Rain, cloudy, fine, 32°
A bit of a sleep in this morning; up at 8:30am and headed upstairs for breakfast. I had rained fairly heavily this morning so we had to sit inside as they were drying out the furniture on the deck.
After breakfast we grabbed our gear and headed out at 9:30am, and walked along Chaura Rasta Rd to Tripolia Gate ( pol means gate so it is the gate with 3 gates ) and then ( as we are not royalty ) went into the Palace complex through the Stable Gate instead.
We bought tickets to the Jantar Mantar ( there were originally 5 Jantar Mantar in India, one of which we visited in Delhi ) at 400R ea and wandered inside. It is amazing to think that these structures were built with such accuracy and with such an understanding of how the stars and planets worked, and this was back in the 1700's.
We grabbed a quick drink and then walked back out onto the street and across to the entrance to the City Palace to buy tickets ( 500R ea ), and headed in.
This Palace, built in 1729, is still the residence of the royal family of Jaipur, and like most Rajasthani palaces/forts that we have visited consists of a series of interconnected courtyards, normally with a freestanding building located in them.
The first courtyard has the Mubarak Mahal ( "Auspicious Palace" ) building in it which now contains a museum. We walked through the museum with displays of clothing and fabrics ( which Jaipur is famous for ) and some interesting old photographs.
Back out into the first courtyard and then we headed through the gate joining it to the second courtyard. We stopped briefly so that Liz could get her photo taken with 3 'guards' in traditional costume ( as per normal they wanted money for their time ).
The second courtyard contains the Diwan-I-Khas ( private audience chamber ) in it's centre which, among other items, houses the litter we saw last night in the Teej parade.
We walked through to the last courtyard, 'Pritam Chowk' which adjoins the 7 story residence. Again this felt quite different to the previous courtyards as it was more intimate and felt like a private space rather than the public spaces of the previous two.
After taking a few photos we worked our way back out of the Palace and back onto Tripolia Bazaar Rd, and grabbed an auto rickshaw ( AR ) back to the hotel, for a rest. On the way we passed a rehearsal for the Teej Parade tonight, literally in the middle of the road.
We headed out again at 2:30pm and caught an AR to MI Road ( properly known as Mirza Ismail Road ) and had lunch at Niro's, which had been recommended to us. This was a very upmarket restaurant with mirrored walls and ceilings, and seemed to be largely patronised by locals ( albeit well off locals ). We just had a single curry and a couple of lassi for 1100R.
We had a walk along MI Road. This main road is just outside the Old City walls and is an area with lots of high end hotels, Nike shops and a bit more of a western feel to it. We carried on along MI Road to Ajmeri Gate which leads back through the walls into the Old City. We caught an AR to head to Gaitor ki Chhatryan.
When we got into the AR he seemed a bit confused as to where we wanted to go, but after asking someone for directions seemed confident that he knew where to go. We headed through Ajmeri Gate and hit a traffic jam. As I have mentioned before they are adding some metro stops into the Old City of Jaipur and they are also rebuilding some of the roads at the same time, and one of those roads was Kishanpole Bazaar Rd which we were attempting to get down. It was stop start for about 20 minutes to get the 500m from Ajmeri Gate to the roundabout at Tripolia Bazaar, but we seemed to provide amusement to some of the locals who were stuck in the same jam, with them saying hello to us, and we had an ongoing conversation with some teenagers in another AR as our paths crossed time and again.
We finally got clear of the jam and headed north and then east, I realised that the AR driver didn't actually know where we wanted to go, so once we got to Man Sagar Lake I directed him from there. We arrived at Gaitor ki Chhatryan at 3:30pm and paid the driver 200R for his troubles.
We bought our tickets ( 30R ea ) and went inside. Gaitor ki Chhatryan is a complex of Chhatra or pavilions with tombs in them, located at the base of the range of hills that includes Amber Fort. Most of the chhatra here were made of white marble but there were others of sandstone. We walked around for a while, enjoying the shade and breeze and then walked back out and down to the main road to grab another AR. This time we used a different AR type; these were more like mini buses ( but they were still only AR's in size ) and they would stop and pick up anyone going in the same direction. We also managed to find the only slow driver in India as we dawdled along the roads back into town. We arrived back at our hotel at 4:30pm.
Out again at 6pm and walked to Albert Hall which is a massive wedding cake style building, located on a roundabout just south of the City walls. To celebrate India Independence Day which is tomorrow there was a concert on this evening in front of the Albert Hall by the Armed Forces. So we thought we would go and have a look.
As we walked the couple of hundred metres from our hotel to the Albert Hall we stopped to shoot the sun setting ( one of the few times we have been able to watch the sun hitting the horizon), dodged rush hour traffic, and walked past a grass area that was swarming with rats. We stopped and watched the concert for a while, and laughed at the fact that the traffic police were trying to keep traffic flowing around the roundabout when of course everyone was stopping to see what was going on. The idea of closing the road while the concert was on seemed to be one they hadn't thought of.
As it started to get dark we walked back to the hotel and had tea upstairs.