Moustaches and Monkeys in Jaipur

Trip Start Nov 08, 2008
Trip End Nov 23, 2008

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Thursday, November 13, 2008

We departed Delhi with a scare. We were leaving from a small station called Sarai Rohilla however our taxi driver did not know it and instead started to take us to Nizamuddin (we had left from here to go to Agra so knew it was wrong) a lot of explaining and not a little panicking later we made our train with minutes to spare. Thank goodness we had left plenty of time. A ten minute journey took us 45 minutes!

Still, we were on the Porbandar Express - express might not be the right name for it though. We were in an A/C 2 sleeper - and were lucky enough to have all 4 bunks to ourselves. A little private area as everyone else was asleep. Train was OK and had western loos.

The train was an hour late into Jaipur. Again we got the hotel to collect us. This saves anybody trying to take you to another hotel. Quite a common scam we hear but we did avoid that one! The hotel was the Pearl Palace. It is the top dog cheap haunt in Jaipur at a bargain 12 a night!

Hotel is nice for the price but I wasn't too sure about the towel colour!

Following the success of the UP tour in Agra we opted to try and book the Rajasthan equivalent. We couldn't get through on the phone so decided to walk. The hotel is in a pleasant residential area but once going towards town the roads deteriorate and walking didn't seem such a good idea. However we made it to the train station where the booking office was and got ourselves booked on the next day's full day tour - Amber Palace and Jaipur. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Coffee Day cafe. A really nice Starbucks style coffee for 50p.

By dinner time I was ready to fall asleep with my face in my dinner. The food in the restaurant was cheap and good and lovely cold beer.

The next morning found us waiting outside a hotel round the corner for the tour bus. Our guide was interesting character with a large Rajasthani moustache and a stetson whose English was dubious and we were told by the Indian people on the tour that his Hindi was dubious too. No wonder the Germans and French on the tour were confused. The tour did a pitstop outside the Hawa Mahal (palace of the winds) but not long enough to take a photo then onto the Royal Palace, Observatory and then out of town to the Tiger Fort.   We had lunch at the Tiger Fort and then in the afternoon we were taken to the Amber Fort and Palace. This was beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The tour was good value at Rs200 per person, as it would have cost more than that just to get out to the fort. 

DAY 2 - Jaipur 

Out on our own...We are getting braver. We got an auto into the city centre and took pictures of the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal). It is really just a frontage and speaking to people who had paid to go in it wasn't really worth it. We then had a wander and a barter around the markets. I found that although I have small hands my hands are FAR too big for Indian bracelets and they had to get special ones out of boxes under the stall or in the back.  When we wanted to go back there was no shortage of autos to take us back.

Now follows a tale of woe and not of  reading guide books properly. For some reason I decided we should go to the Galta Temple (AKA Monkey Temple) however for anyone wanting to do it - Pay the extra money and make sure that the taxi or auto drops you off at the proper gate. We were dropped the wrong side and it was a scary long walk. We were nearly there when the monkeys on their way to the temple (and there were hundreds of them) broke into fights and scuffles. We decided having not had our rabies jabs that we wouldn't bother and went back. On the way back we encountered the most persistent of the begging children we had come across. (Prior to the trip we decided not to give whilst out there but give to a charity on our return which we did - however it is hard to say no and obviously it's not something you can explain at the time). One of the children had hold of me by the leg and another hit me. It was quite scary and I wouldn't advise anyone to do this route, certainly not lone females. We are a couple and found it scary.

We were pleased our auto was still there and glad to be back in the hotel. So overall some you win and some you lose...we will know better next time.

Another nice meal in the hotel. I really go a taste for Panneer which you don't see in many Indian Restaurants in the UK

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Aryan on

've found this nice article on Royal Rajsthan on Wheels train:

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