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Jaipur and Bharapur

Jaipur

First I just want to thank everyone for the comments and for checking our blog out. We love hearing from you!
I haven't had a chance to write and post in the last couple of days due to traveling and Internet availability so I'll probably post two entry's at once.
Bus ride to Jaipur
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Jaipur is a city divided by the older historic areas and then newer modern section with malls and universities. According to that time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1853, when Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted in Pink color to welcome him and after that Jaipur was titled ‘Pink City’. I think it looks more orange though.
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After our long bus ride Monty took us to eat lunch. It was so muggy and hot. Afterwards we went out into the old town/market area on our own. I was not a fan and maybe because of the heat to be fair. However, Thom and I both felt people were more aggressive and pushy here and the city was really busy with traffic and not everywhere had sidewalks so we weren't that excited about the city.
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There was only one place that I wanted to see which was the Hawa Mahal.
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It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework. The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict "purdah" (face cover).
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Inside I was told wasn't worth it and while it is really an impressive structure it is just there as part of the busy street. We had to actually stand on this little road divider between insane traffic to take this picture. So rickshaw back to the hotel.

That night we all decided that we would go to the movies.
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Bollywood as you may know is huge in India and Jaipur had a great theater near buy to check one out. Monty got us all our tickets. There was a McDonalds next door and some of the group stopped in for a bite, more to just say they went and to compare the menu to the traditional Western one.

Inside we took a few pictures and got some snacks.
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We got classic popcorn.
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The movie we were seeing was called "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" (Run Mikha Run) It is a 2013 Indian biographical sports film based on the life of "The Flying Sikh" Milkha Singh, an Indian athlete who was a national champion runner and an Olympian. Even though is was almost all in Hindu and 3 hours long (there is intermission) we loved this movie. The story was great!

However, the theater experience was quite different from home. People not only let their cell phones ring but answer and talk on them loudly all throughout the movie. People also really get into the movie and cheer and applaud almost like a live show in a way. It was funny. I was a little disappointed that this movie was more serious and didn't have more singing and dancing but the few songs it did have were highly entertaining and very humorous to me.
Overall I loved the movie and had a great time.

We then went to an outstanding tandoori/grilling place. It was called "Talk of the Town" and Monty says that it is always busy.
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That is one way to know if street food is good and safe. If the product is always being sold and moved it is constantly made fresh too. Thom and I order lemon tikka chicken and it was awesome.
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It came with onions and some spicy green chutney that was so yum!
Afterwards we headed to another restaurant for a nightcap and went to bed.

The next day Monty arranged 3 taxi cabs to take us to two forts. First was the Amer Fort.
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Amer Fort was built by Raja Man Singh I. Amer Fort is known for its artistic style, blending both Hindu and Rajput elements. With its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks the Maota Lake, at its forefront.
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There were elephants there too!
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I chose not to ride them as I'm not sure how they are treated.

Next the taxis took us too Jaigarh Fort.
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Jaigarh Fort is situated on the promontory called the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of the Aravalli range; it overlooks the Amber Fort and the Maota Lake, near Amber in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. The fort was built by Jai Singh II in 1726 to protect the Amber Fort and its palace complex and was named after him.
The fort, rugged and similar in structural design to the Amber Fort, is also known as Victory Fort. It has a length of 3km along the north-south direction and a width of 1km. The fort features a cannon named “Jaivana”, which was manufactured in the fort precincts and was then the world's largest cannon on wheels.
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There isn't much to the fort now but the views were great.
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After that Thom went back with some of the others while I went with Megan and Àlish to the jewelry shop. Jaipur is known for it's stones both precious and semi precious. It was kind of funny because were treated like VIP people with chai, cookies and a small demonstration on how the stones are hand polished. In the end I got some earrings.

Coffee With the ladies and then it was back to the hotel to get ready for House Party Monty was throwing for us!

Monty owns what we would call a condo in the more Modern section of Jaipur and it was really nice. He invited us all over, bought lots of different alcohol so we could have beer and mixed drinks and also cooked for us!
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Later we placed ring of fire or Kings and drinking card game. It was a good night although rough waking up the next day for the bus ride to Bharatpur.

Thom was not feeling great, too much to to drink so he slept it off on the bus ride there. We made one stop for the restroom and snacks and saw some monkeys.
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When we arrived at Bharatpur our hotel was AWESOME!
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With a pool!
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Too bad we only had one night here since there really isn't much to the town except for the Keoladeo National Park.
So first it was a dip in the lovely pool, then lunch then the park.

Being a UNESCO's World Heritage Site, the duck-hunting reserve of the Maharajas is one of the major wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia. Some 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian Crane, have been recorded in the park. The name "Keoladeo" is derived from the name of an ancient Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva in the sanctuary's central zone while the Hindi term "Ghana" implies dense, thick areas of forest cover. It is mainly famous for siberian crane. It was the only habitat of siberian crane in the world, other than siberia.
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You have to take ricks haws that are pedaled not motored and it was the only part I didn't like. Our guide was great but he was this tiny old man and I just felt so uncomfortable having him pedal us around in the heat even if it was his job.

The park was really nice though. My camera wasn't great at taking pictures here though so they're not that great. However we saw lots of cool birds including a beautifully colored kingfisher and of course peacocks. We saw huge antelope, not like the thin African or American ones. These things were huge almost like stags.

We saw monkeys again too. This one had part of his arm chopped off :-(

There was a spotted deer, huge turtles, a fox thing, and tons of different butterflies and birds.
After it was back to the pool!
That night Monty showed us a slideshow of some of the different gods and ethnics in India to help educate more. Then it was dinner and an early bedtime as we were still pretty tired from the party the night before.

Next stop Agra....Taj Mahal!!!!!!!

Posted by Kelly Rose 03:23 Archived in India

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