Friday, November 18, 2022 – Temperature 10-26 C ( 59 -79 F ) and sunny
We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant before leaving to go to the palace. On the way we stopped at a palace called Hawa Mahal, which was built from red and pink sandstone. It is mostly a facade and there isn’t a building behind the upper section but there is an area where people could look through windows to see special events below.
We drove to the royal palace and near it is the Jal Mahal (meaning “Water Palace”) which is a palace originally constructed in 1699 and is located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake.
From there we went to the royal palace where the reigning maharaja of Jaipur lives. At the entrance there was a snake charmer and Malcolm volunteered to try his hand at snake charming. The cobra moved back and form with the sound of the charmer’s flute and although the charmer said that the snake wasn’t poisonous it made Malcolm a little nervous.
We continued to the royal palace which is part of a large fort and is so extensive that I couldn’t show its entirety with just a few pictures.
We spent a few hours seeing most of the palace, but we couldn’t get in the section where the maharaja and his family live.
At noon we went to a store where they make and sell carpets, clothes and woodwork. They showed us how the patterns on clothing are dyed, as well as how they make carpets by stitching the carpet, separating the fibres, cutting the excess and then burning the bottom to seal the threads.
A few people bought carpets and had them shipped to their homes. I looked at a few carpets, but I didn’t buy one.
At 1 pm, we had a quick lunch and then we went to the city palace and toured through it. The City Palace is located in central Jaipur. It was established at the same time with the city by Maharaja Sakai Jai Singh II, who moved his court to Jaipur from Amber in 1727. Jaipur is the present-day capital of the state of Rajasthan, and until 1949 the City Palace was the ceremonial and administrative seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The Palace was also the location of religious and cultural events, as well as a patron of arts, commerce, and industry. It now houses the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, and continues to be the home of the Jaipur royal family.
From the city palace, we went to Jantar Mantar, which is a collection of 19 astronomical instruments built by the Rajput king Sakai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. The monument was completed in 1734. It features the world’s largest stone sundial, and is aUNESCO World Heritage site. The first ones we saw were accurate to ~ 20 seconds. The wall at the center casts a shadow on the curved structure beneath it, which has the hours of the day from 6 am to 6 pm etched in 30 second intervals. In our case the shadow fell on 2:48 pm. You then take the declination of the sun on that day, which was posted at the sundial as 11 minutes and add it to the shadow time, which made it 2:59 pm. When we looked at our iPhones, the time was also 2:59 pm. The circular sun dial that Shail is pointing to in the picture at the center right, also showed 2:48 pm.
The observatory was very interesting and showed us what can be accomplished without the use of computers. By the time we left the observatory, it was about 4:30 pm and we had a little time of rest at the hotel before going out for supper at a beautiful hotel that had been renovated in traditional Indian architecture.
We arrived at the hotel, shortly after 7 pm where we had a tour of the hotel, took some pictures and then had a traditional dinner. During dinner, we had some entertainment by a group of musicians and a couple of dancers. After a few dances, one of the dancers tried to coerce one of us to join her and eventually I volunteered.
Later several of the people in our group joined the dancers as she led them in a traditional dance.
It had been a busy day and by the time we returned to the hotel, it was close to 9 pm and it was time for some rest. According to the schedule, we would be leaving Jaipur early the next morning.