Inside the Amber Fort

Welcome to the Amber Fort’s ‘Hall of Mirrors.’

Every doorway had a new area to explore.  A new sight to see.  A different style of design: carvings, paintings, stonework, stained glass and more mirrors.

Of course, what fun would a fort be if you couldn’t climb it?  Note – I’m pretty sure this wasn’t allowed:

There were also some more legit viewing areas though, too!

And don’t forget about the snake charmers!  Little known fact: the snakes don’t actually move to the sound of the music, but the charmer’s sway of his instrument.

There are about a thousand pictures I took of the Amber Fort, but I’m afraid I’d bore you.  So I’ll leave you with this final image encompassing all that is great about Indian transportation; rickshaws, tour buses, motorcycles, cars, pedestrians and elephants.

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Jaipur || Amber Fort

With my hours with the group dwindling down before the group dumped us at the Neerja Modi School, we headed up to the Amber Fort, just outside of Jaipur.

I love this Fort.  And will show my love for it in pictures.

This post is really just about my secret love for painted elephants…

I promise no more elephants, since it was only a 20 minute journey up to the fort.  We undocked and climbed the stairs to the entrance of the first open courtyard.

This fort was massive and very well preserved.  No other fort has retained the original details the way that the Amber Fort has.  More to come on the Amber Fort, the rest of my stay in Jaipur, a weekend trip to Jaisalmer to ride camels in the desert, and my return to the Minny (including my first ever engagement photo session with Abby + David)!  Stay tuned!

Agra, Part ‘do’ (2)

After our great tour of the Agra Fort the day before, we woke up bright and early (6:30 a.m.) to beat the crowds to one of the world’s most recognizable monuments: The Taj Mahal.

Again, India likes grandeur.  Everything is massive.  Including the Taj complex.  So many people only pay attention to just the Taj Mahal and disregard the rest of the complex, which is equally as beautiful.  You first enter a large, walled courtyard with just a glimpse of the monument showing .

As soon as you turn down the central lane, you get this view:

Had we gotten there any earlier, this had the potential to be a pretty cool picture (thanks for ruining it, Patrick =).  And finally, you reach the inner courtyard and proceed to take thousands of pictures of the same thing in a variety of ways, enjoy:

Interesting tidbit: the four towers lean slightly outward to adjust for the imperfections of the human eye to make everything appear completely symmetrical.

Jumping pictures are always appropriate.  And close-ups of all the details; I love, love, love Islamic calligraphy – so beautiful!  And the religion is as fascinating as it is misunderstood by the West – if you ever get a chance to take a course in Islam (esp. at CSB/SJU with Armajani), I highly recommend it!

Some people in our group didn’t even wander into the other buildings surrounding the Taj.  They missed out on some incredible Indo-Islamic design in the right-side mosque:

When you are on the actual white granite part of the Taj Mahal, you leave your shoes at the staircase; when it has rained, it is extremely slipper!

A big congratulations goes out to Gar and Kolleen Kellom, who welcomed into the world two twin grandchildren while we were at the Taj.  Gar – “someday I’ll bring them to the Taj and tell them, ‘while you were being born, I was sitting right here”:

After the few hours (to little in my opinion..), we took off for our final destination in the tour of the Golden Triangle and drop off point for Patrick, Ryan and myself, the desert city of Jaipur.  It was a long drive, made longer by traffic jams on the highway, backed up for hours…