March 2006
Rajasthan, India
From 3 to 22 March 2006 we traveled around Rajasthan in India. We saw the Taj Mahal in Agra, bicycled around Keoladeo NP at Bharatpur, saw tigers at Ranthambore NP, played Holi in Jaipur and saw many forts and palaces.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
1/73 On our first day in India we picked up our train tickets at New Delhi station and visited Jama Masjid (The Friday Mosque). This is the view from the front steps of the north entrance steps.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
2/73 This is inside the mosque. In the afternoon we went to the Digambara Jain Temple, where we visited the bird hospital.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
3/73 On our second day we took the 2-hour Shatabdi Express train from Delhi to Agra. From the rooftop of Hotel Kamal we had this great view of the Taj Mahal.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
4/73 In the afternoon we walked around the Taj Nature Walk, a supposed 'mini-wilderness', but we didn't see any wildlife. We had lunch at the garden restaurant across from the park.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
5/73 Pigeon fanciers, called kabootar baz, exercise their birds as the sun goes down. From the rooftop of our Taj Ganj-area hotel, we saw several flocks flying acrobatically above the houses. The baz control their pigeons with a code of high-pitched whistles and calls that are a feature of Muslim districts like Taj Ganj.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
6/73 The next day we got up early to see the sun rise at the Taj Mahal, which opened at 6am. Our visit lasted three hours, as we walked around the expansive grounds along the Yamuna River.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
7/73 A parakeet behind the Taj Mahal. Other wildlife we spotted while at the Taj were common myna; Egyptian vulture; three-striped squirrel; egret and black-winged stilt (in the Yamuna); rhesus macaque; and jungle babbler.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
8/73 This building to the east of the Taj Mahal, the jawab, is identical to the mosque on the west-side, but was built mainly just for symmetry.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
9/73 We hired a rickshaw to bring us to Akbar's Mausoleum and Agra Fort. Here we are in front of Akbar's Mausoleum.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
10/73 The grounds of the tomb are inhabited by blackbuck deer, and hanuman langurs like these, sitting in the cool shade.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
11/73 Akbar's Mausoleum is a huge monument which commemorates the greatest Mughal emperor. Here is a detail from the tomb.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
12/73 Here is a room in Agra Fort, which was begun in 1565 by Akbar. The fort is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
13/73 For dinner we went to Yash Cafe, which was just around the corner from our hotel.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
14/73 The following morning we hired a car to bring us to Bharatpur. On the way we stopped at another UNESCO site, Fatehpur Sikri, 40km west of Agra.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
15/73 Emperor Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri to be the new capital of the Mughal empire, but the city was abandoned after only 14 years due to water problems. The site is now a fortified ghost city.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
16/73 In the afternoon we hired two bikes and had our first visit to Keoladeo National Park, an important bird sanctuary.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
17/73 After our four hour visit on the 7th, we spent the entire next day in the park. This is the main road which bisects the park, with wetlands on either side.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
18/73 So long after the monsoon, the population of birds was still impressive and we saw many different species, including lots of storks, cranes, egrets, pelicans, ducks, geese, raptors, etc.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
19/73 Here is a group of Spotted Deer in a dry part of the park. We also saw Wild Dogs (Dhole) and a Small Indian Mongoose in the park.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
20/73 Here is a Nilgai, or Blue Bull. An ungainly creature, the Nilgai is India's largest antelope.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
21/73 The next day we had an afternoon safari in Ranthambhore National Park. This is the first gate into the park.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
22/73 Over two days we had three jeep safaris in the park. This photo was taken at a checkpoint inside the park. Rangers are stationed inside the park to prevent poaching.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
23/73 On our second safari we saw two tigers cross the road right in front of our jeep. No one had seen any tigers in the park for a week, so we were very lucky.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
24/73 First the mother, pictured here, crossed the road. A few minutes later her one-year-old male cub crossed to join her. A female cub remained hidden in the grass.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
25/73 The park is full of animals and birds. Besides the tigers we saw many other creatures, including this female Sambar.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
26/73 High on a ledge above the road we saw this Common Leopard. Our guide told us that since they are shy, nocturnal animals, they are seldom seen by visitors, on average just once per month.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
27/73 Our fantastic guide, Satish, also pointed out many birds to us, including this Spotted Owl.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
28/73 Here a male Sambar comes out of the water, sporting a Cattle Egret on his back.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
29/73 This is a Rufous Treepie, an orange version of the Magpie. Treepies were common in the park and begged for food at various checkpoints.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
30/73 Our next stop was Kota, where we stayed at the Palkiya Haveli in the old city. Here is a picture of the courtyard, taken from our room.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
31/73 In Kota we visited the City Palace and Fort. Here Arthur stands in front of one of the gates. Inside we looked at the Rao Madho Singh Museum.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
32/73 We took a rickshaw to Chambal Gardens, where we saw this Pond Heron. The park was full of locals enjoying the mild day.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
33/73 We took a boat ride on the Chambal River, hoping to spot some Gharials, long-snouted crocodiles.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
34/73 Unfortunately the Gharials were all hiding. We did see lots of birds though, including this pair of Egyptian Vultures on their nest.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
35/73 After a four-hour train ride on Sunday the 12th, we arrived in Jaipur, the pink city. In the afternoon we walked from our hotel, Arya Niwas, to the city gate.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
36/73 A public restroom in our hotel had this half-Western/half-Indian toilet.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
37/73 In the morning we went to the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
38/73 The intricate lattice work windows were created so that the royal harem could watch what was happening in the city without being seen themselves.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
39/73 Here is a view of Siredeori Bazaar, the road running in front of the Hawa Mahal.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
40/73 Two days before Holi, street vendors were already selling colored powder to be used in the festival.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
41/73 We visited Jantar Mantar, one of five observatories begun by Jai Singh in 1728. Of the five, this was the largest and best-preserved, and includes the world's largest sundial, shown here.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
42/73 Next we visited the City Palace and the many museums inside. The Maharajah of Jaipur still lives in the complex.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
43/73 Late in the afternoon we went to see two temples: Galta and Surya Mandir. Surya Mandir is the Temple of the Sun God. Galta, the Monkey Temple, attracts hoards of macaques at sunset, when they are offered food by the faithful (and tourists).
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
44/73 That evening we went to the Raj Mandir cinema. We saw Malamaal Weekly, a broad comedy. The house was packed.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
45/73 The next day we went to see the Elephant Festival. First there was a procession through the city, featuring dozens of decorated elephants.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
46/73 The pachyderms walked from the Ram Niwas public gardens into the pink city, ending up at Chaughan Stadium.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
47/73 In the evening there was an elephant polo match. The game ended in a tie between teams from Amber and Jaipur.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
48/73 Wednesday, 15 March was Holi, the Hindu festival of colors to mark the end of winter. We walked through the city and 'played colors' with the locals.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
49/73 We sat by the Choti Chaupar roundabout with our bags of color and watched the activity around us. People came up to us to wish us a Happy Holi and color us with their powder.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
50/73 The next city we visited was Bikaner, where we felt like royalty staying in the magnificent Bhanwar Niwas Haveli.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
51/73 Dinner in the haveli dining hall was fantastic, with attentive staff catering to our every need.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
52/73 Here's Arthur enjoying the good life, in his Indian kurta.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
53/73 The next morning we took a stroll in the city and saw these street dogs sleeping in a rickshaw. Notice the dog on the right has some Holi colors on him.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
54/73 In Bikaner we visited the fort, Junagarh, with a guide.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
55/73 This is the Badal Mahal, or Cloud Palace, inside the fort. Typical of desert Bikaner, the walls are painted with a storm motif, complete with clouds and lightening bolts.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
56/73 In the afternoon we drove to Deshnok, to visit the Karni Mata temple, also known as the Rat Temple. Notice the netting above the main courtyard, to prevent raptors from hunting the holy rats.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
57/73 Rats are the reincarnated relatives of Hindu god Karni Mata, and are sacred. They roam freely in the complex.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
58/73 Before returning to the haveli, we stopped at the Bhandasar Jain Temple, built in 1468.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
59/73 This is the courtyard of the haveli. The morning we left, a group came as part of a tour.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
60/73 Our next stop was Jodhpur, the blue city.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
61/73 From Jodhpur we visited some villages in the countryside. We saw some wildlife, like this little Chinkara antelope.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
62/73 We visited a memorial at Khejadali village, which commemorates the 1730 sacrifice of 363 villagers who lost their lives protecting sacred khejri trees.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
63/73 We also visited this Bishnoi family. The Bishnoi live in traditional housing with extended family.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
64/73 In another village we visited a potter's workshop. Arthur tried his hand at the wheel.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
65/73 We saw these camels walking in the desert.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
66/73 At the weaver's shop Amy asked to use the bathroom. First the water buffalo had to be shooed away...
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
67/73 In the afternoon we took a walk in Jodhpur's old city, and had a drink at the Sarvar rooftop restaurant.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
68/73 The next day we toured Meherangarh, perhaps the best preserved fort in Rajasthan. Admission included a fantastic audio guide.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
69/73 We had a nice view over Jodhpur from the fort's ramparts.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
70/73 On the 20th we took the Mandor Express night train from Jodhpur to Delhi.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
71/73 In Delhi we visited the Gandhi Memorial Museum, close to Raj Ghat. In one room was a selection of spinning wheels and other cloth-making paraphernalia.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
72/73 We took the new Delhi metro to the Central Secretariat. We walked along Rajpath, a wide boulevard flanked by green parks.
 - (1970-01-01 2006) - Photo Album Amy Evenstad and Arthur de Wolf
73/73 In the afternoon we visited the National Museum. Afterwards we made a mad dash through Connaught Place and the bazaars of Panharganj for some last minute shopping before heading to the airport.