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Published: October 3rd 2013
Having successfully battled the Old City of Jaipur the previous day it was time to see what else this interesting place had to offer. Our hotel arranged for us to have a driver for the day, and he was pretty much at our mercy as to what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. Our first stop would be Amber fort about 11 km from the Old City. Hoping for something a little more elaborate and dare I say more interesting than Jaipur’s city palace, we weren’t disappointed. Amber fort sits on top of a large hill and its presence from the road leading in and looking up is pretty impressive. Once inside, you are also treated to what seems like hundreds of rooms and alleyways in all different directions. Some of the rooms donned beautifully painted ceilings and others boasted fantastic mirrored mosaics that have amazingly survived the 300 years plus since they were finished. In addition to this the views from the fort were superb, looking down upon Amber town as well as the fort walls reminded me a little of the pictures I have seen of the Great wall of China.
Moving on from
here we made our way down to the Palace of Jal Mahal. You cannot go inside however this palace is quite unique in that it sits in the middle of a lake. After a few snaps here it was time for seeing some diamond cutting and polishing and some woodblock printed fabrics. Normally we would have flat our refused to go in, knowing that once inside these places, the hard sell begins. For some reason though, we decided to humour our driver and have a nose around. The ‘guide’ from the gem cutting factory showed us into a tiny workshop whilst a couple of his staff skilfully cut and polished all manner of different gems. Two minutes later, we were ushered into the shop and were shown everything from £5 gift bracelets to ridiculously expensive Ruby engagement rings. To show that this was a valid operation, I was twice shown pictures of Sting from about 1982 having had his picture taken in this actual shop, as well as being told Madonna had also frequented this place too. But it was all falling on deaf ears, and after politely nodding and saying ‘Yes, they are very nice’ we quickly made our
way to the exit with our wallets intact. The woodblock fabric place was much the same, except this time it seemed a son and his father were the skilled combo producing very impressive work at a lightning fast pace. Child labour aside, the staff here were all very friendly and even after it was obvious we were not there to buy, we still had a good chat with them and were shown no hostility what-so-ever.
The remainder of the day would be spent at Jaigarh Fort, followed by Nahargarh Fort, where we were told Sunset point here was a must see whist in the area. Jaigarh fort was hugely disappointing when we first made our way in, with nothing of note to see and a bunch of bear walls to look at. We immediately thought that perhaps this was one of those places where it was better viewed from below rather than inside (Jaigarh Fort was also on top of a large hill). After getting into the complex fully though, it began to keep our interest, and once we got to the bastions on the edge of the fort, both of us were blown away by the views. They
were simply breath-taking, and had we gained nothing from the fort itself, it would have been worth visiting just for the views. It was whilst enjoying the views that we were first jumped upon by an excited family that wanted their picture taken with us. They were harmless and at least asked if they could take our picture (some just point a camera in your face and snap away) so we obliged. Moving on to see the largest wheeled canon in the world, it seemed our celebrity status grew, and everyone and their dog wanted a picture with us. It did get a little tedious, however they were all very polite about it, and so again we smiled for the camera. Some of the people that wanted pictures with us didn’t actually have a camera, but were content with us taking their picture and then showing it to them….. this was true of the ‘too cool for school’ 10 year old kid in his shades that took a liking to me and wanted his picture taken numerous times with and without me in the photo. It was only after the shots had been taken that we realised this little dude
was the local drug dealer, and tried his hardest to sell me all sorts of smoke related narcotics! We politely refused and told him that this was a bad thing, and that he should reconsider his career.
Finally we headed to Nahargarh Fort, and as it was closing within the next ten minutes or so, we failed to get a proper look around. The main reason we were there anyway though was for Sunset point, where we could enjoy a cold beer whilst looking down on Jaipur City from way up in the heavens. Having found a good little spot and taking the weight off our tired feet, we sat and watched as Jaipur turned from day to night, soaking up the rising noise of the town below. As the sun finally gave way, the noise of the town gave way to several sound-systems blaring out Muslim prayers to the masses. It truly was a great and almost spiritual moment, as we noted down another place in India that we actually really rather liked.
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