April 19, 2012

India : Jaipur - Gaitor, Jal Mahal and the Monkey Temple

Continuation from here ...
On the northern edge of the city centre, along Jaipur-Amber road, lies the Royal Gaitor. This Royal Gaitor contains the cenotaphs of the maharaja of Jaipur, from Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, to that of the last maharaja, Man Singh II, and their family members.
I actually didn't know about this place until my driver brought me here. And I guessed it's not popular with tourists too as I was the only person visiting the place! Oh there's one more person. My driver of course. When we reached the place, there were a few old men sitting at the entrance. I wasn't sure if they were the cenotaphs' guardians or just village people lepak-ing.
We approached the entrance. My driver told me there was no entrance fee but feel free to give a donation. Seeing all those old men, I felt bad if I walked away giving nothing so I opened my wallet and just gave them the smallest notes I had, around Rs30.
After that, one of them stood up and said he would show me around. I declined his offer as I thought he wanted to be my tour guide and charged me money. I think he knew what was I thinking so he immediately said, it's free.
So I followed him and he explained whose cenotaph was this, whose cenotaph was that. But most of the time, I couldn't understand his explanation because his English was quite bad. -_-

Most of the cenotaphs here take the form of open pavilions with ornate domes supported by delicately sculpted pillars. The most beautiful one here is that of Maharaja Jai Singh. Look at these carvings.

Aren't they amazing?!
It is said that the decor and extravagance of a particular cenotaph reflects the reputation and prowess of a particular king.

Royal Gaitor is open daily.
Visiting hours are from 9 am to 4.30 pm.
Admission is free.

On our way back to the city, we passed by a beautiful palace in the middle of a lake. Known as Jal Mahal which means the Water Palace, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spot in Jaipur.

Fog, I hate u!

From the surface, I thought it's only a small palace but actually it is a five storey building and four of them are underwater. My driver told me the palace is closed to public but apparently after I checked the Internet recently, you can visit the palace. But you need to book in advance with the site manager, Jal Tarang.

I spent the time walking along the pavewalk, eating icecream and watching some street performances by the locals.

Watch this.

The kid was doing magic tricks to us.

Then, something caught my eyes! I've never seen something like this except here in India.

The elephant was walking on the road amidst the traffic. :O

A few more elephants came then.

I think they've just finished their job at Amber Palace. heh...

My driver then asked whether I was interested to go to a textile factory. Well well well... kalau pergi textile factory confirm nak suruh I shopping saree. Sorry dude, not interested. He tried to persuade me into going there but I firmly told him no.

So we headed to another attraction in Jaipur. It is located on a small hill around 3km from the city. But it was a trouble going up there as the route was full of these animals. 

banyak vavi berkeliaran ok!

I didn't disturb them, so they were nice not to disturb me. We lived happily ever after. The end.

Eh no.. my story is not finished yet. So this is Surya Mandir or Temple of the Sun God.

Perched on top of a hill, Surya Mandir provides great views over the city (if no fog around.. grrrr).

Contrary to the chaos on the way to the temple when the monkeys gone crazy, it was so relaxed inside the temple compound.

There was a Pujari, or Indian priest at the time of my visit, which explains why I had this tilak on my forehead. According to Hindu beliefs, when Pujari put a tilak on your forehead, this is a symbol of blessings.

Anyway, down there behind me was the Galtaji Temple which is more commonly known as the Monkey Temple. But I didn't go there as I didn't know it was the temple! Stupid right? When my driver told me we would be going to Monkey Temple, he only told me about the temple on the hill, not the one down the hill. So I thought Surya Mandir was the Monkey Temple. I only knew about the real monkey temple after returning to KL. Bummer!  

Oh well, another reason to return then.

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