Jaipur is primarily Hindu and their temples are oriented toward Vastu, the sun god. It was built based on the astrologically lucky number 9. You can see distances, groupings, everything based on multiples an additives of 9.
It’s a city of 5 million, surrounded by hills, originally intended as a defense from the Agra Muslim armies. It also has a large “floating” population made up of people from villages needing work after harvest. The conditions they live in while in Jaipur bring tears to your eyes; makeshift tents and lean-to’s along the dirty, dusty, garbage-strewn sides of the road, with no electricity, water, refrigeration or toilet facilities. Whole families hoping for a bit of work and a few rupees just to sustain their lives.
The Amber Fort overlooks the City. It was the ancient capital of the State, Rajasthan, until 1728. We climb to it later via elephant.
As I mentioned, the ladies dress up for work. It’s really interesting since the men are as drab as drab can be. Most of the color of India can be attributed to the women…as can much of the manual labor.
…prepare to take us up the steep entrance way to the fort. Elephants are not indigenous here, but the rulers imported them for just such tasks as a show of power and strength. It’s tourist show now, but they are very well taken care of. They are only allowed to make three round trips in the morning before the sun blazes — and rest until the next day.
We stop for photos here on the way back down to the City. It was built in the mid-18th century based on the Lake Palace at Udaipur where the king spent his childhood.
The old, walled part of the City is painted pink (i.e. the Pink City) and we tour it via Rickshaw.
This photo just doesn’t do justice to the real experience, narrowly missing pedestrians, trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles, and, of course cows. Oh, wait, we did take a video that will give you a better idea. Click on the link below. (Josh & Linda…this one is especially for you…remember the Tuk Tuks in Bangkok?):
[An aside regarding life in India:
While traveling through a small village our bus had to make an abrupt stop. I saw a bicycle rickshaw fly over on it’s side, ejecting its driver, obviously sideswiped by a car. Fortunately the driver got up with just a few scrapes and bruises, but his vehicle was probably damaged pretty badly. When the driver attempted to speak with the driver of the car, the car just sped away, leaving the rickshaw operator in the dust. Our Hindu tour guide got off the bus and gave the driver some Rupees to help get his bicycle fixed. As our guide boarded the bus he said, sadly, “this is the way they treat the poor”.]
Marsha and I have been trying to photograph women all over India in their joyful garb. Hopefully we will be able to share them with you in a special post later.
Have to do some business while in India. Marsha has been buying used, hand-carved, wooden blocks that are used to print fabrics in India. She’s been getting them from an importer at the Columbus Market, near home to use as a pattern on pieces of her pottery. She figured why not get some directly at the source. She did find beautiful ones, and bargained long and hard for a price a bit better than what she pays at home. Of course, three stores down the street she sees them even cheaper. Ah well, she’s helping the Indian economy.
You can get anything you want on the street (literally). Those green shapes are actually cucumbers.
Off to Agra next to visit the Taj Mahal. Ready?