Jaipur really is "the pink city" and a conscious effort has been made to keep all central buildings "pink". It is a large city of 3 million people.We wove through the heavy traffic into old Jaipur stopping by the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds, a good example of Rajput artistry made of red and pink sand stone, beautifully outlined with white borders and motifs painted with quick lime.

Then on to the open air royal observatory "Jantar Mantar". Maharaja Jai Singh, the creator of Jaipur, loved mathematics and science, sending emissaries to the court of Mirza Beg in Samarkand who had built an observatory in 1425. Spending much of his time studying astronomy, he constructed masonry observatories at Delhi, Varanasi, Ujjain, Mathura and most impressively the `Jantar Mantar' at Jaipur, built between 1728 and 1734.

It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period". Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District.

The Giant Sundial, known as the Samrat Yantra (The Supreme Instrument) is the world's largest sundial, standing 27 meters tall. Its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm per second, or roughly a hand's breadth (6 cm) every minute. It can tell the time correct to 2 seconds.

Click on any of the thumbnails below to get a larger photo

They put on an Elephant at the hotel Like all Indian cities, Jaipur suffers from a weight of assorted traffic - cars, motorbikes, bikes, rickshaws, carts. The unassuming entrance to the Palace of the Winds
The open air royal observatory, with its wealth of instruments for plotting the stars, was truly impressive. The observatory consists of 14 major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. The Samrat Yantra, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur.
  A sacred cow wandering the streets with impunity The motorway on the way to Agra, was blocked at one point by a herd of camels, who apparently had been bought at a market


Our Holiday from Cairo to India on SS Voyager