Sacred Travel to India: Jaipur – “the pink city”

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    Second of a four-part travel series

    Our driver, "Honey," a young gentleman with a turban of Sikh faith,
    always so gracious and accommodating with a happy demeanor, picked us up from our
    hotel. Gary (my husband, the Edge Life publisher) and I were ready to begin our next
    stage of our journey.

    Industrialization was very evident as soon as we reached the outskirts of Delhi.
    Massive industrial complexes and huge office buildings, most of them fairly new,
    were built within the last 10 years. India has the fourth-largest economy in purchasing
    power and the second fastest-growing economy in the world. According to the latest
    statistics, the population of India is about 1.1 billion, second only to China. The
    people of India speak more than 1,000 dialects. Indian dress and culture varies from
    state to state, each with unique charm.

    There was a marked difference in cultures as soon as we entered the state of Rajasthan,
    of which Jaipur is the capital. Seventy percent of Indians live in rural areas, and
    agriculture is a very important part of India, especially in this region. We saw
    an occasional farmer in a carriage pulled by camels. Camels are more prevalent in
    northern India. Rajasthan has an annual Camel Festival in January of each year. Most
    of the rural farming communities have little or no modern farming equipment; most
    of the tilling and other farm labor is done manually. Woman in their colorful clothes
    were quite a sight to behold in the fields.
    We arrived in Jaipur, "The Pink City," famous for its colorful culture,
    forts, palaces and lakes – and quite renowned for its semi-precious stones, polishing
    and jewelry design industry. The city basks in the glory of a rich and eventful past.

    Jaipur – built upon scientific principles and planned according to Shilpa Shastra,
    an ancient Hindu method of architecture – was created in fewer than eight years
    and is considered one of India’s best-planned cities. Jaipur was painted pink in
    1876 as part of the celebration to host King Edward VII, the British monarch of that
    era and Emperor of India. The color was chosen after several experiments to cut down
    the intense glare from the blazing rays of the sun. The effect remains to this day.
    City Gate, one of the many entrances to the city, is very ornately designed with
    great architectural detail. The demeanor of the city is one of welcoming joy. Our
    experience in this city was of great fun and laughter, and we had a sense of familiarity
    here.

    Amber Fort, which was the capital of the Rajput Kings, is now a historical site.
    It was constructed of red sandstone, like most of the other palaces and historical
    buildings in and around Jaipur. We rode an elephant up a steep driveway toward the
    buildings, which housed the living quarters for the kings in an earlier period and
    includes administrative buildings and a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali. One
    of the priests gifted us with a garland and placed it around our necks. It was so
    touching and felt physically and spiritually energizing. We left the garlands on
    for most of the day as it felt very comforting to do so.

    We continued our tour at Sawai Jai Singh’s Chandra Mahal (Moon Palace), better known
    as The City Palace, the official residence of the royal family. It was built in 1732
    by Maharaja Jai Singh. The royal family lives in a portion of this palace; outer
    courtyards and the ground floor and halls have been converted into a museum. The
    present royal family, the Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singhji and his family, have hosted
    many dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Prince Charles
    and Lady Diana, other royalty from European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries,
    Jacqueline Kennedy and President Clinton.
    The palace is filled with great works of art, as well as an observatory designed
    by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1728 to satisfy his passion for astronomy. The museum exhibits
    a rare collection of ancient manuscripts, portraits, chandeliers, a golden throne,
    a fascinating range of priceless miniature paintings in the Rajput style, exquisite
    antique carpets and various other artifacts representing the magnificence and glory
    of each reigning era.

    Gary and I had the opportunity for a brief consultation with the court astrologer,
    who was very accurate in his reading. One of the Indian newspapers noted his accuracy,
    and he has become quite renowned in his field. If you ever visit India, you may enjoy
    a reading from this astrologer. Our tour guide overheard a portion of my reading
    and was so impressed that he touched my feet and held his hands to his lips as a
    form of respect, which is normally given to people close to God. I felt greatly embarrassed
    with such homage and at the same time greatly humbled. Gary’s readings also were
    very honoring for all the wonderful work he has done for the community in bridging
    the gap between the mainstream and spirituality.
    We ended the day at a restaurant that features folk dancing and an earlier style
    of court dancers who entertained the reigning kings of that period. The dancers were
    elaborately and colorfully dressed, and the music was very enchanting and hypnotic.
    A young dancer chose people from the audience and took them center stage to dance
    with her. I had my turn, and the dance ended with great clapping of hands from guests
    after an intense five minutes of juggling and twisting. Then it was Gary’s turn.
    He was in his element and was delightfully funny and quite hilarious with his antics.
    He was so overwhelmed with the dancer that he tipped her quite handsomely and she
    continued serenading him for the rest of the evening. BIG BECK! WHAT A TREAT! It
    was a real fun evening for all of us.

    Next month: A visit to Agra and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj
    Mahal.

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    Insiah Beckman
    Insiah Beckman is South African born has been living in the Unites States since 1995. She is a Reiki Master, Ordained Minister, Teacher, Higher Soul Readings, Spiritual Coach and Channels a group of Light Beings who identify themselves as "The Counsel of Elders." Insiah and her husband, Gary, produce Edge Life Expos & Events and have been bringing together seekers of truth for the past 20 years.

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