November 3, 2013

Today we were beginning our week long trip outside of Delhi. Our first destination is Japiur, a city in Rajasthan, where we would be celebrating the Diwali holiday.  The trip took about 6 hours and when we arrived we were all excited to explore. The group split up and I chose to go to Galti Ji, the Monkey Temple. After driving under the city gate our auto stopped and was surrounded by monkeys, cows, pigs and goats.IMG_0011 IMG_0017 IMG_0018 IMG_0019 Ahead of us was a steep hill, and after buying some nuts for the monkeys, we started our ascent. We hired two “protectors” to tell us about the temple, the monkeys and make sure none attacked us.IMG_0039 IMG_0048 The Monkey Temple was awesome and it was thrilling to get so close to the monkeys and feed them. We witnessed monkey fights and saw baby monkeys clinging onto their mothers for dear life. IMG_0051 IMG_0054 IMG_0057 IMG_0064 IMG_0078 IMG_0084 ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? IMG_0140After the temple we went back to the guesthouse and freshened up before dinner and the Diwali celebrations. When we were finished eating we all went up to the roof and spent hours setting off sparklers, fireworks, and firecrackers. I have never been much of a firework person but I was very excited to play around with the shutter speed on my camera to get some good shots of the lights and everyone dancing around. The entire city was setting of fireworks and we heard them going off until the early hours of morning. IMG_0200 IMG_0217 IMG_0251 IMG_0252 IMG_0255 IMG_0264 IMG_0271 IMG_0308 IMG_0300 IMG_0354 IMG_0378 IMG_0383 IMG_0391 November 4, 2013

Today might have been the craziest touring day of my entire life. In twelve hours, we managed to see all of the most incredible sights in Jaipur. We met up with our auto driver Shake at 9:30 and he first took us into the Pink City to the Hawa Mahal, The Palace of the Winds. IMG_0441The Wind Palace was constructed in 1799 and has five floors containing 365 windows. The Palace is on the main city street and was built so that the royal woman could look out and observe everyday life without being seen from below. There are 365 windows so the royal women could sit at a different window each day of the year and the windows allowed for the strong winds to pass through the structure and keep the royal women cool. IMG_0450 IMG_0461 IMG_0466 IMG_0463 IMG_0472 IMG_0476Our next stop was the Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory which exceeded my expectations with flying colors. I was blown away by the precise and genius tools. We got a new guide when we were inside and most of the stuff he told us just went right over my head. Jantar Mantar was built by Sawai Jai Singh, a Rajput king who built five facilities in different locations around India and this is the only working observatory. They had fourteen major devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars, and determining altitudes. All of the tools are fixed and work off of the suns shadow.IMG_0497 IMG_0498 IMG_0503 IMG_0506 IMG_0495 IMG_0496 IMG_0519 IMG_0521 IMG_0527 The Jaipur Jantar Mantar has the world’s largest sundial measuring 90 feet high and has a two second accuracy, as determining the time of the day. It was so cool seeing how far the shadow moved just in the couple of minutes we were watching it! IMG_0529 IMG_0530 IMG_0542We then made a quick stop at Jal Mahal, the Water Palace, located in the middle of the Man Sagar lake. The palace is closed to visitors so we just had to look at it from ashore.IMG_0571 IMG_0573 IMG_0575 After a quick lunch we moved on to visit a textile factory and market. The factory was closed but a man showed us how the products were made with stamps and used the stamps inverse to color objects in.IMG_0604 IMG_0599 IMG_0611 IMG_0619 IMG_0620 IMG_0623 IMG_0626 IMG_0624 IMG_0628 IMG_0629 He then showed us tons of products from bed spreads, to table cloths, purses, pashminas, and custom made suits. We all walked out with bags in our hands and our wallets a little lighter. Our next stop was to ride some elephants! Katie, Ben and I were on one and Cole and Sammy on another. The elephant ride was through the a small village area in the city and it was awesome passing by people homes while being at the level of their roofs. Everyone in the village was excited to see white people and they gathered around as we walked by and ferociously waved at us as we passed.IMG_0631 ??????????????????????????????? IMG_0671 ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? IMG_0720 IMG_0721 IMG_0726After our elephant excursion we took a quick stop at the Kanak Vrindavan, a beautiful garden with simple fountains surrounding the greenery. IMG_0780 IMG_0781 IMG_0784 IMG_0789 IMG_0794 IMG_0795Our final stop of the day was Nahargarh Fort, also known as Tiger Fort, to see the sunset. The fort is located in the Aravalli Hills and overlooks the pink city. On the way up the mountain, we got stuck behind a tour bus, which was having a very difficult time navigating through the narrow roads and avoiding the cattle in the street, that a huge amount of traffic formed behind it. When we got up to the fort we did not have time to go inside so instead we went on a short hike along the wall and found a spot we could climb up on and enjoy some snacks while looking out on the city. The view was fascinating and we ended up staying for hours just watching homes light up and fireworks go off around the entire city. IMG_0820 IMG_0823 IMG_0836 IMG_0842 IMG_0864 IMG_0866

November 5, 2013

This morning we had to get back to some class work and we started off the morning with a fun little quiz. Yes, I am being sarcastic. We then had a visitor Paul Suit come and talk to us about his involvement in Made By Survivors. “Made by Survivors is an international nonprofit and social enterprise which employs and educates survivors of slavery and people at extreme risk, including many women and children living in extreme poverty.” Their program recruits survivors of slavery and provides emotional treatment, education, housing, and employment for women. Made by Survivors pays their employees’ fair wages enabling them to support themselves and often allows these women to make more money than their male partners. 100% of Made by Survivors profits are given back to the rescue, education, housing and healthcare of the women.  We took an academic break and went out for an excursion to a Jain Temple, Albari Mosque and ended at Amber Fort and Palace. IMG_0887 IMG_0889 IMG_0886 IMG_0906 IMG_0910 IMG_0913 IMG_0917 IMG_0921The fort is located on a hill and overlooks the Maota Lake. When we walked up the hill we saw a beautiful elephant in the courtyard and then walked up the sandstone stairs to enter the Palace. My favorite part of the palace was the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) covered with mirror mosaics from floor to ceiling and all across. IMG_0935 IMG_0941IMG_0954IMG_0961IMG_0962IMG_0966IMG_0973IMG_0983IMG_0982IMG_0994IMG_1007After the palace we had some free time before dinner and our night session to plan for Bal Ashram.

November 6, 2013

On our way to Bal Ashram we made a quick stop at Jaipur Rugs, a handmade carpet company founded and run by a Babson alumni’s father. Jaipur Rugs has structured it’s business model to cut out the middlemen and instead directly works with the weavers. Japiur Rugs uses weavers in rural areas around India and goes as far as installing the looms in homes, educating weavers, installing electronic systems to track a rugs process and compensates weavers when rugs are complete.  The average time to complete a rug is 3-4 months but some of the higher quality rugs take as long as 8 months. Jaipur Rugs is currently working with 40,000 artisans in 600 villages and 5 states in India.IMG_1040IMG_1045IMG_1055 IMG_1056 IMG_1057 IMG_1058IMG_1062 IMG_1061

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