The Pink City


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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jaipur
January 31st 2012
Published: May 21st 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Agra to Jaipur


Twenty one kilometres down the Jaipur road from Fatehpur Sikri is the Keoladeo Ghana National Park another World Heritage site and a former hunting preserved turned National Park set up in 1982 to protect migrating birds some from as far away as Siberia. We hired a horse and cart at the entrance to take us into the park for around an hour and a half, the cart was drawn by a native Marwari horse which had pointy ears that almost touched above its head. After only a few minutes trotting down the track we saw our first owl and then a Hoopoe. The weather is lovely today and the surroundings are for India extremely peaceful. Soon we were seeing Ringed Parakeets, breeding Painted Storks in their huge tree top nests, Greater Egrets, Chinese Coots, Magpie Robins and a Serpent Eagle to name just a few.

The wetlands were very beautiful taking on a peculiar pinkie red colour and the nesting storks with their squawking babies a real highlight, after clopping along for about an hour we arrived at and decided to climb a bird watching tower which provides a great view across the marshes. A short time later the driver demanded our attention so we followed him toward the lake shore where someone had discovered an adolescent python.

It was now time to return to the car, which took about thirty minutes or so catching sight of a Jackal along the way. When we arrived back at the entrance gate the cart driver tried to charge me more than the agreed price, which made me angry and took a lot of the gloss off what had been a peaceful and relaxing trip.

The road to Jaipur has some very unpleasant sights including cows eating huge amounts of plastic, mindless acts of cruelty against various animals, dogs with often horrible injuries everywhere you look, and monkeys with ropes around their necks dressed in skirts and covered in lipstick and makeup being forced to dance for ignorant stupid tourists outside restaurants.

A few kilometres short of our Jaipur Jitu suggested we visit a famous Baori or in English a step well in the nearby village of Abaneri; I had read about these and was really keen to see one, the nobles of Gujarat and Rajasthan built these as symbols of their status and power and they are often attached
Colours of the marshColours of the marshColours of the marsh

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
to a temple. This particular step well was built in the 8th Century and is twenty metres deep and square in designed. The Chand Baori is entered from the north where two balconies protrude out over the well and has a double flight of steps on its other three sides. Close by was a stunningly carved Hindu temple of the same era which although in a state of ruin (destroyed by the Muslims in the 12th Century) appears to still be in use today.

When we left the temple grounds we came across a perfectly shaped still born goat, such a shame for the goat not to have lived, but the dog that made off with its tiny body did not seem to care. I was followed the whole time we were at this village by a strange boy who I can only assume was retarded.

It took roughly an hour and a half to get to Jaipur from Abaneri and we arrived in the city around 7pm so we headed straight to the Hotel Arya Niwas a wonderful colonial era building with lovely rooms, we were extremely happy with ours. It was then time for dinner we
An owlAn owlAn owl

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
had not eaten in twelve hours so we decided to give the Indian food the flick and head to a restaurant called Little Italy where the food was good and the fruit shakes were wonderful, the only patrons here were foreigners.

Next morning we had breakfast and packed up as they have no rooms available for tonight so we are moving to their sister hotel later in the day. We travelled through the old Pink City on our way to Amber and the impressive Amber Fort, our driver dropped us at the Chand Pol (Moon Gate) and we were spellbound by this stunning palace constructed from yellow and pink sandstone and white marble. The Maharajahs apartments were stunning as were the many audience halls and the views from the ramparts of the Maota Lake were dramatic. It was nice to leave though as the tourists are everywhere and they are rude, I was tempted to slap one of the Japanese who thought it funny to make jokes at my expense behind my back.

From here we went up to the Nahargahr or the Tiger Fort, here we got ourselves a guide and he explained that the Maharajahs nine
A pair of ducks rest above the marshA pair of ducks rest above the marshA pair of ducks rest above the marsh

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
queens lived here in identical yet separate apartments all of which were stunningly decorated. The king had a corridor which allowed him to visit whichever queen he liked without the others knowing. Unfortunately my camera ceased to work so there was no choice but to return to Jaipur stopping briefly at the stunning Water Palace which is built in the middle of a lake.

Jitu is a Jaipur local and he suggested a camera repairer that he knew, he looked at the camera and said he would get it fixed as he climbed on to a motorbike and sped off; we had a few other things to sort out and needed some lunch so we visited Pizza Hut, and finally got my mobile phone sorted, it seems the guy in Bangalore that was supposed to set up my phone pocketed my money and never sent my form through. Indians are scum.

After lunch we returned to last night’s lodgings and picked up our belongings for Jai Nawas which was a bit seventies but was clean and quiet and pleasant. It was then time to see some of the cities sights with the Jantar Matar one of Sawai Jai
Tortoise suns itselfTortoise suns itselfTortoise suns itself

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Singhs five famous astronomical observatories, we could not find a guide so we had no idea what this place was all about, we then crossed the road to the City Palace, where the so called official guides tried to cheat us and I had a run in with a self-important door man over a photo, there were to many ignorant and rude tour groups here so we left.

It was time to return to the shop where I had left my camera, they showed me the camera and assured me it was fine and initially it seemed fine, but when I tried to use it I discovered that they had just changed the settings and had not repaired the auto focus on the lens so I went back to the shop. After arguing with the lying, cheating bastards and getting nowhere in a hurry I just gave up, better that than a rage induced heart attack, Jitu is unhappy about our treatment and has gone looking for a new lens for me. Some hours later Jitu returned and ushered me into the car and we drove to an official Canon dealer, they told me it would take several weeks
Great EgretGreat EgretGreat Egret

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
to get the lens fixed so I had no choice but to purchase a new one for $150. When I returned to Australia I cancelled the credit card transaction for the camera repair so I hope those cheats got nothing.

Later that evening I met up with Jitu’s boss and planned the remainder of our trip before heading off to bed, what a shocking day.


Additional photos below
Photos: 58, Displayed: 27


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Painted StorkPainted Stork
Painted Stork

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Painted StorkPainted Stork
Painted Stork

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Nesting StorksNesting Storks
Nesting Storks

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
A Lion BirdA Lion Bird
A Lion Bird

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Ruth makes a friendRuth makes a friend
Ruth makes a friend

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
A jackal stands guard over a Hindu ShrineA jackal stands guard over a Hindu Shrine
A jackal stands guard over a Hindu Shrine

Keoladeo Ghana National Park
Chand Baori Chand Baori
Chand Baori

Rajasthan
Chand Baori Chand Baori
Chand Baori

Rajasthan
Chand Baori Chand Baori
Chand Baori

Rajasthan


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