Frenetic, overwhelming, gorgeous, crowded, spicy, elephant.
These are some of the answers thrown out when we talked about the one word we would each pick to describe our first day in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, which happened to be the first official day of the Diwali, the Hindu’s annual Festival of Lights.
And what a day it was.
We visited Kantar Mantra, an astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in the 1700s. It contains the largest sun dial in the world, which still tells time accurately within 2 seconds. Our minds were blown.
We explored the Jaipur City Palace, also built by Jai Singh II. His descendants hold no power today. But they still reside in the palace, though the current titular Maharaja, 11 years old!, is being schooled in London.
The Palace houses beautiful art, created by and for the royal family, including this painting, which was created with a brush consisting of a single hair. It took the artist decades to complete.
After that, the real adventure began. We took a tuktuk through insane traffic, into the bazaars of the Pink City.
When the lanes got too narrow, we explored by foot, watching the famous artisans of the city at work.
Eschewing all good advice, we also sampled some street food here and there. It’s bedtime and everyone still feels fine. And, my goodness, was it delicious.
Though perhaps a bit spicy for Coco…
On our way back, we rode side by side with a painted elephant as we made our way through the Diwali holiday traffic. We worried about how much fun this might be for the elephant. But I must admit it was a pretty eyepopping one for us.