Wakey, wakey. 4 AM in the morning I wake up and quietly leave Kamala’s home. Riding the auto rickshaw (150₹) and arrive at Delhi train station. Thankfully, I already bought my ticket yesterday so I don’t have to queue or wait for empty seat. As the Festival of Colours or Holi Festival is approaching, the train is pack with people, family and tourists going to see the festival and/or going home.
My schedule is as followed: Delhi (DLI) – Jaipur (JP) – Class 3A – 12414 Jammu All Exp – Check Schedule Here. Ticket price is 434₹.
As morning approach, I get to sleep on and off along the 5 hours stretch. Arrive at Jaipur train station (JP) saw some porters in red. I feel like I’m in a movie set from British-India movie. I take Auto Rickshaw again (50₹) to the hotel.
I decide to splurge a little and stayed in this gorgeous hotel, Umaid Bhawan for 3 nights (a whooping 7500₹), which gotta to admit, it’s pricy but at least it is safe and with most of the hotels/hostel fully booked for the Holi and Elephant festival, this is ok, way over my budget, but fine.
The hotel is beautiful though, although they kinda picky with the customers since I’m dark skinned Asian backpacker that doesn’t look I have the money to pay. I think I get better service in China. Never less, it doesn’t curb my enthusiasm for the Rajasthani in architecture and beautiful decoration like the photos above. (My God, I’m such a tourist).
Taking picture in front of one of the gate, Chandpole (Moon gate) in Jaipur.
Jaipur is known as the capital city of Rajasthan in Northern India. Once upon a time, a king named Maharaja Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amer, founded this city in the 17th century AD. It’s famously known as the Pink City of India because some buildings are painted pink, but most buildings have variety of colours now. Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are known as the Golden Triangle. This reminds me of Shanghai – Suzhou – Hangzhou combo in my China trip.
The story has it that the Maharaja’s architect used the principle of Vastu Shastra (vāstu śāstra) and Shilpa Shastra (Sanskrit: शिल्प शास्त्र, śilpa śāstra) for the city layout and construction, with many of the city 9 blocks with 7 gates are painted pink to welcome Prince of Wales or Edward VII in 1876.
Vastu Shastra is interesting because I love symmetry and directional layout with geometric pattern or flexible grid system almost like the Chinese Feng shui. The layout design, dubbed “the science of architecture” incorporate Hindu, sometimes Buddha, sometime Islam beliefs with nature integration. Of course, congestion of human development and population blow up the city layout out of proportion. Ah, urbanisation.
Shilpa Shastra is the “Science of Art and Craft” that applies to all form of art with traditional method such as carpentry, architecture, jewellery, farriery, acting, dancing, music etc.
The most gorgeous architecture is the Hawa Mahal (“Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”). Ahh, but to my shame I didn’t get in thinking I can go tomorrow but alas, I forgot the 2 days festival holiday. The architecture is amazing from outside with its pink glory.
The front of Hawa Mahal is a high windows screen for the royal women to see festivals and not be seen by common people. The red and pink sandstone connected to the Zenana or women’s chambers. The shape is inspired by Khetri Mahal, like the crown of Krishna, the god of compassion, tenderness, and love of the Hindu God. The 953 small overhanging enclosed balcony windows or jharokhas, decorated in latticework but also allow cool air to breeze through during the summer.
The auto rickshaw driver, double as guide, is taking me to another remote place that not many tourists seem to know called Gaitore, or so I was told. Again, it’s gorgeous, for the tombs of the Maharajas that is.
So in Gaitore, located at Jaipur-Amer road which is 15 km away from the city, the Maharajas or Jaipur rulers have their Cenotaphs or tombs erected in a chhatri or umbrella-shaped memorials.
It’s worth the visit because it’s very quiet and the Rajasthani architecture details of the white marble carvings are photogenic on its own. In Gaitore, the Maharajas have their cremation as well. It’s said that the word Gaitore is from a Hindi phrase “Gaye ka Thor” which means “resting place of the departed souls”.
Definitely a nice way to spend the morning part of my trip in Jaipur, not too crowded and cooler than it looks like, especially for a city in the hot desert and rocks everywhere.
- [Travel] Jaipur, Tickle Me Pink
- [Travel] Jaipur, the Heritage Embroidered in the Thread of Time
- [Travel] Jaipur, the Elephant Festival. Hail to the Wise Chief
- [Travel] Jaipur, Holi Festivals, the colors of love
- [Travel] Jaipur City Palace, the Royal Residence of the Maharaja
- [Travel] Jaipur, Ex Astris, Scientia at Jantar Mantar
- [Travel] Jaipur, Maharani Ki Chhatri, the Last Resting Place for the Royal Ladies
- [Travel] Jaipur Amer Fort, the Beautiful Mosaics that Transcend Time
Source information: Wikipedia, Travelwiki, India Eye Witness Travel.