City of circles – Day 1

After spending the morning with lazy wakeup and stone cold breakfast, we were eager to reach Jaipur. Train reached at 1 p.m. Again I had to walk to full platform to get Vesta. When I reached the luggage bogie (the brake van), my heart skipped by the sight. It was packed to the brim with packages and its door was locked due to excess luggage. Some railway staff finally opened it after kicking, and the huge pile of big boxes placed randomly greeted us. A railway staff climbed up that pile, and started throwing the boxes out. With increased heartbeats and shocked brain, I continued to watch and wonder what must have happened to Vesta!

That moment I saw to the left, and one more such brake van was being unloaded. Unable to see the sight of Vesta pressed under such huge piles of boxes, I moved there, just to see her standing neatly without anything around it in the next bogie! Seems all the running and excitement of last evening made my memory faint about the exact location of the brake van!

Finally she was unloaded gently, and was released by the booking staff immediately, without demanding any bribe. Pushed it all the way again back to the bogie, where Nandinee was sitting with the luggage waiting for us. In that excitement, we threw open the packing of the bike and started loading the bike with tankbag and saddlebag. Someone on the platform asked us not to unpack the bike before leaving the platform, else we could get in trouble, and soon enough, we found ourselves staring in the face of one angry railway staff.

“Why the hell did you unpack the bike?!”
“Ummm, just wanted to load the luggage…?”
“Have you released it? Show the documents!”

Finally after showing the release form to him, he let us go, but not without a strict warning and a stern gaze.

Pushed Vesta down that platform, up on another one, all the way till we were out of the station. There we finally threw all the packing away, except keeping that gunny bag for return travel. We didn’t know it would come in handy in a much different way soon afterwards. Put the petrol back in bike, and it started in first crank.

The booked hotel was Jaipur Inn, or so we thought. Finding our way there tired and hungry, when we checked the reception, we were told there were no such booking! Even the person we were talking was not working there! Now that was too much of a surprise for us to take light heartedly. After digging that issue, we realized the booking was in Residency Inn, and not in Jaipur Inn!

So again went the Baarat of 3 musketeers in search of the hotel. Finally we checked in the hotel at around 2.30p.m. Had our first Rajasthani Thali at the hotel. I never knew Rajasthan so famous for its desert would be having thali dripping with ghee. If you are a light-meal person, skip the Rajasthani thali!

When I started riding in Jaipur, the first thing I noticed is the chowk circles. They are so many, that you lose track of them! We finally remembered the way back to the hotel as you first cross the statue of sage looking diretly to you, and then someone else’s statues right shoulder!

In evening we started to roam around the city, just to know each other better. We first went to Birla temple. On its way, we saw something big mansion on top of a hill. A local told us it was Moti Dongri, and the royal family still stays there. It is open for public only on Mahashivratri. So clicked it from a distance and moved on.

Moti Dongri

Birla temple was as usual very beautiful and soothing. The idols inside the mandir are neatly scalped.

Roamed around in the Mandir’s campus till dayfall, and then started our way to the bazaar. The Moti Dongri was looking great lighted up in the night.

Moti Dongri at night

Nandinee asked a group of local girls who were busy chit chatting about the best place to buy mojaris. We both had not brought a pair of sandals, so buying a pair of mojaris was on the top of the shopping list.

We passed this beautiful Ramnivas Haveli on way.

Finally entered the old city, and parked Vesta in a comparatively safe spot. Roamed around in the bazaar just to get a general feel of the prices. The mojaris we liked were quoted at Rs.250 for each. The closing deal after Nandinee’s hard negotiations and after a lot of drama and heated sentences was 300 for two! So beware if you can’t negotiate!

Finally at 9p.m. we left the bazaar with some prized shopping in our hands, in search of food. Finding a descent hotel within affordable range proved to be surprisingly difficult. Finally we came across a little gem, named Hotel Mohan. It is marked in Lonely Planet as well.

After a hearty dinner, we headed to our room and fell on the beds dead tired. Vesta was locked safely, and dreams of the full day tour of Jaipur, of its famous Hawa mahal and Jantar Mantar gave company to all of us.

…to be continued.

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