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Riding elephants

Jaipur Travel Blog

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Hawa Mahal
    My train arrived in Jaipur only ten minutes late which meant I had a full day for sight seeing.  I checked into my hotel and got a much lower rate than quoted over the phone (which was cheap to begin with).  Then I started out doing a walking tour into the old city.  I misjudged the distance pretty badly, and ended up walking about three miles (I had expected one mile).

The old city wasn't as nice as I expected.  While all the buildings are made of the same pink colored stone, they are in grave disrepair and crumbling pretty badly.  On the street level, it looks just the same as other Indian cities with shops and food vendors and garbage everywhere, plus of course the unrelenting traffic.
Parade in the street in Jaipur
  I finally reached a place where I could hop a bus for Amber palace which is where I really wanted to go.

Below the palace I tried my first street food (gulp), mostly out of desperation.  But I followed all the rules: I went to the place packed with locals, ordered vegetarian, watched them make it, and made sure it was what everyone else was ordering too.  Thus far, I haven't gotten sick so it seems to have been okay. 

I then went to the elephant stand for the ride up to the fort.  You walk up these stairs to a little platform and they bring the elephant right up so you can climb on.  Riding an elephant is somewhat like riding a horse with really wide hips.  You sway side to side, but very slowly one way to the other. 

Amber palace is quite large and the guide said you will get lost without the guided tour so I took the audio tour.
Riding an elephant
  It was quite amusing because it was all these Indians acting as if they were speaking for different areas of the palace.  So one person was trying to be the front gate and told the story of the front gate's perspective, someone else was a wall, etc.  But it was interesting nonetheless.  It's an old Mughal fort, which is the type of architecture I closely associate with India.  There were different areas of the palace for the concubines, where the king entertained guests on rugs spread out on the floor, etc.  Very Arabian nights.

On the way back, the bus assistant seated me next to the driver which was a bit awkward since I had to move every time he had to switch gears.  But the driver would stop so I could take pics along the way.
Old Town wall
  The best sight was Jal Mahal, a palace built in the middle of the lake which was very pretty.  I also saw camels that were there for people to ride, but couldn't find any where I was later in the city.  I went to Hawa Mahal which is a building from which the royal women could watch the people below without being seen just as a large parade was begininning.  I don't know what the parade was for, but there were all these children dressed to look like holy men with bald caps or big thick beards, which was pretty funny. 

I then went to an internet cafe which had great speed, but crashed twice while I was there so I lost everything.   I stopped at a coffee shop for a chicken burger and samosas and then went to a movie.  The movie is called Sunday and was a bit difficult to follow because it was in Hindi.  The director seems a bit too into special effects for my taste.  It reminded me of CSI with the split screens and repeats of little action segments, plus some elements of the Matrix with slow motion karate moves.  Then every now and then it would turn into a music video.  I think I'll look for it later with subtitles and see if I like it more then.

Tomorrow it's off to the Taj Mahal!
glennisnz says:
Sounds a lot like I remember, I just loved the elephant ride but wasn't keen on the way the mahouts seemed to hurt the elephants ears to control it. Far too cruel but the beast is so big and powerful maybe it needed strong controls.
Posted on: Feb 04, 2008
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Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Parade in the street in Jaipur
Parade in the street in Jaipur
Riding an elephant
Riding an elephant
Old Town wall
Old Town wall
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Monkey
Monkey
Tower
Tower
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Inside Cave
Inside Cave
Food stall in Amber
Food stall in Amber
Elephants outside Amber Palace
Elephants outside Amber Palace
Amber
Amber
Amber
Amber
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Amber Palace
Parade
Parade
Parade
Parade
Parade
Parade
Jaipur
photo by: oxangu2