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Published: August 10th 2018
I’ve been a little tardy at keeping up to date with this, so much has been happening!
So the trip to Jaipur started with a 5am wake up call in Delhi. The trains that I need to get either seem to leave super early or arrive super late. Preferring to leave in darkness rather than arrive in darkness, I take the early ones. I therefore upped and began walking down the lanes towards the station being pretty sure that someone would come along in a rickshaw. Soon enough a rickshaw bike pulled up and pedalled me and my heavy backpack to the station.
I’d read so much online about Delhi station and none of it was reassuring. Everyone wrote about too many platforms; information signs that don’t match platforms and having to pay a porter or someone to help you find your train or carriage. I was super relieved to find that none of this was the case! Avoiding the ubiquitous cows that seem to live around the concourse, I found the train fairly easily and even better, found the sign advertising where my carriage would stop – so far so good! A few minutes later (and 30 mins
before departure) the train pulls up and I pile in and find my assigned seat. There were carriages with bars on the windows and wooden benches but my carriage had a/c and comfy leather seats – definitely less of a local way to travel! Once one man had washed the windows, another the floor, another had given out English and Hindi newspapers and another given out water, we were on the way on the 4.5 hour journey. I’d just fallen asleep when tea and coffee came round and had drifted off again when breakfast was served – some kind of fried vegetables with chips and peas. It was actually really nice! English trains will not be the same again! Haha
I’m not sure what I was expecting of Jaipur, I knew it was a city but I guess I expected it to be smaller than it is. I’m learning that all Indian towns and cities are super sized – similar to Chinese standards! They are huge and there are people literally everywhere. So I arrived, checked into a lovely hostel and set off to explore. Being tired of haggling with tuk tuk drivers, I decided to walk the 2km
to the old city. On the way I passed the usual cows and stray dogs but this time there were camels, goats and pigs thrown into the mix! Although a big city, Jaipur was definitely less crowded and slightly less chaotic than Delhi which I was thankful for.
Making my way through the old town gate, navigating the traffic at the round about (pavements don’t exist so people, cars, trucks, buses, tuk tuks, motorbikes and animals all fight for space on the roads!), My first stop was to wander through the lanes. These lanes were narrow streets filled with tiny shops and stalls intermingled with hawkers and temples. There were also some really cute children who were excited to see a foreigner! As usual I got totally lost and had to thank Google maps and a data plan for getting me out of these narrow streets with running water, cow poo and sewage running freely down the sides of them. I did like the fact they were seemingly organised into different selling zones though – I passed the glasses area, the silver area and the huge marble and stone area where hundreds of sellers were all selling statues and
works of different Gods. Eventually I found my way out and ended up at the City Palace.
Rajasthan has many forts and palaces, symbolic of the many kingdoms that fought for control of the region. Jaipur is now the capital and the City Palace was built between 1729 and 1732 and part of it is still the royal residence today (thanks Wikipedia!). It is basically a giant complex filled with different rooms and buildings all really well maintained and filled with art work from previous centuries. After this I headed up the road to Hawa Mahal which is just a beautiful building, one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. Built of red and pink sandstone, it was finished in 1799 and is made to look like a beehive with over 900 small external windows designed so that the royal ladies inside could view everything happening outside without being seen themselves (thanks wiki again!). After this I did a little bit of shopping and some good bargaining before heading out for curry with some guys from Manchester of all places!
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