After a rather late wake up, we quickly plotted the map about the sights to visit today. We had our breakfast at Rawat Kachori, a hotel famous for – well, kachoris. It was so crowded; it took some pushing around and some yelling to finally emerge victorious with 2 kachoris and hot jalebis. The battle was worth it!
Rawat Kachori’s kitchen
The first spot was Hawa Mahal. The approach road to old city was actually quite dirty and crowded, but when we entered the old city, it was surprising to see the planning. The city is planned in such way that even after so many years after it’s establishment, the two laned roads flow the traffic perfectly, all the shops are at the outer side and residential area is in the inner part. There were various clusters of shops clubbed together to form separate bazaars (Bapu Bazaar, Zaveri Bazaar etc), and each shop was numbered chronologically. Wish we had such planner today to plan our noisy cities, or even the outside of the old Jaipur city!
The footpath just below the Hawamahal is kept vacant specially for tourists. Parked Vesta some distance ahead, but later realized there was a separate parking available just outside the Hawamahal.
A snake charmer just outside the Hawamahal
Hired an old guide to show us the Hawa mahal. He toured us around quite nicely, and later we roamed around by ourselves clicking here and there.
It was very sunny that day, and the sunglasses helped a lot. A tip to rajasthan travelers, you can forget to wear your pants but don’t wear to forget to wear sunglasses. While the former may or may not hurt others eyes, the later will surely hurt yours!
We were told that Hawa mahal was built after the design of the peacock feather in Lord Krishna’s mukut, but somehow it didn’t seem symmetrical.
A LOT of pigeons were seen here, and afterwards in almost every place. My hate for these birds kept on rising, especially after they gave nice beauty spots on my polished Vesta in our office parking lot!
Next we had our lunch in a hotel Kailash, which is on way to the city palace. The rickshawallas told us that the tourist spots are closed in 1-2pm, but this was a lie. All spots are open from 9.30a.m. to 5.00p.m.
When we visited the palace, came to know the camera fees were some 50 or 80 bucks. Since I am no professional photographer, we shoved the camera in the bag, and walked in just to see. The palace was huge, and we saw two big silver jars which were of our height, that contained some 900 gallons of water. These were used by the then king, and even taken to England! In the rest of the palace, there was some party preparation going on, and people were putting on the show. It was feeling as if we had stepped on a film set!
The main hall of the city palace is beautiful, but sadly, photography was not allowed -even to those who paid for the thing.
The portraits of the royal hotshots didn’t impress us, especially seeing a bunch of royal guys sitting around a firung officer and his wife and smiling for the camera was not a favorite topic to our liking.
After city palace, we headed to the greatly famous Jantar Mantar. Now this is something that each and everyone have heard of. Naturally, our curiosity about this place was sky high. Unlike city palace, the tickets were reasonable here.
We saw some really cool scientific buildings here, but I felt a person who knows Jyotishya and astrology / astronomy will enjoy this great deal more than anyone else.
We were free by 4.00p.m. Still had an hour or so before all the tourist spot close down. So we decided to head for Nahar Garh, which we could see from a distance.
Enroute to Nahargarh, you pass a tower called [B]tower of life[/B]. The title is actually an irony, because criminals were hanged on these towers for the rest of the city to see the effect of wrongdoing.
We took the Nahargarh road, asking our way to locals. We passed through some really dirty areas, where pigs were playing happily in the middle of the road, overjoyed with all the garbage that was flowing freely. A local pointed us the way, and when we started riding on that path, soon I realized there was no turning back! The road was quite narrow, and very steep, so no question of taking a U turn. You have to finish the full climb, then only you can turn. While climbing the small steep ghaat in first gear, we spotted a biker coming down, and confirmed that this was the way up. After some 7-8 clip bends, we finally entered the parking of [B]Nahargarh fort[/B].
Identify the place!
This place is where the Rang de basanti was filmed. Nice place to see, but nothing much to do.
Climbed as high as possible, much to Nandinee’s agony, because she is a flat road horse, and can’t handle the steep roads.
Panoramic view of the city
The Gata loops of Jaipur, with 8 bends!
We saw cars coming to the parking, and decided to see which route did they take. We thought Nehargarh was just the Rang de basanti place, that’s all. But we were proved wront. Nahargarh was actually a place where the officials from the king’s darbar were staying, and it is a small palace that is open for public to see.
Wish we had such corporations today which provide such dedicated accommodation to its employees!
While leaving Nahargarh, the guard told us to take the same route we took for coming up, as the route for cars is from Amer fort, Jalmahal etc, and the shortcut saves some 10-12 kms. Again we rode from the steep path, clinking and banging due to the rocky roads, passed the stinky steps and entered the old city.
We had dinner early that night, and packed the stuff. Tomorrow was a big day, because Udaipur was some 410kms away, the longest I would ever ride in one day. Gave a feast of 500 bucks of fuel to Vesta, wished her goodnight, and awaited the morning eagerly for the longest ride ever.
…to be continued.