Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Jaipur Day 2

A Grain of Long Grain Rice !!

We awoke this morning, for the first time here, to a clear sky and no fog! It was still a little chilly but we were off to the Amber Fort by 8:40 and very excited about the promised elephant ride. It was an awesome sight to see the Fort, protected by another behind it and a wall which covered the tops of the hills for miles and miles. Up onto our elephant and away up the hill we went, an unforgettable experience with lots of photos as evidence, some taken by our guide and numerous opportunistic ‘photographers’ on the way!
Inside the Fort, built in sections by three successive Maharajas, there were some stunning sights, especially the mirrored Winter Palace and the views from the top levels through the screens the Maharanis sat behind to watch the world go by. There were 2 lovely knot gardens one outside and one inside with a fountain in the middle.
Next we moved on to look at a gem factory and a carpet and fabric cooperative. Despite our resolve, we did at last succumb and bought an amethyst silver ring and a block printed bedspread, after watching some very interesting demonstrations.
We next stopped at the Water Palace and the Palace of the Winds for photos. The Water Palace is destined to become an isolated luxury hotel, but surrounded by a polluted lake full of floating dead fish. I’m not sure of its prospects for success. The Palace of the Winds seems in a strange situation on a main road, until you are told that the court women came from the City Palace to watch celebratory processions from there, hidden from the gaze of men.
We were very impressed by the Juntar Muntar at Jaipur, as it has been restored, but also it is much bigger and has more astrological instruments than were at Delhi. We went finally to the City Palace, which is full of the most fantastic costumes and portraits of the various Maharaja and Maharani and some of their famous meetings with foreign dignitaries like the Mountbattens. One carried gallons of water from the Ganges in two huge silver urns with him to London in huge silver casks and it seemed equally bizarre to know the present Maharaja is living just at one corner! Albeit a five storey section, much higher than the older parts.
Our last ride through the centre of Jaipur was hair raising in the busy traffic but we arrived at the very serene workshop of a small family group of 4 miniature painters. Fantastic work! Luckily we only came away from there with a grain of rice with both our names painted on it. For today's photos click here and for the whole blog pack click on "Todays Chosen Image".  Hope you enjoy them.

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