Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jaipur: The Pink City

Jaipur is located in Rajasthan, one of the northernmost states of India.  Rajasthan shares a border with Pakistan, but don't worry - it's apparently quite safe and it's beautiful! The state is known for its major cities all being built from different rock types, and therefore the houses are different colors. Jaipur, the capital city where Neil's family lives, is known as the Pink City.

Our first stop was at Amber Fort, which was massive and had a wonderful view of Jaipur.
Amber Fort
The King's Garden
View from the Fort
We then stopped by the City Palace and royal astrological observatory, where they have the world's largest sundial accurate within 15 seconds. Both sites were very impressive, especially the accuracy of all the astrological structures.
Kid running in front of the largest sundial in the world
This tells you the date (I think)
City palace (now you know why it's called the pink city)
Henna at the City Palace
 We stopped by the Jal Mahal, a sunken palace with 4 floors below the water line, but it's closed for private parties now so we couldn't go inside. Bummer! We did see an awesome wild boar outside with eyes that glowed like the fires of hell... I don't like boars very much.
Jal Mahar

Our last stop of the day (and my favorite) was the Monkey Temple east of the city.  It's very run-down and only maintained by private donations, but it still felt very lived-in and many men were taking religious baths (women aren't allowed, which was fine by me because the water was GROSS).  The water for all 3 pools is brought from the Ganges, about 300 km away, so it's holy... but also old and dirty.

Religious bracelets
And of course, Monkey Temple had - you guessed it - MONKEYS! I didn't realize monkeys are such good swimmers. They were cannon-balling into the pools and swimming!

Aggressive monkey - look at those guns! 
Taking a refreshing bath

People were standing around to watch the monkeys playing.  They were so darn cute!
There are cows all over the place. They walk around the cities, block traffic, stand in the islands between lanes, eat grass on the side of the road, and generally cause minor mayhem.  That always reminds me (in those rare moments when I forget), "Hey! You're in India!"

Now we're on to Udaipur for a brief visit to see the City of Lakes. Should be beautiful!

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