On the way to Udaipur, India from Jodhpur, I had a ten-hour layover at Jaipur. I spent that time doing a little touring, trying to see some of the sights I missed my first time in the city. Albert Hall was one thing I got to see that I thought was really worthwhile. It was, essentially a museum of eclectic pieces of Indian history. I liked it. I found the architecture of Albert Hall to be turn-of-the-century perfect. I wanted to get a derby hat and a 1900 Cadillac car and drive up to the front.
Jaipur has its’ own wall, something like the Great Wall of China. While it only stretches for 20 or so kilometers and is hardly comparable to the physical dimensions of the Great Wall of China, it’s still an impressive wall. It was built as part of the medieval fortifications of the city. Jaipur has to be one of the best fortified of all the cities of Rajasthan, perhaps even the world, with three major forts. It’s somewhat sad to me that it took tens of thousands of people decades to build these forts and one U.S. bomber could take them out in a matter of days.
It’s a local fort in the town of Jaipur. It appears that the Prince of Jaipur was really into fort building. There are 3 major forts, bsides this one in the city of Jaipur. I’ll bet if I drove around I might find aonther. The only problem is that I’m not yet ready to tackle driving in India. I’m afraid I might get frustrated by the lack of rules, or rather, rules which I can not seem to comprehend. LIke how a driver needs to go off the road when someone is coming at him at a high rate of speed in his lane, honking furiously.
This is the Jodphur Fort from the balcony of my hotel room. I went to Jodhpur just to see the fort. I had been traveling around India, looking at forts for a couple of weeks. While I was visiting forts in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Jaisalmer I had people ask me "Have you seen the fort at Jodhpur?" when we were talking forts. I considered that something of a "tell" about the fort in Jodhpur. No one really came out and said that it was the best fort in India. Each one is, on their own merits, special. But the fort at Jodhpur, well, it’s a fort a fighting man can appreciate. It just seems impregnable when you are inside. The walls are so tall as to make me dizzy looking over them from inside. It costs $5 to get inside. There is a great audio tour included.
I’m here to tell you that this was a fort. I had seen many forts in India. I saw the Red Fort in Delhi. I saw Agra Fort in Agra. I saw the fort in Jaipur. But this fort was unique. It had been occupied for over 800 years. Some say it’s had the longest continuous occupation of any medieval fort in the world. I could believe that. It costs nothing to go in, because everywhere you turn there are people trying to sell you things. There are also 40 hotels in the fort that want your business. This means good things for the people who live in the fort. The bad news is that all that commerce is supposedly causing an over-consumption of water which is eroding the foundation of the fort. There is an ongoing debate about whether the fort will last much longer. There have been collapses of sections of the fort with deaths involved. The fort is on the World Monument Fund’s 100 Most Endangered Sites list. All I can say is I got to see it and take a few snapshots before it goes.
They’re everywhere in India. You see them in the streets just like this one. Blankets, which appear to have people in them. Sometimes they’re up against a wall like this one and sometimes they’re in the middle of a sidewalk. You just never know when they will materialize, you just know they will be there sooner or later. I always hope that I don’t accidentally step on one. I also hope I never stumble across one that isn’t alive anymore.
Hawa Mahal is also referred to as the Palace of Winds. It was built around 1800 in Jaipur by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It has hundreds of small windows whose purpose was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. The Palace is part of the Royal Palace compound in the Old City section of Jaipur.
It’s the Atithi Guest house in Jaipur. It was conveniently located, about $1 tuk-tuk ride from the Old Town. I liked it. I had room that cost 750 rupees a night, about $16, which was their cheapest. Nice room. Very clean. But, no heat. Hot water in morning and evening for four hours each. Had wi-fi for $2 a day. Wi-fi was strong. Had good food. The penne pasta was really, really tasty. The staff were nice, though somewhat reserved. They were very helpful. Would I stay there again? Absolutely.
The name is Jai Baan. It’s a really big cannon located at Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur. To put the size in perspective, the top of the wheels are 9 feet high. It was supposed to be able to shoot a cannon ball 35 kilometers, about 20 miles. The cannon, or the fort, were never captured by the enemy. It’s supposed to be the world’s largest non-mechanized cannon.
I liked Jaigarh Fort mainly because it was just a fort. Only soldiers lived there. There was no place in the fort like so many other forts in India. Here, just "the boys" lived. About 8,000 of them. It was also a place where I say "the wall" outside of the fort. This was a 20 kilometer Wall that surrounded the 3 forts of Jaipur. It reminded me of the Great Wall of China.