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Day 143: The wind palace

Jaipur Travel Blog

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Interesting trucks that drive in India

Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Ed (Netherlands)

From Sawai Madhopur it was a relatively short drive to Jaipur. Jaipur would mark the real start of our trip around Rajahstan, the state of Maharajahs. Like most major cities in Rajahstan, Jaipur was a small kingdom ruled by a royal family. The city was founded in the early 18th century, though the lineage of the royal family can be traced back to the 12th century when the capital city was located at the nearby city of Amber.
When the British arrived they left the system of the small city-kingdoms of Rajahstan mostly intact as it proved far more easy to add Maharajahs to their payroll, offering them virtual immunity and a guaranteed income from taxes, than to try and conquer each and every kingdom.

Indian local transport #1

To this day the royal families of Rajahstan are revered by many Indians, even though they no longer have any power nor any claim to tax money.

Jaipur is dubbed the Pink City, after Maharajah Ram Singh ordered every building in the Old City to be painted pink to welcome King Edward VII. To this day local law compels all citizens in the Old City to preserve the pink façade on their buildings.

We arrived in Jaipur just after midday. At first sight this was just another big Indian city: dirty, noisy and with lots and lots of traffic. Perhaps now is a good time to mention the traffic in India. I thought I had experienced some bad traffic before, in Egypt or Mexico or Iran. Yet all these pale in comparison with India. What sets India apart is the sheer insanity of many of its drivers, coupled with added obstacles like potholes, unmarked speed bumps, pedestrians or cows on the road (and the way said insane drivers deal with these situations)
I mean, in Iran I have experienced some hair raising moments, but I always had the feeling that the drivers knew what they were doing.
Indian local transport #2
In India I don't have this feeling. Even professional drivers don't seem to be spending much time paying attention with what's happening around them in traffic. Rear-view mirrors are generally folded inwards (in order to fit through narrower gaps) and radios or telephones generally receive more attention from the drivers than insignificant things such as speedometers or, say, the view from the front windscreen.

As we drove on one of the main thoroughfares towards our hotel a deadly accident happened right in front of our eyes. A motorcycle overtook us at outrageously high speed, while a few hundred metres in front of us another motorcycle rider decided to cross the road. Neither one was paying much attention to the traffic. The rider who passed us tried to show off to some girls riding a tuk-tuk in front of us, while the person crossing the road stopped in the middle and only paid attention to the oncoming traffic on the other half, seemingly assuming any traffic on his side of the road would simply swerve around him.
Entrance to the Hawa Mahal


When I learned to drive I was taught to always look far ahead and anticipate what happens with traffic around you. As the motorcycle overtook us I saw the other one trying to cross the road and I knew what was going to happen seconds before it actually happened.
The two motorcycles crashed into each other at high speed, flinging off the riders. The one crossing the road had not been wearing a crash helmet, the rider who crashed in to him had, but only in the way many Indians wear helmets as some weird fashion statement, perched on the back of their head with the straps unfastened. Mukesh told me the next day the newspaper had reported both men had died in the accident. Such an incredibly stupid and easily avoidable accident.

After we had checked in to our hotel Mukesh dropped us off in the Old City.
The Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace)
We were leaving the major sights for tomorrow, but Ed was quite keen on visiting a place he had not visited it on his previous trip to Jaipur, in 2008: the Hawa Mahal, or Wind Palace.
This interesting structure was build in 1799 as an extension of the nearby royal palace, to enable the ladies in the royal household to watch city life. They would sit behind tiny veiled windows, observing the life in the streets pass by, without being seen themselves.

The palace has an impressive, honeycombed façade which is one of Jaipur's most impressive sights. Inside the palace consists of small, bare rooms and narrow corridors. Both Ed and I loved the place. Besides the excellent views over the city, we also had plenty fun wandering through all the staircases and corridors, getting stopped regularly by Indian tourists who clearly felt we were the most interesting and exotic sight here.
Our delicious Indian food at Ganesh restaurant: these are three different dishes, but which is which?


We hadn't really eaten since breakfast, so we decided for an early supper at a tiny restaurant, Ganesh, which sits atop the city walls of the Old City.
The food was excellent, even if all three dishes we had ordered looked (and dare I say tasted?) the same.

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Interesting trucks that drive in I…
Interesting trucks that drive in …
Indian local transport #1
Indian local transport #1
Indian local transport #2
Indian local transport #2
Entrance to the Hawa Mahal
Entrance to the Hawa Mahal
The Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace)
The Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace)
Our delicious Indian food at Ganes…
Our delicious Indian food at Gane…
The streets of Jaipur
The streets of Jaipur
Bracelet shop in Jaipur
Bracelet shop in Jaipur
The streets of Jaipur
The streets of Jaipur
Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Entrance to the Hawa Mahal
Entrance to the Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Ed taking pictures at the Hawa Mah…
Ed taking pictures at the Hawa Ma…
Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
View from the Hawa Mahal
View from the Hawa Mahal
Inside the Hawa Mahal
Inside the Hawa Mahal
Inside the Hawa Mahal
Inside the Hawa Mahal
Streets of Jaipur, seen from the H…
Streets of Jaipur, seen from the …
Me at the Hawa Mahal
Me at the Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Ed peeking from a window at the Ha…
Ed peeking from a window at the H…
Some Indan tourists wanting a phot…
Some Indan tourists wanting a pho…
Streets of Jaipur
Streets of Jaipur
Jaipur, the pink city
Jaipur, the pink city
What exactly does the sign mean?
What exactly does the sign mean?
Buying Kurta Pyjama
Buying Kurta Pyjama
Grabbing desert at Baristas
Grabbing desert at Barista's
Kingfisher and Ed at the rooftop r…
Kingfisher and Ed at the rooftop …
Jaipur Hotels & Accommodations review
A lovely 'heritage' hotel
The Sajjan Niwas hotel is what they call 'mock heritage'. It is a relatively new building, though it is made to look like an antique haveli. Kitsch? S… read entire review
Jaipur
photo by: oxangu2