Our second to last stop in India is here: Jaipur. Situated next to the Great Thar Desert, Jaipur has a unique architecture and a hot sun. There are about fifty million gates, forts, and palaces, all over the pink city. Jaipur is known as the "pink city" because every front of the buildings facing the main street of the old city are painted pink!!! What an exciting colour to paint the city.
We always question ourselves jokingly, why we spent all of that money on safari in Africa? The streets of Jaipur are filled with not only people and trash, but cows, monkeys, goats, elephants, pigs, and camels (don't worry Mosses, we still loved our safari). On our second day here, (the first day we arrived we were too exhausted to do anything) we went to the Amber Fort and City Palace. Since the Amber Fort is up on a hill we took elephants to get up there!! It was a very bumpy ride but fun. The only thing that wasn't fun was learning afterwards that the care of the elephants is suspect. The Amber Fort is quite the definition of majestic, with its middle eastern style of arches with their scalloped edges and beautiful hallways. It did get boring after a while so we left to go to the City Palace.
The City Palace is well, the palace of the city!!! In the old days of Jaipur, these rooms, hallways, and entrances were filled with noblemen, kings, queens, princes, princesses, servants, slaves, etc., etc. Certain areas of the palace are assigned to certain things. For example, there was a little building in the middle of a court yard that was devoted to the outfits and dress of the royal family. Almost all of the palace is painted with that pink paint that the city is famous for!
The next day we did our shopping!!! Jaipur is known for not only it's pinkness, but also for it's markets. At first we had the tuk-tuk driver drop us off in an area that was not for souvenirs but an everyday market for the Indians. My Dad got a Punjabi suit made and Avocet and I bought some fabric to make clothes for our stuffed animals. Then we walked to a souvenir area. BIG MISTAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jaipur is not a walking city. If you try and walk in Jaipur it's very hard, and confusing. There is a lot of trash and cows, not to mention the cars, trucks, tuk-tuks, rickshaws and, motorcycles. In the souvenir area, Avocet and I bought traditional Rajasthani shoes and I bought a purse.
Soon enough, we were back in a tuk-tuk starting a new day at Jantar Mantar, a Mughal King's observatory. There were a lot of sundials, zodiac sculpture symbols and stuff like that. In this observatory, the largest sundial in the world is located. All of the sculptures and astrological instruments are made out of stone. Wow!!! That king must have been rich!!! That day we also got our palms read and Avocet got her horoscope read. I wonder whether the palm reading was correct or just old fraud work. He did say we were going on a trip around the world for a year and we didn't mention that to him.
Yesterday was mostly a rest day with watching election results and today will be packing and driving around town. The traditional Rajasthani dress is a long shirt, a skirt, and a scarf that goes around the head. In the shops, the people who stand outside asking you if you want to go into their shop, always say, "traditional" Rajasthani dress for baby!! but what they are selling is just a commercial thing. Not the real traditional dress. Oh, I forgot to tell you!!! Two days ago, we went swimming in a palace that was converted into a hotel!!!! The entrance was a large arch and a fountian with white chairs and tables. Everything was very old and pretty!! The hotel had a large cage filled with beautiful canaries. There were also a lot of peacocks in the yard and pigeons would swoop down and drink the pool water. Jaipur is just a crazy city.