Jaipur: The Pink City

Hi everyone!  Hope you’re enjoying fall and the beginning of football season!  We are still chugging along in India, but will be heading to Nepal soon!  This post will talk about our time in Jaipur which the capital of Rajasthan State where the majority of our time in India is to be spent.  So far with each new city we visit, we like it better than the last so that is good news. 🙂

Jaipur is known as the Pink City and is the largest city in the Rajasthan State.  Being that it is the largest city, it can still be rather hectic, but we stayed busy and I think we (and by we, I mean Hoch) handled it better than we did in previous busy cities. H – I was OK, I guess, until maybe three days in when I got fed up with the rickshaw drivers. They were rather pushy in this town and their tactics ranged from disingenuous to hypocritical.  There is a lot to see here so we decided to stay for 3 nights.  We stayed in a nice guesthouse that was close to the train station which we ended up regretting due to its location alone (the family was super nice and the guesthouse itself was great).  We were a bit of a way from the center of town and always had to take a rickshaw or walk which was long and hot.  We did walk it our first day there and ended up checking out their new elevated train/subway line (also our first ride in India) along the way.  Most of the line is above ground, but then goes underground for the last stop and there is construction going on to continue the line further.  It was fairly new, so rather clean and nice and A/C’d, oh and it was only 10 rupees for the 2 of us (approx. 0.15 USD).

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Jaipur was actually designed and founded in 1726 by the ruler of the Raja of Amer, Jai Singh II.  He consulted several architecture books and received guidance from architects on the layout of the city, now the old city of Jaipur.  The city was divided into 9 blocks and is surrounded by fortified walls and gates.  Later in the late 1800s, the city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales which is how it became known as the Pink City.  However, the color has since faded and now looks more of a sandy, tan color.

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One of the gateways into the old city
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One of many shops in the Bazaar Streets of the Pink City

To be honest, I was not impressed with the bazaar streets of the Pink City.  First of all, they are not pink anymore, and the streets are wide, busy, stressful streets to walk along.  I guess when I think of a Pink City, I think of something more romantic than it actually was.

Besides the old town, there are so many other things to see in Jaipur.  On our first day there, we visited some sites that were within the old city and the second day we hired a rickshaw driver to take us to some of the places that are further away.  Some of the places we saw include:

  • The City Palace which houses a museum and is still a royal residence! You could pay a rather hefty price to see the main part of the palace, where the royal family resides, or you could pay a smaller fee to see the museum.  We decided to stick with the smaller fee (it was about a 2,000-rupee difference) and visited a few of the courtyards that we did have access to and the museum.  I do not have pictures of inside the museum, but it included everything from history to fashion to art.  We did purchase the audio guide and were glad we did as we learned quite a bit from it.  We also really enjoyed the miniature paintings that were inside. Hoch – the “royal family” refers to the previous ruling clan/family of Jaipur’s Princely State, which was sort of a vessel state to the British India and still retains the palace grounds and immense wealth despite having virtually no political sway. The Maharajah spends most of his time in Europe.
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They asked for a tip after offering to pose for this pic – rookie mistake

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  • The Royal Gaitor which is a walled funerary complex containing marble cenotaphs of Jaipur’s ruling family. We paid for a short tour and learned a little bit about the kings and their families that are buried there.  Each king had designed their own cenotaph.  The details of each reflect a bit of their personalities, preferences, even hobbies and were pretty intricate and neat. H – cenotaph is a memorial built at the cremation site. There was a maharajah who had 13 stillborn children, therefore 13 tiny marble memorials.

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This king liked to hunt and included these engravings on his cenotaph
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Guess which is the king and which is his wife. H – hint, gender roles.
  • The Hawa Mahal (translates to the Wind Palace) is a palace in the old city. It was built so that women of the royal family could see street festivals without being seen.  We actually did not go inside but stopped to see the outside of it which is really cool looking.

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  • Amber Fort and Amber Palace which are located a few kilometers outside of Jaipur. We purchased the audio, which was a bit cheesy, and got lost in this fort and palace.  You could easily get turned around when walking through its corridors.  We saw the old bathrooms, what looked like a vanity room, winding hallways, bedrooms, courtyards, and nice views of the area.  The perimeter of the fort had what looked like a Great Wall effect as the fort followed the ridge around the valley.

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Old Bathroom
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Getting lost in these stairwells

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  • Jaighar Fort which overlooks Amber Fort and was built to protect it. There were secret tunnels that turned into trenches and connected the forts in the case of an attack.  We walked up to Jaighar Fort using those tunnels.  It was a steep walk, but the views at the fort were worth it.  The fort itself was OK, nothing too special.
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Trench between forts. H – I lost that goddamn baseball cap. It was a good cap.
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End of the trench at the Jaighar Fort side
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Amber Fort View

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  • The Jal Mahal palace is known as the Water Palace because it is located in the middle of a lake. The first 6 floors are underwater.  You are not allowed to go inside it, but can see it from a distance.

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  • The Jantar Mantar Observatory, which means calculation instrument, houses several large instruments used to calculated time or zodiac houses based on the location of the sun. There were large sundials and other instruments.  We paid for a guide which was crucial since otherwise we would not know what any of it meant.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy so we could not see how all the instruments worked, but the sun did come out to show us the time on one of the sundials there.  It was spot on!
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One of the zodiac instruments
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The large sundial, it tells time in 2 sec increments (if I am remembering correctly)
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Several of the zodiac house instruments
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A smaller sundial and the one the guide showed us the time on!

As you can tell, we saw A LOT in Jaipur.  It is a big city, but I liked it enough. H – I give it a 4 out of 10 as far as cities I’ve ever visited go. That’s pretty generous. We were going to check out some temples our last day there, but decided we wanted to be lazy instead (plus it can be pretty taxing just to go out for a little bit here and we decided it wasn’t worth it).

That’s all for this post!

Until next time!

Kimberly

P.S.  ABC Trek Training Journal:

Jaipur Day 1 – Walked approx. 6.5 miles while sightseeing.

Jaipur Day 2 – Walked approx. 6.5 miles while sightseeing including a sweaty elevation increase of 690 ft between Amber Fort and Jaighar Fort.

Jaipur Day 3 – Walked approx. 3.25 miles while walking to purchase a new SIM card and to a restaurant for dinner.  I also did a workout in our room this day.  A circuit consisting of half pistol squats, reverse burpees, hip thrusters, plank knee front and side tucks, and lower back swimmer exercise (not sure of the official name of this, you lay on your belly and raise your arms and legs as if you’re swimming).

P.S.S.  ANSWER: The figure on the left is the King’s wife.  She is entertaining the king by playing music while he is drinking wine.

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