it is a long climb.

This cow and several others were enjoying a walk around the lake. In the background is a small temple.
At the top of the hills around Amer is the Jaigarh Fort - and a wall snakes through the hills around the city. Below the Jaigarh Fort is the Amer Fort which is really a place built like a fort.

This picture of the Amer Fort is from across the Maota Lake which provides water to the palace. Constructed of red sandstone and marble the opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard.
Over the foyer headed into the Amer Palace is a very beautiful medallion which reflects the sun from the door.

In the king's private quarters is a open hall which is covered in glass and mirrors.

The mirrors are of convex shape and designed with colored foil and paint which would glitter bright under candlelight at the time it was in use. Also known as Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), the mirror mosaics and colored glasses would glitter in flickering candle light. Sheesh Mahal was built by king Man Singh in 16th century and completed in 1727.
A closer look at the mirrored art on the walls.

The interior of the Sheesh Mahal is as beautiful with inlaid stone in marble and sandstone. There is no paint - that is all inlay work.

A view of Jaigarh Fort from Amer Fort. We did not venture up to Jaigarh Fort. There are a few ways to get there - one is a tunnel used by the palace to escape to the higher fort if the palace is threatened.

The palace sports a floating garden in Maota Lake

An old door leading into the place

Next stop Jantar Mantar - which has some very interesting astrological instruments - super sized. Here is the world's largest sundial accurate to two seconds.

This instrument cast a shadow to tell the sign of the zodiac. The primary purpose of the observatory was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets.
Another instrument used to calculate the day of the year.

The City Palace is in the center of town.

Chandra Mahal is the tallest building in the City Palace complex. It is a seven-storeyed building and each floor has been given a specific name Most of the palace is the residence of the descendents of the former rulers of Jaipur. Only the ground floor is allowed for visitors.
An elephant at the entrance to the Chandra Mahal

High up on a wall a statue surounded by lei

You enter the palace through the Peacock Gate

There are four small gates allowing access to the interior of the palace. They are adorned with themes representing the four seasons and Hindu gods. The gates are the Peacock Gate representing autumn and dedicated Lord Vishnu.
Green Gate

The Green Gate, also called the Leheriya (meaning: "waves") gate, is green suggestive of spring and dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
We must have paid a special fee as we were allowed to enter the palace beyond the ground floor. The fist level we stopped at was all blue.

Sukh Nivas or the "Hall of Rest", is painted in Wedgewood blue fully decorated with white lining. Sukh Niwas was the drawing and dining room of the Maharaja.
Up one floor to a room simular to the Amer Palace - a mirrored room.

"Shobha Nivas" is on the 4th floor of the Chandra Mahal. It is also known as "Hall of Beauty". The walls of the Shobha Nivas are decorated with mirror walls with blue tiles ornamented with mica and gold leaf.
Detail of the Hall of Beauty.

Near the top was this lavash room with a throne

We traveled a few blocks and then began a walk which would take us around the market and shops of Jaipur.

Through a small ally we disover the produce market.
All kinds of produce for sale here is a stack of pomagranets

Since lunch was not in the schedule the guide purchased several fruits to munch on as we walked.
More produce

The eggplants were small - the size of your fist.

A monkey watches the action on the street

The colors were so vibrant - these are dolls hanging outside a shop.

This pitcher was in a niche just off the main road/sidewalk. While making the picture several pured water from the pitcher into a cup and had a drink.

The wedding season was in high gear. The month of December was a "good" time to get married so there was a good supply of marriage parafinilla. These are leis.

Here is a young bride choosing a dress material while the elders watch.

More colors - bracelets or "bangles"

Some spice which is yellow - I did not ask what it was.

Simple necklaces for sale outside a shop.

Traffic was self managing chaos. I only saw one accident the entire trip but should have seen several a day based on the congestion and lack of dicipline. All manner of vehicle with and without engine moved about.

When we crossed a road (no visiable crosswalks) the guide said not to look at the oncoming traffic and just step out and walk. We did look for a break but it was hard not to watch the vehicles hurling/honking toward us. We just walked across.
Not until back in Georgia did I leard that India was the leading the world in peanut production.

All kinds of peanuts being sold in the market

We then drove to Royal Gaitor up in the Jaipur hills. This is a mausoleum for the rulers for Jaipur.

The compound consists of two main courtyards, each crammed full of imposing memorials. This is the first (and more modern) courtyard dominated by the grandiose twentieth-century cenotaph of Madho Singh II (1922), a ruler of famously gargantuan appetites, whose four wives and fifty-odd concubines bore him "around 125" children.

Marble relief of fighting elephants

These arches are in the second, older, courtyard home to the elaborate tomb of Jai Singh II (1743), the founder of Jaipur and the first ruler to be interred at the Royal Gaitor.

Jal Mahal (Water Palace) is located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. The palace, built in red sandstone, is a five stories of which four floors remain under water when the lake is full and only the top floor is exposed

As the sun dropped we still had time so the guide suggested one more site - the Monkey Temple and Galtaji.

Galtaji is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site in the town of Khania-Balaji, about 6 miles from Jaipur. The site consists of a series of temples built in to a narrow crevice in the ring of hills that surrounds Jaipur. A natural spring emerges high on the hill and flows downward, filling a series of sacred water tanks in which pilgrims bathe.
The main temple is the Temple of Galtaji, built in pink stone. The temple features a number of pavilions with rounded roofs, carved pillars, and painted walls.

At the gate to the temple was a place where Hindu idols can be dropped off when they are damaged. There are two small rooms with many broken idols.

The monkeys at the temple are Rhesus Macaques - here is a little one with bougainvillea in the background.

Someone came with a bushell of bananas and spilled them out on the ground. Monkeys came from all over. Here a little monkey on mom race to get a banana.

A monkey peels a banana and ejoys a little dinner.

The little guy seems like he is interested in the cameraman.

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