Jaipur Travel Journal, V

Jaipur, India

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The Monkey Temple was one of my favorite places in Jaipur.  The temple sits on the outskirts of the city, and even though it's a stone's throw from the city, it feels completely remote and antiquated.

You begin at the base of a mountain, which climbs slowly upwards and peaks in a sweeping view of the city.  Monkeys and pigs roam all over the mountain, picking up anything that looks edible.  When you reach the top of the mountain, you can visit a few holy buildings, where religious men dwell.

The descent leads down the other side of the mountain, towards an ancient city filled with minor temples.  There are three baths built into the mountainside: one for animals, one for men, and one for women.  Men and women dressed in every shade of the rainbow bathe and wash their clothing in these baths, before descending into the ancient city to dry themselves off in the sunshine.

The city felt like something I had discovered in the middle of a canyon, and with the exception of one German couple, there was no sign of other Westerners.  The city was indescribably beautiful, extemporaneous and strange, with banyan trees weaving their branches through gaps in the stone walls.  

On a side note, the guides here are very aggressive and you might get stuck with someone you don't like.  You are not obligated to go with a guide, and it's pointless to hire one unless you're alone and want someone to take pictures of you.  My guide was awesome, and after looking through my photos, I wished that I had tipped him two or three times as much as I did.  If you go to the temple, look for a skinny teenage boy standing in the parking lot, looking nervous and uncomfortable, because he's a great photographer and well worth the price.

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