It’s time to recap our last day of the North India trip we have undertaken some weeks ago. After having opt for a complete North India package, we ended up in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, on Sunday. We were very lucky with the weather on that day and so it was a beautiful morning with blue sky when we had our breakfast at the Hotel we stayed in Jaipur.
We started our visit to Jaipur with the City Palace, the former residence of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, which is not only an impressive building, but also a Museum where traditional clothes from the Maharajas at that time were shown. It also featured a decent collection of weaponry, coaches and Polo equipment. While I could live with the fact that they just recently increased the entry fees for tourist and that they are now 10 times as expensive as for locals, I was a bit irritated by the fact that even the employees of the Museum (for which with paid a fair price after all) asked for money for even the most basic forms of what I would call kindness. Although I didn’t ask for any service, I was told some very basic facts about some of the exhibits and I was also offered to take a picture with one of the guards there only to discover that they indeed only wanted my money afterwards. Anyway, the museum itself was worth it.
Shenji and I also met Romain and his girlfriend Celia at that time (who booked a similar package, but who travelled independently from us) so we decided to spend the rest of the day as a typical group of tourist. We then headed to the next “attraction”, the famous Jantar Mantur, a collection of astronomical instruments. These instruments where built in the early age of the 18th century and were truly spectacular. Jantar Mantur also inhabits (supposedly) the largest sundial in the world and I needed several attempts until I finally managed to capture it altogether.
In the afternoon, it was time for us to visit one of the most popular tourist destination of Jaipur, the Amber Fort. After all the cities we saw and especially after having spent more than 2 months in Bangalore, it was such a great experience to see some of the natural beauty of India. The Amber Fort is located amidst several green hills, occupying a vast area near an artifical lake and with small gardens and green spaces everywhere. One of the most amazing part of Amber Fort is the Hall of Mirrors. All the walls and ceilings are full of very small mirrors and it is said that a single lightsource can light the whole place because of the zillions of reflections. And because the palace complex is indeed a very complex structure, it happened several times that we lost parts of our group and actually walked in circles as the place a bit like a labyrinth.
Several hours later, after we also visited the small town next to the Amber Fort (which was not a tourist attraction at all, but this was indeed very refreshing), our feet started to hurt and so we decided to complete our Jaipur experience with a nice meal in a North Indian restaurant that was specialised in barbecue chicken. It was called Handi and served the best chicken I ever ate in India (and yeah, I ate a lot of chicken here).
While Romain and Celia spent the night in Jaipur, it was time for Shenji and me to say good bye and prepare ourselves for yet another long journey back to Delhi (by car). We left at around 20:30 and planed for an arrival at 2:00 o’clock in the morning at the International Airport of Delhi, leaving us with enough spare time for some unforeseen events since the flight was scheduled for 6:15 only. If you think now that we are a bit overcautious , listen. At 1:30 in the morning we got a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere somewhere between Jaipur and Delhi. Imagine, there were no buildings, nothing, just the streets. Luckily, our car had a spare wheel but breakdown triangle. Without a proper emergency lane, I was left no choice but to stand there in the dark, waving with my hands and hoping that all the trucks, cars and bikes see me early enough. Our hard working driver changed the wheel in the meantime and we drove directly to the next “service area” where we had our tyre repaired (at 2:00 o’clock). We then finally arrived at around 4 o’clock and eventuelly flew back to Bangalore where we went to work the same day (after having a shower first of course). Well, I wasn’t that productive that day *yawn*…