As a city Jaipur is like many that we have been too — busy, polluted and unattractive, and also very in-your-face; yes, thank you, I am sure that are many elephants, but I still don’t want your tuk-tuk. We did see the Jantar Mantar observatory. This is a magnificent place, full of angles and careful measurements — Jai Singh thought that bigger was better. Each instrument had a careful description, telling you what it measured and what this measurement was for; although the signs kept of mixing up “accuracy” and “resolution” which bugged me a bit. The thing that confused me was that most of the instruments fall into two categories; those for measuring angles and sundials for measuring time. Time and space all sorted, it seems, but time only measurable during the day and space only measurable at night.
The city palace is okay; there are some good things inside, but it’s not as well done as Jodphur. The Wind Palace on the other hand is just a big building, but it’s fun to climb and the view from the top is great. Today is a saturday, and the place is full of tourists — many want to talk and I’ve been asked my name and photographed with many people. But the image that is going to stick in my mind are the kites circling overhead — hundreds of them fluttering in the wind, steered by intensely concentrating kids, perched on the sprawling rooftops. I have a grainy photograph which was the best I could do.
Finished off with dinner in the hotel cafe; the last time I had a curry with no spices at all was in Canada. That time, at least, it was served hot. If you stay in the Hotel Arya Niwas, well, avoid the food. Otherwise, it’s pretty nice.