The Pink city otherwise known as Jaipur is pink because when the Prince of Whales was coming to visit in 1853…all the buildings were painted pink to welcome him. Today we started our day at the City Palace complex which is in the middle of the city and holds several buildings within its walls including a museum, shops, palaces, gardens, pavilions etc. It was where Royalty ruled from as far back as 1727 and still houses royalty today.
We bought the self-guided tour headsets and leisurely walked the grounds going in and out of the various buildings. The museum held clothing, carpets, manuscripts and other items belonging to royalty. One of the buildings was a chamber full of artwork including miniature paintings. There were embroidered rugs and and richly decorated ceilings to stare at while wandering through the building. One of the other museums held all kinds of weapons…swords, guns, daggers etc. which were inlaid with special stones and jewels. The complex had a lot to see and we enjoyed admiring the very specific carvings and various details found in the walls of each building.
On our way out of the City Palace, we saw a snake charmer sitting on the ground with a cobra. We had heard snake charmers could be found in this city but hadn’t seen one until now. They are considered illegal in India so we were excited to run into him. We took turns sitting next to the charmer and freaking out when the snake lashed out. And yes…we got both on video and picture, we don’t exactly see these everyday.
Since we leave tonight for Udaipur (threw out our train tickets and bought plane tickets) we wanted to spend some time walking the streets of Jaipur. There were so many people and so much traffic but we managed to cross the streets without getting hit by cows or cars! The streets were lined with shops…people selling all sorts of goods. We bought a couple of pairs of camel leather sandals for only about $4 each. We also bought a couple scarves from a guy who told us what we had purchased in Delhi was fake, but that his were real…
We continued walking down the alleyways while people watching everywhere we went. The buzz of the city which is the capital of Rajasthan (India’s largest state) was one of constant energy. We took several pictures of the locals…classic Indian people going about their busy day. One of the pink buildings in town also stuck out to us, the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds. It was a huge pink sandstone building with over a 1000 small windows creating quite a breeze to the palace, it was five stories tall and dated back to 1799.
After spending some time in the crazy streets, we realized we needed to find out how to get back to our hotel to get to the airport. We found a tuk-tuk which we jumped into but the guy spoke little English and was moving slow…we needed him to move fast so paid him and looked for another one. After some walking around, we found a guy who knew the way to our place and did a good job of getting us to the Marriott safely and quickly.
We checked out of the hotel and got our things into a cab which got us to the airport in time for our 5:40PM flight to Udaipur. By the time we arrived, and got to our hotel…it was time for dinner and bed. The hotel was called the Chunda Palace (www.chundapalace.com). It took them 16 years to build, the walls were hand-painted and it had bone inlay artwork. The architecture was a very typical Rajasthan Palace style. We got checked in and saw our room was huge…and the bathroom made of all marble. We went straight upstairs to their terrace restaurant for dinner. The restaurant was on the rooftop overlooking the Pichola Lake and was very peaceful. It was chilly out so they brought us our own fire to keep warm. We ordered a few things on the menu and then moved to the inside of the restaurant. It was tempting to stay outside and enjoy the view but it was too cold to be comfortable.
Dinner was good and it was nice to un-wind in our very own palace before going back to our huge room for the evening.