Because we are such a small group, Ravi, our guide, feels liberated. When he has a group as large as thirty, which is not unusual, it can be unwieldy, with at least one complainer (and sometimes more) and some stragglers who don’t show up when they are supposed to meet. It also can limit where the group goes, limited by size alone. We get an extra hour to leave for our touring in the morning and everyone is punctual. Ravi is ecstatic! And we are enjoying him, as well.
Today, after breakfast, we drove through the old part of Jaipur, with a quick photo stop at the Wind Palace. We took our lives in our hands to traverse the incredible traffic, just to get this shot! But, it is an empty facade. There is nothing there. Actually, most of the buildings in the old city had upper floors that were just facades. Now, off to the main attraction, the Amber Palace.
The Amber Palace sits atop a large hill, with two forts nearby, connected by a Great Wall. The size is deceiving from the outside, but it is huge. We saw courtyard after courtyard, with beautifully painted details, all with natural pigments.
There were elephants giving rides, halls of mirrors, where light was buffeted from the walls to the ceiling and back. Everything is made of sandstone, which is readily available, although the best marble in the world is mined in India.
After the Amber Palace, we went to a textile factory where they block print on cotton and silk. Each block adds a different color to the design. Then, it is rinsed in vinegar to set the dyes and washed in detergent & water.
They also had gorgeous Pashmina shawls in different combinations of materials, like cashmere & cotton, cashmere & silk and all cashmere, with shawls costing up to $2,000 US! Someone in my family will be enjoying this special Indian gift!
Finally, at the end of the day, we arrived to our hotel to celebrate another evening of Diwali with sparklers and fireworks. It continues for another day and night, so no doubt we will be seeing more festivities. After dinner, we went to the largest Hindu temple in Jaipur. It is all made of marble. There was a short religious presentation for the holiday, so the large room was pretty full. Time for bed and a long day tomorrow via van to Agra.