Fatepur Sikri & Jaipur: November 4

I was actually kind of terrified of visiting Fatepur Sikri.  It didn’t seem like a completely irrational fear either.  Before exiting the bus, our guide gave us the usual advice to be careful because of theft and such; then, he told us a story and this is what terrified me.  Another guide had prevented a young boy from stealing from a tourist; on the guide’s next visit to Fatepur Sikri, the boy threw acid in the guide’s face which disfigured him.

Anyway, my visit to Fatepur Sikri ended up being totally okay!  Fatepur Sikri is an abandoned city that was the capital of the Mughal Empire for a few years back in the sixteenth century.  It was abandoned because it was too hot there and there was a lack of water.  It was quite interesting there and surprisingly low of visitors overall.  The mosque though was fairly busy.  The dress code for the mosque was more relaxed than any other I’ve visited; for once I wasn’t made to put on more clothing (though I did have to put on a little plastic bowl for one part).  Even entering and leaving the site wasn’t nearly the hassle I’d been led to believe but apparently there had been some crackdowns of late.

Next came on the highlights of my trip, probably because it was completely unexpected!  We stopped at a Chand Baori stepwell in a place called Abaneri.  I had no idea what a stepwell would look like and it really exceeded anything I could have imagined!  It is amazingly complex, considering it was built in the 8th or 9th century and it just looks so interesting too.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.  There were also numbered archaeological relics stored along the edge of the site which was weird but interesting.

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The stepwell

Close to Jaipur we stopped at Galtaji, a monkey temple.  There were, of course, lots of monkeys there but there were also some cows and some dogs.  I certainly wasn’t trying to get monkeys to jump on me (some people do by using food) but one did anyway; luckily, it didn’t pull my hair or anything!  The most interesting thing was when a man there called the monkeys to eat and tons of them promptly ran down the mountain.

Arriving in the early evening, Jaipur’s traffic seemed about as busy as Delhi’s.  This wasn’t the greatest first impression but the hotel, a former palaces, was very nice.

 

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