Tuesday, March 27, 2012

incredibly, India: Day 3, part 1

After a sound night's sleep, we got up and went for a continental breakfast. I can't say that I remember exactly what I ate, since it was a pretty run of the mill continental breakfast, but there might have been something with curry or naan thrown in there. And tea.

View of Jaipur from our hotel room in the morning.
But enough about breakfast. On to the day, because there was lots to be done, sights to be seen, rupees to be spent!

First we made a stop at Hawa Mahal. Fortunately for us both, I did a little Google research and found out that it is a palace. It was occupied by a Rajasthani emperor. It is massive. Lots and lots of windows to what I can only assume is lots and lots of rooms since I didn't actually see the inside of the building. According to Wikipedia, the latticed windows were for the women-- so they could see what everyday life looked like without actually leaving or being seen by outsiders. I think this would have been interesting to see the inside of, but I don't know that we could or maybe it was closed or maybe we just didn't have the time.
Hawa Mahal. It's five stories high. From where we where standing, I couldn't really get a good shot that included the whole structure. But this should give you an idea.

Here is a photo of Anu and I, to give
you a reference for scale.
While we were standing outside looking up at this imposing structure, a young lady started talking to me. English was not her first language, but she asked me where I was from, and told me that she was Bangladeshi. I'd never met anyone from Bangladesh. Then she asked if she could take a picture with me. Oh. That's why she wanted to talk to me. Ok.

What happened next was really what I found funny.

Nikka and Anu were standing slightly apart from me since I had wandered to the side to take some photos. This is how the Bangladeshi woman approached me. But then, there was a group of about three or four Indian women who were standing near Nikka and Anu and suddenly started asking Nikka if they could take a picture with her. They singled Nikka out and for once, I was watching this happen to someone else. Anu told me it was because they saw Nikka with me and so they wanted a picture with her. I wonder how they singled her out, since she was wearing sunglasses and could have passed for Indian unless she started speaking.

Here is Nikka, being swarmed.
Nikka with her new friends. The girl in the purple jacket is the Bangladeshi girl who first started talking to me. I don't know if she knew the other women or if she just wanted to get in on the fun, but there she is!

After making new friends, we went and toured the City Palace. There were displays from throne rooms and clothes that were worn by royals. There were also displays from times of colonialism, like cannons and things like that. Again, we were free to make up our own tour as we went.

Inside the City Palace
There were many of these above doorways
Arches are common, and I kept noticing them in sets of three. Perfect for taking pictures!

There was a courtyard with six doorways, all painted differently. This was the peacock doorway.

We saw two men dressed up in what I assume to be Rajasthani traditional clothing. We took a picture with them, and when we turned to go, one of the men tapped us on the shoulder and asked for a tip. Maybe I should have followed his example and asked for a tip every time someone asked to take a picture with me. I think it would have either discouraged people from taking pictures or if not, at least I could have made a little money? Oh well, maybe next time.

We found out we had to tip them, AFTER we took the picture.

Next we headed on our way to a craft bazaar. Unfortunately we didn't get where we meant to go because it was the wrong place or something along those lines, but we did find the water palace. Well, I call it the water palace. After doing some searching with my trusty Google and Wikipedia, I'm pretty sure it's actually called 'Jal Mahal,' which actually translates to 'Water Palace.' Am I good or what? It was built in the middle of the lake. It looked like it had been submerged, but from where we were, it looked well kept and there were trees growing in what might have been a courtyard. I'm pretty sure there were boats going to and from it, but we didn't get to go. We just stood on the shore and took pictures. I guess I'll just have to go back someday!

There's the water palace! Neat, huh? I wonder if they get lots of mosquitoes in the summer or if they have a system for that.

Next, we drove to Jaigarh Fort and Amber Palace.

The fort took a little walking to get to, and I was already wanting to spend more time around the walls and outposts that we were passing. I had a great encounter with a monkey. Monkeys are part of the wildlife here, and it isn't unusual to see them walking around, bold as daylight, going about their business. Well, we were exploring a walled section where you could walk on the wall and there were little outposts spaced out along the wall and the walls had divets and windows where you could stick a rifle or bow and arrow or cannon. You get my drift. Well, I'm looking through one, and see this monkey on the other side. Apparently there is a ledge or shelf on the other side, because he is just sitting there (people watching?).

Le monkey. Hello!

Now, I get pretty excited because my backyard doesn't usually have monkeys. Unless you count my brother when he comes to visit. Just kidding Ian! So I'm standing there, snapping away, telling the monkey to work it, and he does. He hisses at me. All teeth bared. I kind of chuckle when he looks away. Then Anu convincingly persuades me to walk away after she recounts a story of a friend who had a monkey climb on her shoulders and start pulling at her hair. No, thank you. My hair can stay on my little head. And that monkey can continue to while his time away on the outside of the guard wall.

I don't think this was an offer of friendship...

The fort was great to wander around in and take pictures. There was a large courtyard that had three arches overlooking the city--it's normally open, but apparently someone had just had a party there so it was closed for the time being. What a great venue!
Jaigarh Fort courtyard. You could hang disco balls from the three arches! Or stick one at the top of the pointy thing on the tower! Perfect! Then the whole city could get in on the festivities!

On the way out, we saw a banyan (I think) tree and I just couldn't resist the urge to climb it. And miracle of miracles, Anu joined me. Just kidding; it wasn't a miracle, per se, Anu just isn't always a tree-climbing person. I must say Anusree, you did it with grace and style and only a little fear. Though the fear might have been because we were encouraging you to jump down from the tree. You did it, though!

We climbed a tree!
She jumped!

From here we went on to Amber Palace. But, you'll have to tune in later for the next installment because I don't want your computer to freeze/die/go into convulsions from the multitude of pictures that I'm including in these posts. I tried to pare them down-- after all, I took over 600 pictures! Don't worry, it should be up soon.  Here's a teaser for your enjoyment:

Can you see the Palace? Hint. It's the big yellow/tan one in the middle.

Until then,


  1. Haha, I'd go broke really fast if everyone I took pictures of asked for a tip...

  2. ... and t'think... this is only part 3.... hard t'believe you saw all of this in a measly three days! Was Singapore a 'welcome sight' after your adventure? or just a 'pit-stop' on th'way back 'home' (your home :)..