A Travellerspoint blog

Jaipur

A useful place!

We liked Jaipur - it's noisy and hectic in the old city but we stayed outside in a place with a lovely peaceful garden and got loads of stuff done.

First off one of the boys at the hotel recommended the beauty parlour where his Mum went and Sue finally had a haircut - a silent but reasonably successful transaction. Next we finally managed to send a parcel back to the UK. We've been carrying it since Nepal but thought the Indian postal service would be easier. Our first attempt in Allahabad was totally unsuccessful - we were directed to the parcel queue where we stood for about 10 minutes being ignored by the woman who obviously wanted nothing to do with difficult foreigners. But it was all easy in Jaipur - the parcel had to be properly wrapped - first in cardboard and then sewn into white cloth - all done by a man by the door who also supplies the required black marker pen and tells you what custom form is needed and then we went to the right queue and did the deed. So all that remains is to see if and when it arrives.

Next stop shopping - a replacement watchstrap for Colin and a new one for Sue, deodorants, moisturisers without skin lightener (hard to find in India) and an Indian SIM card. We also bought a scarf and shawl to wrap up in the cool mornings and on the trains. After all the shopping we had a much needed hit of real coffee, not to mention muffins, in Barista, the Indian version of Starbucks.

We also managed some sightseeing - the City Palace (lots of guns and outfits), the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds (very beautiful ), the Jantar Mantar or Observatory started in 1728 with huge sundials and other astronomical instruments.

Jaipur city gate

Jaipur city gate

City Palace

City Palace

City Palace - Peacock Gate

City Palace - Peacock Gate

City Palace

City Palace


Cooking lunch at Ganesh restaurant

Cooking lunch at Ganesh restaurant

Palace of the Winds - from inside

Palace of the Winds - from inside

Palace of the Winds - from the street

Palace of the Winds - from the street

Palace of the Winds - detail

Palace of the Winds - detail

Largest sundial in the world

Largest sundial in the world

Astrological instrument

Astrological instrument

We also had a trip out to Amber, the former capital of Jaipur, which has a really impressive fort with miles of battlements all around.

Amber Fort

Amber Fort

Amber Fort - walls

Amber Fort - walls

Amber Fort

Amber Fort

Amber Fort - decoration

Amber Fort - decoration

Our hotel was a good place - clean and quiet our key requirements but the slowest service - OK in the evening when we could sit and enjoy a cold beer, (the cans disguised by paper napkins, the first place with alcohol for ages) and chat to the nice Aussies we met but slightly frustrating to spend an hour getting breakfast. We stayed an extra day - the hotel was full but the owner said we could stay if we gave a good review on the website we booked through (blackmail we thought but it was a nice place) - he then supervised the review quibbling when we said the location was only 'good' not 'very good' so we changed it - well what could we do?

Krishna Palace - our guesthouse

Krishna Palace - our guesthouse

Sand delivery, Jaipur style

Sand delivery, Jaipur style

Jaipur also had the most delicious lassi - a tiny place recommended in the Lonely Planet where the Aussies had been the day before (and one was now sick). We were just thinking how nice they were, really creamy served in earthenware cups, when the lassi maker stuck his hand in a bucket of ice and added it to the mix - probably fine but suddenly we had doubts. We asked him about the ice but he didn't understand so the woman begging outside who already had one lassi, suddenly had two more and we had a second coffee hit instead. We are eating much more stuff now and probably lots of lassis have ice in so we're either building up resistance or about to be poisoned again!

Posted by armrig 16:55 Archived in India Comments (0)

Agra and Fatephur Sikri

The Taj Mahal

We had a good journey to Agra and both slept really well on the train - surprisingly smooth probably because it's so slow. We're surprised at how cold it gets at night here (OK maybe it's a little bit colder in the UK) and have changed our minds about posting our warm fleeces home just yet - we definitely need more blankets tonight.

We wanted to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise so spent the first day at Fatephur Sikri, at one time the capital of the Mughal empire where Emperor Akbar built a mosque and palace (thank you Lonely Planet!). Got there on our first local Indian bus which was OK.

Fatephur Sikri - Jama Masjid - Victory Gate

Fatephur Sikri - Jama Masjid - Victory Gate

Fatephur Sikri  - palace - Panch Mahal

Fatephur Sikri - palace - Panch Mahal

Fatephur Sikri  - Astrologer's Kiosk

Fatephur Sikri - Astrologer's Kiosk

Fatephur Sikri - palace

Fatephur Sikri - palace

Up at 5.30am again for more sunrise sightseeing. It took quite a while to negotiate the queues to buy tickets as it had only just opened and then the security (after refusing to pay a bribe to skip the security and go in a "secret way" - bet the terrorists wouldn't think of that) but then we were in just after sunrise and it was fabulous.

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Taj Mahal - the queue for Diana's seat

Taj Mahal - the queue for Diana's seat

Breakfast with a view

Breakfast with a view

We also went to the Agra Fort, where Shah Jahan (who built the Taj as a memorial to his late wife) was imprisoned by his son for 8 years until his death - with a view along the river to the Taj.

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Next stop the Itimad-Ud-Daulah aka the Baby Taj - very tranquil.

Baby Taj

Baby Taj

Baby Taj

Baby Taj

View from Baby Taj

View from Baby Taj

We complained a blog or two ago about the "Is not possible" expression but on the plus side we love crime reports in the newspapers where villains are always "nabbed". But the best so far was the person suspected of contaminating drinking water at a nuclear plant with radioactive water who was described as a "mischief monger" - doesn't sound quite serious enough to us.

Posted by armrig 11:57 Archived in India Comments (3)

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