Posts Tagged With: walled city


Before we went on our first hunt in the National Park,  I forgot to mention we stayed in a palace. We drove on this dusty road with the palace shimmering in the background. Is that believable or what?

We drove up to the entrance of a walled citadel.

Once we passed through the gated wall, no sword wielding guard, we walked to the lobby.

The first pool was being meticulously cleaned by workman. This is what is so cool about travel with OAT. In Peru, my grandson Alec and I stayed in a 17th century monastery. In Turkey, Owen and I lived on an old historic sailing ship for a week. In Thailand Mason and I cavorted across streams and through the woods on the back of an elephant whose baby followed along for fun. In Costa Rica Stewart and I milked a cow, made cheese and visited a water slide where you could hustle up to an underwater bar stool and order a drink.

You know you’re not in Kansas anymore.

We enter. Notice the bowl of flowers on the floor.

At each tier of the rooms sections, is a bowl of flower petals in water.

Massive doors lead to the dining room, lobby, bar, and so on.

The lobby itself is like a small office to change money, pick up your keys, which were unique. I didn’t get a picture of the keys.

We dined each day in this beautiful room. Some days on long shared tables, other times on individual round tables in another part of the room.  Everything sparkling and beautiful.

The rooms are in sections. We stayed three flights of up and down marble stairs to our quarters. And each area has it’s own terrazzo to take the sun, or enjoy a coffee. Looking back toward the entrance, the open areas serve as an outdoor lobby.

The evening before the hunt,  a film about the Bengal Tiger, that we hope to see, is shown. Magnificent animals.

This is, as you can imagine, just a small part of the palace. The cricket courts, swimming pool and barbecue area, where we ate by candlelight our last night, is also spectacular. You see the steps that lead up and then down the other side. Makes for strong legs.

Our doors are locked and bolted. Ranvir teased about the age of the place. It was built in 1961 to replicate a 17th century palace.

Our bathroom has a window onto the terrazzo and the same bolt type locks on the doors.

The shower could accommodate a family of six. Well, enough of this awe-inspiring place and on to the hunt.

The next morning, our guide looks at his territory. The area you get is chosen by lottery. You may not wander into another territory. The guides cannot use a walkie-talkie or a device of any kind to speak with other territorial guides.  If one area spots a tiger, everyone would rush to it. The only way to check is to return to the ranger station. Our guide was pleased because a tiger was spotted in his section yesterday.

We spot another deer that stared at us curiously and kept posing for us.

A bird flew onto the guides head in our canter.

We pulled into a widened area with a garbage can and stopped. The birds were everywhere looking for treats.

Soon everyone had a bird or several on his head or shoulders.

This deer was close to the road drinking from a puddle.

He got very comfortable and decided to pose for us.

Oh, yeah. This mud feels too good.

A huge croc warmed itself on the bank near the water.

Birds spend time near the lakes. The reserve has 450 species of birds from crested eagles to painted storks.

There are only 26 tigers in the reserve and it is easy to see why they stay in this protected environment.  Food is plentiful and hunting is done with a camera. The tourist business helps pay expenses for the reserve. We spot two deer in a standard pose. They each check for enemies from both directions. Giraffes, horses, zebras, all use this instinctive protection. We are situated close to a watering hole and our guide suggests this is a good place to wait. And, we wait, driving around the same area over and over again.

He finally races back to the station to find out if anyone has spotted the tiger in our area. Yes, is the answer. We race back only to learn we had just missed it. Every vehicle in our area saw the tiger. And, there was a kill sighted in a bordering section.  It was still fun. And, it was disappointing. The drive back was one hellava ride, but too late. The guide was despondent and more disappointed than we were.

Tomorrow we visit a school.

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We fly to Jaipur and eat lunch at a barbecue restaurant before checking into our hotel. The waiters bring skewer after skewer of chicken, fish, beef and lamb to cook at special tables. It seems disconcerting to eat meat without the rice and vegetables we would normally put on our plate at the same time. dsc09677-copy

We eventually get to many wonderful buffet items and enjoy a sumptuous feast. They had great clay pots of lamb, beef, or chicken dahl along with the usual Indian specialties.


In the morning, Theo and I are scheduled for a Balloon ride, (optional event), but it is canceled because it is very hazy and visibility is poor. Instead,  our bus takes us through this 300 year old city, the first planned city in India. Our city guide, Vinot tells us Jaipur has wide boulevard Streets, with shopping squares. It is the 10th largest city in India and has a modern metro where certain cars are reserved for women only. Special seats in every car are reserved for women.


The loads and the streets are just as busy, but the streets are well paved and cleaner it seems to me. The city was planned by a Hindu Maharajah and the color pink was chosen for all major buildings. Jai means victory.


On the opposite side of the boulevard-elephants in the midst of traffic. They banned elephant traffic in Dehli, but here no one regards it as unusual except tourists.


Jaipur is host to an elephant festival every year. Vitor tells us that today is an auspicious day for Hindo weddings and that about 10,000 weddings will take place this week in India because of the positive astrological forecasts.


All are painted it seems. Pink toenails on this one.


The glare from the window is fearsome but his elephant blanket was so colorful I couldn’t resist. He is preparing to go to his wedding.


This drover looks as though he carries his bed with him.


On the outskirts of town is a walled citadel, the Amber Fort-Palace.  We load into jeeps to drive us up a winding road as high as we can go.


Paul is too tall to fit in the back with the rest of us so he gets a front seat.


From the open back, I catch my first site of sacred cows since arriving in Jaipur. Ranvir has suggested that to keep people from starving, the cows were religion-ized to prevent the people from killing them all. They can use the milk, of great value as a high protein food, and the cows, in theory anyway, feed themselves.


The parking lot is steep and Ranvir warned that we would be walking up, up, an up to view the aspects of the Maharaja’s walled fortress that kept his enemies away. It was never besieged and conquered. Theo is not feeling well and decides to stay and sleep in the jeep.


The place is so vast, it can hold an army in the square to fend off enemies.


And, those armies, must be fed. At one level looking out, the wall is visible going up over the mountain. It is said to be the second greatest wall next to the Great Wall of China. The well is a lake with floating platforms to grow food augmented by the surrounding forest and wild life.



Some are stairs and some are walkways. As we move from level to level we come to the Ganesh Pol, built in 1640 to honor the God Ganesha.


This is the gate to Ganesh Pol, with beautiful frescoes and carved marble and sandstone walls.


A fresco of Lord Ganesha at the base of this arch. The colors are still vibrant because most were made from natural pigments.


A ceiling fresco.


Every spot has some sort of decoration.


Where outdoor light didn’t penetrate, the walls were decorated with reflective pieces of mirrored glass to enhance the candle light.


Doors are shaped to the architects’ design of the building.


This is one half of the lock, demonstrated by Vinot,  that could repel any attack.


Sandstone pillars, if repeatedly polished with a soft cloth, get a sheen and a hard surface that resembles marble. Only a Maharaja could afford that kind of labor.dsc09759-copy

Another set of beautiful arches.


Formal gardens have replaced the playground of the Maharaja’s concubines. He had many wives and concubines plus he supported their servants. He most likely had no relations with most of them since they were accepted for political alliances. Other kings would be glad to send him their daughters for their care and protection. This large area was where the women visited and played games and entertained themselves under the watchful eyes of eunuchs.


Kathy had her picture taken with these Muslim men, I think because she is blonde and they wanted the picture? And, I asked for my picture after she stepped away. Anyway, aren’t they a handsome bunch?


The sparkling mirrored walls do not reveal their true beauty to a camera. dsc09780-copy

A flowered marble slab has two distinct black spots that are holes through which someone could peek, if I’m remembering correctly.


The walls are decorated lavishly and permanently. The rooms are sparse without furniture except for a bed and maybe a luxurious set of curtains or a bath.


Gigantic kettles were used by the eunuchs to cook meals.



At the highest point we look down, then turn to retrace our many steps.


In the parking area, we find the monkeys playing cars.


From the lot, we can look over the edge at part of the walled city below.











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