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Today was an 830 start. The Amber Fort was first on the list because it gets too hot for the elephants to walk up the pavement road. They only do 3 trips per day per elephant.

The Amber Fort was the capital of the ruling Kachwahas from 966 – 1700, before Jaipur was built in 1727. Constructed in 1592 on a hill 11 km outside of town. The name is a derivation of Amba, the Mother Goddess who was the protector of the world.

 

We (and every other tourist) went up by elephant. The ride is a rolling jerking movement. Not harsh but I can't imagine doing that for many hours in a row.

The loading platform.

The procession up the hill.
 

A short video of the start of our ride. You can see the jerkiness of the ride as I tried to hold the camera somewhat steady.

Us at the top. Our elephant's name was Ferrari (Uh huh, right sure…) We passed a few people….

Big signs say no tipping but our guide Palkash said it was customary. So tip it is. What's 100 rupees? About $2.

Me coming back from tipping. I followed the signs like a good boy (no tip) but then had to go chase down our elephant driver to tip him.

The main entrance to the palace is quite a thing. Painted with stone powders infused into the plaster, the colour has lasted since being built without fading. Colour was put on when the plaster was still moist and the powder soaked in. Then it was painted over with coconut oil. Kind of like varnish. It sure was smooth to the touch.

Inside there is the second biggest hall of mirrors in the world. Versaille being larger. Except this one is special because all the mirrors are cut to make stars when candles are placed in the corners. The formal name is Jai Mandir or Sheesh Mahal.

A mirror selfie.

And the curved roof.

At the base of two supports are some relief carvings. The same style (for a 3rd relief) was used at the Taj Mahal. Each flower is many things. Stare hard and you can see cobra, scorpion, deer, bees, butterfly, tiger and many other things.

Down in the valley lake there is a garden. It is said to be inspired by carpets.

On the way out is where we saw our first snake charmer.

After a good lunch we went to Jantar Mantar. A collection of architectural astronomical instruments. The sundials are extremely accurate. The small one to 20 seconds and the largest to 2!

The “small” one.

The largest sundial in the world (apparently).

And a sun calendar. Very cool stuff indeed.

Next on their list was a textile shop. Funny how we never put these on our itinerary but they seem to happen anyway. But we need to bring stuff home so we found a few things. First we had to learn hand made block painting is done.

Our “work”, before being treated with salt water and after. Notice the colour change.

We wanted to visit an orphanage or school. We found both in one place. There is an NGO called Ladli. The sign says it all.

They learn skills (like tapestry and jewellry making) and looked happy, well fed and looked after. We spent some money here. And made a donation. We've learned the best thing you can donate in places like this is money.

Last on the list for today was the Birla Temple (Laxmi Narayan Temple). A Hindu temple made of white marble built in 1988. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan) and his consort Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Inside are depictions of the deities of the Hindu pantheon (no pictures allowed of course). Outside, find Socrates, Christ, Buddha, Confucius, Zarathustra. We found some of them.

A priest near the door.

We passed by the Hawa Mahal. A viewing “blind” for the Royal Ladies to see the city. Built in 1799 and 5 stories tall it was constructed out of red and pink sandstone. This is a good example of Rajput architecture and the colour is copied all throughout the old part of the city. Thus when the Brits showed up they called it the Pink City. It's more ochre than pink, but close enough for Colonial Britain I suppose.

 

Today was close to 40C so we were quite ready to jump into the hotel pool when we got back. Early dinner and off to bed.

Tomorrow we head to Ranthanbhor National Park to see wildlife. Hopefull tigers. We can't tell if we have wifi access there. I still haven't sorted out the cel access and may not ever. I will do a daily update, but may not be able to post it for you to see right away. So if you don't see anything for a few days it's not because we were eaten by something, just cut off from the virtual world.

 

 

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