After Annapurna we decompressed nicely lakeside in Pokhara which is a great place to achieve such a lofty goal. We remained there for 4 days reading, writing, napping, or whatever else suited our fancy in the moment. Before heading to India by air, however, we needed to get back to Kathmandu since the thought of a 30 hour combination of buses, jeeps, and trains seemed rightly out of the question. At 2pm on November 11th
we flew Indigo Airlines budget flight to New Delhi India.
The flight was a joy except for a minor hiccup of me dropping my passport on the floor of the plane on embarkment. For a moment I actually thought I wouldn’t be allowed to enter India but it turned up and my panic attack subsided. We had arranged to be picked up at the airport but as per usual Delhi, that was a scam and an absolute hassle so I used the prepaid taxi stand to avoid further yelling. We tried a different area of Delhi as I didn’t really enjoy my previous trips location and went to the more residential area of Karol Bhag and enjoyed an amazing homestay complete with Indian Whiskey nightly after
From Karol Bahg we managed to explore the city a little by Metro which was clean and impressive. Unfortunately, or maybe gratefully, the major sites of Delhi were closed being Monday so we just explored and ate street food. The Masala Dosa’s and Samosa are to die for as long as you don’t look to closely at the level of hygiene in preparation. Our goal for the day was primarily to round up train tickets to Jaipur and despite more of the usual con’s and hassles (which are all well documented in guides), we had those sorted after about an hour and a half in line at the train station.
The next morning at 6:30 we awoke and made our way to the street for our train to the Diwali celebrations in the Pink City, Jaipur. As it was the first day of celebrations we were told repeatedly that we wouldn’t be able to find rickshaws due to the holiday. Of course it took about 30 seconds to get one and we were at the station in plenty of time for a Chai and Bread Pokora before our first train of the trip which was a
We arrived on Time in Jaipur at a touch after two and the fire crackers could already be heard. I had a strange impulse of bravado and smugly walked past the Tuk Tuks relying on my memory to find my way to Bani Park and the Krishna Palace that I previously had enjoyed. I took a brief roundabout but we made it and I managed to load up on fireworks for about a dollar and a half and sweets for a dollar more. Yay Diwali!
The hotel had its own celebrations lined up for the evening. The Puja, or Hindu worship, began after the local fireworks show on the roof which almost burned the building down. It consisted of singing, praying, and eating sweets interrupted by the odd cellphone conversation by the man leading the worship. After that was all endured we headed to the roof for the real show. Endless fireworks in a 360 degree pattern around us as every home in Jaipur must have joined in. It sounded like a CNN broadcast of the siege on Baghdad but much prettier I suppose. I have a feeling many a finger were lost on November 13th
After we had our fill of that we decided to make our way into the old city to see all the old buildings draped in the event lighting. That in itself was impressive but the hordes of people still out at 11:30 pm managed to overshadow them. Diwali is a city wide (nationwide) party that I dare say would blow even the largest Xmas celebration away. It’s not a night I will soon forget.
We will spend a couple of more days exploring this city before moving on to the Rat Temples and Desert Forts of Western Rajhastan.
For more photos, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cbartonphotography/
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