Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds.

Rear facade of Hawa Mahal, where the court ladies could look out on the city without being seen.
Jantar Mantar, an odd collection of 'architectural astronomical instruments'. 
I always thought Astronomy was science for arts students, but this stuff is complicated. 
Albert Hall Museum.
Some of art featured within the museum. 
Riding through Jaipur in an auto rickshaw.
Amber Fort, just outside the city. 

Jal Mahal or Water Palace.
The steep, winding road we walked up to Nahargarh Fort.
Topographical-esque step-well. 

I'm moving in with this pigeon, stellar view. 

Woman silhouetted by the distant city lights.

An easy 5hr bus ride got us to Jaipur. We successfully deflected the touts' attempts to get us off the bus on the edge of town (fell for that one in china, fool me once...). He said "this is city center, all hotels, all guest houses, where are you going?" Me, "Main Bus Station". Him, "no, only depot next, where are you going?" Me, "Main Bus
Station". We went back and forth a few times until he finally said "Ok, next stop". Victory!

Our hostel (Explorer's Nest) was lovely, very homey and a nice change from the typical cold concrete box rooms with stained linen (we really need to buy our own sheets!)

We surprised ourselves by visiting every attraction on the two day composite tourist ticket (the ladies palace, an architectural astronomy park, two forts, and a museum). That's a lot of sightseeing! I guess it's how regular tourists roll, but we were exhausted. I do find navigating cities here tiring. It's being constantly on guard for rickshaws, motor cycles, cows and their dung that wears you out.

We hired an auto rickshaw (they are calling them tuk tuks here too now) for the day to get us out to Amber fort, and the 'water palace'. The driver threw in visits to an elephant stable and a handicrafts factory (where they happened to have a shop). We declined the elephant ride, and didn't buy anything, so our driver lost interest in taking us to the monkey temple. Instead he dropped us at the base of the winding road up to Nahargarh with the assurance that there was a sunset view and a restaurant (with beer) up top.

Listening to Indian cities from above makes me think of carnivals. I feel like I'm at the top of the biggest Ferris wheel ever, listening to the shouts of children at the games, people on roller coasters, hawkers selling cotton candy. In fact it's car horns, people yelling, calls to prayer, temple bells, children playing. The sounds are more rich than even our DR neighborhood back home. It's appropriate that my first university SFU was home of the World Soundscape Project. I kind of wish I had one of those old audio recorders with me.

- Bree