May 3, 2008 - Around The World, Day 8 - Jaipur

I repressed the memory of the 7hour nightmare drive from Ranthambore to Jaipur. The phrase "Mr Patel's Wild Ride" comes to mind, but that's all I will admit to remembering.

This is the best shot of our hotel I could get. To make a more tranquil experience, they block out the outside world as much as possible.

Our first glimpses of the Amber Fort in Jaipur.

It is HUGE!

To get to it, we still have to drive through Japiur's streets...

...then transfer from our van to a jeep to go up a windy cobblestone road..

WAY up the hill...

Up to the fort, which has a cool view!

Ah, the entrance to the Amber Fort.

Again, the architecture is amazing.

They look like more gemstones, but they are actually godzillions of little mirrors.

This is known as the Hall of Mirrors (Sheesh Mahal), where a single candle is reflected countless times to illuminate the room.

Close-up of some of the mirrors...

Even the artwork is made up of little mirrors.

This is where the Maharaja's wife would throw flower petals down to him upon his return.

They had a wall of their own to separate them from the other feudal lords.

It's starting to get hot...

Looking down at the city again.
On our way out of the Fort, we do pass our second snake charmer of the day.

Typical scene.
Also, note the little mudpies on the wall on the right...
Those are pies, but that isn't mud. They're manure and straw - and they're used as cooking fuel.
You only think it stinks when they cook Indian food here. Now think about what it must smell like there!

Another elephant. Ya gotta wonder if there are any left in the wild...

This is a more typical elephant - all painted-up.

After the Amber Fort, we head to the observatory, where there are all shapes and sizes of instruments for telling time of day, day or year, season, zodiac sign, etc.
This sundial is accurate to within 20 seconds. Here's how it works...

Read the time on the dial.
You can't read it, but there are numbers there somewhere. As I recall, the big divider was for the hour. The next biggest divider (just to the left of the shadow) is the :15 marker denoting :15 before the hour (since like a watch hand, the sun makes the shadow on a sundial move... well... clockwise. If you haven't ever noticed that before, the answer to your question is 'yes.')
Keeping to that system, the smallest divider is 20 seconds, which I remember to be correct.

So, read the time. Then, every day of the year has its own unique correction. For May 2, 2008, You add 23 minutes to the time.
I don't remember what that means, but we checked with Satish's cell phone and it was indeed with 20 seconds.
I think it was something like 11:19 am and this said it was 11:19:20 am.

However, that wasn't specific enough for the Maharaja, so he made a larger one that is accurate to within 2 seconds.

The large, wedge-shaped structure casts a shadow that goes up or down the curved face of the sundial. To read the part at the very top, you have to walk up some seriously steep steps.
(The windows in the wedge are so wind doesn't knock the whole thing over.)

This shows the zodiac sign. There are two wires that form an 'X' over the center of the bowl where a large washer hangs. The shadow of the washer points to a spot that corresponds with a day of the year. To read it, you have to get down into the bowl. Thus, they carved out areas wide enough to walk around. However, that means that every other zodiac sign is completely omitted from this 'calendar.'

...So they made a matching bowl. This bowl shows the signs that the previous one doesn't show.

Two sided-sundial. The angle matches the number of degrees Jaipur is off from the equator. The result is that half the year, one side of the sundial works. The other half of the year, the other side of the sundial works.

Original itinerary:
5/3/2008 - Jaipur