Category: Jaipur


India Overview

All my posts about India:

Driving around India

Pushkar Overview

Jaipur Overview

Agra Overview

Delhi Overview

Jaipur

Once in Jaipur I had a guess that I would not like Delhi because of how busy Jaipur was and Delhi was only bound to be worse! I finally saw stop lights though! We went though the whole town to go to Amber Fort (and then some!).

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Between Amber Fort and Jaipur Mantar (well, Amber Fort and Jaipur town) there is Jal Mahal which looks like a floating palace.

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I then went to Jaipur Mantar which I didn’t like too much. Like Derek Freal said about the terracotta warriors, it seems like things from everywhere were put into one area and made to look like they belonged there! Why would all of those have been together anyway? The king would have had about 20 different ways to tell time? Was that necessary? I could hardly understand the descriptions because of how hot it was and how technical they were. The main one was pretty amazing because of sheer size and I wish I could have gone to the top of it, but I’m sure if it was open there would be a huge line.

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City Palace is right next to Jaipur Mantar.

Next was Hawa Mahal which I thought I could go inside of or at least behind but I guess not. It was a facade for women to go behind and sit in to watch parades and such as they could not be seen, so I thought tourists would be able to do the same and see what they saw. I guess not. Maybe it has fallen apart a lot as it was being held up by sticks.

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A boy took me to the top of a building across the street and tried to get me to go into everyone’s shop on the way back down, but nope! He said it was free!

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That night I went to the Holi Festival.

I can’t begin to describe how fun Holi is.

After this I went to Elefantastic.

Elefantastic

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After this I went to Elefantastic–I was early which meant I got to feed the elephant for longer! My elephants name was Chanchal which means something similar to tricky woman, cunning woman, or siren which she was! She seemed a bit moody and went from liking me and listing to me to not liking me and kicking me (everyone said it was a play kick though…). The best place to pet an elephant is on the start of their trunk between their eyes or just under their eyes under their trunk.

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Watch out for the end of the trunk! It’s slimy.India 1120

After they were fed we ate lunch at the owners mom’s house and I was grouped with two English people because they were the only others to show up on time (1pm, everyone else got there around 2pm so hadn’t gotten to know their elephant yet).

After that was the bareback ride which I loved! You feel much more connected to the animal than when you are in the box on their back. I thought it would be really really bareback, but they have a blanked strapped to them, I guess not to hurt them or us since we are sitting on their spine. We walked by their pool and though trees.

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After this we painted them. I asked for an outline and got a Jewish star on it (I thought it was odd until later I found out that the 6 pointed star is common in Hindu and Muslims religions as well). I thought she didn’t like it too much because that was when she kicked me! Maybe it was play because I tickled her or something. I was also told to put my name on her forehead. Why not her name?

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Next was a ride in a box on her back. This was supposed to be though the national park which has tigers (ones born and raised in captivity so they cannot go into the wild, so if they are near the edge of their enclosure we would have seen them) monkeys and over 200 types of birds but that was closed because of Holi. They made up for it by giving us tons of Strongbeer (8%) and a ride though the desert. I didn’t like being in the cage as much because it just seems like you are floating and not necessary on an elephant. It seemed like Chanchal didn’t like it as much either because she made a bunch of sounds and kept trying to go off the course. This got her hit with a stick which I saw happen to a few other elephants too and made me sad. I thought they were supposed to be nice to the elephants here. I’m sure it’s nicer than other places, but still.

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After this the owner tried to end it because the sun had not been out all day (not true) and the water would have been tool cold to have the elephants have a bath. The English man and I said we were sad and all of a sudden the water was warmer (the sun came out for about 2 seconds–water doesn’t warm that fast!) and we got to take Chanchal for a bath. I didn’t think it was cold. She was laying on her side and that is when she slapped me in the butt. Again, when I was washing the area where I painted, so maybe it did tickle her.

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Lastly, we got T-shirts and brochures. I seemed to be the only one at Elefantastic to celebrate Holi and I don’t understand why–you’re in India (specifically Jaipur where it’s biggest) for a huge fun holiday and you don’t do it?

Holi

I can’t begin to describe how fun Holi is. Fun for young and old, foreign and Indian. I was a a home with safe powder (i.e. no chemicals that would stain your skin for weeks and burn your eyes), drinks and food. When I said I didn’t want to drink because I was going elephant riding later the grandfather of the house said ‘oh just have some wine then’….and a bottle later I left! I didn’t know that Holi also involved water which was just the kids at first spraying everyone with guns or taking cups and throwing them, but after a few drinks everyone got involved. There were tons of Australians there–you know they know how to have a good time! 4 guys picked up one of their friends and threw him int he water after he shot them all with a water gun. I met tons of nice Indians, English and Americans there too.

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There was also music and dancers.India 1042 India 1067

After 1 1/2 showers I felt clean, but my hair had a green shine for a few more days…

After the fact, this is what my clothes looked like…

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And after one wash….(I’m impressed with my washing machine!)

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And after bleach…

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That night I went to the Holi Festival which was supposed to have Elephants doing things like playing polo!

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But there were no elephants because of protestors. I guess the tug of war was too much for them, which is understandable. But at least let them show up and walk around! They were already painted and everything (I saw them at Amber Fort).

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I thought I was at the wrong festival for a bit because there were no elephants but this had signs saying it was the official Jaipur festival. Tourists kept pouring in too, so I must have been in the right spot.They did not have nearly enough seats! So many people were standing everywhere that the people who did have seats had to stand on them to be able to see anything. In the end, I kept moving and got better and better spots until I was in the front row (people were either leaving because there were no elephants–I don’t know why, the music and performance were great–or going into the field after the parade). The parade was about 10 or 15 different groups from different regions of┬áRajasthan playing their areas music. The parade went left to right; I’m not sure why this is important, but the announcer kept saying it.

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Because there were no elephants, the groups each did their own performance but people seemed confused by this as the announcer never said that everyone was going to perform. In the middle of the performances they had people do a turban tying competition, carry water on their heads, and a tug of war.

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I ended up leaving early because the tour guide next to me had his group leave because he said after the people competed there would be nothing more but after I called my driver more people went on! I wasn’t going to call again, and everything was starting to sound a bit of the same. Plus I was tired of being in such large groups. Well, large drunk groups who were covered in paint–Holi was the next day, why were they covered today!

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Also at the festival, there was a dog that got partially painted by an Australian guy which was really cute. I was sitting next to some Swedish people then and we could not stop laying with the dog. After I moved, there was a cute Indian boy who would not stop waving at me and the Russian lady next to me, but when his dad brought him over he didn’t look at us at all! Kid’s are weird. When he left, he kept waving. There was another Russian lady who slapped a kid for trying to sell her a henna tattoo. She then grabbed the girls arm and made her pose for a photo. Not a nice lady…Also some not nice English children who, when their parents told them to get off their phones and stop playing games and appreciate the festival (and then walked away), said to one another that they should go closer but sit in some way that their parents couldn’t see them so they could still be on their phones. The point of this is to show the diversity of the people there (and how you can’t really judge someone by their nationality).

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City Palace

City Palace is right next to Jaipur Mantar and was beautiful when you really got into the second part.

The first just seems to hold a museum for clothing (where you cannot take pictures). The end of the museum has info about pong (or at least the first playing cards which were circles), polo and chess and how Indian basically invented all of them! And here I thought England did polo and had no idea for the rest of them. India also invented night polo which is/was played with a metal (at first wooden) ball with a candle in the middle that could rotate so it never fell out or upside down, killing the flame.

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There was a performance outside as well.

Into the main hall was a dignitary room (off to the right) where the Indian government welcomed famous people.

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There was another performance going on outside of that as well! I liked this one more.

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To the left were some famous polo paintings/drawings (who I remembered reading about in the museum) and if you go all the way though it seems like a restaurant that had been taken apart…I was pretty confused so went back to the main part.

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There were also come carriages right before the exit.

Amber Fort

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Amber Fort was amazing–emphasis on maze because the ‘fort’ AKA palace was really like a maze with all the hallways going to different areas and different vantage points. When I saw it on day 3 I thought it would be one of the highlights of the trip and I was right.

Upon entering the main gate you buy a ticket and can explore before using it.

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There are elephant rides (which I was told later are only from 8 until 11 or so because each elephant only gives 5 rides before it is retired for the day) and people selling everything under the sun.

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One of the sellers saw me take a picture of a cannon…

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…and said ‘you like it? i can sell it you you’ and gave me a super big smile.

Walking into the ticket area there are a billion doors, stairs, view/vantage points and pieces of art work. Overwhelming does not describe it. I ran around the place like a kid in a maze hoping I could find my way back to the main gate so I could get back to the car. They do try to get you to go out another exit but you can make your way back to the entrance and go out there–just find a door that doesn’t have a bored security guy at it (most are sitting and spaced out).

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