Saturday, 28 March 2009

Jaipur: The Pink City

As luck would have it we ended by next to Ritesh on the train to Jaipur and compared further tales of our adventures before I passed out on a bunk and snored my way to the fabled Pink city. Luckily Nipun managed to stay awake otherwise I would have ended up in Timbuktu. Jaipur station consists of the usual legion of touts, tuk tuk drivers and hotel peddlers and after a bit of haggling we were on our way to the best hotel (not to mention most expensive - coincidence?) thus far; the Hotel Palms. By this stage it was after 11pm so on arrival (with our tuk tuk driver deliberately driving past our hotel claiming to be on his way to the other entrance) we went straight to bed and had a late rise. After a late and hearty breakfast buffet (ie load up as much food as you can so as to avoid having to eat lunch) we went into the Pink City, which I thought was more terracotta.

Our first port of call was Jantar Muntar Observatory, home among other things to the largest sundial in the world. It is massive. And accurate to two seconds in Jaipur. The Jantar Muntar was built as a research centre for astrology and astronomy and we employed the services of a guide to show us around. I must confess that about 90% of what he said left me in the dark and the remaining ten percent was in the region of dark grey. This is not because he was a bad guide, but rather due to the nature of the calculations and me having the mathematical aptitude of a pre-schooler. Suffice to say that the sundial works and is pretty impressive whilst the sun is up. And when the sun goes down it looks like the top would offer a nice balcony with stunning views on which to have sundowners. Though as an instrument for telling the time it would be as useful as a chocolate teapot.

We finished up at Jaipur by walking around the City Palace which was pretty expensive for what it was I felt. Maybe I am just a bit monumented / templed out after three weeks on the go. Again it is a beautiful complex and it’s heyday it must have been a city among cities. We spent a few hours there and then explored the city, stumbling upon snake charmers who tried to fleece us of our worldly possessions and a few ad hoc temples which were beautiful. The Indian use of bright colours in their temples is fantastic and as you wander through often dirty streets it is refreshing to suddenly stumble upon an oasis of colour.

1 comment:

  1. Jaipur is one of the hottest and most famous tourist attractions of India. A trip to India can never be complete without a visit to this place of immense historical and architectural importance. In its time it was among the best planned cities in the entire Asia and was the first planned city in India. Jaipur has a very happy amalgamation of the new and the old worlds. The charm and magic of Jaipur lies in the fact that it has a bit of everything- science, art and architecture, culture, religion, and history, ingrained into every inch of it. The warmth and hospitality of the people make a visit to the Pink city all the more memorable, remarkable and cherished. The best part of Jaipur is that even the hotels in Jaipur and the resorts have the flavor and fragrance of the ethnicity and hospitality of the place and its people. Most of the ITC hotels in Jaipur are not just places of shelter, but an experience in itself. Most of the leisure hotels in Jaipur have the ambience, feel and style of its rich and colorful history and culture. The treatment that the guests receive in the budget hotels in Jaipur is one of royalty and at the same time one of genuine affability.