India by Car: Agra to Jaipur

We started the day driving two hours to Fatehpur Sikri the palace of Akbar grandfather to Shah Jajan (king who build the Taj Mahal).

The history of the location of this palace goes like this... the third Mughal king Akbar wanted a child badly and it wasn’t until he visited the wise man by the name of Shaikh Salim Chisti on a far off hill, that his Hindu wife was able to give him a son. It was because of this that he built the palace Fatehpur Sikri at this location.

We walked in through a large courtyard where Akbar the king would listen to his people’s problems. He even had an elephant with a heightened sense of smell who they would use to determine who was the murderer, by smell. Behind the courtyard was the palace where Akbar his three wives, a Muslim, a Christian, and a Hindu lived. The palace was eventually abandoned due to its distance to a major water source and then moved to Agra.

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Next door to the palace was the Jama Masjid mosque, an orphan school and the sacred resting place of Shaikh Salim Christi. We performed a ritual in the mausoleum made of white marble that symbolizes each of the three religions  where you give 1. Flowers (Christian) 2. Fabric (Muslim) 3. String (Hindu). We laid the flowers and fabric over the tomb, while being blessed by a holy man, then you tie the string on the mausoleum wall with three knots. Each knot with a wish that cannot come true if you tell anyone before it’s true, only your married partner. They said the celebrities and politicians come here to all make their pilgrimage and make a wish: Obama, prime minister of France, Tom Cruise, etc.

After this we drove three more hours to Jaipur. Here are some things we saw from the car:

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We arrived in Abhaneri which has India’s largest step well Chand Baori.  Chand Baori is one of the oldest and most attractive landmarks in Rajasthan. It has 13 stories and 3,500 steps It was built by King Chanda of the Nikumbh dynasty between 800 CE and 900 CE, and was dedicated to Hashat Mata, Goddess of Joy and Happiness upon completion.

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After another two hours we arrived in Jaipur the pink city. We saw the Chandra Mahal a seven storied building for the king, connected to the national museum. We learned that there are 22 kings of Rajahstan, so this is just one of the many. We walked briskly through the building seeing the weapon room, large pure silver jars comisioned by the king, and the meeting hall. 

All the rooms had designs that were hand painted with food, stone dyes (turmeric, curry, emerald, ruby, sapphire, Black onyx) and real gold. Below is the summer door dedicated to Lord Shiva and his wife Pavarti, that only the king would use. 

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After the city tour we went to a gem shop. Jaipur is know for its prescious and semi-prescious stones. We learned that India has 86 different gems, making Jaipur world famous for jewelry. We both picked out earrings out of the stone called the “star of India” that was used in the Taj Mahal and a rare blue topaz.  

We went to dinner at a restaurant called “Green Pigeon” for dinner that featured Jaipur dishes and dancing. Jaipur being a desert country the food we ordered rajasthan gatta, paneer kulta, and ker sangri.

The internet is incredibly slow, so more photos will be uploaded later.