Chaotic but charming Jaipur (part 2.)

Our second day in Jaipur begun with a breakfast at our hotel’s rooftop restaurant –a small oasis in the middle of a hectic city. So important when traveling in India!

We had nothing special planned for the day, apart from visiting the world-famous Hawa Mahal and continue exploring the city. Hawa Mahal, commonly known as the Palace of Winds, is the monument that appears in almost all commercial photos one sees about Jaipur. It is dedicated to Hindu god Krishna. Constructed in the late 18th century, the palace has a curious history and design: its latticed windows were built in a way that allowed the veiled women of the royal harem of observe the outside life without being seen!Hawa MahalRenovations were going on during our visit, but visitors were allowed to climb to the top floor and enjoy viewing Jaipur and imagining how these women felt looking down to the street. A monument not to be missed!Hawa MahalAfterwards we decided not to visit Jantar Mantar (the observatory), and instead headed outside of the city to visit Jal Mahal, the 18th century Water Palace. On our way back we stopped at a textile shop to buy some local clothes (half silk half linen, apparently). Looking at colors available was mind-blowing!!! textile shop, JaipurAs Jaipur is world-famous for precious stones and jewelry making (many of the ornaments worn by maharajis come from Jaipur!), we stopped by a few shops to better understand the centuries-old jewelry-making tradition. What we saw was breathtaking  but since we are not professionals, we did not buy anything too expensive. If you like design and jewelry, do visit one of the jewelry houses even if you have no intention ob buying. Most shops are used to tourists and happy to show you around.Jaipur precious stonesFor the rest of the day we visited old havelis (old private houses) converted into hotels (like the one in the photo). Rajasthan is full of havelis, and Jaipur has a fair share of them. They are an integral part of the region’s history and usually full of antique furniture and stylishly decorated, respecting the local traditions. If you are into architecture, I would strongly consider visiting these historic and lovely pearls. haveli in JaipurWe spent two full days in Jaipur and could have stayed longer. It is the most accessible city in Rajasthan if you are coming from Delhi, but regardless of tourism masses, Jaipur has remained rather pleasant. Our only regret was that we didn’t buy more souvenirs in jaipur –its bazaars are really fantastic. As other towns in Rajasthan do not necessarily have same products, think of filling your suitcase with souvenirs from Jaipur!

Note: This is the ninth post about our trip in Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan and Bombay in March-April 2008. Previous posts are:
Part 1. Arrival in Delhi: first impressions
Part 2. Eight cities of Delhi
Part 3. Road from Delhi to Agra
Part 4. Visiting Agra and Taj Mahal
Part 5. Fatehpur Sikri: what a pearl!
Part 6. Neemrana Fort-Palace: the magnificent 15th century palace
Part 7. Breathtaking Amber Fort
Part 8. Chaotic but charming Jaipur (part 1.)

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10 thoughts on “Chaotic but charming Jaipur (part 2.)

      1. Miia Post author

        Me, too, I tend to use the old names. Mumbai will always be Bombay to me 🙂

        Do you travel there for work? I would love to visit that country! Lahore. Wow. That’s where the capital was moved from Fatehpur Sikri. Have you visited the fort/palace in Lahore?

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      2. Miia Post author

        I am so impressed. Also recently? I have been to a lot of places that are considered “crazy” (Sudan, etc) but never to Pakistan. Not to Afghanistan either (only at the border from the Uzbek side). But I do have to say that Hyderabad to me felt like that part of the world. Somehow it gave me an impression “this is what Pakistan must be like”. Maybe I am wrong…

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      3. SalvaVenia

        Pakistan these days is a no-go, very much unfortunately. The golden days, where one could roam freely and at large are long gone. Mullahism has transformed this historically very open society into a nightmare not only for it’s own citizens, but for any tourist as well. Only exception might be state-sponsored mountaineering trips like for the K2 etc. The only two Pakistani cities which still know some kind of openness are Rawalpindi (due to the large diplomatic community), and the 5-star hotels in Karachi. Sounds bad, is bad!

        Might be slightly better, if you could pass as a Pakistani, Pashtun, or Afghani.

        If one could travel under some kind of diplomatic cover (or similar), there still is a lot of beauty to be discovered.

        In general, nothing to say against to travel so-called “crazy” places. But especially in comtemporary Pakistan the inner fabric of society has been destroyed at large. And it’s this what poses a true danger. People are desperate and they don’t care. And walking the streets of a country with practically each step in unsafety, is no fun at all, believe me.

        In my humble opinion, you can’t compare Pakistan with India, because it’s the mood the the people, nay, of it’s whole society, which makes ony feel uneasy right from the very first moment.

        It’s hard to write this, because I myself have a great liking to Pakistan and really miss the so-called old days (if I recapitulate, I would say the big turn to the worse started with general Zia-ul-Haq), that is to say up to the end of the 1980ies …

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      4. Miia Post author

        A big thank you for taking the time to write this up! Very interesting inside information!

        Have you been to Afghanistan as well?
        I happen to know someone (through my work) high up in the politics there and have an invitation to visit the country but not sure if that is a good idea….

        It is a pity, so many countries with stunning beauty and amazing history are becoming off-limits!

        In a different continent: I did a big tour of the Algerian Sahara in 2007 and keep wondering if that would be possible and safe these days….

        Moreover (completely changing the subject), I wonder and hope that the Malaysian plane saga has no links to any particular country –we don’t need any more so called links to any so called groups… 😦

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