Our next stop on the tour of Jaipur was supposed to be the zoo (more on that later) but it ended up being the Albert Hall Museum.
There are so many pigeons at this place. Sooooo many pigeons. In fact, the number of pigeons is so high that there are bird nets all over every possible opening into the museum. You actually have to enter through bird nets into the main entry and then again at the foyer beyond.
While I was there, the pigeons conducted repeated murmurations (YouTube that word – the videos are amazing). It is basically when they all take off at once, circle slowly and then land together. The pigeons at Albert Hall Museum did this repeatedly but… it kept people off the lawns anyway.
I don’t know what attracts them to this place – there are lawns all over the place in Jaipur and there didn’t seem to be any particular food for them here (one of the few places with no garbage strewn about). The first time they did it, it was sort of awesome to watch. The second time was pretty cool too but by the third murmuration, I was getting a little concerned. Images of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” were starting to fill my head.
The Albert Hall Museum itself is quite a collection and definitely worth a visit. I’m not big on museums myself but this one is well planned, flows nicely and was quite interesting. And, thanks to the copious bird netting, pigeon-free.
The foundation stone of this building (which is stunning) was laid for a visit from the Prince of Wales. At the time they laid the foundation stone, they had no idea what the building would be. No idea at all. It was finally decided, some five years after construction began that it would be a museum to the ‘industrial’ arts.
Along with an impressive collection of artwork from around the world, the museum houses amazing pieces of metal work, blue ceramic artwork, arms and armour, sculpture work, miniature paintings, jewellery, and marble work. All of it is outstanding.
Apparently the museum was meant to inspire local artists so that they kept their traditional artwork alive and they continued to build on and improve their skills. If the work in the museum is an example of what local craftsmen are capable of… wow.
Following the pictures from the museum you will see a cenotaph and obelisk which I am told (by my paan chewing auto-driver) is dedicated to police officers in Rajasthan who participated in World War I & II. We didn’t stop for a proper picture because traffic was heavy, this is in a 5 foot diameter circle in the middle of traffic and there was nowhere safe to stop.
You’ll note the number of helmets on motorcyclists in the picture? Yeah, the only place I’ve seen motorcyclists wear helmets so regularly is Jaipur. This does not happen anywhere else I’ve been, so good on you drivers in Jaipur. Way to be safe.
Following that, you will see all that really exists of the “pink city”, a small strip near the Hawa Mahal and the Jantar Mantar. More on the pink city thing in a later post though.
Sorry the post is short today but there it is – the beautiful museum and the crazy pigeons. Next stop on this trip to Jaipur is the Jantar Mantar (I expect). Until then all,