Jaipur is another ancient city. It is where the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is set, and the first BBC spin off series. Local people were very positive about the impact these have had on people’s interest and enthusiasm for India.
Off to the Amer fort at Jaipur. Built after 1592, high on a hill, it is surrounded by 12km of walls which undulate along the tops of the surrounding hills. Were the walls built to keep out attacking armies? No! Tigers and panthers we were told!
This is the huge, many stepped well, built over 400 years ago. The villagers could all get water at once, whatever the water level.
The fort is huge, with 4 huge courtyards, each with a different role. Each was more beautiful than it’s predecessor. The painted decoration was exquisite. A lime mix containing gum arabic was plastered on the walls. The colours were created by crushing semi precious stones like lapis lazuli, cornelian etc. These were painted onto the wet plaster which ‘fixed’ them.
The private chambers were breathtaking. Photos cannot do them justice. They were set with hundreds of pieces of shaped convex mirror glass brought from Belgium.
This is where the Maharajah’s wives would wait, and sprinkle rose petals down on him as he passed through the gate underneath, to welcome him home! Don’t get ideas Chris…although apparently, the nicer the petals, the better the presents!
Then we drove into Jaipur to visit the city Palace. Traffic jam!
The amazing ‘Floating’ gardens at the palace.
In Jaipur we first visited the astronomical museum. It was NOT what we were expecting. A vast outdoor space where, in the 16th century, the Maharajah brought together all the current astronomical and astrological knowledge and built huge instruments for measuring time, position of planets and constellations etc. They are magnificent. And accurate. The huge sundial is accurate to 2 seconds!
Then to the City Palace. More beautiful architecture from 17th century, plus a gallery of miniature art. Incredibly detailed paintings, created using a single hair on a tiny paintbrush.
A remarkable exhibit was a pair of solid silver flasks for carrying water. Read the notes… especially the weight! And then where they travelled to! He chartered an entire ship from Thomas cook for his family and 100 strong entourage!
Next, the huge palace of the Winds…which isn’t a palace at all. Simply a beautiful facade with corridors running behind the sculpted, vented windows. All of the Maharajah’s wives and other ladies would stand here, hidden, to watch parades pass by.
Finally, a walk around the markets, and a few photos that caught my eye during the day. We were shattered but elated by the end. What a place!
Heading to a christening!