Jaipur 3

April 6, 2012
The third one in the series was the hottest even though it was the beginning of the summer.

It was a summer vacation for two of my cousins who had completed her board exams in March. They planned a Delhi-Agra-Jaipur trip covering 15 days. My wife's cousin (Shruthi) had also finished her exams and wanted to visit us in Delhi. She got along with my uncle and family on what she calls an "Incredulous Journey" to the capital city. You can read the whole of that in her own blog, which she hasnt started yet :)

I had planned for the Jaipur trip during the "Good Friday" long weekend so that I can accompany them. There was lot of confusion on who all would join. My wife and mom wanted to visit Jaipur as they hadn't been there before. Dad has been there umpteen number of times, so he was most reluctant for the hot ordeal. My local guardians too had been to Jaipur many times, but they were cajoled to join the party.

So finally we had a gang of 12. We had booked our tickets with Rao Travels. They had two more bookings for the day. So they told they would send a 15 seater mini bus. The pick up point was Tara Apartments, Alakananda. We all had gathered at my athai's house (Yamuna Apartments) the previous night itself. Woke up early in the morning to get ready, only to find that there was no water. Or I should say very less water. There was some problem in the pipeline coming from the tank. Some of us managed to get ready with whatever little water was trickling down the taps. Few of us went to nearby flats, athai's friends'.

After lot of "hurry up, hurry up" calls from elders, we walked to the pick up point and were ready 10 min before time. Wait, phone call, no one picking up, wait, phone call, someone telling us that our vehicle is on its way, wait, phone call, still the same reply, wait, wait and wait. After around 20 min, we could see the red colored mini bus.

Full tank fuel, pick up of two more people, foreigners, sahib and madama, and we were off to Jaipur on the NH 8, 6 lane national highway.

The journey was superb with some songs and lot of leg pulling. Some of them dozed off to catch up their left over sleep. Shruthi had tough time with her travel sickness. Usually people feel dizzy while travelling on the Himalayas but poor girl, even the smooth national highway was not fit for her.

Amber Fort, Jaipur
Fort Entrance
Our first destination in Jaipur was Amber fort. It is magnanimous fort situated on a hilltop. The fort was built by Raja Bahadur Man Singh II.

It seemed to me that the fort was renovated recently. It looked much more beautiful compared to my first visit. The walls were clean and neatly painted. All the decorative works were cleaned and nicely arranged.

Diwan e aam
Garden inside the fort

A center court for dancers to perform
Decorated passages

As with other forts built by kings in Rajasthan and Delhi, this fort also had a grand entrance, a diwan-e-aam (house of commons) for addressing the public, a diwan-e-khas (house of the lords) for special meetings of the ministers, sheesh mahal specially for the queen, exquisite gardens, long passages all around the garden, narrow stairs and pathways leading to terraces and dungeons. The dungeons were locked out!!

The view from the terrace of the fort is awesome. You can see parts of the city below. The major highlight is a long wall starting from the fort and ending - god knows where. It was like our own version of The Great Wall
Jal Mahal

After Amber fort, we drove towards the Pink City. The first monument is the Jal Mahal (Water Palace). The palace is built in the middle of a lake. Unfortunately the palace is now converted to a hotel. So we cant really go there and see inside :-P

Anyways the pic from the roadside was good too!!

Our next destination was Hawa Mahal. There was a parking problem near it, as the roads were being relaid. So our tourist guide showed it from outside as we moved past the Mahal on slow moving city traffic. Hawa Mahal was the best place that I had visited in my second trip of Jaipur. Alas! others missed it.

Next was the stop for lunch. Rao travels being from the South, probably had a tieup with a South Indian restaurant. It was the only restaurant in the vicinity. As with all lunch stops by tour operators, the food was average. They had Andhra meals served by a mallu!!

It was around 2 o clock. Most of our gang was feeling the heat. They were exhausted and dehydrated. And the next point, Jantar Mantar was the most taxing. Jantar Mantar is a observatory built by Raja Man Singh. He was always fascinated by science, especially astronomy. Jantar Mantar has lots of equipments to measure time and location. The simplest of them all is the sun-dial. And there were many sun-dials of various sizes. The guide showed us how to use most of the equipments. From the sun dial, he showed us how to compute Indian Standard Time by adding the shift in time due to difference in latitude between Allahabad and Jaipur. As per the sun clock, we were 33 minutes behind IST.

The Jaipur summer was forcing us all to get back to our bus and head back to Delhi. But the guide had more plans. The handicrafts emporium is another customary tourist location. Each travels guy would have a tie up with some emporium. Interestingly all of them would showcase themselves as authentic, government shops. They would show sarees, leather goods, showpieces etc. Luckily it was an AC showroom so we had good time seeing the stuff and enjoying the cool place. Of course we did some shopping too!!

At around 4 o clock, we started our journey back to Delhi. We slept for most of the time and after lots of evening traffic jams we reached home at 10 PM.

The trip was once again terrible in terms of climate, but the company which we have motivates us for more such trips again and again.


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