|Toot toot, barp barp, tring tring, beep beep ... we are now in the capital city of Rajasthan ... Jaipur. Covers an area of 60kms with a population of approx. 2.5 million people. Also known as the Pink City. This time we have camel carts trying to thread their way through the streets already jam packed with cars, cows, rickshaws, bicycles, snuffling pigs, motorbikes, people all trying to get through the tooting traffic.
We had an early start today as so much to see and do here. We started off by going to Jantar Mantar which is the largest and best preserved observatory (one of five) of Sawai Jai Singh - all built in stone and marble. At first it looks like a collection of mammoth sculptures but amazingly each was constructed for a specific purpose. This was right next to the City Palace where we went next. This is in the heart of the old city and again is designed around courtyards and gardens which are now museums to royal costumes, armoury and arms and art.
We then headed up the mountain to Moti Doongari - a hilltop fort then onto the temple, Jagat Shiromani which houses idol Lord Krishna. The Jaigarh Fort houses the biggest in the world giant mounted cannon which has only been fired once. We had a spectacular view from here of the city of Jaipur and the Jal Mahal - Lake Palace.
In the afternoon we went up to the Amber Palace and Fort which is 10kms outside of Jaipur. We chose not to go up to the fort by elephant as we had seen the news on telly the night before that a guide was killed by the elephant and the tourists were hospitalized. There has since been very controversial reports about the treatment of these ellis ... so we went up on our own!
It was at this point that I think all the indian food we have been eating upset my stomach! Michael and I have been extremely careful about what we eat and our drinking water - but I think you can eat so much curry! The heat can also play a part. With the help of an Imodium - this was not going to ruin our day. I am fine now but Michael has an upset tum today (Sun 18th).
Amongst all the sight seeing we have also been "shopping". Visiting local shops selling anything from marble, art, carpets to jewellery. Indian art is pretty spectacular but we just had to repeatedly tell the seller that we are travelling for one year and cannot buy. We are in week 1 of 52 ... some don't listen and carry on ... others accept it.
We went to a really lovely restuarant - called Indiana - Friday night. Thou I was pretty careful with my choice of food. They had original Rajasthan dancers / musicians playing there which was really good ... apart from when she was standing on the blade of a sword with 7 pots on her head!!!
It was also decision time. Santos had asked us if we wanted to go to Mt Abu for a couple of days at the end of our trip. Up into the mountains ... or to Goan beach!?!?!? We decided to fly to Goa.