Photographs with Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

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We leave Ajmer and head to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, which is the state capital. It is painted pink, actually terracotta, as a sign of hospitality and welcome first under the dictum of the Maharajah of Jaipur for the visit of Britain's Prince Albert. In the first evening, we attended a concert of classical Indian music and the next day we toured a noble palace fort.

Our hotel was the Holiday Inn at City Centre, a modern, bland building of no merit. [stock photo] The inner courtyard of rooms reminds me of a prison. [stock photo] Heading into the old part of the city. Shops in terracotta buildings. Another example of the architecture. Details of the flower  decorations. A quick, somewhat blurry image of a typical  side street that is dense with people and vehicles. With the exception of the major toll highways, India does not mark lanes in streets, and the plethora of 2-cylinder motorcycles, scooters, motor-rickshaws, cars, and trucks vie for a spot, all honking crazily. It creates a loud din and polluted atmosphere.


Trees and warm hues of the buildings.

Another example with curved roof lines and domes.

The gate to a temple plaza.

A shrine to the monkey diety, Hanuman, brave and loyal hero of the Ramayana.

Entering the temple of Krishna, the Hindu parallel to the Greek god Apollo.

Column decoration of woman blowing a trumpet.


Another side of the column with a woman playing the double-sided drum, the dholak. The devotees face the altar with the statue of Krishna where the curtain is opened during the arti rite, with fire blessings. The altar curtain is closed. The altar is now seen. After the worshippers raise their hands and vocalize an exclamation, they begin to pray. Note the crowd outside the temple. Also, the worshipers circumnavigate the altar chamber clockwise. Then a group sing bhajan devotional songs with drum accompaniment. [credit: Andrea Vasconcellos]
The next morning we ride elephants!
In the evening at the hotel, we hear a classical concert with santoor, sitar, and tabla. The santoorist is Kayam Ali Kawa The jam begins and later we hear Hava Nagila to close the concert. Yuval and Rik Howard in this image. And Jaime and another percussionist in this one. The elephants are humanely limited to two passenger plus mahout and travel up and down the incline only twice a day. The Amar Fortress complex includes defensive installations on nearby mountains, as here. Another fort providing defense in depth.
The fortresses continue along the ridge. Then we see the main fortress The main gate. The elephants follow the walls on the right.

The parade of elephants moves to the disembarking platform.

The plaza and the mountain.



The majestic entrance to the palace. The view to right and the fort's outposts. The view to left and its outposts along the wall. Protection from above. The elephants return home, their work day completed.
Column work of various architectural influences.


An elephant adorns the column.
The palace entrance again but close-up showing Ganesha. The inner garden. Exquisite vase decorations. Handsome corner of door and niche. Detailing of wall and ceiling of inner pavilion.

Marble and classical Indian arches.
The inlay work of the ceiling. Detail showing mirrors. Close-up of pavilion wall. Richness within. Another view. Note the upper grillwork.

Carved marble fence. More examples of marble fence. Indian marble is very dense and repels water. Animal decorations. More heroes and animals. Peacocks, geese The private enteraintment  pavilion of the maharajah and harem.

Leaving the complex.
A tower above another fort. Heading back to Dehli and passing this lake retreat. Suddenly, we view industry. Then housing complexes. New construction: an indicator of economic progress in India.
We arrive in Dehli and the Holiday Inn at the Airport. After a last Indian dinner, which remarkably is the best quality hotel meal over the entire tour, we separate and depart for home or for further locations in India, Nepal, or elsewhere. My next stop is the Dubai airport to change airplanes and head back to San Francisco, flying over the North Pole.

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Links to other tours with the Yuval Ron Ensemble, in Spain and Turkey, may be found on the home page.