Friday, April 19, 2013

India Travelogue: Jaipur (Day 1)

So now we are nearing the tail end of my India trip. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we visit the Fatehpur Sikri Palace Complex which was enroute to Jaipur.

Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
Once again, shoes are prohibited inside the complex. We had extra blue booties from the Taj visit but we forgot them in the bus, so I walked around with socks on.


Fatehpur Sikri was constructed in 1571 as commissioned by Akbar the Great. The imperial fortified city was comprised of a series of palaces, public buildings, mosques as well as living areas for the court, army and servants of the king.

It had only an ephemeral existence as capital of the Mughal empire as it was abandoned in 1585 when Akhbar left to fight against the Afghan tribes and establish a new capital, Lahore.


It was optional tourist destination on our itinerary but we decided to visit it anyway.


Trivia: It is very chilly in India in the early morning til before lunchtime (temperatures go as low as 15 degrees sometimes!) This was taken around 9:00 AM and the chilly winds forced us to don our scarves.

There are many tombs in Fatehpur Sikri but the highlight is the main tomb of Sufi saint, Salim Christi, which is located in the middle of the Emperor's Courtyard and made of marble.

 

Sidenote: The tour guide told us to steer clear of the tombs but I wasn't listening so I "hopped" from one tomb to another, even stood on one for several seconds and I was reprimanded for it. Sorry :(

the tomb of Salim Christi

It's been believed that if you offer prayers inside the mausoleum, your prayers/wishes will be granted. Before we can go inside though, we had to purchase the "chaadar" (a blessed cloth sometimes embroidered with inscriptions) from a priest outside the tomb plus thread for 1000 rupees. I read on TripAdvisor that this should only be 350 rupees max -_- Be careful of touts in this area, they are relentless.


So anyway, we had to don plastic caps (which are free, don't pay if they ask you to) before entering the tomb. Then we had to lay our very expensive cloth on the tomb then sprinkle flowers over it. The guy in the photo was praying along with me, I had no idea what he was saying.


After that we had to pray/make our wishes while knotting the thread on the spindles of the walls. You are supposed to tie one knot per wish (max of 3), I tired three knots.


One of my 3 wishes was granted already, so I hope the other two follow suit.  

marble ornaments
a view of Agra

By 10:30 AM (and with a heavy heart) we leave the city of Agra and head to Jaipur, the last city on our itinerary before we head back to Delhi. Jaipur is the 10th largest city of India. The trip would last us another 5 hours on the road, arriving in Jaipur at approximately 3:00 PM.

We passed by camels and took photos. I wanted to ride one but was told it smells, haha!


Upon reaching Jaipur, we immediately picked up our local tour guide and went to the City Palace. Time is precious in India because the cities are so far apart and you spend so much time travelling that we wanted to fit in as many destinations as we could.

Of course, a trip to India wouldn't be complete with seeing a snake charmer. There was almost one in every tourist destination. Saw this guy at the entrance of the City Palace. I was eager to have my photo taken....

...not! I was so scared!!!

Our friends had a blast though....

The City Palace is a landmark in Jaipur is also a very popular tourist hotspot. Apart from the regal architecture, the palace offers a stunning view of the Pink City and also an insight into the rich heritage of a bygone era. Commissioned by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II between 1729 and 1732 AD and is a palace complex that reflects Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles (source).
Trivia: The current Price of Jaipur is only 14 years old, Padmanabh Singh


This is a ninja shot of the receiving area which is still used by the royal family to this day. Cameras are prohibited here but I took a shot anyway. 


These historic pure silver water jars weigh 345 kg, with a height of five feet and three inches, circumference of nearly 15 feet and a carrying capacity of 4,091 litres. They were used by Maharaja Madho Singh to attend the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 and almost took 2 years to build! As per the Guinness Book of World Records, these are the heaviest silver artefacts in the world.


Next up was the Jantar Mantar or Jaipur observatory.


It looks like a huge playground with instruments used for astrology and astronomy. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II, the observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides (source).

this sun dial tell the time and accurately, too!
Nadivalaya Yantra - follows the passage of the sun between the northern and southern hemispheres
Jai Prakash Yantra - a multi-purpose instrument that tells the time, measures the coordinates of celestial bodies and the zodiac symbol of the day

Ah, that was the last stop of the day and we were exhausted and hungry. While walking back to the bus, we spotted -- COWS! A herd of cows!

 

Animals are sacred in India so they just walk freely wherever they please.

time to scare some pigeons....
hello, cow!

Stay tuned for my last post on Jaipur, I'm writing about our elephant ride next!

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4 Comments:

  1. Your face in the photo with the snake charmer was priceless. >:-)

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    Replies
    1. True! Everyone thinks so! Actually, in my camera roll I have several before and after shots which depict a funny story! Haha.

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  2. jakieandthebeadstalkAugust 28, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    ang sweet naman ng parents mo! haha, kakatuwa! did yourother two wishes come true na? daming holy cow ah.

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  3. Di pa! Baka di pa time, haha :D

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