Posted by: travelrat | January 24, 2019

Jaipur

island palace

Jaipur: 26th September 2018

After we’d had our fill of the Amber Fort, it was back into the jeeps, board the coach and head back to Jaipur. On the way, we stopped to photograph the Lake Palace … an imposing building … but not to visit, just photograph and admire from a distance. Closer to hand was a man applying a fresh coat of paint to a pink wall. It made me think of an old Pink Panther cartoon … when as fast as the little man painted anything blue, along came the Panther, and painted it pink.

Jaipur is known as the Pink City, and all the houses are painted pink; they have to be, by law! In the centre of all is the Palace complex, most of which is a museum, and in a small part of which, the Maharajah … nowadays, simply a title, with no power, but still substantial wealth … still lives.

In the past, though, he wielded considerable power. The holy men told him he couldn’t go to London, and mingle with the eaters of beef unless he purified himself by bathing in the waters of the Ganges. So, he took Ganges water with him … in two massive silver urns, still on display … but in glass cases, and ostentatiously guarded … in the Palace.

You could spend a lot of time in Jaipur just wandering around and admiring the buildings. But, there’s a lot of other stuff to see here besides. We were taken to a sort of factory complex, where, under a verandah, workers sat, doing multi-coloured block printing on fabric. Just the sort of thing you did when you made those ‘potato prints’ in kindergarten, but requiring much more precision to get the patterns accurately placed, and the different colours in register.

block printing

Inside, there’s a carpet factory … and a showroom, where they exhibited, and, of course offered their wares for sale. They would ship home, or, the smaller ones could be parcelled up into a surprisingly compact, air-portable bundle. We did take an interest in the rugs on offer, for we’ve recently had a wooden floor fitted, but decided to leave it ‘as is’.

carpet factory

They were probably a bit too long in their presentation. I popped out for some air and a ‘virtual smoke’, and wandered around taking in some of the other things going on, mainly sculpture and spinning.

Finally, we went to the Observatory, a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, dating from the 18th Century. I thought of it as a sort of cross between a Stonehenge and a sundial; in fact, it does incorporate a sundial with the largest gnomon (that’s the sticky-up bit) in the world.

the observatory, jaipur

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