Jaipur On My Mind
Jaipur Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
We left Delhi as early as we finished our breakfast from our hotel. We headed to Jaipur expecting really nothing about this “pink city”. I was seated next to our driver, Santosh. I noticed that he has more at ease with us now. He would talk in his broken English things he would want to tell us, be it sensible or otherwise. Last night in Delhi, he was just there smiling on every joke of the guide. However, he was different today. And I liked it. And since we were already friends and no longer just clients, he turned his radio on without any qualms, blasting us with Bollywood music, which was totally cool since we like his music!
The drive from Delhi to Jaipur is about 5 hours with one stopover for toilet break, and when Santosh has to pay highway tax to the state of Haryana, then to the state of Rajasthan.
The first thing that we saw in Jaipur when we arrived was the Amber Fort. We were not scheduled to stop and explore the place yet. However, being a person with no EQ, I asked Santosh to stop first so I can take some pictures. After a quick photo session, we continue driving, passing by the Jal Mahal and through the old pink city. As we continue driving, I felt as if I have not just traveled geographically but I traveled to a different time, an epoch that I am totally not familiar. It was so surreal. Once we reached the hotel (which is Clark Amber), we decided to go back to the pink city to do some shopping and some sight seeing. We ended this day with an Indian dinner cum cultural show where some kids performed some Rajasthani dance.
The following day was the touring day.
After that we headed to foot of the Amber Fort. There we started with our elephant ride. Two persons are only allowed to ride on an elephant. So I rode with our guide. It was my second elephant ride (my first was in Siem Reap), it was different in a sense that I rode a spitting pachyderm this time. I got so wet with the elephant’s spit (or whatever). I was vehemently asking the elephant caretaker to ask the animal to stop spitting, but yeah, I know, no one can make it stop. Hehehe. So instead of getting upset, I resigned to my fate and just charged it to experience.
After the ride on the pachyderm, it was time to explore the Amber Fort. Amber Fort is a massive fort-palace complex built in hybrid Hindu-Muslim style dates back to Raja Man Singh and was the royal palace of the Kachwahas. The name has nothing to do with the rather pretty pastel yellow color; instead, the fort is named after the town of Amber, in turn named after the goddess Amba. For a first-timer in India, seeing an adorned fort or castle in this style is totally awesome. Colors, colors everywhere!!! I loved it!!! We spent some hours in this fort in awe.
After the fort, we dropped by Jal Mahal or Water Palace to take some pictures. We didn’t stay long since it was already noontime and the Indian heat is starting to get unforgiving.
Then we explored the Jantar Mantar. It is the biggest of five astronomical observatory build by Maharaja Jai Singh during the period 1727-1734 in north India. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits and so on and so forth.... Our guide has done a good job in explaining the various functions of each apparatus. Though the only thing that I remember was how the sundial works.
Next to the Jantar Mantar was the City Palace. It is an imposing blend of traditional Rajput and Mughal architecture. It is a vast palace complex occupying nearly one-seventh of the Pink City. The Palace of the Wind is actually part of the Palace complex. it was an interesting place but I started to get tired of all the walking and picture taking.
After seeing what Jaipur has to offer to a simple-minded tourist like me, the agent brought us to some shops (as expected). I managed to buy some items as souvenirs.
We were supposed to eat in the hotel for our lunch, but we asked Santosh to bring us to McDonalds instead. We just want to know if it’s the same McDo that we know. Well… It was different there but just as good!
We ended this day with a drink of local beer at the rooftop bar of the hotel. I would recommend this bar, a very authentic Rajasthani. I was just so glad to be at that spot that very hour, pondering how I love Jaipur! Maybe next time, I would explore the other parts of Rajasthan too.