Monthly Archives: December 2018

India 2018, day 7 Jaipur: visit Jantar Mantar then off to the Pushkar Camel Fair

This morning we continued our tour of Jaipur. First stop was in the centre of the city to view the impressive wind palace.  This narrow building has a walkway in the back which was used by the royal women to view the activities in the street from a safe, protected area. At this stop we had our first view of snake charmers.  Eeek!

We continued on to the Jantar Mantar, the largest of the five remarkable observatories representing the high points of medieval Indian astronomy and the City Palace, a former royal residence built in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles.  Of course, we had to dodge the cows on the road. Our last stop in Jaipur is a jewelry factory.

Jaipur is known for its spectacular gems and expert cutters and designers.  Most of the gems in the world are sent to India to be cut and polished and made ready for setting into spectacular jewelry pieces. After a fun jewelry shopping spree we enjoyed a delicious vegetarian lunch at the Four Seasons restaurant.

Back on the road again to travel to Pushkar, the holy city dedicated to Lord Brahma and the site of the grand annual Camel Fair. There will be mystics and musicians, camel-wallahs and priests, and vendors plying their wares from across Rajasthan. It’s a rich blend of colour and activities, from sacred bathing rituals to camel races. Tomorrow we’ll start our day with an early morning camel cart ride to view the sunrise.
We arrived at our deluxe hotel just in time for afternoon tea. Delicious! We were treated to some music while we enjoyed the tasty treats.  The hotel pool area and gardens are stunning and our rooms bright and spacious  We actually have a swing seat in our room. So cool!

Overnight: Gateway Resort, Pushkar

India 2018, day 6 touring Jaipur’s Amber Fort and dinner with a local family

This morning we toured Jaipur’s grand Amber Fort, a magnificently preserved complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples. The grand scale and the royal ambition in room after decorated room is stunning.  Dating back to the 16th century, the Amber Fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements, with its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths. Everyone enjoyed the elephant ride up to the fort.  This is an age old tradition, royalty were transported on elephants for centuries. Note: These elephants only do 5 trips a day and are given 20 minutes rest between rides.  They live at a large elephant farm where they roam free and even have a lake to swim in  The handlers love their elephants and treat them with great respect and care.

The massive palace is decorated with mirrors, coloured glass and intricately carved columns and walls. There’s even a hammam and a royal garden.

Continuing our exploration of the Pink City of Jaipur we stopped to view the summer palace surrounded by a man made lake.  The water buffalo seem to like this lake.

Next stop, a fabric company for a demonstration of traditional block printing and carpet weaving. Some of our travelers tried their hand at the ancient craft. After adding a few colours to the fabric it was dipped in salt water which made the vibrant colours popped. Some of us enjoyed carpet shopping. There were so many patterns, colours and sizes to choose from.

Later we enjoyed the sensory overload of the Jaipur markets in the heart of the city.  After shopping for teas and spices we enjoyed a tuk tuk ride back to the hotel. What an experience!  Traffic coming at you from every direction, cows crossing the street and vendors selling their wares at the roadside.

This evening we went out in style, dressed in an elegant sari or a kurta! This was a special event, our guide Shiv and his lovely wife invited us in to their home for a family dinner. Bus driver Anand and his assistant Eddy did an amazing job maneuvering the bus through the narrow streets to Shiv’s family home. It was a truly magical experience dining on the rooftop under the star lit sky.

Overnight:  ITC Rajputana, Jaipur