On the road to Jaipur we encountered a large, noisy and colorful group of travelers, probably on their way to a religious celebration in the city. Loudspeakers on trucks blared a cacophony of clanging music.
Our first views of Jaipur were disappointing.
There was lots of traffic – all types of vehicles and pedestrians!
The Pink City of Jaipur is in the center of town behind the city gates.
This is the Jaipur we expected. We stopped for a brief walk through a market. Decorations for the approaching Diwali celebrations were everywhere.
The Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) is one of the famous “pink” buildings of Jaipur, built of red and pink sandstone. 953 intricately decorated small windows and niches gave royal ladies views of life outside the palace. The top 3 stories are just one room deep. Windows on both sides allowed cooling breezes to pass through.
More pink buildings can be seen at the City Palace, a complex of palaces and museums. The color was chosen to honor a visit from the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) and now it is the trademark of Jaipur.
This is also the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur and the flag is unfurled when the Maharaja is in the palace.
These elephants are carved in single blocks of marble.
There are two huge silver urns displayed behind glass that are said to be the world’s largest. They were specially made to carry water from the Ganges for the Maharaja to drink while on a trip to England in 1901 (Edward VII’s coronation). He was a pious Hindu and was afraid he would be committing religious sin by drinking English water. The vessels are named Gangajelies (Ganges-water urns).
A colorful musician entertained us at lunch.
Jantar Mantar (calculation instrument), a World Heritage Site, is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments built between 1727 and 1734. Even now astronomers use the observatory to calculate the auspicious date for weddings. Students of astronomy and Vedic astrology are required to take lessons here.
Lots of workers are around to keep the grounds in shape.
There is a view of the back side of the Palace of the Winds from this park.
We went to dinner at the home of a Rajasthani royal family. The house is in the middle of the gated city, completely surrounded by taller buildings. You enter the “compound” from an alleyway. Once inside you are in another land with manicured courtyards and living rooms open to the outdoors.
We could not help feeling our hostess was a bird in a gilded cage. Her young son had been sent away to school and was never expected to return to the family home. The complex will likely be sold by the next generation.