Departing to Jaipur

Trip Start Mar 27, 2008
Trip End Apr 23, 2008

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Saturday, March 29, 2008

Early today sees me sitting in the back of a taxi travelling through red lights ( no one takes any notice of them before rush hour) heading to the train station. I am escorted to platform 12 where my train will shortly be arriving. It is still dark but getting lighter. Nearby there is a group of guys sorting newspapers (these were for our train) just like they had been delivered and were to be sorted for deliveries to the locals. (Or so I assumed.)
When the train arrives it seems like it will never get to the end, it appears to be twenty to thirty carriages long, all with the destination written on the side and what type of carriage it is A/C or just plain glass less windows with bars on. No sleepers on this train as it run during the day.
There is a group of 12 people who are on a trip together but they are taking longer than I am for my visit to India and the golden triangle. We swap what we have been doing and where we are heading and then sit back to wait for breakfast.  At the second station the ticket man comes around to check that everyone is in the right place and in possession of the correct ticket. His check list is made up of about 4 pages of a computer printout. What happens if there is a systems failure for the printout I have no idea?

The views from the window shows a dry almost desert like landscape with the occasional area of farmland. The farmers have no modern machinery and can be seen cutting the crops by hand.

Finally I arrive at Jaipur station and leave the train, I can't see Raj, my driver, so take the opportunity to take some shots of the train. Once again the platform is huge and seems to go on forever.

Raj is looking for me by the train carriage but I had moved away but finally we meet up and I am driven to the hotel Kanchandeep. Inside the hotel the rooms are clean and everything is provided for the guests.

A trip to the loo and a wash and brush up and I am ready for Raj and my guide to escort me to the outdoor observatory called Jantar Mantar. Here is a means of telling the exact time of day and where the solar system is at any given time of the year. There is also a giant sundial as one of the centre pieces. It is  very impressive to see the different ways of telling the time and the position of the stars. 

I was then driven to near the Amber Fort. My first sighting and did I want to ride up to the fort on an elephant.. Definitely yes.   We stopped at the bottom and Raj took some photos of me perched on the elephant. Although the system was similar to the elephant ride in Nepal last year I was leaning against a metal bar and with the movement uphill of the elephant it did mean I ended up with a bruised back for the next few days. They had no padding on the bars at all so others doing this trip beware!

As we approached the top I looked back to see where we had come from and what an amazing view.( see photo) finally my ride came to an end, I would make the return journey in the car. Raj and my guide were there to meet me having driven up ( not such a picture view journey). As a typical tourist ( my daughter Amanda's comment when I planned this trip) I was interested to see the 'locals' in typical clothing. The ladies in brightly coloured saris and the men in the traditional pants and tops.

Having looked around the fort it was time to move on again. My guide inquired if I wanted to see where the elephants lived ( of course I did).   We stopped by the roadside and walked down this alleyway. A short distance down we came to a group of elephants including a baby elephant. The trunks had been decoratively painted and some were going to play polo for a rich land owner about two hours walk away. Each elephant would only play for about twenty minutes but the hire charge was very lucrative I was told. As the temperatures were so hot from April each elephant is only allowed to make two trips to the fort each day ( prior to April it is five).

We then drove past the five storied Hawa Mahal the most photographed monument in Jaipur.

The street scenes around this area were populated by, cars, buses, phut phut cars, camels and motorbikes, cyclists with the odd elephant all travelling along the road sometimes with no hint of obeying highway rules, just don't hit any cows ( they are sacred here you know).

It is now late afternoon so we return to Hotel Kanchandeep and Raj once again will drive this evening to meet me at Agra station tomorrow.
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