I’m listening to the noise of the traffic on the rooftop terrace as I compose my thoughts into digital form. I really don’t know what to say about today but then again not every day could be a banger. I find this city to be the noisiest out of all of them so far. The traffic and congestion as we traversed through the city was pretty bad. One really has to be sharp to navigate these roads at any time of the day. We started off the day in Pishkar and made our way to Jaipur. After checking in I explored the pink city a bit.
I must have gotten used to the things that one sees on the road. I don’t even bat an eye to a whole family riding somewhere on a scooter on the highway anymore. The guy under the wildly overloaded little lorry is another thing however. He was changing a tire not afraid of the crushing load above him. The load contains dried straw used to heating clay in order to make bricks.
We passed by the factory later on and was informed of the cost of a single brick which is seven rupees. This current price per brick has risen to this level over time making building a house much more expensive. This conversation lead to a discussion about how much people get paid and how compensation works for him. The whole system is complicated and I don’t like how it relies on tips to fulfil compensation. Hari lamented on how tourism has gone down in the past few years. There were a few stories of tourists being raped by drivers that made international news. Some of these unfortunate events happened in Delhi and he said that the drivers who were responsible were not from Dehli. He was upset that their name and reputation was ruined because of these acts. Crime as such is not rampant here. He said people don’t steal but try to make money from you in other ways hence all the people asking for attention to potentially buy some thing.
We got to Jaipur and I checked into my hotel and got ready to go into the city. There is an area of the city that was constructed on the late 1700 called the Pink City. There are a few historical places of interest to explore. The area is teeming with people and tourists. As we stopped for some food I noticed this cow in the middle of the road and I’ve become convinced on this trip that cows act as agents of chaos in this country. They are sacred animals that you can’t eat. The indifferent expression on their faces makes their movement through traffic comical.
The first stop was the Jalat Malal. It is an old astronomical observatory with various constructions that serve to tell time through its alignment with the sun. I really liked the geometry expressed in form. There were many different structures used for this purpose. I saw the couple from the Pushkar temple there. I joked that they are following me and when I saw them later they said that they say there and made the calculations that showed their accuracy.
It’s too bad that some things have restricted access. The view from the tower would have been spectacular. Close to the sun dials lies the Maharaja Sawai the City Palace. It is quite a large complex of buildings with many many rooms. Some of the rooms like the throne room are off limits to photography. I was about to capture the scene when I was prevented from doing so by a guard.
Other places in the palace had a nice feel to it due to their expanse and regular symmetry. The rulers who built this city spared no expense on themselves. The area outside the palace needs some work however. Once I walked around the palace and seen all of its splendor I decided to go and explore the area around it.
The traffic and congestion was quite bad but it also had an unsavory feel to it. I think back to the other markets I’ve been to here in this country but today’s had a different feel to it. There were parts that I went to that displayed the contrast with what my western sensibilities are used to. I made my way to another attraction the Hawa Mahal a complex not far from the palace housing a central courtyard with fountains. This place was used to celebrate and worship different seasons and had multiple floors.
There were a lot of sounds of joy when the fountain began to spray water. The fountain is not on constantly. I made my way to the top and unexpectedly became a tourist attraction as I was asked to pose for a picture with this older man. We were in the narrow passage he on his way down and me on my way up. We both stood there in our shades looking at each other shaking hands as his family took multiple photos from multiple angles. It was a nice gesture and the smile on his face looked like he enjoyed it.
The view from the top was nice. The places I’ve visited were off in the distance and the clouds selectively illuminated the city with their shadow. The guards soon announced that this place was closing and they shouted and whistled to effectively coral the meandering tourists out of the buildings. I was meeting Hari at six so that he could drive me to the sun temple where I could watch the sunset. We maneuvered our way to the gate beyond which it is up to me to climb up. It didn’t look that high and as I proceeded I noticed all the monkeys. These are the red faced ones meaning that they are the crazier species. I soon found that out when I felt something touch my backpack and as I turned around I heard the sound of my water bottle hitting the ground. The monkey had it in its grasp and as I tried to get it back it ran away with it up the rock face. I kind of laughed about it and continued my journey upwards.
The temple at the top isn’t particularly big but it offers a great vantage point. I was asked to make a donation but when I gave them some the woman there said that it wasn’t enough. I said that a donation means giving what you want otherwise it is not a donation. I stood up there admiring the view with others but it didn’t feel like the right place to be watching the sunset from.
I climbed down and found a nice spot along the road where I could stand. Soon I noticed a building that was empty with arches supporting a roof. I asked the man standing there if it ok to climb up there and he said yes. It was a nice space about the size of a large room. I sat there watching the sun go down knowing already that I won’t see the sun cross the horizon because of the clouds in the distance. It was nice to sit up there though listening to the Hindu chants off in the distance and then the call to prayer from the Muslim section competing with the noise of the traffic.
I climbed down to meet up with Hari. He wasn’t there yet and as I stood there I had a chat with one of the kids there. He had some fun with me as he made me believe I was hanging low. He then showed me his gold bracelet and I felt like he was kind of showing off. He and his friends are teenagers and for them this kind of banter acts in the same manner as it does anywhere else. They bond over the stuff they do with each other and the things they can get away with. I told Hari that I needed a drink and he said there are no problems with Hari. The rum I got is actually not that bad.