Pitches and Palaces
14.10.2013 - 18.10.2013 30 °C
The city of Jaipur was the last stop on our tour of the desert state of Rajasthan. We’d timed our visit to meet up with some familiar faces from home: The Australian Cricket team. The Aussies were in town to play India in game two of a seven match one-day series and Brayden was like a kid on Christmas morning. He’d always wanted to see the Aussies play in this cricket mad country and had been looking forward to it for months. While the result wasn’t what we’d hoped (read on a for match report), the game couldn’t have been more entertaining. And the best part about losing a match in Jaipur, India? You can forget about your troubles with a tour around the city’s amazing sites.
Resounding defeat? What resounding defeat?
1. Amber Fort
The star player for Jaipur, this massive fort-palace complex was the royal palace from 1600 until 1727. The site is huge, built in an Indo-Islamic style. Although much of its embellishments have been removed (there’s no furniture or treasure on show), it’s still mesmerizing.
2. Nahargarh Fort,
Perched high in the hills, Nahargarh Fort is a crowd pleaser for its beautiful views over the city of Jaipur. It was built in 1734 and houses the now derelict Madhavendra Bhawan palace. The palace walls are beautifully painted and the layout is perfect for hide-and-seek.
3. City Palace
Another standout performer is the sprawling city palace. We got completely lost in the complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings. A couple of the buildings have been transformed into a weapons and a costume museum while some of the rooms have been left in all their pomp and pageantry, frozen time. The royal family of Jaipur was and still is outrageously rich (just now they don’t have much in the way of power). They live in the Chandra Mahal (Moon Palace) bordering the main courtyard.
— Traditional Rajasthani puppet show in the palace courtyard.
4. Jal Mahal (Water Palace)
We only stopped for a quick photo but man did this one impress the selector!
5. Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar gets the call up based on sheer uniqueness. It’s an astronomical observatory build by Maharaja Jai Singh during the period 1727-1734. The UNESCO site features fourteen devices for measuring time, tracking stars and planets and predicting eclipses. You’ll even find the world’s largest sundial there. 27 metres!
6. Lakshmi Narayan Temple (aka The Marble Temple)
While not necessarily the most exciting player, this marble temple gets the last spot for its style. Most of the Hindu temples we’ve visited thus far are decked out in a party of colours but this one was all in shiny white marble with beautiful carvings. Bliss.
Sawai Mansingh Stadium: India v Australia ODI
After a couple months of anticipation, we finally walked through the gates of SMS stadium on game day. And what a game it was! The Aussies opened the batting and we were blistering against the Indians. The first 5 batters all made 50 - a world record! The run frenzy resulted in a massive 360 target.For non-cricket fans – this is a massive total for a one day match. In between innings we smugly ate our samosas thinking it was in the bag - India has never chased anything like that against Australia. How wrong we were. In front of a packed stadium the hosts blasted their way to 361 with more than 6 overs to go and 9 wickets in hand. For the non-cricket fans-this is a thumping. The crowd was completely revved up and in a stark contrast to Aussie crowds, completely sober. It didn’t help that we sat directly behind India’s most famous fan! This guy is paid by the great Sachin Tendulkar to tour the country waving his flag, blowing his conch and flaunting his painted body. What a job! He led the crowd in all sorts of chants in Hindi. They went something like ‘blah, blah, blah, kangaroooooo, blah, blah, blah.’ We returned to our guest house completely dejected but were instantly cheered up by the staff, ‘we see you on TV, you famous!’. Oh, well at least that’s something!
— The big day!
— This guy is famous all over India. It must have been 40 degrees but his paint never smudged, even after 9 hours! Car paint?
— As we were two of about 8 Aussies at the game, the cameraman spotted us pretty easily.
Next stop the world’s most beautiful building – the Taj Mahal.
— Best mates.