A day of sight-seeing on a rickshaw – Part 1

The next day dawned bright and sunny but we woke up late. Maybe it was the excitement of yesterday’s night drive or maybe it was the traffic jam during the journey from Delhi to Jaipur.. well, whatever it was, we were late. So, the bus plan and the taxi plan were guzzed. When a plan goes kaput, the Arien gets on the war path and so I opted for the rickshaw tour. I convinced him that tht was best option.

The first place, we planned to visit was the City Palace. The city palace was supposedly built by Sawai Mansingh and was a true treat for photographers. Plus, it was a hot and sunny day. The first place we saw was the Mubarak Mahal. All the various outfits worn by the king, his wife were placed there and somehow they still managed to look royal and grand – though slightly long and huge for the king was a short man! Anyway, the Arien wandered away to shoot interesting snaps. This snap of the guards in turbans, who were on a break, was a nice one. 

We moved towards the Entrance gates which had a typical arch. We were yet to see the Chandra Mahal or inside the palace. I had heard that they had maintained all the chairs etc. as is from those days. However, they did not let us take photographs inside and so we had to walk away without any snaps. We had not hired a guide or purchased the audio guide and so sometimes, we had no clue ’bout the monuments we were visiting, which was a shame.

Anyway, we came across the rickshaw musem. We had seen the car and bike musem at Dharamshala but this was totally new. Some of them looked so spruced up and well-maintained, I felt that we could get on it and start touring the city. Of course, they were more the tonga type, so we may need a horse. It reminded me of the tonga ride that we had taken in Mysore, at dusk. I felt like we were under a spotlight.

We walked around aimlessly and took a number of pictures. Some with ourselves against the amazing backdrop and others, just by themselves. The Arien was having a field day. He did not remember that we had started late or that I was primarily responsible for not getting ready on time. 😀

We took pictures of the Chandra Mahal. The flag on top is supposedly the flag of the royal family though it looks quite similar to the Indian Flag. We have no snaps of the Chandra Mahal from the front as we did not venture that way.

Most of these palaces have gigantic gates and I have  wondered if they always keep it closed. I noticed a lot of guards walking from a particular door though I hardly saw the gigantic door opened. It was while watching that that I noticed the smaller opening or door, carved into the gigantic gate for these occassions and I pointed it out to the Arien. We managed to take a shot of the guard as we walked out of the smaller door.

We also saw the very brightly coloured, Pritam Chowk doorway which was part of the city palace. It was a brilliant green colour and there were so many folks sitting there for the shade that we did the same. As usual, the Arien cannot sit still for more than a few minutes, and so he was shooting pics.  At that time, I did not know that we were shooting at Pritam Chowk. All I knew was that we were shooting a green doorway and I wondered at the significance 😀

Anyway, we came back to the exit gate, where our Rickshaw wallah had asked to wait. When we reached there he told us to visit the Jantar Mantar, which was nearby and mentioned that we need not purchase tickets again as our ticket was a 3-in-1.

So, on this hot day, we moved to a place that was to me, quite boring. It was quite warm and there was not much shade and the Arien insisted on shooting pics. I moved away to pick up Maaza or Slice (a mango drink with no fizz) and the Arien asked me to pick up bottled water as well. So, while I was on these errands, he walked all round taking pics. I was dragging my feet and did not get back very quickly.

He was soon bored. We had quite a few interesting places to visit and it was now lunch time but if we stopped for lunch, we would miss some of the sights and so we decided to get going. I think the rickshaw wallah was not too happy. Well.. cannot please everybody 😦 We still had to visit so many places. More on that in my next post.

Pink City-by-Night Tour

I was so happy that the day would not go waste that I was ready to leave immediately. We had to go to the Rajasthan Development Corporation. We paid 250/- per head and were escorted to a waiting Sumo which already had 3 foreigners, a driver, and a guide. We hastily introduced ourselves and were off. It was supposed to be 4 hour sight-seeing tour followed by vegetarian dinner at Nahargarh fort.

The weather was cool, reminded me of Bangalore, and we watched the various sights – all lit-up and looking gorgeous. We visited the Vidhan Sabha, Amar Jawan Jyothi which was basically paying homage to the martyrs, and Albert Hall. The Arien shot some pics of the Albert Hall but the flash bounced off the lights but we did get one decent shot. As we moved along, we talked to the foreigners mostly about general touristy things to do. 

We were also taken to the emporium that was maintained by the govenment. They showed you how a specific design was added to the dress material. The man who was giving us the demo used an interesting peacock design that was the mold into which colour was applied and then he added it to the material. It was quite interesting. We were also asked to purchase stuff which was supposedly available at a much-lower price. We purchased a beautiful quilt in beige colour which was all satin and looked very rich. This is a pic taken recently of the quilt at our home. One of the foreigners purchased a silk scarf which he wanted to use as a wall-decoration. Thanks to all the shopping, we were late.

The next stop was the Jal Mahal which looked very pretty. It was not open to visitors when we visited last year around September. However, I heard that it was now open for visitors. We shot some good pictures and the breeze was fantastic – it seemed a great time to visit Jaipur. The arien was busy chatting with the foreigners about their camera and other such stuff. We went to Amber fort but the lights were switched off, we were too late. By then, we had had quite a few photo-ops and so were not too disillusioned. Our last stop was the Nahargarh fort where we were supposed to have our dinner. The fort was atop a hill and everything seemed so far away, our hotel, office, it was like nothing could touch you here. They also had some rooms which they offered to toursits. We had a look, even though we were not planning to stay. The rooms seemed slightly old-fashioned and I really lowed my room at the place we were staying now. While that room would not beat staying at a Fort – I still preferred it. It was quite cold at the fort. The food served was traditional Rajasthani (I think), we could not identify some of the vegetables which was quite suprising. The foreigners did not like the food much. The Arien was shooting pics of the city from Nahargarh fort. While this pic does not do justice to the scenery, it is the best we could take of the view from one of the windows facing the city.

As we returned, we were able to see Hawa Mahal without the hustle-bustle of the city and immediately, the Arien and the foreigners took snaps of the Hawa Mahal. It looks very yellow and gigantic. We hoped to see the inside of this monument before we left for Delhi. I wonder how it looks like from inside – a zillion windows to the city in general. Hmmm.. we were now yawning our face off. We all got dropped at our hotels and hastily said our byes. I was not sure if we would ever see those 3 foreigners again. Tomorrow, we planned to visit the Amber Fort which was a major tourist attraction.

Jaipur – First Visit

We had not made any plans for the visit to Jaipur but I was all agog because this was my first visit to the Pink City. We opted to leave early and take a bus to Jaipur. The hotel that we were staying at in Delhi offered to keep some bags with them because we planned to check back in to the same hotel on our return from Jaipur. While I was quite suspicious, the Arien was quite relieved and it was a go! We dumped our gigantic suitcase after locking it, in their cloakroom and embarked on our trip to Jaipur. We spent the entire day travelling as there was a masive traffic jam outside Delhi and we really wished we had planned this better. It was quite boring to be honest but we had had a nice trip so far. I decided not to let this small ok humungous traffic jam spoil the holiday for me.

Anyway, we reached Jaipur sometime in the evening. The first thing that strikes you is the number of folks who will run to you offering their services – either Autos, Taxis, Hotel bookings. Yupp – Touts by the dozen. By the time the taxi that was supposed to pick us up arrived, we went crazy because of the number of persistent guys who bugged us to accept their services. That can actually be a very scary experience. Thankfully, we had done all our bookings back in Bangalore and so we did not have to depend on these people. 

By the time we reached the hotel, I had low expectations. However, the hotel we had booked into was a source of much joy. We felt like royalty. It was such a nice room that we actually spent some time admiring it. As usual, the Arien shot pics of the room from different angles and I tried to keep out of his way.

Meanwhile, I checked with the hotel regarding sight-seeing tours and was informed ’bout the night tour around the city. We immediately opted for it. More on that in my next post.