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Published: February 14th 2015
Overnight train to Jaipur was on time, arriving just as dawn was breaking. On this occasion we shared a carriage with a very nice Indian family. (would be even better to get a private 2 berth sleeper again....but it seems not every train includes first class private accomodation). On arrival at the hotel we hung around waiting for the restuarant to open for breakfast, and the last occupants to checkout of our room. Jaipur not only has cows wandering the streets, but also camels, pigs and goats can be seen grazing through the rubbish! We still havent shrugged off the head cold and added to this have now got the Delhi Belly (despite being veggy, bottled drinks only, no salad or icecream etc etc)....so we spent quite a lot of time in Jaipur resting. Between rests we managed to see the 2 main sights, which are the the Wind Palace and the Amber Fort. We visited these by tuk tuk. Every time you step outside the door there is an army of tuk tuk drivers touting for business, so easy to arrange and they are not expensive; but it can get tiresome when they always want to make diversions to show
you their relative's souvenir shops. We had to be firm and say we were unwell so needed to get home to sleep instead of taking detours.
The Wind Palace is in the old walled part of the pink city. The name Wind Palace has nothing to do with weather or farting (sorry-topical right now!), but refers to the many small WINDows high in the palace wall, through which the palace ladies were able to observe processions and what was going on in the street below. The palace is absolutely beautiful, decorated with ceramic lattice work that you can look through, as well as as the tiny door style windows. Another feature is the coloured glass which looks great as the light comes through, plus many well proportioned carved arches.
We first visited the Amber Fort, a few miles outside the city in the afternoon, when it was relatively quiet as the elephants had gone home at midday. Second time we went in the morning, when the sun is at the right angle for it to glow a lovely deep terracotta colour in the light. It was definitely worth revisiting in the morning. The elephants are decorated with pictures
all down their trunks and have a seat on their back so that they can carry tourists up to the fort 2 at a time. You sit sideways on these seats, and experience a rocking motion as the elephant walks. That is really fun. Once inside, the Amber Fort is magnificent. There is a mirrored hall made with fragments of mirrors in ornate patterns, gardens laid out in a geometrical design, collonades to explore, and great views. From here you can see the outer wall of Jaipur marching across the hills. Final day our next train was not leaving until almost midnight. The hotel was fully booked, so we had to check out on time....However, the staff are very accomodating, and allow guests to lie down on mattresses in the computer room (with the benefit of a toilet nearby) if they have a late evening train after checking out or arrive early before a room becomes vacant, or lounge around in the roof restuarant (less useful for those of us currently on a bottled water only diet). We westerners must have pathetic immune systems compared with those Indians who survive into adulthood. There is free water on the station platforms
and other places, which they drink quite happily, but we dare not have anything but bottled, and still get ill.
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