Jaipur is known as the Pink City. Except that it isn’t really pink. Apparently at British royal who visited a long time ago proclaimed it as a pink city and everyone else was left to wonder if he was actually color blind.
But that’s not important. What is important that this was one of the first “planned” cities in India. The ruling Maharaja consulted both architects and architectural books before building his city. He built it in 6 distinct sectors, each separated by wide avenues. And all painted one color. Orange. Not pink. But whatever.
We started the day at the Amber Fort.
Which is surrounded by a wall. That resembles the Great Wall of China. And if you post a picture on facebook, it may or may not lead someone to ask why you are in China instead of India …
It also has an assorted collection of shows right outside the gates. In this instance, we got to hang out with a snake charmer. And take pictures with his pet cobra.
It feels, not surprisingly, like a snake.
Apparently the people of Jaipur used to pay people to go out and capture the poisonous snakes to make anti-venoms. But then they were left with a bunch of defanged snakes that couldn’t survive in the wild. So they did what any sane person would do – turn them into pets. Then take their pets out to scam, er, offer entertainment to tourists.
Ever wonder how the snake knows to dance on command to very bad music? Well, the pipe blows air around the snake. And the snake isn’t actually dancing to the music but more of attacking the rippling air.
Eventually we left the charmer to go up into the fort. India is trying to cut back on smog amongst the national heritage sites by only allowing official vehicles into the actually sites. Therefore, there are only three ways up in to the fort. You could walk. I suppose. But I wouldn’t recommend it. You could take an elephant. But personally, I think it’s a little mean to force elephants up the hill over and over again all day long every day. Our tour guides also condone this treatment. So we took the third option. A jeep. It’s a tight squeeze. But it gets you where you need to go.
The fort looks like a lot of other forts. Grand parade grounds. Beautiful entrance gates. Inner sanctums. Harems. You get the idea. Of course, you might not know that there is also a winter palace of love. For the maharaja and well, love. Nice right?
After leaving the fort, we drove past the palace of the winds. Which isn’t actually a palace at all. But more like an elaborate front that the women of the harem could sit behind and look out on the world. It was connected to the palace by a tunnel so that the women were protected from prying eyes at all times.
And a floating palace.
But don’t worry – it’s not actually floating. It was actually built before the lake was filled so it sits on rocks at the bottom of the lake.
Then we hit the city palace. Which has everything … throne rooms, garment museums, artistic shops, and fun armament exhibits.
They also have a weapon museum. And you get to see all the cools swords and shields, guns, knives, and the guys’ personal favorites, knives that when you stabbed someone, they popped open to inflict maximum amounts of damage.
By now, we were tired. That’s a lot to see in one day. But we still had to go to the observatory. And take the obligatory picture in front of your zodiac symbol.
(Isn’t it nice that we all fit into two consecutive zodiac signs?)
This might have been a cool place. But it was hot and it was hard to care. So we asked our tour guide to give us the cliff-notes version. Apparently we offended him and he spent the rest of this stop in a tiff. So, lesson learned, just play along with the tour guide.