Jaipur…Flying kites and crashing weddings!

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Jaipur is known as the Pink City but to me I will remember Jaipur for the wonderful, vibrant multi colours you see everywhere!
As we drive through the streets of Jaipur I keep seeing little coloured squares floating through the air…it’s the kite festival! This festival is to see out the cold of winter and welcome in the warm sunshine. For two days the skies of Jaipur are full of kites! It is quite a beautiful site…not so beautiful is the thin string from the thousand of kites cutting into my legs but at least it didn’t chop into my throat like cheese wire which apparently happened to someone last year…nice!

The street to our hotel is chaotic. Market stalls selling fruits and chickens – killed in front of you for your liking ( It wasn’t so much seeing the chicken get its head chopped off that disturbed me but that all the other cooped up white chickens are now left covered in their friends blood- not a good look) there are little fires along the streets with people bent down and huddled around them. Random cows stroll around without a care in the world as hundreds of tuk, tuks, cars and motor bikes whizz around trying to dodge them and each other.
There are gullies of water running down in front of the market stalls and outside the little shops, goats and pigs drinking from it on one side and a man urinating in it on the other. There is rubbish everywhere and were there is a suitable mound of it, a cow, pig or goat makes it his home. And the pig really did look ‘as happy as a pig in S**T! The smell is strong but gets much stronger in the heat. I’m glad I’m here in January.
Then there are lots of people…the women are dressed in beautiful, bright, stunning saris everywhere you look, the tuk tuk drivers are wearing scarfs wrapped round their heads and chin and tied on top of their heads and little children run around playing together and waiving at us from the tuk tuks. There is so much to look at, so much to take in that I have to remember to blink.

Our hotel is just off the road and really feels like an oasis of calm…
The building looks like something from the 1950′s India. It is absolutely beautiful. The hotel was once a palace and the intricate work around the ceilings, balconies and floors certainly look regal. There is artwork everywhere-pictures, murals, silk hanging from the ceiling and all the staff wear multi coloured turbans and big smiles… I love it.

Later we walk out into the city, again spotting all the children high on the roof tops flying their kites. I spot my first Elephant walking down the road painted brightly and several camels pulling carts.
We stroll to the Jaipur Palace and Visit the palace school.On entering the school there is a big sign saying ‘ no Trumpets’ I check with everyone…and nope…no secret Trumpets are stashed so we are good to go! Mmmm?
We get told off for trying to take a photograph here too?

The Royal Palace is stunning. The king who reigned here in Rajasthan for many any years, passed away last year and his son is now king. He is only 15 years old.
We visit the painters within the palace and the man I chat to shows me some pictures of him with Prince Charles when he came to visit here. He is also amazed with my IPhone and asks me to take pictures of his paintings so he can zoom in and look closer at his detail.
I’m so happy as we discover there will be a wedding here today and we go to view the preparations. In this part of India arranged marriages are the norm and if you have a wedding in the Palace your family are obviously loaded and the wedding lasts 1 week!
We seem to edge are way in bit by bit and my words cannot do it justice but my photographs show how vibrant it was. I couldn’t stop saying ‘ I love all the colours!’ the girls just looked amazing. You can imagine they all call each other up to check they are wearing different colours. And the men too- white and black with bright coloured turbans. everyone clashing, no ‘theme’ as people do in England, just the brighter the better.
We go back to the wedding after our tour of the Palace and we sneak in and gate crash the wedding – there are singers now and the bride enters. This could have been the first time she had saw her husband to be…
Once again it’s the life and the people that have moved me and we all feel honoured for being able to witness the start of the ceremony…

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