"If you are bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things - you don't have enough goals..." - Lou Holtz
The Pink City
(29 – 30 December 2008)
We passed 6 checkpoints before we boarded the delayed flight from Srinagar to Delhi. Due to bad weather, the flight passed Jammu without stopping. Our driver Santosh waited 4 hours for us at the airport. We had dinner then started our 265 km journey to Jaipur braving the dense fog and icy night. Along the way we met with 2 accidents. We arrived safely way after midnight at Maharani Hotel in Jaipur.
Jaipur also popularly known as Pink City is where modernity and tradition exist side by side. The walled pink city, vibrant with colours, houses the City Palace, an astronomical observatory and a bustling bazaar where artisans displayed colorful puppets, silver jewellery, bangles and other handicrafts in their shops.
The Palace quarter encloses a sprawling palace complex of Hawa Mahal, or palace of winds, formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city. Another noteworthy building is Sawai Jai Singh's observatory, Jantar Mantar.
Amber Fort is known for its unique artistic style, blending both Hindu and Muslim Mughal elements, and its ornate and breathtaking artistic mastery. The fort borders the Maota Lake, and is a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan.
Amber Fort is a well preserved 16th century built on 4 levels surrounded by ruins. We had a choice to either drive up by car or ascend on elephant back.
The Fort is the ancient capital of the State until 1728. Among the many splendours of the fort, we visited the Jagmandir or the Hall of victory glittering with mirrors, Jai Mahal and Temple of Kali.
Maharaja City Palace
The focal point of the city of Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, a five storey high Baroque- like structure built to enable the veiled ladies of the harem to observe the street scenes below and remain unnoticed. The side facing the street outside the palace complex has 953 small windows, and the breeze (hawa) which circulates through these windows gives the palace its name, and keeps it cool even in hot months.
The City Palace, a wonderful combination of Mughal and Rajput forms of architecture, is now partly a museum housing miniature paintings, manuscripts, Mughal carpets, musical instruments, royal costumes and weapons, giving invaluable insight into Jaipur's royal past.
It is the 18th century astronomical observatory with several incredible sundials and sun clocks. Some of the instruments at the observatory are still used today to forecast the weather and the turns of nature.
The Rajput style 'Water Palace' sits in the center of the Mansagar lake. The lake is often dry in the summer but winter monsoons frequently turn it into a beautiful lake filled with water hyacinths.