Jaipur -- The Pink City

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April 1st 2011
Published: January 16th 2014
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Jaipur -- #3 on our North Indian Adventure

We flew on Kingfisher Airlines from Amritsar to Jaipur (via Delhi).

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, a state in North Western region of India. Rajasthan is the biggest state in the country and the name means the Land of Kings (Raja = King & Sthan = Place). Jaipur was the first of 3 cities we visited in Rajasthan.

Jaipur is named after the King Sawai Jai Singh, the founder of the city. It is famous as a tourist destination for its palaces and forts. There are other specialties like handicraft, jewelry, garments, precious & colored stones, furnishings and other craft items, which make Jaipur a shopping haven.

Jaipur is among the first planned cities in modern Asia, with straight roads cutting each other at right angles, wide streets and numerous temples. It is said that there is a temple at every 100 meters in Jaipur and it is second only to Varanasi in the number of temples in any Indian city.

Jaipur is also known as the Pink City. In 1853, when the Prince of Wales visited the city, all buildings were painted with the colour made from sand. All the buildings in the walled city have been painted with the same colour since then.

Some very good reasons to visit Jaipur are the incredible Amber Fort (1), Hawa Mahal (2), The Monkey Temple -- Galtaji (3), the exquisite market (4).

(1) The Amber Fort is located on a hill overlooking the valleys and plains and the town of Amber. The construction of the Amber Fort began in the year 1592 and was started by Man Singh I, but it was finished by his descendant Jai Singh I. The exterior of the Fort is not in the least like its interiors. The fort is built with white marble and red sandstone and look even more attractive because of the Maota Lake in the foreground. The fort throws a clear reflection on the lake in the front it. It is a steep climb to the fort entrance so visitors are carried up to the main entry by elephant. The fort looks like a castle from a distance with its numerous watchtowers and a wall that climbs up the hills and disappears at the horizon.

(2) Hawa Mahal is one of the most common and popular tourist attractions in Jaipur. Hawa Mahal was basically used as a veil by the royal women folk to watch the proceedings on the road below. It is a very unusual structure that resembles a 5 story apartment building with port holes in each unit and intricate lattice on its surface. Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business centre. It forms part of the City Palace, and extends to the Zenana or women's chambers, the chambers of the harem. The port holes were used by the ladies to keep an eye on the maharaja as he passed by on the street below.

(3) The Temple of Galtaji, built in pink stone; it comprises a huge complex and is famous due to the large tribe of monkeys who live here (they advertise it as 5000 monkeys). These rhesus macaques were featured in the National Geographic channel's 'Rebel Monkeys' series. The temple features a number of pavilions with rounded roofs, exquisitely carved pillars, and painted walls. The temple is surrounded by natural springs and reservoirs but the real attraction is the very calm monkeys.

(4) The Market[/b

Random Notes
1. I have encountered monkeys in Brazil, Bali, Cambodia, Thailand, Southern Africa, East Africa, etc. and always considered them to be aggressive and usually smelly creatures. One encounter I had with one was in the Monkey Forest near Ubud on the island of Bali -- I had a sweet potato in my hand and challenged one big guy to take it from my clenched fist -- he just unceremoniously and easily peeled back each one of my fingers as I gripped the potato as hard as I could. So, just like everywhere else, India has millions of monkeys. For some reason they are a passive bunch in Rajasthan. During our visit to the Monkey Temple we purchased some goodies (peanuts) to feed them. They would politely put out their hands and you would dutifully place a peanut in them. One of the little monkeys sneezed on me just as I was offering a peanut. The following day I got a massive head cold -- thereafter it was referred to as monkey fever.


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