Another Palace and a Sunset Cruise!

Our first visit of the day was Udaipur City Palace – located in the centre of the city, with the option to walk through it to the other side of the city for a mere 30 Rupees (40p!). The palace had tonnes of rooms, all colourful and completely different from each other. The outside garden were also beautiful, with intricate doorways filled with pattern and colour.

At around 5pm, we took a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola. The boat took us around the lake and then to an island in the middle, where there is a hotel, and they were taking down the decorations from a wedding. The buildings were beautiful and it was lovely to see it in fading light as the sun set.

Travelling to Udaipur

On Saturday we made the long journey from Jaipur to Udaipur. In total it took 11 hours on the coach! At around 1pm we came across this group of ladies working on building a road to their village from the main road. The ladies were wearing very colourful traditional saris and are nicknamed ‘The Colourful Ladies of Rajasthan’.

Another stop was at a train station in a small village, where there was a train stopped; apparently for storage purposes. We stopped for about 15 minutes to take photos, it was very weird to be able to walk across the tracks!

photo-28-01-2017-17-29-24

Two Palaces and an Observatory

Our last day in Jaipur! Friday was a busy day, and we started off at the Hawa Mahal (otherwise known as the Palace of the Winds). It was built so that royal women could look out of the screens onto the streets without being seen themselves, and most of the building doesn’t have a back to it, hence the name.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_1528

Next, we moved onto the Jantar Mantar Observatory, near the City Palace of Jaipur. The observatory is a collection of nineteen massive astronomical instruments, including the world’s largest stone sundial. It has a collection of dials for each horoscope, as well as multiple other sundials which all tell the time in different ways, with the largest being accurate to 2 seconds.

We then went on into the City Palace, only a short walk from the observatory. One of the features that really stood out to me were the four doors pictured below. Each had a symbolic meaning, and the patterns and colours built into it were incredible and I could have stayed all day looking at them!

2vglytcsrkkhmrxjbiya_thumb_157e6gsiefjystkhcrykau1q_thumb_15787hbn%3dlt7echg8tnteogq_thumb_157b9mnskyossgbsey69c9a_thumb_156e

Thunderstorm!

Today was a free day, where we could do as we pleased! Some people went to activities such as a cooking class and elephant rides. I chose to use the day as a catch up day, to catch up on blogging and look through the photos I have taken so far. This was mainly because we woke up to pouring rain which soon turned into a thunderstorm. It was the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard – a couple of times it made me jump! A group of us sat in the hotel lounge for most of the day, all blogging and drawing etc. while we each had tutorials.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_1515
Hotel Lounge

Elephant Poo Paper, more Block Printing and Pottery!

The second day of the trip was one I was looking forward to, because of our first activity – making paper out of elephant poo! Everyone got a go at making their own piece of paper, and even though I’ve made paper before I still struggled to get it right first time! The paper doesn’t smell at all, if you weren’t told it was made from elephant poo, you wouldn’t know! After learning about the process, we all had a traditional home cooked meal upstairs – which was delicious! It was lovely to have the chance to try Indian food not served in a restaurant. Then when lunch was over, Vijendra (the owner of the business) told us the story of how the factory came to be and we were able to buy some of their products.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_1496
Stacks of Elephant Poo Paper!

In the afternoon, we visited two factories. The first was a block printing factory, where we saw the technique from the Anokhi museum on a larger scale, and also saw completed fabrics. The speed of the workers printing was very impressive and amazing to watch. Some of us had a go at printing, and got to keep our prints!

Then we visited ‘Blue Pottery Factory’ where we saw workers filling moulds, drying out pottery and painting ceramics. The painting was fascinating to watch – they did it so quickly with such detail!

Elephants, a Temple and Block Printing

We didn’t have any time to sleep in on our first day of the trip! Our first activity was a visit to the Amber Fort in Amer, a town on the outskirts of Jaipur. While there were elephants available to be ridden up the hill to the top of the fort, the group rode jeeps up – which was a fun experience to say the least!

The Amber Fort is a massive old palace, which we had the whole morning to explore, take photos, and do some drawing. I loved the architecture of the building and enjoyed walking up and down stairs and through lots of little corridors to find secret rooms and rooftop sunlight spots.

After the fort, the group visited a temple and the Panna Meena Stepwell, after walking down the hill into the town of Amer. The carved stone in the temple was very impressive and beautiful, of course featuring elephants! Both the temple and the stepwell were breathtaking, something I had never seen before!

Our final activity of the day was a visit to the Anokhi Museum, where we saw textiles and demonstrations of traditional Indian block printing. As a textiles student, this was a really interesting experience. I learnt how the blocks are made, and then how the pattern is printed in practice. For each pattern, multiple blocks are required for the printing process, and this depends on how many colours are in the design (up to six). The blocks are hand carved, one for each colour. When it comes to the printing, the outline is printed first and then the colours. After the outline, the order in which the colours are printed doesn’t matter. I would really like to try this technique on my return to university, or something very similar (as I’m not sure that I’d be able to make a block as well as the professionals!).

Journey to Rajasthan

On Sunday we began our travels to India, which involved a 3 hour drive to Heathrow, an 8 hour flight to Delhi and then a further 6 hour drive to Jaipur! We were in for a lot of sitting around! We left the university campus at 1.30pm to catch our flight at 7.20pm. Unfortunately, on the way to London we found out that our flight was delayed for 3 hours! This gave us plenty of time to waste once we had checked in and got through security, so we did some shopping and ate dinner.

Then came the flight! As it was an overnight flight, the aim was to sleep through it all but that didn’t quite happen because I struggle to sleep anywhere that isn’t a bed. So I watched movies between phases of attempting sleep – I managed to catch up on some I’d missed in the cinema! When we finally landed all was well until we went to collect our bags, as mine was missing! After initial panic I realised there was an identical bag with a transfer tag on it, meaning that someone had probably taken mine in a hurry (due to the 3 hour delay) to get to their next flight. We went to the baggage enquiry desk and put in a report of lost baggage and 3 hours later after a lot of going backwards and forwards my bag was finally found!

We finally left Delhi airport at around 4pm (6 hours later than originally planned!) to drive to Jaipur. We were given flower garlands as a traditional Indian welcome from our tour guide.

Delhi 23-01-2017, 16 44 21.jpg

After about 3 hours we stopped to have dinner at a restaurant at the side of the road, where I had my first real Indian curry. I chose to have steamed rice, butter chicken and a plain naan. It was delicious! After dinner, we continued the bus journey to Jaipur. We eventually arrived at around 11pm, where we checked in, went up to our rooms and went straight to bed! It was a long two days and I had never been more thankful for a bed!