Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Golden Triangle Part 3: Jaipur

Listening to: My daughters and nieces playing

Jaipur was easily my favorite part of our trip.

Fatepur Sikri

We left straight from Taj Mahal and drove an hour until we reached Fatepur Sikri, a dead city.  Our guide met us in the parking lot and walked us around, telling us about the history and some of the unique sites. One of the neatest things for me was the combination of religions in the architecture. Akbar, the builder, had 3 different wives (one catholic, one Hindu, and one Muslim) and incorporated elements of all of these religions into the buildings.

After we got into Rajasthan, we stopped at another tourist trap for lunch. This food was really good. We got Lal Maas, which is a peppery Rajasthani curry with more naan.

This was our room

This is a snap of the hotel

 Another hour and we had reached Jaipur. Our hotel was: the Dera Rawatsar. This hotel was also my favorite also. It wasn’t really even a hotel, it was a bed and breakfast. There were a couple little courtyards, Indian art on the wall, and a huge room with arches and curtains, a window nook big enough for the kids to sleep on, and colorful bed spreads. I could go on and on about this. We ate at the restaurant that night. Unfortunately, the food was awful. It is totally geared towards western/European palates and has absolutely no spice. Indian food without spice is not Indian food.

Hawa Mahal
Jai Mahal

Amber Fort

The next day, we ate breakfast and met our guide. She brought us past Hawa Majal. You can’t go inside, but we saw from the sidewalk. We drove out to Jai Mahal – the palace on the water, and then drove up to Amber fort.  I enjoyed Amber fort a lot too. It had a totally different feel than the other fort and tombs that we saw. Totally worth seeing again! After that, the guide took us on a driving tour of the city and pointed out that it was a planned city on a block system. We drove through the old city, enjoying the gate, walls, brightly colored saris, and bazaars. Totally romantic and I think I’m in love. We stopped for lunch in another tourist place where the food was just so-so. We went back to the hotel for a short nap and then headed out again. We drove out of Jaipur and into the countryside to a farm type thing called Dera Amer. The hosts met us at the door and handed us bananas and asked us to feed them to the elephants. The girls loved it. We then climbed up onto a high perch and on top of the elephants. Two mahoots (the guys who steer the elephants) rode on the elephant’s heads. The eldest daughter rode with me, the youngest with the husband. We took a good hour long lumbering ride on Hema and Lakshmi, the elephants. It was wonderful. It was dusk and we saw different birds, rodents, and such. After the elephant ride, we went for dinner across the lawn, which I’m told can be rented for elephant polo matches. 9 elephants lumbering around on a lawn. That is beyond awesome. Anyhow. They seated us around a fire and gave us assorted bits of grilled meat.  After that, we went into the big, open tent and sat down. They fired up two huge open fireplaces because it got quite chilly. We ate, buffet style and then stuffed in some dessert too. It was wonderful.  We headed back to Jaipur and went to sleep.

Elephant Polo Yo. That's just awesome!
 One of the elephants

The next morning, we ate slowly, lounged around, and then caught our flight to Bangalore.

A note on Jaipur: Jaipur is a pretty with it city, even if it still is one of the more conservative places in India. The women still walk around with their saris draped over their faces. They also use a lot of saffron yellow dye for saris, so lots of bright yellow clothes. Tourism is a major source of income here, so they really do see a lot of different people.  Rajasthan is such a romantic place. The women with their bright saris, all of the beautiful mirror worked clothes, umbrellas, purses, etc. I will definitely be coming here again!

You see women like this everywhere


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