Today we are doing some touring in this area and tonight our hotel is putting a dinner on for us. Although the dinner is not at our hotel, it’s somewhere else, which is weird? Anyways, it will be fun.
Our hotel is pretty nice I must say. Indana Palace. Very fancy. The rooms were really nice, huge bathrooms and a nice view from the window (as show in the photo above that I took bright and early in the morning).
We went downstairs for the breakfast buffet, another great buffet. This hotel is all marble and flowers. Huge bunches of flowers all over.
ALSO…………..there were camels in this area and elephants ! Very exciting for me being the animal lover that I am. I think our guide, Amit thought I was nuts getting so excited as I yelled out “Camel to the left !!! Elephant to the right !! ” BUT in my defence, I got equally excited when someone yelled out Washroom !! As anyone who knows me will attest to.
We left and drove along the river and stopped to see the Water Palace, sadly the light was super bright and picture-taking was not feasible. It was a nice sidewalk, very wide and pretty and as we were looking around, vendors started to set up along on the sidewalk by the water. When you looked into the water, you could see different birds here and there.
It was sad how much garbage was around the shoreline. We didn’t stay too long here but Amit told us we could stop again at the end of the day as we drive by here to get back to our hotel.
As we travelled on, some more photos of the sights we saw, while on and off the bus.
We were going to go to the Maharajas City Palace but it wasn’t open yet so the bus was parked and we walked over to the Jantar Mantar Observatory This place was something else. It is an astronomical observation site built in the early 1700’s. The name Jantar Mantar literally means “instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens” . There are 20 main fixed instruments which are all architectural and instrumental innovations. Quite impressive indeed. We had a guide who explained each instrument and how it worked but I cannot explain them all, it will give me a headache. But it was all quite interesting.
In the Art Museum we watched a man paint beautiful pictures on paper; and he made the paper himself. He used different stones and rocks as paint and used one tiny brush to do it all. Gorgeous work. There were a few other booths, selling scarfs, saris, and other items.
The Textile Museum showed different outfits and cloths and the Armoury museum I did not go into. I think the guys all went in to see it. It was a really hot day and I think most of us were palaced and museumed out. Yeah I know those aren’t words, well THEY ARE NOW !
We left this area and headed over to a jewellery Store. We were met at the entrance by a gentleman and he explained to us, and showed us, the different stones and how they cut them and designed them. That was interesting but then we went into the store to purchase jewellery. I had no interest but thankfully there were couches set up in the middle of the room. That’s where I, and some of the others, sat and stayed until the shoppers were done looking around.
From this store, we headed over to a carpet warehouse where they make and sell them. We entered a small area where the workers worked on the different applications to complete a rug. First we were shown how they do block printing. They have big stamps, with different designs on them and dip them into vegetable dyes. They have the material laid out on a big table and using the big stamps, they stamp the material over and over until they get the design just right.
Very time-consuming. When we watched, the guy would stamp the same spots with a different design or colour to achieve the effect they wanted.
Then to show us something different, he took a small square of material and stamped it with red dye. He then put it in a mixture of water and vinegar and I think something else. When it came out of the water, it had changed colour. Very cool.
After that, the man who owns it, or runs it, showed us all the other different stages to make carpets and have them ready to sell. This was a long hallway just inside the building. The first spot was where a man sat at a huge loom with LOTS of yarn. He had a piece of paper with the design on it, he referred to this as he worked. I could not sit here and do this all day. It was interesting though. The man told us that this is an art that is dying out and they are trying to revive it to ensure the carpets are handmade but the art is getting lost. They use a lot of farmers and sometimes will take the loom and materials to their farm so they can work on them at their convenience.
We watched for a quite a awhile and then he showed us the other steps to complete a carpet. There was a man and women both kneeling on carpets. The woman would use a hook to access the pile and loosen the knots to reposition them. Then the man would brush the yarn up and using scissors, he would trim the loops. This allows the carpet to lay flat on the floor, it’s called selvage binding.
THEN……..we went to another area and there was a man who had a blowtorch and he torched the reverse side of the carpet to remove loose fibers and any excess wool. As long as the movement of the flame is constant, there is no danger to the rug.
Finally, you wash the carpet and using wooden paddles you compress the carpet and scrape off dirt, dust etc. Normally, the sun is used as the dryer and it can take a long time to dry out the bigger carpets. After that, they are ready to sell !
So he then took us into a room to view dozens of carpets and purchase them.
I had no interest in the purchase of a carpet so eventually I left and went downstairs to chat with Clint. He was still not feeling well so he didn’t even come into the building. While I was out there, the man who had shown us the blocking of the materials came over and gave me the small sample of the red elephant that he had shown us. Pretty sweet !
We were all starving so off to the Namaste restaurant for lunch. We ordered a plate of french fries and an order of veg padokas to share. Clint also had soup, he likes soup when he’s not feeling well. While we were eating, there was a man playing an instrument of which I have no name for. Kind of a cross between a violin and well I don’t know to be honest. He was all dressed up and looking pretty spiffy and his son, who was 10, was dancing for each table. A really cute little guy but I wondered why he wasn’t in school. I guess this is their livelihood.
After lunch we were off to the Amber Fort !
This place is huge and on top of a big hill. Construction began in 1592, I am so impressed with what people accomplished hundreds of years ago. It truly is an amazing feat. The Fort is built with a mixture of red and white stone marble and is also a mixture of Hindu and Muslim architecture. This place is impressive.
There are three ways to get up the hill to the Fort. On the top of an elephant, no thank you; walking, no thank you OR a jeep ride up the hill ! Yes Please. The jeeps fit 5-7 people, there were five people in our jeep plus the driver. What a ride ! The cobblestone streets wove around this way and then that way and the road was super narrow and steep. It was exciting to say the least.
When we got to the top, we had to walk a short distance to the entrance. There were vendors all along that walkway, well actually there were vendors and stores all along the road to get up here. We were hounded like you wouldn’t believe when we went into the Fort. The vendors selling their wares would not take No for an answer. It was quite aggravating to say the least. I have no issue with someone asking if I want to buy something but when I say No then shove off. They were right in your face, following you around, grabbing your arm, quite unacceptable really. And everywhere we go, they sell the same items so there is a good chance people have already purchased these items elsewhere and I mean really do you need 11 elephant necklaces?
But finally we escaped them and walked all around the Fort. The views were spectacular and the Fort was amazing. We really enjoyed it. I love the archways and old doorways, just wonderful to see.
The Jeep ride down the Fort was fast ! Our driver was great and funny.
We left for our Elephant Experience; it was already after 5 AND we had a special dinner for 9 pm.
Off to the Elephants ! in the dark, which was unfortunate, I was really looking forward to this. There was a handler on each elephant and then each couple got on the elephant and we rode around a field. I was certain I was going to fall off but I didn’t so good for me. He asked me if we wanted to keep going and I said No, I think once around the field was enough ! I must mention how we got on the elephants in the first place. Not easy. We walked up some stairs and stood on a deck, no railings, no handlebars, nothing for us old people to hang onto. Then we had to gracefully throw a leg over the elephants back and scramble on. And by gracefully, I mean I’m lucky I didn’t end up head over tea kettles in the dirt under my elephants feet.
When we finished our ride, the elephant again stood by this deck and we scrambled off onto the deck. I almost died, just saying……………anyways a young guy pulled me off. I’m kidding………..lol
Then they gave us paint to draw a little drawing down their trunk. Clint and I wrote Canada Loves Raika. Raika was her name and her handler has been with her for 10 years. She was very patient with us.
Then I got to feed bananas to her. I am pretty sure bananas are her favourite food, she wolfed them down like no ones business. Very gentle, kind animals and I wish we had more time with them and not in the dark.
Thanks to Anne for these next three photos. She gave her camera to a fellow working there and he took photos of us on the elephant.
Off to our hotel to get cleaned up and head out to Indana restaurant for our special dinner. They have an indoors but we were at their outdoor venue. They brought out tons of food and beer. I don’t remember all the food, rice obviously and chapiti and naan bread. But also a chicken dish and a vegetarian dish that kind of looked like stew and I really liked it. Terrific dinner. There were dancers and entertainers while we were eating. They brought some of our group up to dance with them at different points of the evening.
There were also two cats lurking around and how funny they were. We looked over at a table that people had just left and the cats were having a hey day standing on the tables and eating the leftovers. Just comical.
Well this was a long, but wonderful day and we are all very tired.