9.25.2009

Seeing Pink... in Jaipur

A labyrinth of fascinating bazaars, opulent palaces and historic sights, Jaipur is often called the "Pink City" because its prominent buildings are washed in this color. Work on this city began in 1727, took six years to complete, and is laid out in a geometric grid of streets and squares ... one of India's finest examples of a planned city.

On Thursday we woke up at 4 am, got in the van at 5 am for the airport, and hopped on a 6:45 am flight to Delhi. After landing, we met our car and driver and headed southwest to Jaipur. Thankfully, we survived the 5 hour drive unscathed. After checking into our hotel, a former palace which had the girls giddy with delight, we were off for an early evening of sight seeing and shopping ... heavy on the shopping.

Today our first stop was to the Amber Fort, initially a palace established in 1592 by Raja Man Singh I. The fort offers a panoramic view of Moata Lake and the historic old town at the base of the hill. In order to get up the hill, we had to take a jeep up the steep and narrow roads. We were met at the top with gorgeous views overlooking Jaipur, spectacular architecture of the fort and surrounding city walls, and hoards of hockers selling their wares. Our guide walked us through the fort, explaining in detail every wall, every building, every design. After snapping as many photos as we could, while dealing with the girls who were obviously bored out of their mind, we were ready to move on. While walking back, Matt couldn't contain his frustration with the throngs of annoying peddlers, so he tried to sell a half-empty bottle of Sprite to every single person who tried to sell him an ugly pen, postcard, mirror, or funky instrument. Amazing how quickly they went away.

We drove through the Old City of Jaipur, snapped a few photos of the Water Palace, stopped at the City Palace to take photos of the facade which has over 900 windows, and then Matt and I separated from everyone so we could go carpet shopping. With a referral from a friend in Chennai, we stopped at a family run carpet factory just outside the old city. There, we got to see how block printing was done to make table cloths, and had an amazing step-by-step demonstration of how carpets are made on the loom... all the way through selling the finished product. It was very cool. We then purchased two carpets... after several hours of looking, feeling, touching, switching, comparing, and visualizing the furniture at our house in Chennai and what we have in storage in Maryland. Matt and I finished our carpet expedition by having a traditional Indian lunch with the shop owners. We're building relationships!

After a final stop at a shop to pick up some cushions I found far less up here than in Chennai, we went back to the hotel where we met the girls and Matt's folks, who then went shopping in the early evening.

Tomorrow we're heading to to Agra and will spend the next day on the road. So far, so good, no vomit. Though, as I'm well aware, there's still time...




Arriving at our hotel in Jaipur ... The City Palace ... Archways into Jaipur's Old City




The Amber Fort ... Piled into the Jeep ... In the Sheesh Mahal




Carpet Demonstration ... Our New Carpet (a traditional Jaipur design) ...
Watching the process of carpet making



The Water Palace ... At dinner with very sleepy girls

7 comments:

Mom24 said...

Those are amazing pictures. I love the carpet. How fun.

The palaces are amazing.

I'm very jealous of all the shopping. :-)

Gwen said...

I loved our trip up north. Amber Fort, Jaipur, Taj Mahal, all of it. It was a great trip for us. Glad you are having fun!

Naomi said...

Beautiful! I can't wait until we really start exploring India as well!

Enjoy the rest of your trip!

♥ Braja said...

Hey, Jill....I used to live in Jaipur...wish I'd known you were going :) How you dealing with Durga puja on the road? :))

Shannon said...

Yay for being vomit free! Crossing my fingers the trip stays that way!

Fabulous pics. The Water Palace looks very cool. And love how colorful the rug is!

Crystal said...

YAHOO for no Vomit!!!! I am glad you are all enjoying your time together : ) Beautiful picutres!

Christy said...

Wow - sounds fun. Gorgeous carpet and YEAH for no vomit.

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