The Pink City

From New Delhi we boarded a private coach and departed for Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan. The journey gave us a taste of the twisty, windy roads that traverse the region.

Travel by road in India is an interesting experience. The first thing you notice is the great hodge-podge of traffic that seems to share the roads all at once: foot traffic, bicycles, wagons, camels, horses, cows, autorickshaws, cars, buses, trucks. The second thing you notice is that there are no apparent rules: no lanes of traffic, horns blaring constantly, etc. It turns out all is not what it seems: every driver seems to know precisely what to expect of other drivers, and the horns blow not in anger, but as a polite way of alerting a driver in front that you are passing! (Trucks and buses are often seen with "Horn Please" signs on the back.)

Along the way to Jaipur, we stopped at the beautiful Neemrana Fort Palace for lunch (above). This restored and converted fort, originally built in 1464, is now a 5-star "heritage hotel."  There are many lesser forts and places of historical significance in India for which there are no public funds to maintain. This practice at least ensures that some of these marvelous properties are preserved and restored.

 

Right: Neemrana Fort Palace, Neemrana, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

 

The Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of the Winds," Jaipur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

Jaipur is known as the "The Pink City," after the color of the buildings of the old city which must by law be painted in a deep saffron pink color. This tradition dates back to 1876, when the entire city was painted in honor of a visit by the Prince of Wales.

While in Jaipur we visited the sprawling City Palace which blends Rajput and Mughal architecture, the Jantar Mantar Observatory, a fascinating monument to astronomy built in 1827 by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II , and the superbly situated Amber Fort, originally built in the 11th century. Amber was the site of the original kingdom before the city of Jaipur was founded. At Amber Fort, tourists can book elephant rides up the long winding path, through 7 gates, to the heart of the fort.

"Elephant Booking Office," Amber Fort, Rajasthan, India. Nikon D70, 85mm f/1.4 AF Nikkor.

Elephants and drivers, Amber Fort, Rajasthan, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm
DX Nikkor.

Hotel concierge, Neemrana, India. Nikon D70, 24mm f/2.8 AF Nikkor.

Neemrana Fort Palace, Neemrana, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

Worker and painting, Jaipur, India. Nikon D70, 24mm f/2.8 AF Nikkor.

Door detail, Amber Fort, Rajasthan, India. Nikon D70, 85mm f/1.4 AF Nikkor.

Porter and bag, Neemrana, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

Seller, Amber Fort, Rajasthan, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

Young boys, Amber Fort, Rajasthan, India. Nikon D70, 85mm f/1.4 AF Nikkor.