After our exciting stay in Agra we headed out into the desert
to the old fortress cities, The first stop was Jaipur, the capital city of
Rajasthan. The city gets its name from the Maharaja Jai Singh II who was an
astronomer and great warrior. Hence Jai and pur is city. Today it is
referred to as the “Pink City”.
View from Jaipur Fort
|With the memory of the great Agra Fort of Akbar
the Great we arrived in the city of stones with anticipation. We
were not disappointed. This was not only unique but in a way we
hadn’t anticipated. Possibly because Jai Singh was an astronomer.
We arrived at the exotic Hotel Bissau Palace. There
is nothing in North America to come near it. Where else can you eat
is ornate Indian atmosphere or live in surroundings of a Maharaja?
Our dinner was truly Indian traditional and later, a show of dancers
and musicians in traditional garb, entertained us in the lobby
We slept well and were ready the next day when we headed
to the Amber fort in the style of Maharajas of the past on the backs of
elaborately painted elephants.
The town’s architecture is ancient and exciting. We
visited the museum at the city Palace and saw royal robes, carpets of many
colors, ancient weapons, paintings of battle scenes and processions. Passing
the Palace of the Winds (Chandra Mahal) in the middle of town I thought I
had seen it all but little did I know that because Jai was an astronomer,
there would be a greater legacy. I found it at Jantar Mantar an open air
observatory. Here is a display of instruments like none other.. Made of
stone and marble, each has a curious but specific purpose such as measuring
the position of stars, altitudes and calculating the times of eclipses.
There is even a sundial with a 27 meter high rod. And remember, this was all
set up after 1728 and is still accurate today.
Jaipur is famous for its semi precious stones which can be
purchased at the Johari bazaar. There are also miniature paintings,
handicrafts, clothing, jewelry of silver and other local materials to be
worn on the forehead (rakhri), the nose (Nath), the ankles (paijeb) and
bangles of all colors to be worn all over the arm as Rajasthani women do. I
saw leather and camel hide footwear (mojris) embroidered with beads. Even
their handmade paper is a prize to attain.
But Jaipur is elephants and they are the way to get up to
the Fort. There are painted elephants everywhere and a trip to the fort
means a ride on the back of this enormous and beautiful creature.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)
Elephant Transport..A must...
As luck would have it, we arrived at Jaipur on the first
day of their 15 day gift giving Festival. The sky at night was a myriad of
lights as frire works ushered in Dawali. This is a time for family meetings,
gift giving and togetherness. It was exciting to be greeted with “Happy
Dawali” bu almost everyone. It certainly put us in the festive mood of our
surroundings. People smiled, took our pictures and with folded hands they
humbly wished us well. One cannot describe the warm feeling.
|One stop was at a stone wholesaler. As we
entered, I noticed the most beautiful sun umbrellas drying in the
sun. They make wonderful gifts.
The fort was
decorated with semi precious and precious stones. It boggles the
imagination to see them in the sun but a return to our hotel and
time to think gave us a feeling of history and we were able to
visualize the pomp and grandeur of a kingdom never conquered.
But we were in for more.
Another gift just begging to be purchased is a
traditionally dressed puppet. They are found everywhere as are the miniature
paintings. We were fortunate enough to have a puppeteer at our hotel As soon
as seven or more people would gather, the performance would begin. I have
one of these in my office now. I also have a beautiful pair of hand made
leather slippers, another way to remember…not that I’ll ever forget.
NEXT..The Holy city of Pushkar…
You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at:
Over the past few years, Professor
Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece,
Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of
Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the
globe including Italy and most of
China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters
from St.Petersburg to Moscow.
"He took a group to Greece and another to northern
Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour
groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They
winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico. His newly found spare time
is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His
current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders.. "So
You Want To Be A Tour Leader."
Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing
Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel
writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.
Keep reading his web for travel ideas. His next
novel HELLSTORM'S Folly,
will be available this fall. He now
lives in British Columbia.
www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at
(More about the writer.)