After our program ended in Manipal, Tanzeela, Emilie and I had decided even before coming to India that we would take an extra week to explore the north part of the country (one of the main reasons being that we insisted on seeing the Taj Mahal). We decided to schedule for the "Golden Triangle" of India: Jaipur, Agra, and Delhi. See the map below for our pathway up to Delhi, our last destination before leaving India.
Our first stop was Jaipur, also known as "The Pink City", for its characteristic reddish-pink buildings. Home to around 3 million people and the capital of the state of Rajasthan, there were many historically and architecturally significant places to visit. Upon arriving in Jaipur, we checked into Mustache Hostel, a popular budget stay for young travelers that was located in a convenient area for sightseeing. Because we were exhausted from a day of traveling, Tanzeela and I decided to just have dinner and rest for the big days ahead of us (Emilie had to end up joining us in Agra and Delhi due to an unfortunate passport mishap). We shared a delicious, authentic Rajasthani Thali from a place called Thali House.
Features of a Rajasthani Thali include papad, baati, dal, and sweets that are served with, and not after, the meal.
Over the next couple of days, we visited a ton of places, including City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall, Isarlate, Hanuman (Monkey) Temple, Jal Mahal, Birla Temple, a textile workshop, Gottar Ki Chhatri, Raj Mandir Cinema (where we saw Prem Ratan Dhan Payo), and Amer Fort. Below, pictures are posted with descriptions of the places we went.
City Palace. Jaipur, India.
The City Palace in Jaipur still seats the royal family, though part of it has been turned into a museum and gift shop.
Looking out into the courtyard of the City Palace...the palace complex was commissioned by Sawai Jai Singh II, the Maharaja (leader) of Jaipur during the 1720s and 30s
The British Raj also had architectural influence on the palace complex
Decoration outside the City Palace
Tanzy and I taking a much needed break at City Palace
Hawa Mahal, which translates to "Wind Palace"
Inside the Hawa Mahal...the architectural design is amazing!
View of downtown Jaipur from the Hawa Mahal...the palace was built with two goals in mind: one was to enable wind to come through the palace, enabling an "air conditioning" effect during hot summers; the second purpose was so royal women could observe street life without being seen (the lattice structure in the first photo made this possible)
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jantar Mantar is an area that contains astrological instruments that were used during the Mughal period for predicting events, in addition for political, social, and princely reasons
Noted for its keen preservation and exceptional masonry, Jantar Mantar was very interesting to observe...there is nothing like this (that I know of) in the U.S.!
Look! It's Taurus, which is my symbol :) Astrological symbols for all birthdays were there
Lunch break: the butteriest nan I ever ate!!!
Albert Hall, named after some British King I'm sure, is the State Museum of Rajasthan and contains artwork, weaponry, antiques, and historically significant items
The Ramayan Shield, depicting the Indian epic
Courtyard at Albert Hall
Amazing view of Jaipur from Swargasuli Tower Isarlate
While hiking up to the Hanuman (Monkey) Temple, Ravi, a college student studying to be a tour guide, had us experience everything. Tanzeela was the braver of the two of us and had not one, but two cobras wrapped around her neck at one point on our journey up
Ravi also had peanuts and fed the monkeys...consequently, the monkeys climbed on us and ate on our shoulders...Ravi was friends with all the monkeys, so we were (maybe) in good hands
Ravi, feeding a monkey on top of Tanzy's head!
Tanzy and I at a good viewpoint above Jaipur
Hanuman Temple, Jaipur, India
Jal Mahal, or "Water Palace", in the middle of Man Sagar Lake
The Birla Temple is stunningly beautiful and pristine, and dedicated to God Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi
The universal symbol for Hinduism
Bharatanatyam is still there! Birla Temple, Jaipur, India.
Textile workshop where we saw how textiles were made, washed, and then sold.
Gatore Ki Chhatriyan, Museum of Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II
Inside this royal crematorium was a 2,000 year old Shiva temple!
The intricacy of marble carvings at this place reminded be of the same level of detail of the wall carvings at Hampi
Our impromptu tour guide/museum security guard
I am so glad I got to have the unique experience of seeing a Bollywood movie in a theater in India! Tanzeela had to translate some parts for me to fully understand the story, but I still loved watching it :)
The next morning, our rickshaw driver for the day, Shadab, took us to the Amer Fort.
Inside Amer Fort, Jaipur, India.
Elephants coming in and out of the gate at Amer Fort...UNESCO deemed the fortress a World Heritage Site in 2013
Constructed of marble and redstone, this fort was primarily taken over and run by Kachwaha, a clan of Rajputs, for hundreds of years
A painted elephant exiting the Amer Fort
In the back of Shadab's rickshaw! He was an awesome driver, and a large part of why Tanzy and I got to see so much stuff in a matter of two days.
Happy to explore Jaipur~
Jaipur was an amazing city and a great way to start our last week in India. I was amazed by the sheer amount of intricate and diverse architecture in the city, loved exploring Hanuman Temple and Amer Fort, and was eager to continue our "Golden Triangle" trip with a train ride up to Agra and Delhi.
Although I am now home, I have not finished the chronicles of my time in India! Up next is Agra, then Delhi, and lastly, Saying Goodbye to Manipal. I have decided to place saying goodbye last because I want my last blog post to be of all the great people I met, the things we did, and so I can reflect easier. These last three posts should come within the next week or so.
Thank you for reading!