I slept fantastic well in the confy bed in Agra. I had the breakfast in the restaurant, it was a complimentary breakfast buffet. But I must say I was a little disappointed, the only thing I didn’t like about this hotel. They had some indian food, but the continental breakfast was just plain white bread, butter and jam. Then there was some juice and hot water for instant coffee. Ah, they had papaya to. But nothing else, and such a luxury hotel. I would have liked some cheese and tomatoes or something for the toast.. and maybe other bread than white :/ But but. I’m in India! Haha. Also there were eggs, but I opened one, and the yellow was a kind of white with a turn to the grey side, nothing yellow at all, so I didn’t feel to eat it.
We left at 8 in the morning again. Agra is also more beautiful in the morning, as Delhi was. I think it’s because it’s less people and the city is sort of awaking, and there is always a special morning light. It’s nice to see all the people going to their jobs or schools, and they are really dressed up. I’m surprise to see people in nice dressing pants and shirt or with school uniform, it’s like a big contrast from the dirty streets, like they don’t belong or are totally unaware of the chaos around them. Everyone is very proper dressed (only the really really really poor people have old and dirty clothes). Indians do care a lot about their looks. Even the poor people always have short newly cut hair. You see outside “hair dressers”, you often se a man in a stool in the street with a small hand mirror, and someone behind cutting his hair.
So once again there were about 250 kms from Agra to Jaipur. But this journey went a lot faster then yesterdays, which was shorter kilometer-wise. The surrounding scenery on this road was much more beautiful, I expected to see the same as yesterday, but this was filled with green areas, forest, lot’s of yellow raps mark. Also the road was great, seemed new and with no bumps. My driver Mahender is happy. “The Rajastan road is very very nice”.
We passed by quite many factories where they do altars in marble and pink stone. There were like 100 of them along the way! They export to the whole india from there.
Also a lot of brick factories, in one burning they do about 10.000 bricks, so that’s what almost all the houses are made of. You see people building their houses along the road everywhere. They have long tree sticks/poles for scaffolding. Doesn’t seem all that safe, haha.
We drove by less villages and cities then yesterday, but it’s still surprising to me that people build their houses a stone’s throw from the big thoroughfare. Why not build the house at least 20 meters from the road, just to avoid a little bit of the traffic noise and dust? Don’t know. Almost every house also had a few cows outside. They use them for milk, since the cow is holy here.
Mahender asked me if I like to cook. I answered and asked him the same question. He answered “Yes I like, but I can only 3 dishes. Omelette, rice and chicken”. I said “oh really, so you eat that every day?” “No, only Sundays, it’s my cooking days. Me, my daughter and my son eats, my wife doesn’t like my cooking” hahaha. He is very sweet, has a very big heart. He told me that he doesn’t take any vacation either, because he works whenever he can. This trip is a short trip for him, usually he is out for longer than a week, then when he has some days off he comes home to look after his family and house, that everything is ok.
Mahender told me that his wife called him when we were in Jaipur and asked where he is. “I say I’m in agra, on my way to Jaipur – My wife got very happy” “Why happy?” “Because, she says now I can buy her bangles, and she sad many, for at least 1000 rupees!” Hahah. Jaipur is famous for their bangles (bracelets).
We arrived in Jaipur around noon. Finally a city I like!! Jaipur is the largest city in the state of Rajasthan and was built in the 18th century by Sawai Jai Singh as India’s first planned city. Every building within the walled historic centre is painted a terracotta “pink” colour and there are few exceptions to this uniformly colour scheme. It is so much cleaner here, the traffic isn’t that dense, and the city itself is much more beautiful since it’s all more uniform.
We met up with the guide Gaurau Bhatt and he was great, he started directly telling me the history of the city. He spoke very understandable English
Jaipur has about 6 million habitants. It is known as ”The pink city of India”. The city has enforced this color under local law, it’s illegal for buildings to be painted any other colour than Jaipur Pink. It is said that the city is pink because the king of Tejpur, The Maharaja, was going to have a visit from the Prince of Wales in 1876 and wanted to impress him. The colour chosen was a terracotta pink as this colour historically represents welcoming and hospitality. But my guide actually told me that the Maharaja chose this color because of his religion, because he worshipped 2 gods – and this ”pink” is a mix of both of the colors these gods represents – the yellow from the hindu god Shiva and the red (I think) from hindu god Brahman.
We started with the Palace of Winds, Hawa mahal, which is Jaipurs most distinctive landmark. It has 5 floors and 953 small honey comb windows. It was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh so that royal ladies could watch the life and processions of the city, because during that time women always had a face cover were not allowed to show their faces in public. The intricated lattice works lets cool air through the Palace, even during hot summer, and that’s why it’s called Palace of Winds.
Then we went into the City Palace, what a place! It’s from the 20th century and has a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. It has a welcome palace, hall of public audience, a lot of gates and the private palace. The private palace is the only building that is not Pink in Jaipur (“Everything should be painted but my palace!” he said because the king was above the prince, so to show that, the whole city except for his own home was painted in pink).
The palace has a lot of small galleries inside where you can see clothes, armoury, wagons, portraits of old kings, carpets, paintings etc.
I loved my guide, he told me the whole history of each and everyone and thing and I learnt a lot. Very interesting! You are not allowed to take pictures in the proper galleries, to bad.
There were many cool photographs there from where India had about 50 kings, a mix of indian, brittish and pakistanian kings. The ceiling was also painted in natural colors, meaning that it is painted with the dust that comes from forming gems out of stones for example red is ruby, green is emerald etc (some almost as expensive as diamonds), then that colored stone-dust is mixed with glue and painted. So it’s quite an expensive paint!!
Just across the Palace we have the Jantar Mantar, an astronomical and astrological observatory. It is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments that allow the observations of astronomical positions with the naked eye. The monument expresses architectural innovations, as well as the coming together of ideas from different religious and social beliefs in 18th century India.
It was built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh, and completed in 1738 CE. It’s in the Guiness record book because of the world’s largest stone sundial, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The monument features instruments operating the horizon-zenith local system, the equatorial system and the ecliptic system. SUPERCOOL!
After that we visited a fabric place where they color fabrics, they have wooden stamps for it. For a fabric it can be minimum 4 colors and maximum 8 colors for this technique. They have different stamps, like the outer contures of an elephant, then they have for example 3 another stamp with some parts of the elephants. They wet the wooden stamps in colour and press it on fabric, let dry for 48 hours and then wash it. After that it never fades. Everything is handcraft!!!
I was a little hungry after so we went for a snack. I said that I wanted to go to a local place and not a touristic place, at first I thought the guide took me to a touristic place anyways because it was only 2 tourist there, but then about 10 indian men entered, so I was happy haha. I was suggested the “Rajhastan plate” that is from this area, but it looked like a lot, I said to the guide that I don’t eat that much “It’s a small plate!” he said… Haha. He went out and I ate alone. My waiter was the cuuutest man with a big big smile. He also asked about my hair. Haha. I ate up about 90% of the food and then asked for a doggybag to bring home. “Yes yes, no problem!” the waiter said. I paid and then I waited. And waited. Then I asked another waiter about the doggybag “Yes yes, wait there, yes yes”. So I waited. Then I asked again. Hm, they had thrown my food, they hadn’t understood. Whaaaaaat a disappointment.. Well well. I told the guide about this and then he disappeared for a while and came back and say that they will make new food for me to bring home, haha. Oh so sweet, now I feel bad about that I was a little bit angry about that. He said that people in Tejpur and Rajahstan are famous for their hospitality, that it is no problem. I felt bad anyway. But happy.
We went down by the water, a nice kind of ramblas along the lake. Before it was a big forest, except for a little part of the valley where there was a small lake. The king of Jaipur used to go here for hunting, and he said it was a beautiful place, I should build a summer palace here, so he did. But then after a while then they cut down the trees for the wood and the lake extended and covered the palace, so now it’s called the Water Palace.
It’s a very nice place where the people from Jaipur enjoy a walk and can buy some food or jewelry and watch the river and the palace. And the wild rats along the coast! Haha.
So here you are either muslim or hindu (or christian), depending on what family you come from. I had written in my notes that I’m surprised there aren’t any beggers here, when I was in mexico I couldn’t walk one meter before someone asked me for money. Here it hasn’t happened to me in Agra or in Delhi, but now in Jaipur, while walking by the water, there were about 3-4 kids in different occasions that came and asked for money. I commented that for the guide, and he said it’s usually muslim-children, they have more custom to have many many children which they later can’t support or don’t even take care of, so they have to find food for themselves. Horrible.
He also told me that in India, you are allowed to have 2 children, if you have a third, then you can’t work within the government. So if you have a government job, they fire you if you have a third child. If you don’t, well you can never have a government job then. It is legal to make abortion, but not that common. Before, a lot of women did abortion when they knew that the gender of the baby was a girl. Man have more power, education and work here, women cause more problems to have. But that kind of abortion is forbidden now, and a doctor who does that abortion can have very serious consequences, so doctors generally only make abortion if the couple already have 2 kids. Hm! Interesting!
We rounded up quite early, since we have a half day tomorrow to but in Amber (will write a separate post about it). Me and Mahender went to look for bangles for his wife on the market, but it was bad for him that I was with him because it was much more expensive when they saw me. So we went to the hotel, quite far away! It wasn’t that good hotel, I got spoiled in Agra. No internet, no normal sheets (!), hard bed, no desk.. but enough. I had my doggybag-dinner, watched tv-series and relaxed.
There has been quite much to take in these days, but I think that once you get to know the city you are in it must be kind of great. There’s always something going on and lot’s of people around. I wish I spoke Hindi haha. The English is limited for conversation if it’s not someone who is very educated and have studied English. But everybody understands a little bit at least, and everyone is very kind.
Anyhow. Jaipur is definitively my favorite city of this golden triangle-tour.