The fortified palace of Amber was the citadel of Kachhwaha until 1727, when the capital was moved to Jaipur. Successive rulers continued to go to him on important occasions seeking the blessing of the goddess of the family, Shila Devi. The citadel was founded by Man Singh I in 1592 on an old fort from the eleventh century, but the various buildings were added by Jai Singh I who was the magnificent central body. If I had to highlight the most interesting places of the fort, I'd take the Ganesh Pol, a beautiful door which connects the private rooms through the gallery above the lattices, aimed at the ladies held, solid silver door of the temple Shila Devi, the wonderful playground or walls that are full of mirrors that reflect even the smallest blade of light.
The Hawa Mahal or Palace and the Winds, was built in the esthete 1799 for the Swai Pratap Singh, it is a whimsical structure that adds to the rich architecture of Rajasthan. The ornate facade, an emblem of the city today, is a baroque composition with staggered windows and overhanging balconies that are covered with lattice. Although these five floors are high, there is no more than one room in the background and the walls do not exceed 20 cms wide. It is built with lime mortar, and is screened in order that the ladies that were held in the harem could watch, unseen, the bustle of the streets. From afar, the Hawa Mahal, dedicated to Krishna, seems to be the Mukut (crown) which often crowns the head of the god. You can climb a winding ramp to the top.
When we went to the Amber fort we were offered the possibility of riding an elephant, but our rickshaw driver recommended we wait because being a tourist site the tour was not going to be very long and it would also be expensive. What we did was wait and a few miles on from a small town there is amber, and outside the city where they raise elephants, there is paint for ceremonies and festivals for tourists, in an area where you do not find any tourists and you get around the village for a price of around 200 rupees per head, nothing like the Amber fort. Elephant riding was a curious experience but I had the feeling that I was being quite cruel to this magnificent beast and would not wish to undertake this particular experience a second time for fear of causing any permanent damage.
The City Palace in the heart of Jai Singh II has been the residence of the government since the first half of the eighteenth century. The large complex is a fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture, with wide open public buildings of Mughal style leading to private areas. Its treasures include little statues, manuscripts, Mughal carpets, musical instruments, royal robes and weapons. Each of the seven floors of the Chandra Mahal is extravagantly decorated and is named according to that floor´s function.
Of the five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur is the largest one and also the best preserved. It was built between 1728 and 1734. I found a huge collection of 16 instruments, which is often described as "the most logical and realistic landscape stone". Some of the tools are still used to calculate the temperatures that will be reached in summer, the arrival date, duration and intensity of the monsoon and the possibility of floods and famines. A special highlight is the Samrat Yantra, a sundial of 23 meters high, which is expectated to forecast the annual harvest. It is here where I have experienced the most heat of any of my travels. We arrived to play the 48th .... I boiled the brain.
The Jal Mahal is situated 8 miles north of Jaipur, the pink city of Rajasthan. This palace can be listed under one of the advantages of visiting India during the monsoon season. Why? Because only when it rains abundantly does the Man Sagar lake fill up and the Jal Mahal seems to float on the water. This beautiful palace was built in the 18th century under the orders of Madho Singh I. The architects and builders of the monument took as reference the spectacular Lake Palace of Udaipur. The result was more than satisfactory.
We passed through the pink city on a rickshaw and arrived that the Monkey Temple which, honestly, we had zero intention of visiting, but it came highly recommended and we're glad we went. It's a small temple with some amazing views of Jaipur and we were accompanied by a child ve acted both as our guide and "defender" against the monkeys! We hadn't seen so many monkeys during our whole trip to India and it’s fun to get a bag of food for 5 rupees and watch how the little things come running up and act almost human as they eat their peanuts. Just a word of warning. Once we got in the temple they tried to get us to make an offering (as usual) and offered some bad henna tattoos, which you shouldn't get. I wouldn't suggest getting a guide either, because they ask for a lot and, in the end, no one needs to be "defended" from the monkeys, they're quite cute and harmless!
It is an unforgettable adventure to travel those roads, with children coming from all over, visiting villages, seeing animals like cows, camels, peacocks etc. The city is also fun because the 4X4 did not go very fast and cars and bikes overtook us. Almost everyone greets you and even poses for photos. Most people are very friendly and nice. It´s an amazing place where nothing should surprise you. We left after lunch and we went to a pottery workshop, then we went to the Bishnoi village and back to Jaipur.
In any carpet shop you go into there will be a live demonstration of how the carpets are made by hand with antique looms in rather precarious conditions. I had occasion to see this twice in two different stores. The images I'm uploading are from the most luxurious shop in a mall. The funny thing is inside the store. I sit in quite a spacious room and offer you something to drink. Once all are served, the show begins, because it really it is a show. Carpets unfold quite theatrically with a bang on the floor and unwinding at once, ha ha. They are deployed in groups of two or three people at a time. When you realize you have the floor at your feet full of rugs in different qualities and all very nice. The feeling is quite overwhelming, especially if you have no intention of buying anything. If you want to buy one, they will wrap it well so you can check it in as hold luggage or you can have it sent to your home, whichever you prefer.
There isn't a corner of Jaipur's beautiful Amber Fort which doesn't have its own wonderful history and legend. It's such a large site that if you want to see everything, it's better to divide it into zones. In the East, you'll find this wonderfully decorated room with mirrors and windows, once the residence of the maharajah. The intricate mirrors have a purpose beyond decoration ... at night, the only lighting available sometimes was a single candle, and the mirrors meant that it was enough to light up the whole room. The stained glass windows are currently undergoing restoration.
I have always loved cinema, and it has always been a great passion of mine. So, when I went to visit Jaipur, I had to take advantage of the great opportunity to experience the Indian cinema. Going to Raj Mandir was one of the strangest things I did on my trip. We knew that the movie would last three hours with an intermission and we knew that we wouldn´t understand anything, so we thought we would still until intermission and then go on to continue with our day of sightseeing, but it was not the case in the end. And when the rest were so hooked as any Hindus who were in the room and vibrated to the rhythm of the film and the performances of its star, all that mixed the special atmosphere that surrounds you in this room, with its own decor and architecture of the ancient theater than a cinema. If you pass through Jaipur and I like movies not miss the opportunity to see a movie and learn how to live in India because cinema is an experience. I saw that the movie Agneepath is titled and that it is a remake of a film from back in 1990.
Just few metres from the Pink City, this is the most important museum in the city. It used to be the town hall. For my taste, it is the best building. Inside you can see a large collection of antiques, ceramics, sculptures, paintings, carpets, jewellery, woodwork, glass and metal, old costumes worn in ceremonies by royal families. It's a good place to escape the heat in Jaipur.
I haven't seen the Great Wall of China, but this wall is very close to the image of it that I have in my mind. It runs from Jaigarh Fort for hundreds of kilometres through all the hills surrounding the town of Amber. There are several places where you can climb the wall (highly recommended).
We saw many snake charmers in Jaipur, but they were adults. It was strange to see children control the snakes, others doing amazing acrobatics with real flexibility. The cobra or viper is poisonous, but when you take a photo with the adult snake charmers, you can touch the snake in the basket. When I did this, the snake gave me a fright, you can see it in the photo hahahahahaha. This child is learning the profession soon!
Pritam Niwas Chowk is one of the courtyards of the City Palace of Jaipur, leading to the Palace of the Moon (Chandra Mahal). Each of the four doors is dedicated to a god, and to one of the four seasons of the year. The most beautiful, and also the most photographed, is the Peacock Door, with a small representation of Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty. The doors are guarded by servants dressed in white with red turbans.
The Pink City is one the most important attractions in Jaipur. This is what the old town, which was built by Jai Singh II, is called. The buildings were built of stucco in an attempt to imitate sandstone, and that were later painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales. This color symbolizes the city's hospitality and luck, and also place it at the top of the list of what to do in Jaipur.
The city is surrounded by a crenelated wall with ten gates and is divided into six districts. One district houses the palace complex, which includes Hawa Mahal or the Palace of the Winds, as well as gardens and a lagoon. The Hawa Mahal is one of the more impressive things to do in Jaipur. It is a palace built in the year 1799 by Sawai Pratap Singh, which served as an extension of the zenana or chamber for the women destined for the harem. The building has five floors, is built of red and pink sandstone, and is encrusted in calcium hydroxide. The facade facing the street has 953 small windows.
Another one of the places to visit in Jaipur is Amber Fort, a palatial complex located near the city that was originally dedicated to the Mother Goddess known as Gatta Rani, or Queen of the Past. Another one of the important things to see in Jaipur is the Jantar Mantar, one of the five astronomical observatories built in India by Jai Singh Maharaj. This is a collection of structural monuments to study the evolution of the shadows produced by the sun.
There is still more stuff to do in Jaipur, like the City Palace, historical residence of the majarashas, the Albert Hall Museum, or the Observatory of Jai Singh, all of which are some examples of Jaipur attractions and Jaipur activities that you can not miss.