Katie's Live and Unleashed 05/06 Worldwide Tour travel blog

Jaipur Fort

Fort and gardens

Original(ish) paintwork

Court of 'Common People'

The gardens on 3 levels

The 'Pink City' from the fort that looks pinker when in it

The entrance to the royal area

The Queens' courtyard

The ventilation system...in case there's any interested boffins!

More detailed decoration

Me outside the beautiful mirror-decorated building

Facade of Old Pink City - Hawa Mahal - to enable ladies...

1 1/4 flags because they are more than average

The dancing courtyard

The 'pink' of the city - closer to terracotta

Cows in the street is quite normal

Victory Gate - the 'tallest arch entrance in the world'! (54m)

Begging is everywhere

Washing outside Jama Masjid

Tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti - one of the finest in India

Top workmanship used for lattice windows of tomb building

The Mosque from our entrance gate

Palace of Wind with 176 pillars

Missing the construction sites!!


City's reservoir

The Lake Palace under restoration

Jaipur, the'Pink City', originally painted this shade of terracotta in 1876 as a colour associated with hospitality, to welcome the Prince of Wales (later King George VII), and the tradition has been maintained. The Old City is contained within city walls and was designed upon the grid system, breaking the area into 9 blocks, separated by wide roads of 104ft. Further breakdowns use roads of 54ft and narrow 27ft creating very modern town planning! The surrounding wall used to contain 7 impressive gateways as the only means of entrance to the Old City, but an 8th was built especially for the Prince of Wales.

In 16th century however, the city was located on top of the nearby hill, and the massive Amber Fort remains there today which we looked around. It is beautifully decorated with a combination of Hindu and Muslim artwork. The Muslins did whitewash over a substantial amount of Hindu images which depicted living icons, not allowed in Islam. In 1720 the city was moved by the 28th Maharaja as expansion was limited by the mountains and to increase trade it needed to be on the silk route, so the fort was left empty and the City Palace constructed. It was believed that because the Maharaja had no power then he would have no enemies and needn't be located in the hillside fort. Servi means one and a quarter and has been used for many generations in the title for the Maharaja and this is the reason why 1.25 flags are flown from the City Palace.

We had been told to leave our shopping to Jaipur because the shopping was supposedly fantastic, so a whole long afternoon was put aside to explore the bazaars and go silly with purchasing....very disappointing! There was no market as such, just rows of streets called bazaars that really weren't set-up particularly for tourists at all, making finding gifts pretty hard. Helen and I searched for 3 hours before heading back to the peace of the hotel. Jaipur was most definitely not my favourite city as it was busy, full of hassling people, traffic and smelly! I even got butted by a cow in the street - not surprised he was cross given where he lives! Did see a naked man walking around too!

Then we left Rajasthan and headed into Uttar Pradesh (referred to as Cow Belt or Hindu Belt) which is India's most populous state. On our drive to Agra we stopped at Fatehpur Sikri, Victory City, which is a magnificent fortified ghost city. This was the short-lived capital of the Mughal empire 1571-85, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Shortly after his death the capital moved due to lack of water in this area. Akbar was Islamic but he had 3 wives: one Muslim, one Hindu and one Christian for good relations. He invented a philosophy called Din-i-Ilhai (Faith of God), asserting the common truth in all religions. He built homes for each of his 3 wives based on their wishes: Christian wife wanted a Golden Palace which was small and decorated in gold, the Muslim wife lived in the Mirrored Palace, decorated in diamonds and mirrors and the Hindu wife's was the largest but to show no favouritism and to eliminate jealousy among the wives they all cost the same to build. Akbar himself was a 'simple' man, sleeping on a sandstone bed, large enough to accommodate 50 people!!! He used to like playing games: ludo (using real girls in fancy dress), hide and seek (he built a special building for this purpose) and shopping (whereby he dressed up as a lady and went to the lady's 'shopping mall').

The only differential Akbar made between his wives was constructing a massive white marble tomb for his Hindu wife who bore him his only son. In this tomb we tied a piece of string onto the jails with 3 knots and were granted 3 wishes. Opposite the tomb is Buland Darwaza, Victory Gate, which was built to commemorate Akbar's military victory in Gujarat and is the highest arched entrance in the world at 54m!

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