Today was a full busy day, just how I like it! Left Delhi for Jaipur which is the capital of India's Rajasthani state, very early in the morning in order to beat traffic, the trip between the two cities is a 5 hour drive so you can imagine how much longer it would be if traffic was an issue. The drive actually turned out to be just fine and it went by faster than I expected! well, sleeping for most part of the journey did play a role in giving the impression that the trip was shorter than 5 hours.
I had read about how chaotic and overwhelming India can be so since my visit is only a week long, I figured why not book a tour with a travel agent so that they can figure out all the logistics instead of me trying to navigate by myself with such limited time. Sometimes it just works better that way and you are able to really utilize the limited time you have got. The tour package did include a private driver so that's who drove me to Jaipur.
Jaipur is the first planned city in India and was established in 1876, it is also known as the pink city because when the prince of Wales visited the city, the leader at the time decided to paint the whole city pink because the color symbolizes hospitality, I believe prior to that the city was white and once it got painted pink, the color remained as is till the present day. Since I only have a day in Jaipur, my itinerary was packed with all the different highlights of the city. After linking up with my guide, no time was wasted in checking out the different tourist sites, this the order of how my day went:
Amber Fort - One of the best preserved forts that served as the royal capital for seven years before the city of Jaipur was built.
Jal Mahal (Palace of Water) - Located in the middle of a man made lake, Man Sagar. The initial intention for building this palace was to have it a hunting lodge for the king and his entourage. Unfortunately it is not open to tourists but there are plans by the govt. to grant access to the public.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) - A five story building that happens to be the tallest in the world, built without foundation. It remains upright because of it's curve. The building's shape and curved windows allow breeze to blow through the palace, keeping it cool. It was an extension of the Royal City Palace and since Royal ladies were not allowed to be seen by strangers or the general public, the windows were designed in such a way that they could see what was going on in the streets below without anyone seeing their faces.
City Palace - This palace was built between 1729 and 1732 AD served as the Maharaja's(great king) dwelling place.
That's it folks! I got to see a couple of other tourist sites but didn't take photos because by then, I was so tired and ready to check into my hotel and crash. Tomorrow I am heading to Agra to check out the Taj Mahal so do check back for updates.
Random Thoughts of the Day:
I have noticed that there is not one single woman working in the hotels, restaurants and even airport. I asked my driver Abdul about this and he said that most women either stay at home or work in offices.
It's amazing to see Persian influences at some of the sites I visited today. I actually had a sense of deja vu at times as I would come across some design or painting resembling what I had seen in Iran during my last trip.
I was chatting with Abdul my driver and he mentioned that his daughter is getting married next year and that him and his wife have already chosen the man for her. His daughter has only seen his photos but trusts her parents' choice and is fine with it. Abdul himself had an arranged marriage. It was interesting listening to his point of view on arranged marriages and his support of this age old practice.
A lot actually goes into these arranged marriages and astrologers are even used to determine if both partners are compatible.
Speaking of astrologers, Jaipur is also well known for astrology so I decided to visit one and hear what he had to say. Both Abdul and my guide Babu highly recommended him. The guy told me some pretty interesting things that made me ponder, he was actually pretty good and straight forward with his reading and sis not charge me anything.
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