12.17 pure jaipur

ah jaipur!

we are staying at a boutique hotel called the shahpura house, a converted residence of an old royal family. the cool thing about the place is that every night, on the rooftop patio restaurant, there is live folk music and dance performances in old rajasthani style. men sit on the floor playing dholkas and women wearing heavy embroidered dresses dance up a storm, people clap in time with the music. it's a bit fun.

despite being crook capital of india, we have been dying to go shopping so this was where we did it. the place is a buzz. you cannot go down the street without someone yelling "madam, madam!!" and trying to get you to part with money. whether it's the calls from the shop keepers, the jingling 'jhumkhas' of women's anklets, horns of speeding drivers, there's never a quiet moment in this city. all set against the backdrop of indian music. i've already recorded some fantastic stuff including two young kids playing flute and drum at a re-created rajasthani village fair called chowki dhani.

one pretty cool palace we visited was hawa mahal, the palace of winds. the tiny windows in the front are made so that the courtly women could look out onto the city without themselves being seen. the rock used for the construction is part of a larger palace complex that was all done in pink, making jaipur the 'pink city'.

other monuments we saw included the amber fort, a beautiful mix of mughal and rajput architecture and is part of a larger complex of buildings. at the top of the main building was another queen's window, where a gorgeously carved window screen would ensure her privacy as she looked out over the square.

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