Jaipur was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh as India’s first planned city. It is laid in a grid pattern with wide avenues. It is known as the “Pink City” for its distinctly colored fortress wall and palace buildings which were originally painted this color to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities.
Our first stop is Hawa Mahal or the palace of winds. It is a beautiful crown shaped and was built to enable the ladies of the royal household to watch the processions passing in the street without being seen.
Next we walk through Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. The site incorporates multiple buildings of unique form, each with a specialized function for astronomical measurement. These geometric forms were beautiful and amazingly accurate for telling time and season.
Finally, we visit City Palace in the heart of the old city which is the former royal residence. It is a complex of several palaces, pavilions, gardens and temples. In Chandra Mahal, we observed a fantastic inner courtyard where four different gates represent four different seasons: the Peacock Gate is associated with autumn, the Green Gate – with summer, the Leheriya gate – with spring, the Rose Gate – with winter. We walk through the City Palace museum to view its collection of Rajasthani costumes and other memorabilia. We grab a quick photo op between two palace guards (for a small price).
As we leave the City Palace, we see a man sitting on a blanket with a small basket in front of him. He has two cobra snakes in the basket. He takes the cover off the basket and one snake rises. The man starts to play a musical instrument and the snake sways. Later a second snake rises from the basket and both begin to sway with the vibration of the horn. With some hesitation, Courtney decides to have her picture taken near the snakes. But she emphatically says, “No” when the man asks if she wants to pet the snake. Most performing cobras are defanged but the larger cobra still struck out at the man.