Day 6 in India and the Elephant Rides

posted Jan 12, 2011, 4:39 PM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Jan 21, 2011, 7:36 PM ]
This morning we all were very excited because of the upcoming Elephant Ride up to the Amber Fort of Rajasthani. 
We drove up and out of Jaipur out to the Pink City or Amber Fort.  The Fort is beautiful from the outside and there was a mist coming off of the lake so it seemed so old and mysterious.  The wall looks very much like the Great Wall of China from far away.  We caught our Elephant Ride up by climbing up to a platform and then you sit in a cradle with your legs out to the side.  All of us easily fit on to her.  Only female elephants are used due to aggressiveness of the males.  The elephants have their faces all painted and decorated and they are so pretty.  They are working elephants and they go up and down to the Fort which is up on a hill overlooking the valley below.  It took some time getting use to the elephant’s swaying back and forth but they are so sure footed.  There is elephant dung up and down the slate cobbled road and it looked like an accident waiting to happen but I never saw an elephant falter.  Dax was a bit scared and was hanging on for dear life.  When we got up we went up to a platform which has been there for 800 years used for the very same thing we were going to use it for and it was so neat to see the elephant just swing her hips over to the side for us to dismount.  We tipped the elephant driver 50 Rupees and took some more pictures of all of the elephants coming in and out of the Fort.  When do you ever get to see about 40 elephants? 
The Fort is very ornate and colourful with red sandstone and cupolas for viewing.  The inside of the Fort is a virtual paradise.  The public viewing hall of the King was beautiful but the private viewing hall was spectacular done up in imported pieces of mirror which are embedded into the walls and ceiling and also with semi-precious stones and only one candle was needed to be lit on the inside and all of the mirrors would light up and light the whole hall.   We went to the palace of the harem wives and the Indians had refined this whole harem thing down to an art.  Who the hell wants 400 wives or concubines?  Darren can’t even handle one!
We drove back down the valley to the lake and saw the Lake Palace which was the summer home for the King or Maharajah.  There was reportedly a man that can levitate here at this site but of course you have to pay.  If you dished out money every time there was an opportunity in India you would come back very poor. 
We next visited the Maharaja’s City Palace, the former Royal Residence.  A small portion of it is still used by the Royal Family of Jaipur today.  There is a small museum of the clothes that they use to wear and that was quite interesting.  The Royal Palace is 7 floors tall and quite ornate but not overly so.  We went to a handicraft store outside the museum and we usually don’t even go in to places like these because you get hosed but they were doing artist demonstrations and Dax and Darren both like to watch someone paint.  So I looked at all of his works of art and liked what I saw.  He signs them for you right there and so we are taking a little bit of India home with us to frame.  What I really liked about this guy is he is a famous Indian artist and has done work for the Indian President and we were looking at pictures of this artist with the President in the museum.  He was a nice guy too and painted a little tiny thing for Dax and had Dax paint something too.

We later went to Jantar Mantar, which is the largest stone and marble observatory in the world and it was built in the 17th century and most of the 17 large pieces are still in working condition.  It is situated outside the Palace walls.  We were all hungry so we went to an Indian restaurant which had a buffet and it was really good and Darren ordered something less spicy.  Jaipur is a very pretty city if you overlook all of the squalor and the whole city should be declared a World Heritage Site.

We are currently driving back to Delhi and the traffic would be much better if people did not go down the wrong side of the road and especially on highways.  You will see tractors, trucks, cars and scooters, elephants and camels too coming towards you on the highway. Yup here comes a bus towards us; it is insane.

India and the Elephant Ride