Posts Tagged With: monkeys

Monkey Temple

As our city tour of Jaipur was nearing an end, our tour guide asked if we wanted to visit any shops for textiles or gemstones (Jaipur is well known for its gems). I think our guide probably would have received some kind of commission for bringing us into some local shops if we spent money, but we weren’t in the market for any shopping. Instead, I wanted to visit Galtaji, an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site. Galta Temple is sometimes referred to as the Monkey Temple because of the large tribe of monkeys that live there. While planning our India itinerary, I came across pictures of this temple and decided I had to see it.  

Galtaji

Galta Temple

Galtaji is not part of the typical Jaipur city tour as it is located in the hills about 10 kilometers away. But since we had a driver, I decided to tack this site onto our timeline. Our tour guide was not really on board at first. He was ready for less touring and more shopping so he could earn a few extra rupees (at least that was my assumption anyway). So he tried to sway me from wanting to see the temple. You see, it was a Sunday, and he told me that the pilgrims only visit the temple to feed the monkeys on Tuesdays and Saturdays, therefore, there likely wouldn’t be any monkeys there that day. Well, that was disappointing because the monkeys certainly were a big draw. But I was not deterred because the pictures I had seen online were enough to still warrant a visit.

GaltaTemple

The temple is built within a mountain pass and set around a natural spring that flows into two tiered pools. Thousands of pilgrims visit each year to swim in these pools because it is believed to bring forth good luck and success. The upper pool is for men and the lower pool is for women. There were quite a few men swimming in the upper pool which didn’t seem too unusual since the water appeared to be fresh and fairly clean. The lower pool on the other hand, was pretty disgusting! Only a true Hindu pilgrim would believe that swimming in that murky water would bring about success. I’m fairly confident a dip in that pool would only bring about infection and/or disease. There were a few brave desperate women, ankle-deep in the lower pool trying to fish out coins. Not quite the spiritual pilgrimage you may have envisioned.

lowerpool
Oh, let’s not forget about the monkeys that probably wouldn’t be there. There were monkeys everywhere! They live in these hills and I am sure they are there every day of the week. Not just on Tuesdays and Saturdays when pilgrims supposedly come to feed them. MonkeyTemple

I felt partly redeemed after my Hawa Mahal misstep earlier in the day. Tour Guide: 1 – Dayna: 1 

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Categories: Destinations, India | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Amber Fort & Palace

AmberFort
There are many forts all over India that tourists can visit. We had the opportunity to visit several of them, but we passed over most of them in order to do other things. If you are like us and you don’t have time to see every fort, make sure you at least visit the Amber Fort in Jaipur. It is Jaipur’s main tourist attraction, rightfully so. The fort and inner palace are made of red sandstone and marble. The Amber Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.

ambergatesThe main entrance to the fort is through the Sun Gate (pictured above: top right) which leads to Jaleb Chowk, the first main courtyard. This courtyard is where armies would hold their victory parades upon return from battle. The stairway of Jaleb Chowk (pictured above: top left) leads to the main palace grounds. The Ganesh Gate is the entry to the private palaces of the Maharajas (pictured above: bottom left). Ganesh is the Hindu God who removes all obstacles in life (pictured above: bottom right). Above Ganesh Gate are latticed windows where women of the royal family could watch functions below without being seen.
MirrorPalace
 The Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) is covered with mirror mosaics that light up the entire palace with a single candle. And the carved marble panel is known as the Magic Flower because there are seven different designs within the flower that are revealed when parts of the flower are hidden by your hand. Depending on where you place your hand, the following are revealed; fish tail, lotus, hooded cobra, elephant trunk, lion’s tail, cob of corn, and scorpion.

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 The Palace of Man Singh is the oldest part of the palace fort. The Baradhari Pavillion lies in the center of the palace courtyard and it was a meeting place for the maharanis. The maharanis were not allowed to meet privately with each other, only publicly in this pavilion to prevent jealousy and drama among the harem.

amberfortmonkey
 Oh…and there were monkeys. Let’s not forget about the monkeys!

amber
 

Categories: Destinations, India | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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