Today was the second and final day of our journey through Jaipur! It was a JAM-PACKED day with plenty of water bottles, walking and most of all— fun! We realized it was going to be a busy day, but after a great night’s sleep and a solid breakfast, we set off for another adventure.
We started the day with a tour through the City Palace led by our dashing tour-guide Naru. Viewing the sweeping arches, beautiful adornments on doorways, and the grand throne room of the Maharaja and Maharina, it is very hard to imagine actual people once living inside palaces of such grandeur. We got to view the royal family’s old clothing, weapons, and portraits, but to me (and perhaps the rest of the group), they still don’t seem real. Still, the royal family actually inhabits part of the palace. We visited the courtyard of their private residence inside the palace grounds, but unfortunately we weren't graced with any royal sightings.
After the City Palace, we took a trip back to the Amber City and visited the Amber Fort. To reach the fort we took a harrowing drive in our tour bus through a winding mountain road. Once we reached the fort we were greeted by monkeys, red walls, and amazing views of the surrounding valleys. About 40 minutes and like 200 pictures later (50 rupee charge per camera still did not discourage us!), we left the fort and took an equally exciting and terrifying journey down the narrow, one-lane, twisty mountain road.
Goofing around within the Amber Fort walls
For lunch we stopped by Café Coffee Day, a less expensive and quicker version of Starbucks. Afterwards, we quickly visited a block print textile factory. Natalie was able to use her expert artistic skills and fists to help the factory owner stamp a lovely block elephant in 4 different colors for an adorable personalized handkerchief. The group then took to the market to try our hand at bargaining and shopping once again. I must say, with more experience and a mean stink eye, I feel much more confident with my bargaining skills now. From what I’ve heard from the rest of the group, other people have also been exercising their new-found bargaining skills and buying some killer souvenirs as well.
After the hottest part of the day, we then took a walking tour through the artisan and less-tourist populated markets of Jaipur. We had very informational tour guides who educated us on the culture, economics, and history behind the creation of the scarves, jewelry, textiles, and handicrafts that make this city so famous. For instance, we got to see a metal-worker sandcast golden pendants, visited street sweet shops, and had a 20 minute tea break with a very skilled Meena Kari (enameled art) artisan in his house and studio. We walked through crowded markets that were frequented more by Jaipur natives and local residents, rather than the more commercial markets that cater to travelers and tourists. It was a really cool chance to see what happens behind the scenes to create some of the beautiful goods provided in the city.
Examples of some of the goods and the atmosphere of our Jaipur walking tour
The day ended with another delicious and laugh-filled dinner at Niro. But the day didn’t actually end there—when we got back to the hotel, we had a Henna artist make beautiful henna creations on everybody’s hands and feet.
Tomorrow morning it is on to Agra to complete the second leg of our Golden Triangle trip!
Until next time,