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Published: February 10th 2018
Another brilliant day and blue sky sunny too. Perfect daytime temperature at about 24 degrees for sightseeing but the evening temperature could do with being a couple of degrees higher as need to wear a jacket against the evening chill and have not really come equipped for that.
We were up and out bright and early for our trip to the Amber (Amer to the locals) Fort which is 11 km out of town. We booked a hotel taxi, same as previous day and in fact hadn't even paid him yet for yesterday as he didn't seem to care about when he got his money.
Hard to tell where end of Jaipur is as it's quite a big sprawl, but when we spotted a camel being walked down the road we thought perhaps we were into a slightly more rural area.
After a climb we came to the magnificent sight of the Amber Fort on top of the hillside to our left. Taxi driver pulled in for obligatory photos and I took some of the Fort, the lake below it and an assortment of animals wandering on the water's edge. No pigs here but plenty of grey, bristly boars.
Also saw the elephants winding their way up the hill to the fort with tourists riding 2 to 4 to an elephant. We had been offered the option of entering the fort by elephant but declined. We've 'done' elephant rides in Thailand and that along a jungle trail and where we saw the elephants being treated with the utmost respect and kindness. Have read reports that the Amber Fort elephants (more than 100 of them) are not so lucky.
Other option to approach the fort was on foot. That got a big No. I am now resigned to having to carry my fold-up stick around with me for occasions where I may need to climb hills and steps but that hill looked much too much for my knee.
So the taxi took us up and it was undoubtedly the best way to get there as we drove up a very narrow road, decidedly single track, between buildings, shops to either side and no room at all for the scooters and bikes which squeezed their way past on their way down. Eventually we came to the approach road to the Fort. Slow but fascinating and plenty of time to take
in our surroundings. Must have taken 30 minutes to get to the top of the road where the taxi headed off to find a parking spot and Bob and I went up the pathway to the Fort.
I don't need to describe it, only by my photograph, except to say the views are phenomenal, the decoration of much of the buildings sensational, painting and carving (marble and wood) and mirror mosaic. We were not the only visitors but the place is enormous with must be hundreds of little rooms and passageways and ultra steep stairs and also large open spaces. We ended up right at the top courtesy of one of the guards who obviously realised we were an unaccompanied party of two and therefore likely subjects for a photographic session. Yes that one cost me another 100 rupees but Bob and I are now pictured at the very top of the Fort with views across to the other Fort, Jaipur, which housed the military. Amber Fort was the royal household but they are connected together by underground tunnels. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 16th century.
We really enjoyed our trip and I
hope anyone reading this enjoys the pictures as much we did the real thing. Highly recommended.
We decided to return to the hotel once we had found our taxi again but did make a stop on the way back when we found we were passing a lake. Taxi driver pulled in to the no parking area so we could take a look. This is Man Sagar Lake and in the middle is Jal Mahal, a palace. We also stopped at Hawa Mahal the Palace of Winds for a photo as missed it yesterday.
We stopped at an ATM as cash was running low. We have been using cash for most things including our evening meals in the hotel as the waiter didn't seem to want to book it to the room. The ATM accepted my card and my Pin and said "NO, you cant have any money ". Somewhat disconcerting as we needed some. Found another ATM round the corner and refused there also as well as cards on other accounts. Straight back to the hotel where I phoned the bank and had my security block lifted. As I thought this had been done when the Mumbai airport
wouldn't pay me out I was a little puzzled by this and will remain so until next time I need money. It does appear that there is a 10,000 rupee limit for ATM withdrawals so maybe it blocked me for being greedy and asking for double that... all of £200 ! Anyway for the moment we are cash solvent again and Bob found his card let him have 10,000 as well. We will be using credit card more and cash less in future.
Ended a most enjoyable day with a swim in the (still icy) pool, a drink on the rooftop bar and an emotional farewell dinner with our friendly waiters and barbecue man who have fallen over themselves to be helpful. Rupees were handed over and we promised to return.
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