After a fantastic day at the Taj Mahal, Lauren and I left Agra the next morning with our driver Balram for the four hour drive to Jaipur, the Pink City and our first stop in the Rajasthani region of India. Along the way, our driver asked if we were interested in visiting an ancient Baori or water stepwell that was off the tourist grid. We said sure and were blown away at the magnificent Chand Baori aqueduct.
We could climb down in it which was 19.5 meters deep and walk through its intricately carved corridors.
After we got back in the car, we drove through a local village and saw a wedding procession taking place and a group of people in colorful clothing shouting and clapping. Our driver encouraged us to get out and see what was going on and in the middle of a human circle were the bride and groom engaged in a frenetic dance while the onlookers were singing and playing music. Evidently weddings are big deals all over India no matter what your socio economic level is.
Our driver then took us to meet a carpet weaver whom we watched hand weave his beautiful dhurrie rugs.We spent 2 nights in Jaipur in a Heritage Hotel called Alsisar Haveli which was a former home of a Maharajah. There are so many wonderful sights to see in Jaipur. The first day we visited the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds which is built of red and pink sandstone.
At our hotel in the evening we were entertained as the royalty were with dancing and puppet shows. The next day we visited Amber Fort which is known to be the oldest surviving palace in India. In order to get to the entrance of the fort, we had to ride beautifully decorated elephants up the long stone pathway.
We encountered snake charmers and exquisite architecture during our visit of Amber Fort.After a couple of days visiting the tourist sites, we ended our stay in Jaipur with a cooking class we had arranged on the internet at the home of Chef Lokesh Mathur. We cooked a traditional Rajasthani meal and also learned how to cook with cow dung, a very plentiful fuel source all over India. It is not as gross as it sounds as the dung is dried and mixed with hay and doesn’t smell at all.