After my return from Haridwar, I spent the following weeks in Jaipur and only visited the ancient Jaigarh Fort one afternoon.
Jaigarh Fort is situated on the hill above Amber and was used to defend the maharaja’s palaces. The strategic post had been used for many centuries, but most of the present structures were built in 1726 by Jai Singh II. I had visited the palace already during a one-day city tour in 2009, but the guide back then did not lead us to the particularly beautiful garden at the end of the fort – quite a pity since I found it to be the prettiest spot of the entire place. During its heyday, Jaigarh Fort was famous for its production of cannons and the foundry can also be visited. In addition, the world’s largest cannon on wheels, the “Jai Vana”, stands here. Cast in 1720, the weapon is over 6 m long and weighs around 50 tons. Due to this enormous size and weight, it could only be moved with the help of four elephants. It was shot only once and according to myth, the cannon ball flew 30 km far and created a depression which lateron became a lake. It is said that the shockwaves of the blast destroyed a number of houses and killed the gunner as well as eight other soldiers and an elephant!
After another few days in Jaipur, I left the town with my colleague. During the coming 2.5 weeks we would travel into the high Himalayas for our research!