Jaipur day 2, post 2 of 2, the Monkey Temple

Monkey Temple

Next stop monkey temple. My fear of monkeys lasted one day. It went from fear to healthy respect. If you do not have a serious respect for monkeys, I know you have never encountered one outside of a caged enclosure. A very healthy respect 🙂

The Lake Palace was on the way to the Monkey Temple. This is a private residence. The palace was built, and then the lake was made around it. All around the lake there are people begging and hawking trinkets. A real example of the haves and have nots.

This man is tying down the eggs to deliver them.

There were tent cities just outside a couple of what looked like industrial complexes and hospitals.

The Monkey Temple is outside of Jaipur just above this small town.

We bought peanuts to feed the monkeys and this cow started to follow me around. Cows like peanut too. We have seen many cows on the streets of Jaipur eating newspaper. I guess a ruminant can digest newspaper, I don’t think it would be optimal nutrition though.

The Monkey Temple consists of a series of buildings that form a complex that runs up valley to the top of one of the high hills overlooking Jaipur.

One of the monks at the Monkey Temple gave us bracelets, oil on our wrists, and a dot on our forehead. The name of the monkey god is Hanumana.

Sean and Vikas with the ugliest Ganesh I have ever seen. Vikas was our guide. He told me he works here and goes to school. He is earning money to pay for his school fees. He wants to be a doctor one day. His English was really good.

Today the Monkey Temple seems to be mainly a tourist destination. A very cool one I might add. It must have been something to see 100 or even 50 years ago when it was bustling with monks and used for its intended purpose.

Another cobra encounter, then Vikas corrected what we had been told earlier and said not 6 months, they keep the snakes for 6 years. Very large sigh! Now I am done with snake handling too. Done handling snakes, gone are my dreams of riding an elephants, terrified of monkeys …

Up, up, up to the monkey temple. I am not sure what the barbed wire is for.

At the top there was a smiling monk.

The monkeys loved Vikas. I wouldn’t have done this without him. Vikas’ favorite singer is Honey Singh. I will have to look her up.

You can see how nervous I am.

With Vikas help, and some very kind monkeys, I conquered my fear.

Really conquered my fear! There is my cow BFF behind me

Which is good, because WOW that’s a lot of monkeys. They were everywhere we looked.

Then Sean decided to conquer his fear of monkeys.

It tickles your neck to have a monkey sit on it.

This is the second time today we hiked all the way up to have a nice view of Jaipur. This part of Jaipur reminds me of the clothes women wear here in India, a mixture of bright colors making everything seem more vibrant and alive. For me they represent the joy I find in most of the Indian people we have met.

A crocodile at the top of the monkey temple. Why there is a crocodile fountain head at the top of the Monkey Temple, who knows.

If you ever come to the Monkey Temple ask for Vikas. He was really a great guide, and made the experience much better. He is also the first Indian I have heard complain about littering and water pollution. He thinks it is awful that his country men just drop their trash of the ground.

The monks and monkeys go in here and the monks smoke pot, and I guess the monkeys do too through second-hand smoke.

We are all tired. Time to go back to the Ikaki Niwas and take a nap. Tomorrow we leave for Udaipur, the City of Lakes.

Check out our tour of the Amber Palace here and yesterdays post here.

Jaipur day 2, Amber Palace post 1 of 2

Today was our day to hike. We didn’t know it when we woke up, but by the time the day was over we had hiked all over the place, and we had conquered some fears. We have been very sedentary for us.

Here are the shop names I was telling you about yesterday. This is the old part of Jaipur.

Another hazy day. This is the Amber Palace from across the lake.

To the left of the Amber Palace is Jaigarh Fort. There is a wall you can walk on that connects the two. The distance is 1 1/2 kilometers.

As we were standing there along came a snake charmer.

“Do we want to charm that snake?” he asked. Well at least one of us did.

And touch it, kind of – sort of. Honestly, I was too bothered by the sweaty turban to care about the venomous snake I was touching! LOL, what can I say, we all have our idiosyncrasies, and one of mine is getting other people’s sweat on me, Yuch.

Here he is trying to convince me to wrap it around my neck. I drew the line at that.

The night before we went to the Amber Palace we ate dinner with a South African couple, Charles and Carmine. We got to talking about the life of these elephants. Up until this time Sean and I had every intention of riding elephants into the Palace. Charles had observed these elephants and had also observed elephants in the wild in South Africa. He thought the elephants trekking up to the Amber Palace looked dead in the eyes. There went my dream of riding an elephant up to the Amber Palace. It is not easy being a bleeding heart when it comes to animals. There are all sorts of moral dilemmas to deal with. The snake for instance, I was told the snake had something done so it could not bite for 6 months. After 6 months it would be released back into the wild, and the handler would get another snake. One problem is my Hindi is extremely limited and many of the people I am asking questions to have limited English. My guess is the story of what happens to the snake is not nearly as happy as that, and that is not that great. Charles was right too, the elephants looked unhappy.

At the Amber Palace we saw crumbling ruins of old parts of the palace in areas where people were living in more modern buildings.

This was taken from the wall of the Amber Palace. The Palace itself is not crumbling away, it was very nice to visit. These Palaces are more complexes than just Palaces. They are different than European Castles. The rooms are smaller in the Palaces we have seen in India, and there are many more of them. There are a lot of separate apartments, probably to accommodate all the family groups and members living together plus all their servants. There are lots of open Courtyards and places to observe the countryside.

Many of the walls, inside and out, have decorative painting on them.

This is the garden at the Amber Palace.

The bathrooms and toilets were interesting

This is a deep bath with 4 seats. There was hot and cold running water coming into here. There was a setup that created steam which could also be pumped into the baths.

These were used as urinals.

Here is a view from above. I am not sure how this works. You defecate in the squares, but what is the pot for? Maybe it had water and a ladle in it to use to wash the feces down.

Jaigarh Fort, above, is old and beautiful. It seems that they are slowly restoring the Palace. One day these walls will be pinkish like the front part. Inside the doors there are warrens of rooms.

Here is a restored or maybe just better preserved part. Jim and I like the older, less restored parts just as much. There were bits of glass and semi precious gems inlaid into the walls here

Many of the rooms open up to small rooms on the outside that have this stonework surrounding them. This extends from floor to ceiling without a break.

Here is a view from one of these outer alcove area, looking into another alcove area. Do you see the beehive at 11 o’ clock.

This gives you some idea about what it is like inside looking out into a courtyard. It is room after room of this.

We are deciding if we want to hike up to Jairgarh Fort, behind us in the distance. We all dressed a bit warmly for the temperature. It was chilly this morning.

One final photo of the Amber Palace before descending into the tunnels. Many of the palaces and forts of India were built with extensive tunnel systems to hide the movement of people, including troops.

We came up out of the underground tunnel to this corridor. It is still protected here because these are the tops of hills.

This is a photo of the pathways looking down from the side of Jaigarh fort. The walled walking path is the one we came up into when we exited the tunnel.

Check out the monkey jumping. There were monkeys everywhere. I decided to get over some of my fear. As my dad would say, I got back on that horse and rode it. I tossed cashews to the monkeys after we passed.

On our way to Jaigragh Fort we came to a fork in the path. We could take a broad path with no stairs up or we could walk up all these stairs. We immediately chose this path.

We met some boys from Mumbai on the way up.

The stairs took us to a dead end. We could not get into the fort without going back down and up the other path. We actually liked this better. We did not realize there were these paths up to the outside of the fort towers. We love castles, forts, and palaces. I read a lot of history, and I like to stand in the old places and imagine what might have been and what it was like. I am not sure what these paths are for. as we walked don, we discussed the possibilities that occurred to us, but they were all guesses. This path was built for a purpose, what it was… leaves so much to the imagination. I loved it! Any time I explore something new like this it gives me more to think about.

We are headed down. I carry a limited number of shoes with me on trips like this, but still, flip flops were not ideal today.

This is the front side of the Amber palace. One of those meshed rooms above is where I took the photo of the beehive.

We are leaving through one of the elephant gates. The elephants only work in the morning. I hope their afternoons are filled with joyous companionship.

This is a view looking back at the Palace

This is a view in the other direction. It was taken at a weird angle so you could follow the wall along the ridge line. Do you see it? As I was leaving I thought this palace and the town that surrounded it reminded me of the book, Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. It was a really good book.

These building are right outside the palace. That is the palace in the background.

Now we go to the Monkey Temple. But Sodi, I don’t want to go to the Monkey Temple… Unfortunately I don’t know how to tell our driver this in Hindi.

Check out yesterdays post here and read about the history of The Amber Palace here.