Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sari Shopping

One thing you first notice when you come to India is the beautiful and colorful saris women wear. Whether you see women walking down the street or working in a field in the countryside, the brightness of the sari is eye-catching and one of my favorite things. I recently spent a morning out with two friends going sari shopping. It was so much fun! Here's how it goes: After getting over the initial awe of seeing all the amazing fabric hanging in front of you, you sit down and a salesman starts flinging material down a long counter:
After you've chosen the fabric you want to try, another man prepares it by throwing it across floor then folding so quickly and precisely that it's hard to really see what he's doing:

Then, it's wrapped around you:

The hardest part is deciding which color to buy! So, I bought two--the blue and the black above. And, as luck would have it, the tailor was not in the shop to take our measurements for the top and petticoat you wear underneath. So...I have an appointment with a tailor this week. Then all I'll have to do is practice putting the sari on, or rather have someone come over and help me put the sari on...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Very Laborious

Dorian loves to clean. Lately, the weather has gotten warmer and he's been enjoying being outside...cleaning. The guards are very sweet to him and often lend a helping hand or stand near watching and smiling. One guard said Dorian was "very laborious". Indeed.

The guards really got into it here:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Two Palaces and something new...

Jaipur seems to be full of palaces:

The Hawa Mahal, or Wind Palace, was beautiful with its tapering windows. It was built in 1799 to allow the women of the court to watch street processions without being seen:

We did not visit the The Floating Palace, but it was stunning to see:

While not a palace, the Jantar Mantar, with its astronomical measuring devices was very different and very cool:

Surrounding these royal buildings is, of course, Jaipur. Known as the Pink City, all the buildings within the city walls are painted the same pinkish color:

There are a bit more animals on the streets than I've seen in Delhi:

Especially, animals at work:
But, this procession of ladies to the temple was by far my most favorite unexpected moment of our trip:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

City Palace

The City Palace in Jaipur, like the Amber fort, unfolds courtyard after courtyard with it's rich decoration and bright colors. Part of the palace still houses Jaipur's royal family. It also has an impressive throne room (unfortunately, no photos allowed), a beautiful textile collection and a restaurant, in case you have some hungry children touring with you.

Hall of Public Audience in a huge courtyard:

Another view of the huge courtyard:

The yellow building is the royal family's private residence:

The guest house:

The world's biggest silver urn (there are two), used to transport water from the Ganges river to London in 1901 for Edward VII's coronation because Madho Singh II was unsure of the water of the West:

I really enjoyed visiting this palace, or at least the parts that we saw. I love the peacock decorations. I am amazed that in a bustling and crowded city like Jaipur you can find yourself in vast expanses of open space tucked behind these walls.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I'm interrupting my postings on our trip because there is an ad campaign going around India and I can't stop thinking about it. There are only 1, 411 tigers left in India. That is half the tiger population worldwide. That is not a lot. Here's an article I read this morning at yahoo.com:


And, you can see the ad that first got my attention:


I'm not sure as individuals if we can really make a difference, but we have to at least try.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Before Jaipur

I realize that I should have thought things through a bit and posted this before I jumped into our Jaipur trip with the Amber fort...but, being the mother of two small and very active boys, so things aren't always in the right order. That said, if you're ever in Delhi and driving to Jaipur, you should definitely stop in Neemrana at the fort-palace. It's the halfway point of the 4-hour (give or take) drive between Delhi and Jaipur. And, it's amazing (not to mention a great place to get out of the car and move around). Built up on a hill, it's full of shaded walkways, ramps and steps that lead you upwards to incredible views and a really nice buffet lunch, for those of us just stopping by.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Amber Fort

I've been wanting to post about our December getaway to Jaipur and Agra and am just now finding the time...I put up some photos of the Taj Mahal, which was (dare I say?) magical, but there is much, much more to see and we didn't even manage to see everything during our short trip. I think, though, with two little ones, we didn't do too badly. I'm starting, what will be a few separate posts about our trip, with the Amber Fort in Jaipur. It was amazing, perched high on a hill, encircled by a wall that snakes up and down the surrounding mountains, the fort is not only impressive for its location, but for its architectural beauty and intricate decoration. It is also much more than a mere fort, it is actually a fort-palace complex. After you enter the main courtyard, by elephant of course, you walk up the steep steps and find yourself in a jewel box of a palace that seems to unfold endlessly room after room, courtyard after courtyard. I'm sure we didn't even visit half of the grounds. But, the parts we did see were quite memorable.

Elephant motorway:
View from above:
Hall of Public Audience:

Entry to the private rooms:
Beautiful decoration using mirrors and mosaics:
Delicate wall carvings with an air-conditioning system using water channelled from a fountain to the interior room:
Out the back door of the fort, monkeys standing guard:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


As you can imagine, for any small person who did not choose to pack up all his stuff and leave the only home he's really known to live in a huge city with no ocean in sight and start school, these past few months have been very hard on Dorian. School has been a major source of turmoil, most days he doesn't want to go and is only happy when I tell him it's a short day or that tomorrow is a short day (his school week consists of two short days and 3 long days, which I think is a difficult schedule for such a small guy). I am trying my hardest to do what ever I can to make this transition bearable for him. While waiting to pick him up one day as school recently, I took a look at the school lunch menu...

Well, of course! If they stopped serving "fussily" food, maybe he'd enjoy school more.