Facade of the Pink City

Amber Fort

Elephants enter the Amber Fort

View of Jaipur from the Amber Fort

Walls run along the hillside

A garden in the lake

The Hall of Mirrors

Entrance courtyard at the Amber Fort

The Jaigarh Fort on the hilltop

The hills around Jaipur

Not your average view from the rear window

Water Palace

City Palace

City Palace

City Palace

City Palace

City Palace

Jantar Mantar - the world's largest sundial

Jaipur, India

Forts, a Palace, and an Observatory

August 2, 2013


All of us get lost in the darkness

dreamers learn to steer by the stars

- Rush

Jaipur was easily the most impressive place in the Golden Triangle. The view of the Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort perched on the hillside above Maotha Lake was stunning. As I entered the Amber Fort I could see the extent of the defensive system with long lengths of decorated walls running up and down the hillsides to protect the city. The lumbering elephants ferrying people up to the fort only added to the ambience. Inside, the fort was richly decorated including the famous Hall of Mirrors along with other brightly painted facades, intricate carvings, and manicured gardens. The barren servants’ quarters on the other side of the fort were a stark contrast. It was easy to get lost amidst the maze of different staircases and ramps in the fort. The ramps were used to wheel people around in fancy rickshaws because the clothes they wore were too heavy for them to walk in. Normally not so practical but when you have servants to wheel you around then I guess it doesn’t matter. Sadly I didn’t have time to visit the Jaigarh Fort towering above but I’m sure it would have been worth it for the view alone.

Jantar Mantar, an old observatory, was quite interesting and was a good look into the precision engineering of old astronomical instruments. Most notable was the world’s largest sundial that was precisely aligned with the latitude and supposedly featured the ability to tell the time to within seconds, though I find that doubtful.

The City Palace was less engaging, though it did have a nice collection of weapons and brightly painted buildings, but time would have been better spent elsewhere, like the Jal Mahal. Sadly, the striking Water Palace or Jal Mahal is not open to the public and can only be viewed from the shore.

The famous Pink City was interesting not for its history but for what it is today. Behind the Hawa Mahal used to be a grand section of the ancient city, now it features faded buildings and crowded dirty streets with busy markets. The surrounding buildings aside, what was once grand is now little different from the old sections of other cities. Just nearby modern shops line both side of MI Road but their new and modern fronts don’t yet mesh with the dirt and chaos on the street. Maybe someday they will.