Welcome to the Pink City

Jaipur, India. We arrived yesterday by train from Pushkar, and – quite by accident – got one of those rare first-class A/C compartments that are meant for only two people. It may not look like it, but it was absolute bliss for our two-hour ride.

We went all-American this time in our hotel choice – one has to have balance, after all – and are thus staying at a Holiday Inn, which seems filled with Indians. I know it’s cheating, but sometime you need a reminder of home. And this place has it. The internet works and so does all the plumbing! Of course, being modern, it does have windows in the bathroom, but at least there are shades.

We got organized – again – and went downstairs to the Chinese restaurant for dinner. A good night’s sleep was had by all.

Today, we sought out some of the major icons of Jaipur. It is called the Pink City as it was painted that color – the color of hospitality – to welcome the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII) in 1876. (Please don’t be the one to tell them that it’s now more of a salmon color. Even Don could tell. But at least it’s unique.)

The city’s most distinctive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, (shown on top) was constructed n 1799 to let the ladies of the household watch what was going on down in the city. We saw it from both inside and outside.

Our next stop was the City Palace, the current residence of the reigning Maharajah. Though he is not often here, the flag showed he was in town, and evidently hosted a major Holi party. Sorry we missed it! We took a special tour here, which got us into some of the private areas. Not all could be photographed, but all were sumptuous.

There is a special mirrored room that, when lit by candlelight, shows the night stars glowing. By daylight, it’s a glittering room with lovely mirrors and jewels here and there.

It’s just your basic palace, with a nice central location.

 

Don in living color

Pushkar, India, on Holi. That color-blind husband of mine really enjoys getting into the local culture. He digs in with great passion, even when the event is all about colors.

At the start of Holi, he went to the main square in the evening to watch the bonfire being lit and the official festivities begin. He may have been one of the oldest Westerners there, but he was there. Continue reading

Holi in Pushkar

Pushkar, India. Yes, like those of you in the northern hemisphere, Indians are getting ready to shed their winter attire and celebrate spring. For those of us from the northern hemisphere, there aren’t any more layers to shed to feel comfortable in this climate, but, hey, it’s all relative. Continue reading

Location, location, location

Udaipur, India. You know how it is. You build your nice new palace on the lovely quiet lake and the next thing you know, every uncle and cousin and his brother has to have one too. Pretty soon there’s barely any lakeside property left, and then two show-offs from a side of the family you barely knew existed, let alone acknowledged, decided to build their palaces in the lake, so that you have to look at these monstrosities every time you try to admire the view. Continue reading

All this and house calls too

Udaipur, India. Our long car ride of yesterday finally ended at a rather imposing resort overlooking the city. This place is quite amazing, but then, we’ve already had a few amazing hotel stays.

Continue reading

A journey of a thousand years

On the road to Udaipur, India. Today we got up early to begin our ten-hour drive from Jodhpur to our new home, Udaipur. I have to share a very typical exchange which took place when our driver was not there at 8AM, as we agreed. The concierge called him and reported that, “I told him to come at 7:45 but he heard 8:30.”

Audiologists call that “selective hearing syndrome.” Continue reading