India Day 4 (13 Jun 11) – Lethargic Day in Jaipur

View of Jaipur the Pink City from Isar Lat

I woke up feeling lethargic in the morning, think the heat is really getting into me. After breakfast, took the ever familiar no. 5 bus to the city centre. The agenda for the morning is to visit the Isar Lat, Jantar Mantar, City Palace and the Pink city. The bus ride was rather uneventful, and I reached the Hawa Mahal in no time. The attractions are very close to Hawa Mahal, and I always used this landmark as to find my way around. I walked along the street that I gave up walking yesterday, I was searching for the entrance to Isar Lat. After walking for quite sometime, I notice something is wrong, seemed like I might have missed the entrance of Isar Lat when I noticed I was already at the other junction. When I turned around, I noticed Isar Lat is behind me. Gosh! How could I have missed the entrance. I traced my footstep from where I came from, hoping to find the entrance. After awhile, I decided to consult my guide book. Now looking for the entrance is rather tricky. There is no marked sign pointing out where the entrance of Isar Lat is. I followed the direction that my guide book pointed out. Went inside a gate way (which doesn’t really looked elaborate), did a left turn, and there it is, Isar Lat is just ahead of me! I came to realise that the entrance to Isar Lat is behind the main street. There is a sign written in English “Isar Lat”, and I know I am at the right place.

As it was rather early in the morning, some of the shops are not even opened yet. A local greeted me and asked if I am visiting Isar Lat. I replied “yes” and he told me to follow him. Turns out he is the staff of the ticketing office. He opened up about 3 doors and told me to wait. On the way I asked him how much was the entrance. He replied “20 rupees”. Wait a minute, the guide book says 10 rupees. I thought there might be a price adjustment, so I handed 20 rupees to him. He came back with the ticket and pointed out the entrance to the tower. The climb up was exhausting. Instead of the usual stairways, it was ramp all the way to the top of the tower. Finally reached the top! The view was spectacular! I can see the the Tiger Fort on top of the hill some distance away, as well as the city palace, Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar, not to mentioned Jaipur city. What I liked about the tower is the breeze that was constantly blowing through the tower. At this point I took out the ticket and saw it printed 10 rupees!! But then again, I thought, 10 rupees for the moment of tranquility (as I was the only person up there), I thought it was okay. I stayed to enjoy the breeze for another 20 minutes before heading back down towards my next destination.

Isar Lat Tower
View of the Pink City from the top of Isar Lat
View of the Tiger Fort afar from Isar Lat
View of the Pink City from the top of Isar Lat
Me at the top of Isar Lat
View of the Pink City from the top of Isar Lat
View of the Pink City from the top of Isar Lat
Panoramic view of the city from the top of Isar Lat

Astronomy Park – Jantar Mantar

My next destination in Jaipur was Jantar Mantar. As I was walking towards the Jantar Mantar, an auto rickshaw driver pulled up to me and asked if I wanted his service, I said “No”, and the reply I got was “Why not?” in a rather bemused tone. I ignored the driver as I thought he didn’t need to know the reason and headed for the ticket booth and paid for the ticket and entered the site. Well this place would be interesting to astronomy enthusiasts. The whole place was fill of large structures to measure star sights and time. What caught my eye was this really huge sun dial, that was used to tell the time. It is the centrepiece of this attraction. I overheard a guide explaining how the thing works and how to tell the time. It was really amazing how people in the past connected with the celestial bodies to aid them in their daily chores. I did not spend too much time here as I thought the heat was really getting to me, plus the fact that this place is filled with gigantic equipment that tells where the stars are and the time, which I didn’t really appreciate. I left the place for my next destination, the City Palace.

These gongs looking things are used for star gazing purposes
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
The Observation Tower
The Observation Tower
Some of the Astronomy Instruments in Jantar Manar
Jantar Manar

The City Palace

The City Palace is located on the opposite side of the road from Jantar Mantar, I entered the palace after paying 300 rupees for the ticket. The first structure I saw was the Mubarak Mahal, which was first built as the reception hall. The building now houses the textile museum displaying the clothing that the King wore. Judging from the robe, I thought the king wasn’t very tall. The textile museum did not appeal to me much, I did a quick browse through and left the building. The next structure I saw was some kind of gate with 2 elephant statues at each side. There are some locals there, dressed in their tradition guard uniform, touting tourists to take picture with them and the elephants. I declined the invitation as I do not know how much tips they will ask for. I certainly learnt my lessons. The gate entrance was rather elaborate, there is a huge lamp hanging in the centre of the gate way and the walls are brightly painted.

Passing through the gate, Diwan-i-khas was immediately in sight. This huge pavilion was used as the hall of private audience. The pink structure has a number of chandeliers hanging on it ceilings. However today the hall was occupied by a group of musicians playing the traditional musical Indian Musical instrument (for the purpose of tourism I guess). At this area I can see the living quarters of the royalties (well it is the only 7 storey structure around and it is not difficult to miss). I went opposite it into some kind of audience hall, which I thought might be the place where the Kings entertained his VIPs. I took a quick look inside and left the building. The entrance next to this reception hall seemed to display the cannons and carriages that was used in yesteryears. I gave this a miss, as I thought they would probably display the same stuffs.

As the sun was totally drying me up, I headed for the cafe to have a bottle of rather expensive Pepsi. After the chill out, I headed back into the Diwan-i-Khas area. At the entrance to it, there was 3 Americans asking the guard about visiting the 7 storey living palace of the royalties. The guard mentioned that to visit it, one have to get a private tour, which costs a whopping 2500 Rupees! The Americans seemed unhappy about paying 200 rupees (they were students and have discount) and all the see was the Diwan-i-Khas. I casually mentioned to them that it is crazy they charge tourists for everything here, and shared with them the 100 rupee tip that was demanded by the volunteered guide in Jama Masjid in Delhi. They find it ridiculous what the locals will do to rip off tourists.  I took more pictures of the area around the Palace and left shortly after.

The Mubarak Mahal
Entrance to the City Palace
Entrance to the City Palace up close
Me with the Entrance of the City Palace
The intriguing designs on the pillars of the entrance
The main audience hall – Diwan-I-Khas
Inside the main courtyard of the City Palace
Me in the City Palace
Inside the main courtyard of the City Palace
The white building is the living palace for the royalties
Inside the City Palace
The royal’s living palace up close
Some performances at the Diwan-i-Khas
Some interesting art piece being designed into the building


Outside the City Palace

Getting Ready for Agra

The gate that I left the Palace wasn’t the one I came in from. I was kinda lost and decided to follow my instincts towards the main road, as I thought as long as I hit the main road, I should be able to get a bearing of where I was. As I was walking towards the main road, a rickshaw rider tried to sell me his service, 80 rupees for 1 hour of ride around the city and its main attractions. Well this sound like a good deal, however the heat was really making me even more lethargic, I declined his offer and continued walking towards the main road. Once I hit the main road, there was this no. 5 bus that zoomed passed me. The sight of this bus was reassuring as I know I was on the right track. I looked around and on the right it was the Hawa Mahal! I headed towards that direction to the corner of the familiar roundabout where I boarded the bus. The bus arrived about 10 mins later and I was able to hop onto the bus. Whilst on the bus, there seemed to be a disagreement between one of the elderly passenger and the conductor. The locals stepped in to try to fight for the rights of the elderly passenger. However it seemed like nothing was being resolved, the passenger got off the bus once he arrived at this destination. The rest of the bus ride back was uneventful, got back to the hotel at about 11am, I was too lethargic to do anything and simply slept for another 2 hours before packing my stuff and head towards the train station to my next destination – Agra, home of the treasure of India the Taj Mahal!

City of Jaipur
Taking the train to Agra
Inside the train towards Agra
Rural India
Me on the train towards Agra


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