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NE-GQ Tour: Pink City — Jaipur

Jaipur was the last city and the last place to be visited in our trip. Jaipur was one of the first planned cities in India which was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh.

History of Jaipur from wikipedia

In ancient time Jaipur regioncomes under Matsya Kingdom . Modern Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who ruled from 1699–1744 and initially his capital was Amber, which lies at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. The King consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the layout of Jaipur. Finally under the architectural guidance of Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, (initially an accounts-clerk in the Amber treasury and later promoted to the office of Chief Architect by the King) Jaipur came into existence on the classical basis of principles of Vastu Shastra and similar classical treatise.

In 1876, when the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted pink to welcome him during the regime of Sawai Ram Singh.

Our tour began by paying a visit to the hawa mahal. The palace complete with mirrors which was used by the queen’s to watch the processions and other activities during the time of festivities

Hawa Mahal

Note: Entry inside the hawa mahal is restricted to general public as the place is turned into a police HQ.

A short stop for couple of snaps and we were of to Jantar Mantar an astronomical observatory built by Maharajah Jai Singh II.

The observatory consists of fourteen 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.

A detailed explanation of each instrument was given by the guide along a sample demo of a few.

Instruments @Jantar Mantar

The guide also mentioned that since jaipur is famous for astronnomy and astrology, the astrology final exams are conducted here in jantar mantar. We spent some time exploring all the instruments and taking photos before leaving the place. The next place on the list was the city palace. The palace is still occupied by the current king of jaipur and there are two types of tickets. A normal ticket will let one see the museum which houses paintings of all the kings and the durbar hall etc. The grandeour tour which costs Rs 2000 allows one to go inside the royal palace. Tickets for cameras cost extra. We just got the tickets for the museum. The museum contains a huge collection of things used by the kings and queen’s of jaipur. From the clothes they used to wear to the other things they used daily everything is on display here. Apart from the clothes large size photos of the kings are also on display. Since we had’nt got the tickets for photography no snaps could be taken.

Amer fort was thenext to be be visited. The fort is located atop a hill and is outside the city. A short drive from jaipur saw us reach the fort. We passed Jal Mahal on the way, however we didnt stop there as we planning to spend some time while returning back.

One can either drive all the way to the top or choose to ride an elephant.

Amer Fort

We chose to drive to the top, and the driver took us through a few back roads before reaching the back side of the fort.

Passing through the long courtyard, we proceeded towards the main entrance.

Fort Courtyard as seen from top of the palaceThe palace has seperate chambers for each queen and there is a common area where the king used to meet his queens and spend time with them. The watch towers above the place was guarded, when the king was present. Since they were at an elevated place and quite far away, privacy was ensured.

Meeting Place

A large man made lake is present at the back of the palace. This was built by Raja Man Singh who had built the palace. The lake was built for the purpose of entertainment. The lake present among mountains looks very pictuersque when seen from the top of the fort

Lake

The palace insides are covered in beautiful paintings. Restoration work was going on in a few places to get the palace back to its old glory

Palace Inside

I wanted to take the photo of the fort from the road, had asked the driver to stop the car after going out of the fort. After roaming the fort we headed out. A quick stop for a few shots of the fort from the road and we headed out to Jal Mahal

Amer Fort

Jal Mahal is a palace built in the middle of the man singh lake. The palace used to be in use during the kings era however now its in ruins. he lake eco system is a favorite home of a number of migratory and resident birds. The Mansagar Dam is situated on the eastern side of the lake and provides a good vantage point for viewing the lake and the valley. There are plans to turn the palace into a resort.

Jal Mahal

Evening was spent shopping. Our flight to Bangalore was booked for the next day, thus ending a wonderful 15 day trip.

Snaps can be found here

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100 cyclists to tour across the beautiful ‘Blue Mountains’ range

Bangalore, India, Wednesday, October 13, 2010: Tour of Nilgiris (TFN), a flagship event of RideACycle-Foundation (RAC-F) and India’s original bike tour, closed-in 100 registrations for the year 2010. TFN 2010 (popularly known as TFN Ten) is in its third consecutive year where it has seen a 60% increase in the number of riders from its first tour in 2008. TFN has grown to be India’s premier cycling tour which trails across the beautiful Nilgiris Mountains in South India. It is a mass participative cycling event for professional, amateur and the casual cyclist.  RAC-F intends to promote the cause of cycling and bring awareness about the various benefits of cycling. The ride is stretched across eight days starting from the 16th to the 23rd of December, flag-off of which will happen from Bangalore.

“What started as a casual cycling trip amongst 40 friends in 2008, has now grown be the most recognizable and enduring sporting brand in India with a total of 100 riders, who were selected out of nearly 350 applicants for the year 2010″ said Ravi Ranjan, Co-founder, RAC-F. He further added “TFN has now grown to be an event for the cycling community. It is challenging yet non-competitive. The riders are in to enjoy themselves and not compete”

TFN is doing everything under the sun to keep up the fun factor as well. One such initiative is introducing a fictitious character named ‘Jack Lee’. Jack Lee has grown to be a character that is revered and hated alike for his impartial selection of riders for the tour. Jack Lee makes sure that his identity remains concealed until the start of the tour so that all cyclists stand a fair chance of being in the tour. And because of the growing popularity of the tour, it is a challenging task to choose the riders. Jack Lee also helps the riders plan and prepare for the tour.

When asked how Jack Lee selects the riders, Ravi told us “To make sure that the selections are impartial and fair, and in keeping with the vision of RAC-F, Jack Lee chooses riders based on first- come, first-served basis. In case a rider chooses to opt-out of the tour due to unavoidable circumstances, the slot gets vacant and the next person in line is invited.”

“Each year a person is chosen among the organizers and the identity is kept a closely guarded secret until the start of the tour, when Jack Lee is finally revealed in a fun filled party during the tour”, added Ravi.

As TFN Ten gets bigger and better, it leaves the participants waiting with bated breath for the show to begin!

To know more, visit: http://www.tourofnilgiris.com//

About RAC-F

The RideACycle-Foundation (www.rideacycle.org) encourages cycling as a form of recreation, sport and as a means to commute to work. The foundation actively works for the rights of cyclists and for laws that offer protection to cyclists through dedicated cycling lanes as well as through support for safety regulations. They hope to work with the government administration to bring about change aimed at encouraging cycling in all cities.

Several fun events like cycle treasure hunt, off road rides for children, dirt track races, and bicycle maintenance workshops are the various activities undertaken by RAC-F.

However, one of the first campaigns that RideACycle-Foundation has undertaken is to promote responsible and safe behaviour cycling within the cycling community.

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