Elephant Rides in the Pink City
Our first full day in Jaipur started bright and early at 8 am after breakfast in our adorable hotel. Regardless of our early start time, we still weren't able to beat the heat as it got up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Our first activity for the day was touring the Amber Fort, which was the home of the marajahs and the rest of the royal family from the 1500's until around the 1700's. This fort is situated on top of a small mountain so in order to get to the top, we rode elephants (which we much preferred to our train experience earlier in the week). The elephant took us all the way up to the fort, with a great view of the rest of Jaipur and the surrounding mountains. Along with the ride, we also got to experience the true persistence of street vendors as they not only pestered us while standing in line, but also threw items up to us as we were on the elephants and found us hours later still trying to sell us stuff. Thankfully we lost them as we explored the rest of the fort. We all agreed that the architecture was some of the most beautiful we've seen, which included some of the pink colored walls that give Jaipur the nickname Pink City. Some of the spots we visited in the fort included the Glass Palace, which kind of resembles an outdoor version of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, a dried out well filled with a ton of bats, and a lot of beautiful views. After leaving the Amber Fort, we stopped at a block printing store where some of the workers showed us how they use stamps to make the hand printed tapestries. We took a quick shopping break and then had lunch. Once we got our second wind, we went to the City Palace, which is where the Royal family moved in the 1700's, where we were able to tour a few museums and the throne room. It turns out that the royal family (who no longer has political power because of India's democracy) still lives in the palace, although the marajah wasn't there because he is currently away at high school. After a long day outside, we came back to our hotel to swim, nap, and get some henna! Although it's been a very busy day, it was, in my opinion, one of the best days of the trip.