Jaipur (The Pink City)

Mom’s and my journey led us next to Jaipur. It is the capital city and port of entry to the desert state of Rajastan. Our brief half-day sojourn to this, the Pink City, took us to a maze of royal tombs nestled against a hill outside of the city. There we climb and ducked through random pathways and mom lounged against some relief covered pillars.

Royal Tombs

There was a short stop during our drive from the royal tombs to our late lunch at a lake sitting between the hills on either side of the city. And in this lake sat a golden palace. And in this palace, well, I’m not sure what was in it. But the palace sat in the water and was aptly know as the Water Palace. I have lost the ability to write poetic words about the architecture in India because every place we saw is worthy of praise and I have grown tired of my own ramblings on the subject. Just know that it was beautiful. Out of the thousands of pictures I probably took on this trip (a lot of them of food), my favorite one is that of the Water Palace in Jaipur.

Water Palace, Jaipur
We visited a textile factory where we were shown the process of constructing intricate silk blankets. I am not going to romanticize the Indian textile industry. Our multiple experiences of it were aggravating at best. They are designed for one purpose, and if you thought differently then you must not think much at all, to part you with your money. They show you the process of making textiles and proudly show you their exploited labor made up of Pakistani immigrants. I make this sound nicer than it is. They actually brag about how and why they get these young Pakistani men to work so cheaply. Then offer you a chai while you sit in a room covered from toe to head with shelves and shelves of goods. And they show you ALL of them! Well, that is a vast exaggeration. They show you what you ask to see, but they show you a hundred of them. We asked to see scarves that we wanted to purchase as gifts and we saw scarves ranging from $5 to $250 in all different colors and patterns! Part pashmina, pure pashmina (I wanted to cry at the price of this one), cashmere, and silk of varying mixes and quality. And once you have picked thrice as many as you set out to, because they are beautiful, they try and show you other sections of the shop. Bedspreads more beautiful than any you have ever seen in America, wall hangings made of silk, handmade paper, saris, long scarves, traditional clothes of many styles, and SO MANY COLORS!!! At this point, if you are not used to escaping sellers of their skill, you will be lost to Silk Store Heaven and never return. But between my worldly experience, my mother’s worldly experience, my hard-core “No thank-you”, and my mother’s sweet “I’m sorry, but my daughter is leaving and I have to go to”…we rocked the world of Indian markets!
We climbed a rocky road at dusk to the monkey temple. I feel as if this temple wasn’t named properly. It should be called the monkey/goat/cow/pig/& puppy temple. All of these animals wandered the steep cobblestone street. The puppies were as cute as any puppies and it was hard not to play with them, but it was getting dark and we had to climb. The goats were friendly and came up to say hello, making me miss my little African goats that lived outside my window. Never touch an Indian monkey…you’re tempting fate. But the cows and pigs might be okay if you don’t think about what they eat and sleep in.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

At dusk we saw the Hawa Mahal long enough to snap a picture before catching our next train to the end of the tracks. No really. The very last stop on the tracks in the desert before the train turns around. We headed towards the Pakistani border. Through heat and sandstorms we endured with our new scarves (that were amazing at keeping sand out of our mouths…thank you pushy seller man) and our train Chai that we had, at this point, grown to love. Into the heart of Rajastan to my favorite place in all of India thus far… To Jaisalmer.

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