Home > India > 2nd December – The forts around Jaipur

2nd December – The forts around Jaipur

After a good night sleep, we hired an auto-rickshaw to visit the city of Jaipur.

Transport for the day was 550 INRs (£6.84),from 10am till 7pm which includes taking us to the 5 sites (not including entrances)we wanted to visit and also the driver waiting.

Rafiq our driver which was arragned by our hotel picked us up and then took us to our first stop which he called the Eiffel tower of Jaipur. It’s a big column in the old city, resembling one of the towers of the Taj Mahal. On our way to the tower Rafiq mentioned if a police man stops him and asks us how much we are paying, we always say, we are going by the meter and not paying him for a whole day.

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This tower has not been mentioned in any books or guides that we have read. It cost us 10 INRs to enter but you should really pay 5 Rupees to enter as stated on the ticket. At the top you get a 360 degrees view if Jaipur, spotting the City Palace, Wind Palace and Tiger Palace. It was a little bit hazy but still good to see. Only spent 5mins there.

From the Eiffel tower we went to Royal Gaitor which lies in the northern side of the city centre. In most guides it states it’s free to enter but it’s not, it costs us 60 INR each to get in. They may charge you another 20 INR for your camera or video. We didn’t pay.

The Royal Gaitor, contains marble mausoleums of Jaipurs ruling family. The founder of Jaipur (Jai Singh II) is buried there. One of the most impressive stories of one of the rulers who is also buried here is, he had four wives, fifty or so concubines which bore him 125 children, Yes ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE CHILDREN. Where does he get his energy from and does he actually get anytime to rule? Was it women he was ruling or the city? Incredible feat anyway.

From here we set our sights on visiting the main attraction in Jaipur, AMBER FORT.

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Amber Fort is 11km north of Jaipur. This was the capital for a leading clan from 1037 until 1727.

The settings is beautiful. The fort is perched on a rocky hill and next to is Jaigarh fort. This place is very dramatic and one can imagine how this was used back in the days. Entrance is 150 INRs.

There are all kinds of touts and sellers trying to make some money. At one point I touched my head as I thought a pigeon had shit on my head, all of a sudden someone produced a hat for me, I declined his advances ambit he still pushes to sell me a hat.

You can also find guides within the premises and they are going at good rate 200 – 250 INRs. For those who are not big fans of snakes must be aware as there are a few snake charmers outside the fort and also inside.

We spent about a couple of hours in here, saw houses and private chambers belonging to former rulers.

There used to be a tunnel that leads to Jaigarh fort but its been closed as a tourist got lost oneday, not sure if he/she was ever found.

The walk to Jaigarh fort took about 30 mins as it lies behind Amber Palace, climbing gradual and steep steps. As our guide in Nepal will call it “Nepali Flat”. This fort was built in 1600. If you have a ticket for the City Palace in Jaipur then you are exempt from paying here. You will be charged 50 INRs for your camera or video recorder.

Within this fort is the biggest canon ever made in Asia. It was fired once. It was carried up to the frost by 25 oxen. As the rooms within this fort is a bit tricky, we found ourselves being chaperoned by a uniformed guard who will give us a tour. In the end we gave him 20 INRs for his troubles.

We descended and headed for the last place before lunch. When we reached the auto-rickshaw it wasn’t Rafiq waiting for us, it was another guy. He explained Rafiqs uncle had passed away so he has gone home and this guy will be our guide.

He took us to the water palace. At the water palace there isn’t much to see. You stand byte street side and see this palaeontology submerged in water.

Spent 10 mins the most there and had lunch at 3pm at LMB in the old city.We then met up with our new driver and asked him to take us to GALTA also known as the MONKEY PALACE.

Galta lies 3pm east of Jaipur. When we arrived at it’s gates, we bought some ground nuts for the monkeys as we were told by locals it’s good karma to feed the monkeys.

Entry is free but you will be charged for camera which is 50 INRs and video 150 INRs. We arrived at sunset and walked past all these red butts monkeys. There were tens of them when walking up and the temple was situated between these rocks, it reminded me of Indiana Jones. It was picturesque and also hundereds of monkeys. Apparently thereare 500 of them and they are just perched there buy eating, picking lice from eachother, looking at you or some engaging in some Kamasutra.

Spent about half an hour there and then walked up to wath the sunset over Jaipur from Surya Mandir temple, which is perched on the top of the hill.

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Our driver was waiting or us and we asked him to take us to a bazaar as Jukie want to buy some table cloths. The guys wasn’t listening and triedto takebus to his shop, the atmosphere changed a bit as he was being vey pushy. He most probably gets commission for bringing tourists.

He eventually took us to where Julie wanted to go, Julie went into a few shops to enquire about prices but she didn’t buy anything. Got back Ito rickshaw and we gave in and agreed to be taken to the wholesalers where the driver thinks we would be able to get table cloths for heap and good quality.

Te place was dingy and the owner or manager demonstrated how the prints were done, an tried to offer us tea, coffee, water, champagne and we were not interested. It’s been a long day and we didn’t want to be there. The owner boasted he supplied materials to Liberty, m&s and other chains and we knew he was bullshitting us.

After showing us a cloth, Julie told him she wasn’t interested. The quality wasn’t good and the price was more expensive than the retail prices. We thanked him and driver drove us back to hotel.

On the way to hotel, drier was stopped by the police and fined 100 INRs for not having a licence. We were asked by the police how much we were paying which we said, we are paying according to the meter, saved his arse.

Julie and I thought that was his karma. If he had taken us back to hotel earlier as mentioned maybe he would have avoided a fine but wanted to make some more money. His pushiness left a bad taste in our mouths as we had enjoyed our day until the end.

Arrived in hotel, had dinner and then slept.

En français:

Grasse matinée aujourd’hui, je me réveille a 8h. Petit déjeuner sur le toit avec crêpe au Nutella. C’est délicieux jusqu’à ce que j’arrive a l’endroit ou ils ont mis du miel dans la crêpe au Nutella… Tant mieux pour Kwasi, tant pis pour moi.

A 10h, quand on est fin prêts, on organise un auto-rickshaw pour la journée. Notre chauffeur s’appelle Rafiq et son auto ‘limousine’. On avait déjà eu droit a hélicoptère mais limousine c’estla première fois.

Pendant qu’il roule, il nous indique les endroits incontournables de Jaipur, Lassiwalla, THE endroit pour les lassis, Niros, un très ancien restaurant etc…
Il nous montre aussi ce qu’il appelle la tour Eiffel de Jaipur, un minaret en plein milieu de la cité rose. Pour 10 roupies chacun, on monte tout en haut pour avoir le meilleur panorama de la ville. Enfin, avec la pollution et la poussière on a du mal a voir loin.

On commence ensuite notre vrai tour par, ‘Royal Gaitor’. C’est l’endroit ou tous les maharajas de Jaipur sont enterres. Il y a deux grandes cours avec au milieu de chaque. Cour, le cénotaphe d’un très grand maharaja. Le premier est celui qui a eu 125 enfants avec toutes ses femmes et ses concubines!

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Ensuite, on se dirige plus loin vers la ville d’Amber pour visiter le fort d’Amber. Le rickshaw nous dépose aux pieds de la colline et après il faut monter le reste. Vous avez le choix avec éléphant pour 900 roupies ou utiliser vos jambes. Nous on a choisi d’y aller a pieds. Bon, on a croise des charmeurs de serpent sur la route mais c’est pas grave. Après 15 minutes, on arrive dans la cour principale. On acheté nos billets (200 roupies chacun) et on part visiter. C’est vraiment très grand avec des dizaines et des dizaines cours intérieurs, de salles etc… Le fort était très important avec que Jaipur ne soit crééeetc’est la ou vivait le maharaja. Ils avaient même des salles avec la clim de leur époque: des tuyaux avec e l’eau fraiche caches dans les murs!

Après le fort d’Amber, on grime pendant 20 minutes en plein cagnard pour aller voir le fort de Jaigarh. Il est encore plus vieux et a la particularité d’accueillir le plus grand canon du monde. Pas très impressionnant si vous voulez mon avis mais si le Guiness le dit.

On redescend tout en bas pour être accueillis par un nouveau chauffeur, mr Khan qui nous dit que l’oncle de Rafiq est mort donc il estparti rejoindre sa famille. Comme on a déjà tout entendu on lui pose des questions pour savoir si c’est bien vrai et oui, il sera notre chauffeur pour le reste de la journée. Il nous dit qu’il a commence ce métier il y a un mois et qu’avant il travaillait dans une fabrique de pierres précieuses.

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Il commence par nous déposer au Jahal Mahal, le palais dans l’eau. Rien de spécial car on ne peut pas le visiter, juste prendre des photos. Après 5 minutes, on lui dit qu’on voudrait déjeuner et il nous dépose devant un restaurant qui n’était pas prévu au programme et on lui dit ou on voudrait aller a la place.

Il nous dépose quelques minutes après au LMB, réputé pour ses confiseries. C’est très cher et pas génial. Comme il est tard on n’a pris que des naans et un byriani a partager en se disant que ce sera bientôt l’heure du diner.

La dernière étape de notre tour est le temple de Galta. Il accueille des milliers de singes et franchement on n’était pas très rassurés quand on commmence a grimper la colline, il y en partout et en plus certains se chamaillent! Mr Khan nous dit qu’il faut acheter des cacahuètes pour le singes pour le bon kharma. On le fait mais quand on réalise le nombre de singes on se dit qu’ils vont tous nous sauter dessus. Au sommet de la colline, il y a un premier temple, mais le clou du spectacle est en bas de l’autre cote: plusieurs temples avec des bassins et…. des singes!

Quand on repart Mr Khan nous demande pour la énième fois si on veut aller a Mughal Town, la ou il y a les fabriques artisanales. On lui dit non mais qu’on voudrait aller dans les bazars. Il nous dit d’aller voir mais que lui il aura des meilleurs prix. O va voir et on demande les prix puis juste histoire de savoir on le suit dans ces fameux ateliers. Et bien, comme on le pensait c’est plus cher! Donc on n’achète rien et on lui dit qu’on veut rentre a l’hôtel.

Sur le chemin du retour, il se fait arrêter et doit payer une amende, ça lui apprendra a vouloir nous emmener la ou on voulait pas. On rentre a l’hotel après 19h. On fait une petite pause et plus tard, on dine encore sur le toit et je reprends mon curry de tomate!

Apres le diner, retour dans la chambre et je m’endors devant ‘Destination Finale 3’.

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