Robin's Adventures

Adventures in the Asian Subcontinent

Next Stop: Jaipur

After a one hour flight we arrived in Jaipur. We stayed at the Oberoi Rajvilas Hotel which had a castle-like facade, complete with a moat, and large beautiful lush gardens with a large bird population.

We were greeted with leis made of marigolds and once again were showered with rose petals from the roof.

Beautiful Grounds at the Oberoi Rajvilas Hotel

There were 32 acres of beautiful gardens at the hotel along with an 18th century style Shiva Temple. The national bird of India is the peacock and there were small flocks of the birds wandering over the grounds. In addition we saw a white-throated kingfisher and large numbers of rather social rose-ringed parakeets.

Palace of Winds

Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds was designed so that women of the royal household could view street festivals and day-to-day activities on the street below without actually being seen themselves. The five story pink sandstone structure is at one edge of the City Palace where it is attached to the women's living quarters.

The 953 small windows all have intricate latticework that provides a sort of air conditioning during the heat of the summer as the cool breeze flows through the lattice.

Jantar Mantar Observatory

Jantar Mantar Observatory, which was built in 1734 by King Sawai Jai Singh, has nineteen instruments designed for astronomical measurement, including the world's largest sundial. Different instruments measure time, location of various stars, predict eclipses, and declination of various planets. The instruments are built of stone, marble, bricks, and bronze.

Jaipur City Palace

Jaipur City Palace, which was built between 1729 and 1732, contains several smaller structures within the fortified palace walls.

The entrance gate, or Virendra Pol, is a tall archway with latticework around the edges and a stone elephant on either side.

Just inside is Mubarak Mahal, or the Auspicious Palace, which was used by the king as a reception center.

More Jaipur City Palace

The largest building in the palace is Chandra Mahal. Most of the building is still used as a residence by descendants of the former rulers of Jaipur. The building has a beautiful peacock gate that provides an entrance from the inner courtyard. Nearby is the Diwan-I-Khas, or the Hall of Private Audience which has beautiful archways and a marble floor.

Random Animals on the Road

Traveling by car in India seemed to be an adventure wherever we went. Not only is the traffic chaotic and unpredictable, but also the appearance of random animals in the road is very unnerving. During a half hour commute in the Jaipur area, for example, we saw camels, elephants, cows, goats, pigs, and monkeys on or near the road.

Drivers in India are nonplussed by the appearance of the animals and continue on their journey as if this were an everyday regular occurrence. For them, it is an everyday event and I think our driver was very amused at how excited we were every time an animal appeared on the road.

More Random Animals

Many of the random animals seemed to hang out in the streets because they were going through the massive piles of garbage there and searching for tasty snacks.

Littler is a huge problem in India. It is not socially unacceptable to litter and everyone seems to do it. The garbage piles up and the animals have a field day as they dig through the garbage.

Random Vehicles on the Road

It was also interesting to observe all of the different types of vehicles that traveled the roads in India. There do not seem to be any rules as to how many people or how much cargo you can fit onto a conveyance.

We saw buses with people sitting on the roof and taxis with way more people than the six seats inside the vehicle accommodated. Fast moving cars were driving along right next to camel drawn carts or hand carts pushed or pulled by people.

The Butcher Shop

You know that your chicken or goat meat is fresh when you patronize the local butcher shop in Jaipur. The animal you select is butchered on the spot. It doesn't get much fresher than that.