In the morning, the walk for breakfast was much farther than I expected. (Guess why.) An all-India bandh, or strike, was going on that day too, so nearly every shop was closed. It was eerie! 40 minutes later I was back at my hotel for breakfast. Then I started out for the Old City. Jaipur is known as the Pink City, in a trinity with Udaipur, the White City, and Jaisalmer, (sadly not on my path) the Gold City.
Fortunately, the historical sites were open, so I stopped at Jantar Mantar. I don't know much about astronomy, but these enormous observatory structures were fascinating - and fun for photography!
I spent the rest of the afternoon in the City Palace, where Jaipur's royal family still lives. The best was Pitam Niwas Chowk, a courtyard with four entrances representing four seasons. I've included a detail from the peacock, or monsoon gate. Then the quest to find a restaurant in a closed city. On the way I met Elisa and Guillermo, a couple from Chile and Paraguay respectively. We found an open restaurant, where I had an amazing Rajasthani thali and practiced Hindi with our server, and we talked late into the night.
The next day I visited the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, built so the royal women could watch city life while remaining in purdah. It has more than 900 windows, and the latticework allows for a nice breeze. The central part of the palace is designed to resemble a crown. Several hours of shopping later, I acquired a meenakari bangle and earrings, a couple of puppets, and some lac bangles.
The state bus schedule did not support leaving for Agra in the late afternoon, and I wanted to see Amber Fort. It was worth staying an extra night! The fort is set in the hills, so fort walls punctuated with towers wind up the rocky slopes in every direction! This courtyard is the zenana, the enclosure specifically built for the royal women, and surrounded by their apartments.
Much too close to closing time I hiked up the steep path to Jaigadh Fort above Amber Fort. There were even better views of the landscape here, and I could see all the way to the water palace. The fort also displayed what is apparently the largest wheel-mounted cannon in the world.