Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Onto Midnight's Children/Home and the World.

Our final stop, and one that I wish I could have stayed in so much longer, was Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and we arrived on Friday. I'd seen the vibrancy of India and had experienced that culture shock, but Jaipur has been both all over again. The colours, the smells, the spices piled high, the chai, the rooftop terrace of our Guesthouse...the list is endless. (If you're ever in Jaipur then please do consider this family run guesthouse. Its charm is overwhelming!) I have fallen head over in heels, unrequited-ly, like a teenage crush, in love with Jaipur.

Tonight was our last evening in Jaipur and I found myself sitting on the rooftop, surrounded by wicker sofas and Parisian chairs, feeling happier than I had done in a very long time. The world of this crazy capital moved below me, and while I should have maybe felt scared or overwhelmed by the sheer everything-all-at-once of Northern India, I didn't.

I was excited, but I was also content. It was a beautiful sight. Jaipur is a city of immense history and culture, with its pink (well, red) walls that lined the Old City, the Amber Fort, the Royal Family in residence and the camels, Elephants and cows in the middle of the road. The beeping of horns that tripled that of Delhi and more shouting shopkeepers than you could imagine; everything screamed 'This is not England. This is not your Comfort Zone. This is not where you could be.' and yet there I was, haggling with Tuck-tuck drivers, buying drinks from a Chai seller with three teeth, and ignoring the dead dogs, like nobody's business.

One of the views from the rooftop.
In Jaipur, I finally got to see the real colour that you always associate with India. It was fantastic.

Yesterday, Thursday eve, we graced the local tourist attraction - Raj Mandir. Lonely Planet describes it as being like a pink marshmallow, both inside and out, and I couldn't have put it better myself. Like Molly Ringwald's dress from 'Sixteen Candles' it could only have belonged in the 80s, as this pink, sticky cinema could fit 1100 movie-goers, and attracted tourist groups from all over the Golden Triangle.

Point proven.

Elephant!!!! (V exciting)
Akin to the Taj Mahal reminder in every home correspondence, Dad's only question throughout my time in India (well, not only) was regarding Elephants, and I can report that my first month or so in India was significantly Elephant-less. But arriving at the Amber Fort, Jaipur's main tourist calling, there were more Elephants than I could have imagined.

Dressed up to the nines (I felt so casual next to these beautifully dressed animals) they carried tourists from the bottom of the fort up. The fort itself was designed to stand the test of time, and gosh how it has. My favourite was the mirror room, where the walls and ceiling were covered with tiny mirror fragments, so that when a candle was lit in one corner of the room would reflect on every piece of glass, providing light for the whole room. Genius!

Amber Fort.

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