Jaipur, the city of smells, thrills, shopping and jewelry. However, buyer beware. You need to know your stuff and make sure you are buying the real stuff. It is easy to be taken in. Beautiful multi coloured cloth and scarves attract the eyes. Hard to resist, but, just how many do you need, even for gifts ? Spice shops, shoe shops, gem stone shops and jewellers abound everywhere. To get a feeling for the city it is good to take a trip around riding in a bicycle rick-shore. We had fun. Our fairly elderly driver had problems getting us up steep inclines, so out hops my husband and helps him push the contraption up the hill with me still in it. Street vendors struggle with the inclines as they push their barrows full of fruit and vegetables to their point of sale mostly on street corners. Sharing space with the water buffaloes who also walk the streets plodding along as the cars maneuver around them.
Jaipur in Northern India, is the tenth most populous city in the country with 6.66 million people. It is also the capitol of Rajasthan State.
Most of the action in India takes place on the street. Laundresses ironing with big flat irons, men fixing cars, shops which are just holes in the wall and interesting street entertainers like the man pictured below.
The most photographed building in Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal meaning “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze.”
The Hawa Mahal built in 1799 is a beautifully designed structure, which is in reality just a facade covering what was the women’s wing of the city palace. The Hawa Mahal covers five floors and its pyramidal structure signifies both the crown of the Hindu god Krishna and the tail of a peacock implying royalty and power.
It was designed to permit the women of the royal court to see out over the city streets below, while not being seen by the people below. They could observe the life of the city while maintaining their strict purdah. It was quite ingenious. The lattice work also helped to give it its name by allowing a cooling breeze to pass into the palace, keeping that area much cooler than other parts of the palace.
The lowest tier of the structure appears to look like a reflection, but in fact it is built directly on the street. Maybe it is something to do with the angle of the sun, or possibly it is coated in street dust of which there is plenty.
The design is a fantastic concoction of oriel and bay windows, coloured glass, carved screens in stone and wood, delicate pointed arches all piled up in five ever diminishing storeys.
The photo above shows the thickness of the facade and the details and intricacies of the screens.
Notice the dress of the locals.
I find it amazing that this building is still in existence today and has not suffered from fire damage.
It is a truly remarkable building and we thought it well worth a visit early in the morning when the sun enhances its pink hues.