During our second day in Jaipur, we went to the Amber (Amer) Palace/Fort, where you can ride elephants up to the top. We stood in a long line (it’s a very touristy thing to do) and at the front, we hopped onto our painted elephant and trundled up to the palace.
Riding an elephant is not smooth. I think I rode one once when I was very little, but not sitting sideways like this, jostling back and forth with the animal’s movement. We also got sprayed by water from its trunk quite a few times—a blessing, as the driver called it.
At the top, we explored the ancient palace/fort, which was built in the 16th century by Raja Man Singh I. There are a few different courtyards, one of them leading to the Ganesh Pol (Gate). Above the gate are latticework windows. The women of the court sat at these windows to look at what was happening in the courtyard without having to be seen (seclusion of women was pretty popular).
We also saw the courtyard for the harem, as well as where their apartments were. There’s also a hall of mirrors, which was really beautiful. The protective wall of the fort extends a huge distance across the mountains, and you can see where they tore a segment down to build the town of Amer. It’s not unlike the Great Wall of China, but on a smaller scale.
We had lunch and then sat with an Indian astrologer, since my mother wanted our palms read. Supposedly, my brain line is very long, which indicates high intelligence and a practical nature (hmm). And apparently I will have a very handsome husband and two children. All my mother was focused on was if said handsome husband made good money.
The City Palace of Jaipur was next. There’s a large courtyard, an observatory called the Jantar Mantar, which houses a bunch of large astronomical/timekeeping devices from way back when. One of these is the largest sundial in the world. Also, from here, you can see the Jaipur clock tower. Needless to say, I was thrilled.
There’s an armory here with a bunch of awesome collections of weaponry and armor from various periods. My personal favorite piece: a dagger with twin pistols attached to either side. You stab someone and then pull both triggers, shooting them twice. Just to make sure they’re really, really dead.
We rounded off the day with some shopping, and I got to see where they cut jewels they mine right here in India. My mother insisted I get an emerald ring, since the astrologer said that would be a lucky stone for me.
Next: a train ride to Gwalior.