Helen and Randall on the road

A bit about our adventures 2011-2012

Monday 16th – Wednesday 18th January: Jaipur

with one comment

I remembered (vaguely, from 1994 being there with Neil) that Jaipur was horribly hectic, and on arrival at the train station on the early Shatabdi from Delhi it seemed so. After a few minutes of dithering (I had booked a hostel, but Randall was feeling unwell so I thought we should go somewhere more upscale) we sat down at a roadside caff or dhaba to figure out what to do.

Several cups of chai and some REALLY good food later:

Food – the answer to so many problems!

we decided to stick to the original plan.  A glance at Google Maps and confirmation from the dhaba-wallah told us that it was a 10 minute walk through some of the narrow, non-car streets so we set off.

On arrival we were pleasantly surprised at the beautifully decorated hostel, set back from the road with a small courtyard, and the super friendly owners who checked us in and showed us to our room on the first floor which even had a small balcony!

Randall outside the reception of our lovely hostel in Jaipur.

Reception. Note the beautiful hand-painted walls.

Details of the walls, ceilings and door frame paintings.

Traditional Rajasthani puppet guarding the door.

Painted glass in the stairwells.

Rooftop terrace of the hostel.

Rooftop terrace of the hostel.

Rooftop terrace of the hostel.

The next day we took ourselves off on a walking tour of the walled city, which was as mayhem-like as I remembered. The first stop was the beautiful Hawa Mahal – the palace of the winds:

View of Amber from the top of the Hawa Mahal

Doing my best bollywood film impression

Next up was the Jaipur Jantar Mantar – built after the Delhi one and generally agreed to be the best preserved and most complete of the 5 built by Jai Singh.

Randall having a rest on a measuring instrument

After the JM and it’s appalling audio guide (the Hawa Mahal one was really good, and we’d decided we liked them after the amazing one at the Killing Fields museum in Cambodia) we decided we were touristed out and deserved lunch, so took an auto-rickshaw back to our hotel and then walked to ‘our’ dhaba again for a very late lunch.

The rickshaw driver – like everyone else who thinks they might be able to get some more business from you – asked the classic ‘where are you from’ questions, and when we said ‘England’ (UK or Wales get completely blank looks)  immediately yelled “I’M Alan Partridge! Ah HAAAA”. Which was surprising. Apparently one of his customers (proudly displayed in his rickshaw ‘visitors book’) had described him as Alan Partidge and he’d adopted the name having never actually seen the show. We laughed.

Our rickshaw-driver’s meter – possibly the only ‘functioning’ one in Jaipur if not India?? Showing the ‘Indian’ fare: at this point 5 Rupees and 10 Paisa, although I haven’t seen a Paisa coin since 1994. Needless to say (and fair enough), tourists pay about 5-10 time this amount!

Dhaba-wallah

Chapati-wallah

Dhaba fan.

After eating until it was dark we headed back to our hotel as it was COLD (in the desert at night) and watched a film while snuggling under the blankets in bed. Hooray for holidays!

The next morning we took a tour to the Amber Fort/Palace in a taxi (we thought about taking a rickshaw but it would have been rather chilly and quite far at 12km) – I vaguely again remember going there with Neil but didn’t remember much about it except that now it is much more organised and more things are closed off to the public. Again there was an excellent audioguide. We were, however, a bit distressed by the elephants that spend all day plodding up and down the hill to the fort with howdahs and tourists on their back; they did not pass the ‘healthy elephant check’ that we learned in Thailand at Patara – we think they were very dehydrated and sad 😦

The palace/fort was beautiful though; I was reminded of a bigger but less well preserved Alhambra:

The Fort, taken from the approach road

Randall and the Diwan-i-Am

Elephant head detail on the Diwan-i-Am

Formal gardens – if you’ve been you’ll see what I mean about the Alhambra

Randall on the cloister/walkway area around the gardens. Apparently the technology/architecture employed to ensure airflow even in the height of the desert summer was incredibly sophisticated.

Detail of the Zenana

Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas

Detail of Sheesh Mahal

Palace on the lake near Amber – no longer inhabited, sadly.

Randall posing, lake palace in background.

After eating lunch in our favourite dhaba again we had a little wander about the area around our hotel, bought some fruit from a roadside seller, and headed back to our hotel to watch the final BBC Sherlock Holmes on iPlayer. Technology – it’s great.

The rest of the photos are here.

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Written by helenbcn

January 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm

One Response

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  1. Spent my time in Jaipur “dying” in my hotel room so didn’t see any of it

    Dad

    January 22, 2012 at 9:49 pm


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