Incredible Northern India
March 14th - March 26th, 2012

March 20th, 2012
In the morning we are woken up by the peacocks and parrots and little else. It was a restful sleep for us all. Now we are ready to leave for Jaipur. Again roads are full of trucks and wagons pulled by dromedaries. This area uses them a lot because it is dry and they can go a long way in between drinking water. They are used mostly to haul wagons full of bricks as this area has many brick factories. They are also used for hauling the red stone and marble around. We see tractors hauling huge containers stuffed with straw, wagons hauling chafe from lentils, ladies hauling water jugs on their heads…it is amazing. We stop at a side to see the ladies getting ready to haul water, sometimes up to two kilometers home..we marvel at their strength and their beauty. We see school children in their classes and when they see us, they smile and wave making the teacher angry with us for disrupting them but they are curious as we are. Finally we reach our hotel after many miles of what we find out is a dust storm. Very strange to see it and be in it…it was not near as bad as in the United Emirates and Saudi Arabia but we felt it just the same. Tired eyes and cannot imagine what it would be like to work in it all day.

Settled in the rugged hills of the Aravalis, Jaipur is the pristine jewel in the desert sands of Rajasthan. Jaipur is as remarkable for its marvelous architecture and town planning as it is for the lively spirit of the people who inhabit it. The city presents a unique synthesis of culture that has to be experienced in order to be appreciated. With its origin buried deep into the pages of history, the city still exudes a magical old world charm; an aroma of chivalry and romance is evident, despite having evolved into a city that is the hub of modern commercial activity in the region. Tell-tale signs of the glorious past and regal splendour of the city lie strewn across with gay abandon.

Widely known as the 'Pink City', the city was founded in 1727 by one of the greatest rulers, Jai Singh II. Jaipur is surrounded by hills on three sides, crowned by formidable forts and majestic palaces, mansions and gardens. Jaipur is the only city in the world, which is sub-divided in to nine rectangular sectors symbolizing nine divisions of the universe. Jaipur is the first planned city designed in accordance with 'Shilpa Shastra'- epochal treatise of Hindu architecture. The lively spirit of fanfare, festivity and celebration of the people adequately match the colourful and intricately carved monuments. Even today, one can find weather beaten faces with huge colourful turbans, fierce moustaches and lips that spontaneously crease into a heart-warming smile. A city like Jaipur, where modernity and tradition live hand-in-hand, is truly rare. Perhaps this is what makes it an attractive destination for tourists who flock to Jaipur, year after year.

Just before reaching our hotel, the Jai Mahal Palace, we visit Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh. This is a ladies garden. Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh is a beautiful garden, located at a distance of 10 kms from Jaipur, on Jaipur-Agra Highway. The Garden appeals more to the beholder, since it stands as a symbol of love. In 1728, Sisodia Rani Garden was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, with an intention to gift the garden, to his Sisodia Queen from Udaipur. As the name suggests, the Garden was named after the queen, who was adorable to the King. The structure of the garden is imbibed from the Mughal style of Architecture, which makes it a well-designed garden. Sisodia Rani Garden appears to be designed on the theme of eternal lovers, Radha-Krishna. The garden appeals to the artistic and visual tastes of the visitor with its layered gardens, fascinating fountains (which were not running because of a water shortage), painted pavilions and galleries. The interesting frescos, depicting the exotic scenes of Radha-Krishna, enthrall the visitors for their divine appearance.

We find out that there is Elephant Polo at our hotel this evening but I also find out it won’t start until late at night after a big reception. We could go if we wanted to as we are guests of the hotel but most of us are very tired and want to be rested for our very own Elephant ride tomorrow.

Our hotel, the Jai Mahal Palace is set amidst 18 acres of beautifully landscaped Moghul gardens, this incomparable Palace dates back to 1745 A.D. A masterpiece in the Indo Saracenic style of architecture, it blends spotlight-grabbing opulence with tantalizing comforts that transport guests to a world of Rajasthan magnificence. It is located downtown, close to the main shopping center and historical monuments.,JAIPUR/


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