My first stop was Jaipur, in Rajastan, and my first stop in Jaipur was the Jantar Mantar, a collection of large scale astronomical (and astrological) instruments. This here is a ginormous sundial! The sun casts a shadow on the curved portion, which is marked off to 2-second accuracy!
Here I am in front of a slightly smaller sundial:
Then I dropped by the City Palace next door. Here's a guy who offered to pose with me, but then he asked me for a tip. :P
Sadly, I'm super paranoid now every time someone comes up to me. :\
Amusingly, almost every other time, it's because they want to take a picture with me using THEIR camera! Apparently, East Asian guys are a novelty around here. Also, they always ask me, "Where you from?" And I answer, "U.S." And they look very confused. :P
This is the huge silver urn that I was trying to take a self-portrait in before that guy distracted me:
Next to Jaipur is Amber, home of the famed Amber Fort. On my way up the mountain, there were a lot of elephants on the road. Here's a painted one:
And this next photo I call "Self-Driving Elephant":
:D Google needs to switch gears and look into uploading elephant brains into cars instead. :P
This is what the Amber Fort looks like (as I shot later from the Jaigarh Fort):
It's a collection of inter-connecting passageways that lead to lots of empty rooms. Reminded me a lot of early first person shooters. :)
When I first go in, there was a huge line, but people just shooed me along, like "This line is not for you." Turns out they were all in line to go to the temple inside the fort. (You can kind of see the tented area in the above photo; that's where the lines were.)
Here's touristy shot of me on the Amber Fort. Note all the long walls around the area. I call it the Great Wall of India!
And here's another reflective self-portrait, from inside the Amber Fort. Look at all the shiny!
A family having fun:
The girls were waiting their turn.
And finally, I headed back to Jaipur. Here's the Lake Palace, only accessible by boat. I heard it's going to be converted to a hotel. :\
I saw the Lakshmi Narayan Temple on my way to the hotel from the airport, and I knew I wanted to see it up close, even though I knew it wasn't a huge tourist attraction (because it's relatively new):
This was the first of many times when I had to take my shoes off. It was spacious inside. No benches, just people sitting and praying or just hanging out.
Incidentally, you can see in this photo how a lot of women wear saris in India, though not all. Men are mostly in Western clothing, though again there are some who wear traditional clothing. I'd say it's about 90/10 in opposite directions.
On the hill next to this temple is the Moti Doongri Fort, only open one day every year!
This view of it reminded me a lot of Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.
You may notice that I skipped over my trip to Jaigarh Fort. That's because I'm saving it for tomorrow. Tomorrow you will get: MONKEYS! :D