Puppet plays are performed by skilled puppeteers and are based on popular legends. In Jaipur, the making of the puppets (or kathputlis ) is among the traditional family business as well as being part of the culture. Aside from the puppeteer there is also a helper who plays the dholak or drum and may even sing ballads. You will find puppet sellers at the Fort or City Palace for a very cheap price especially outside of these attractions.
Jewels, Gems, Paintings, Gold, Silver
A lot of shoppers visit India in a quandry. They're more than interested in jewelry, gold, silver, gems and such.... but they're also aware that not all shops and merchants are scrupulous and honest. I'm the first one to tell you that the fears are not without merit - you really need to find a reputable shop for more substantial purchases. ESPECIALLY, if you wish to have something shipped home, you have to have a merchant with a reputation beyond reproach.
In Jaipur, Antiquariat is such an outfit. They have excellent quality gems, jeweltry, paintings, and even some antique items. Lots of local crafts, carving and such as well. And, these are all well-made and designed items, you're getting the real deal. If you get a stone that's supposed to be a ruby of such and such a weight, it will be an honest sale.
The staff is quite helpful, and of course - they do want to make sales. It's what they do, after all. But, I didn't find them to be overbearing or annoying.... they're just, shall we say, "ready to help". :)
If shopping for jewelry, gems, gold, silver, etc. is on your agenda in Jaipur, ask to be taken to Antiquariat, and plan on spending a couple of hours. This is a huge, multi-storied, shop and there is much to see and consider. All of the above... but for me, I especially liked the small, historic icon paintings and such. So very delicate and moving. Not cheap, of course.... but a good value.
As for the jewelry, gems and gold/silver, there was a huge selection. Looked to be excellent quality and the prices were fair. Again, not giveaway, but fair.
This is a store where you could literally spend anywhere from 500 Rs (about $10) to well over 500,000 Rs ($10,000). It just depends on what you're buying. And again, you can trust the merchant... if you're having it shipped home, it will be properly packed, shipped and insured. These folks have been in business in Jaipur since 1975, and have an outstanding reputation. A fair price. Not a giveway price, but a fair price for fine quality.
temple with a view
Birla temple's as elsewhere in India are aesthetically designed and usually in the best location and clean. No difference here. But what jars is the piped music during arathi and poor accoustics of the building.
We didnt enter the Amber palace, so i dont know why it is called Amber palace. I dont think that there was at least one amber inside, but the colour of the palace was sth between brown and orange, so i supposse that was the reason.
Hawa Mahal is a major landmark and a famous tourist attraction of Jaipur. The Palace offers a beautiful sight to behold. The splendid Rajputana architecture of Hawa Mahal, still speaks the glory of the royal family. However, one can also find a glimpse of Mughal architecture, which is blended perfectly to make it different from others. The literal meaning of Hawa Mahal is Palace of Winds. Hawa Mahal was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799.
Hawa Mahal is a pyramid-shaped facade with five stories. It has 953 small windows decorated with tiny lattice work. These pink sandstone windows commonly known as "Jharokhas" are constructed in such a style, that it looks like a giant honeycomb. The air circulation through windows represents the marvelous touch of Mughal designing, which keeps the Palace always cool. The small screened balconies and arched roofs with hanging cornices enhance the beauty of the Palace. The Pyramidal outline and replication of pattern makes it more attractive in appearance.
As a matter of fact, Hawa Mahal is believed to build for the women of the Royal Families, since they had to observe strict "purdah" (cover). The small windows and screened balconies serve the women to watch processions and different activities taking place on the streets. In this manner, the women could enjoy a sense of freedom without showing themselves.
Early morning is considered as the best time to visit the Palace, when it is drenched in the golden light of the Sun. At this time, Hawa Mahal appears incredible. One cannot possibly describe the beauty of the Palace in words. The golden light of the early morning sun floats beautifully through the windows of this palace creating a wonderful sight for one and all. The palace has to be visited to experience the true beauty.