Travel photographers make the trip to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur or Pink City, to visit the palaces and fort, capture architectural details of the Rajastani era. This is a unique place after all, northern India invaded by northeastern and western outsiders, bringing Mughal influences to the subcontinent. The result is everywhere. However, there are other jewels to visit after fort stomping has wearied the camera toting traveler. One of the easiest palaces to view is Jal Mahal, the Water Palace located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. The palace and a dam were built in the 15 century, one to reduce the effects of drought in the area and the other, well, why are palaces built anyway? Built in Rajput style and restored throughout the years finally in the 18th century it is what we see today and can be easily visited from the road to Nahargarh Fort.
Another interesting area to visit after the Wind Palace and City Palace and the fort is Jantar Mahal (translated to “instrument” and “formula”), a collection of massive astronomical instruments built from local stone and marble in the early 1700’s. Without a visit in person it is difficult to appreciate the enormity (the largest is 90m feet high) and precision of devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, astronomy, interplanetary movement, even weather. Wandering around the site in the late afternoon is one of the best ways to appreciate the scientific advancement in medieval times, the soft, yellow facades loom over amazed visitors who are testing the equipment such as the largest sundial in the world, “to see if it still works”. Its hard to stump 17th C masterminds in astronomy, physics, geometry.
Of course, one of the jewels of the Rajastani area is the handlebar mustached men dressed in Rajastani costumes typical of the area. Portraits give life to travel photography.
At the end of the day leaving the Gate of Jaipur was memorable with the delicate carving and bright lights.