Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jaipur, India - 1

Hi, We disembarked from the ship early on the morning of Wednesday, May 1 and flew to Jaipur in NW India to begin a 6 day visit that would take us from Jaipur to Agra (site of the Taj Mahal and the major reason we took the land extension) and Delhi.

We were met at our hotel by a traditionally dressed doorman.  We would experience this at every hotel we stayed at and at the hotels where we ate meals.  Our conveyance for the entire post trip was a 40 passenger air conditioned bus for the 21 of us.

Just to get this out of the way: the hotels were all 5 star and the food was really delicious.  As in any underdeveloped or developing country some people develop stomach problems and Ruthe did, although, fortunately, they were minor.  For once, I did not.

The following 3 photos provide some idea of the grounds occupied by the hotel.

Fancy a game of chess?

As soon as we checked into our hotel and washed up we were off to explore Jaipur.  This is one of the gates to the old city.

We visited the City Palace of the Maharaja of Rajasthan.  While part of the palace is a museum and open to the public, most of it is still a royal residence.  When the Maharaja is at home 1 1/4 Indian flags fly, as can be seen below.  The addition of the smaller flag was supposed to signify that the Maharaja is the most important and powerful ruler among the many rulers of India.  Today it flies as a tradition.

The Maharaja held court in this structure.  Only nobles and others of high rank were allowed under the structure.  Commoners were consigned to the courtyard outside the structure, although awnings were rigged to protect them from the sun.

This snake charmer was working with a cobra in the palace.  We learned that the poison glands are removed from the snakes so they are no longer dangerous.  Also, the music played has no effect on the snake.  It is there for us tourists.  The snake responds to the movement of the flute.

This is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments called Jantar Mantar.  Most of these are used to tell time. 

I was most intrigued by the opportunity to photograph patterns and shapes.

This structure reminded me of Stonehenge.

What follows are a number of street scenes.  We took a walk and a bicycle rickshaw ride through the old town.  Also, some photos were taken through the bus window.

Cows are sacred animals in India and are never slaughtered.  They wander freely in both Jaipur and Agra, but not in Delhi, which is the capital.

These cows have aged to the point where they no longer provide milk.  As the owners can not afford to feed them if they get no milk and can not eat them for religious reasons, they are abandoned.  They feed off the trash in the streets (see below) and are fed by people who consider it a blessing to do so.

Every morning about 6:00 AM street sweepers sweep the trash into piles.  The trash is then loaded into trucks and carted off.  Throughout the day people will then empty their trash into the street.  The next morning the cycle begins anew.

People set up to sell produce and flowers on blankets on the sidewalks and at the curbs.

We were taken to a balcony overlooking a main square.  This photo provides some idea of the congestion in these cities.  Jaipur has a population of about 3.1 million people.

Bicycles such as these are used to move heavy loads.

There was some sort of temple off the balcony we were on and there were some holy men singing and playing instruments.

Thanks for looking.

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