Friday, December 3, 2010

Jaipur

I visited Jaipur in Jul 2010 and wanted to title this post "Rajasthan" and wait for me to visit other places before giving a shape to this post. I intended this to be a catalyst for the big trip. But, the plan to visit other important places of Rajasthan did not materialize soon. For the fear of forgetting the details of my experience, I am starting to document this post.

Rajasthan is my childhood dream. I always have a fascination for the Rajput Kings in my school days. Who doesn't ?. I used to fantasize fighting on a horse back when I was a kid....
In spite of my having visited New Delhi a couple of times earlier I could not bring myself up to visiting Jaipur. Finally, I made it a point to visit Jaipur during a three week long official trip to Delhi. I visited Jaipur on my return journey from Delhi.

Jaipur is a small city with a number of tourist attractions enough palaces and forts to see for more than a week.Google will spew thousands of pages.
I had only a couple of days and fought hard to choose and see as many places as possible. But could cover only 50%, I guess.

Pink City- True to its name,Jaipur wears Pink all over it. These are a few interesting street shots of the Pink City.
Don't miss some close-up shots of a snake and snake charmer in the following slideshow..!



Highway Motel
This is the interesting highway hotel we had a nice cup of Hot tea..! This is about 70km ahead of Jaipur on the Delhi Jaipur -Highway






Chokidhani

Yes...It is me with the Rajasthani Turban inside the dining hall with my friends Deepak and Preeti..
Both of them looked great with the turban..Flip thru the slideshow for their pictures with the turban.. Deepak really has posed great.. I got envious and camouflaged him inside the slideshow..(lol!)..!
Don't miss Preei the Rajasthani Village Girl... inside the slideshow..! Rajasthani Costumes are available for rent inside. There is an instant photographer service also..(not poloroid..! You get a professional print..)

This is very interesting place. A man made Ethinic Rajasthani Village, with all activities in a typical Rajasthani village are mimicked live. We went at about 9pm there and spent a couple of hours. But there is enough to spend a full evening. Cost for food is included in the entry fee that starts at Rs 300/-.There are other classes of food joints for which the cost is more where the crowd is less. I bought the default ticket to enjoy the crowded ambiance.

They have set up live shows of dances,Rope walking, Snake charming ... and the like. There are village shops, temple with priest who does pooja...and many more...! There is also an astrologer sitting under a tree who reads your palm,.. (It is a different matter altogether that his reading of my past was quite contrary to the truth..! My wife tells me ,predictions done during night are not effective..!)
It is a Ministry of Tourism enterprise. Visit their website - http://www.chokhidhani.com/village/index.html for more details. I didn't believe it is a Govt. of India enterprise. They sure have done a fantastic job.
Less said of this novel place is better ...See for yourself.the photos of this great place...!

Chokidani Photos 
Being night shots ,Quality of some shots are less than perfect. But, for sure will bring you the environment of the place..!







Hawa Mahal 


The Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, is arguably Jaipur’s best-known monument. For one, it is unlike any other Rajput monument – fort, palace or temple. Secondly, it’s a bit too whimsical and delicate, almost like a magical structure from the Arabian Nights. Despite its towering height and length, the Hawa Mahal looks like a light, airy structure which might blow away with the slightest wind. 

Placed right in the middle of the bustling Johari Bazaar, near the Badi Chaupad (the big square), this reddish-pink building made of red sandstone is a constant reminder of Jaipur’s colourful history which refuses to just curl up and  die. 
Alas we could not get inside and see as visitors were not allowed owing to the repair work that was in progress.  An excuse for me to visit this great city again...!



Shopping
Just to forget the grief of not being able to enter Hawa Mahal ..We did some shopping just in front of Hawa Mahal...! I bought a couple of beautiful Sarees, Rajasthan Wall hangings and Bags.. My wife liked them all..The usual complaint that I paid more was not there this time...We had Preeti to do the bargaining..She is a very good bargainer..She would finish a bargaining session and start another immediately...!





Jantar Mantar - Colossal Observatory 


Jantar Mantar, built between 1728 and 1734, literally means the ‘instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens’. Jai Singh, the brain behind the grand project, chose stone with marble facing. This was the biggest of all his observatories and the only one built of stone. He used it daily, often with his astronomy gurus Pandit Jagannath and Kewal Ram. In all there are 17 instruments in the Jantar Mantar complex. The function of each instrument is rather complex but serves a particular function where time plays the main theme.
wikipedia holds good amount of details of great monument..!


Click the picture below to have an enlarged view..and details of this observatory as engraved at the site..!










City Palace is near Jantar Mantar..We did not enter the city palace but took a few snaps from outside..!




Jal Mahal - Water Palce


Must see in Jaipur. Visitors are not allowed inside. The palace stands amidst water. 



Jaigarh Fort
I actually wanted to visit Amber fort and landed in this place which turned out to be great. I could not visit the Amber fort. Will have to plan in the next visit.
Whenever Man Singh I (late 16th century) or his successors warred and won gold, silver, jewels and other booty, they hoarded them in the Jaigarh Fort. and they had the loyal Minas to fiercely guard their haul. (In fact, legends tell us that the Minas were such strict guards that they let each new Kachhawaha king to enter only once and pick one single piece for himself from the dazzling pile!) Anyway, all this treasure paid first for building Amber, then Jaipur and for centuries of lavish living. Indian Government officials tried to retrieve whatever was left; they dug the place in 1976 but found nothing. In fact they even drained the three arched water tanks (in a courtyard on the way to the northern end of the fort) in the hope of finding the fortune there. Some say that everything was used up in building Jaipur while others claim that it is still there somewhere.

The dictum of the ancient Hindu scriptures, the Puranas, 'a fort is the strength of a king', must have loomed large in the minds of the Rajputs while building the Jaigarh Fort. The ambitious Jai Singh II then expanded, remodelled and renamed it in 1726. and since this fort never fell in the hands of enemies, it stands almost intact to this day.



Main attractions in this fort are
Huge CanonWeighing 50 tons with an 8m barrel and a trajectory of about 20km, it is said to be the world's largest cannon on wheels.
Seven Storied Divya Burge from where areal view of Jaipur can be had (See the video)
The palace Complex - with public audience hall, Commanders meeting hall, Secret passages for royal escape in case of emergency, beautiful garden  and many more...




Old Amber palace
is at the Jaigarh fort. We did not have time and energy to get into it. But a few photos and a video from outside will give an idea about this palace..





Jaigarh Fort Videos


Jaigarh Fort

Fort Areal View



Commander Meeting Hall



Garden inside the fort - The famous tele serial Sword of Tippu sultan was shot here..

Palace inside the Fort

Old Amber palace at the foothill of Jaipur


As I said earlier there are many more attractions that I could not visit...Hoping to visit this great place again...!
Haven't you packed your bags yet..?


BTW, if you like this post feel free to pass it on to your friends...!
.