Today we had the good fortune to visit three forts near Jaipur: Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort, and Nahargarh Fort. We spent the most time at Amber Fort because that was the first one we visited. We were trying to get to Nahargarh Fort because the Amber Fort tickets included a visit to its neighbor, but our driver misunderstood and took us to Jaigarh Fort instead. At Nahargarh Fort, we only paid a visit to the palace because we were looking for a good place to take pictures of Jaipur. Apparently the conditions weren’t right, but we did get to smell some more ancient bathrooms that didn’t stop being used once ancient times ended. (When did ancient times end? In a couple thousand years we’ll be ancient.)
Amber Fort also ended up being our favorite for a number of reasons: it was big enough to not get bored in after a short time, it had cool passageways, it had a tunnel, it had shade (yes!), it had ice cream, and we weren’t exhausted and hot when we visited it. We also got an audio guide. Ethan and I were supposed to listen to it and then tell the other three what we’d learned. The whole program was 2½ hours long, so we didn’t listen to all of it. We did learn, however, that the walls around the diwan-e-aam (hall of public audience) that looked like marble weren’t really marble. This was evident by the wasp coming out of a tiny hole in the wall, but we finally learned what the walls were: a strange mixture including yoghurt, limestone, honey, and marble dust. It was polished with agate and felt and looked just like the Taj Mahal marble.
Our favorite part was the zenana, or women’s apartments. There are stairs leading every where, a water pump, passageways just begging to be explored by kids eager to escape their parents, and plenty of smelly latrines. There were smelly areas in the other palaces too, but by then we’d learned to avoid those areas. Ciao!