The Pink City

Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
Trip End Jun 07, 2012

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Friday, June 1, 2012

1st June - we took an afternoon train from Agra to Jaipur and arrived late that night. On arrival, we went foraging for food - we came back with crisps and biscuits (healthy)! 

2nd June - with just one day in Jaipur we set out to make the most of it. Jaipur used to be the capital city of the royalty, today however, it is just the capital of Rajasthan. During our fly-by tour of Jaipur we visited the Old City - which is loosely divided into traditional artisans' quarters. In 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh had the entire old city painted pink, a colour associated with hospitality, to welcome the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and the tradition has been maintained - the current maharaja is a great polo chum of Britain's Prince Charles. Other sights we visited include:

Jantar Mantar - an observatory begun by Jai Singh in 1728, which at first glance looks like a collection of mammoth, bizarre sculptures. It probably means more to those of you who are into astrology etc, but to us it still looked like a collection of bizarre structures! 

Iswari Minar Swarga Sal - a minaret which was erected by Jai Singh’s son, Iswari, who later killed himself rather than face the advancing Maratha army. As the ultimate act of Rajput loyalty, 21 wives and concubines committed jauhar on his funeral pyre. You can spiral to the top for excellent views over the city.

Hawa Mahal - a remarkable, five-storey, delicately honeycombed, pink sandstone structure. It was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawaj Pratap Singh to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of the city. It’s an amazing example of Rajput artistry, and remains a great place for people-watching from behind the small shutters.

City Palace - this impressive palace encompasses a vast complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The outer wall was built by Jai Singh, but other additions are much more recent, some dating from the early 20th century. Today the palace is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.

Amber Fort - situated 11km outside of Jaipur. It is a vast fortress set on top of a hill, overlooking the Maota Lake, at its forefront. It was built by Raja Man Singh I, and is well known for its artistic style, blending both Hindu and Rajput elements. With its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, it really does leave a lasting impression. Ross still bears the blister marks on his feet from the burns he received after walking on the hot cobbles! 

Like Agra, Jaipur has some really interesting and impressive sights, however, the city is starting to become a bit too modern metropolis esque for my liking. The local community need to be careful that modernity does not detract from its historical beauty.

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