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.


4 thoughts on “Welcome to the Pink City

  1. So, would you say that because India may have spent so many of its resources doing things like painting cities pink that it may not have focused on stuff such as indoor plumbing? Metaphorically speaking, of course.

  2. Don here: That’s a great question with a rather complex answer. Briefly, I would say that aesthetics in many parts of Indian life are more important than the practicalities of everyday life. Hours are spent arranging flower petals in bowls or stringing them into garlands, for example, than clearing mounds of debris off the streets. Personal adornment, dressing beautifully and cleanly, is more important than cleaning public places even to a minimum standard that we would find essential in America. But magic is important here and the beautiful little delights that you see everywhere make up for the massive amounts of filth that somehow does not overwhelm the incredible beauties — both small and large. The contrasts and levels of life here are part of the rhythm and energy in this country that I’ve never witnessed before anywhere I’ve been. And somehow it seems to work.

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