In the Incredible India, the most popular trip to make is The Golden Triangle. This includes: Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. I had the very lucky chance of making this tour with two friends who had very similar travelling styles as I do. Afraid that India would have very sketchy places we ended up staying 4 or 5 star hotels. The cost of the hotels were still pretty average to a hotel in Toronto.
Jaipur was the first stop. We flew from Goa to Jaipur via IndiGo. I must admit, this airline is much nicer than Air India. For one thing, they provide full meals (roti wraps), water bottle and a drink on a one hour flight. Compared to Air India who provided stale cheese sandwiches and a small juice box. We had arrived in Jaipur and was quickly greeted by our personal driver Mr. Ram. It was in the night time so we went straight to the hotel: Lemon Tree. There were people who opened doors for you and bell boys. What was the most surprising for me was that there were signs everywhere saying not to tip the help. We took that night and went to the Thai place downstairs beside the buffet to eat. I had pho which was not very good but we shared some dumplings that were amazing.
The next day we had the buffet breakfast in the hotel that was complimentary. We were already half an hour late so we had to rush through our meal. I was happy to know that we are able to eat the fruit without worrying there. Thought we got into some shit with the driver and the private tour guide, we rushed straight to the Jaipur Palace where we took a tour inside. The king was a polygamist. He had many wives and a large palace to fit all the people that worked for him inside as well. It is typical that the royal women of India are not to show their faces, so there were many seating and screen areas where the queens would sit behind to watch what the king was doing. We took an elephant ride up to the top to the palace. You are not to tip the elephant riders but there are signs everywhere saying that you should not tip them. The most hilarious part of the tour was the humungous pot used to cook for the palace. You could fit about 20 people in there.
Behind the palace was Amber Fort. This is a fort where the soldiers lived to protect the city. In this area, there was also a long wall surrounding the edges of India. It was like Great Wall of China, but a little smaller.
On the way to our next stop in our tour, we stopped to talk pictures of the water palace. The water palace is a Palace the king built in the middle of a man made lake. We were very happy to see some camels hanging out beside the lake. Presumably waiting for people to pay to ride them. We also found that people were passing elephants in the road since they were going home to relax for the day.
Before we headed to lunch, we stopped by the fake wall. Remember I said that the royal ladies always had to sit behind a wall to look out onto the people? There was a wall in the middle of Jaipur that used to be where the royal ladies sat behind to watch the “common” people. It is a beautiful architecture.
Lunch was at a tourist place, but the food was amazing. I am still drooling at the Biryani that we got. Funny thing is that the bottled water that we got that was from the Himalayas seemed to be the best tasting water we had ever had. Highly recommended.
After lunch we headed to a commercial place, where we were “expected” to buy some emeralds. Jaipur’s specialty is emeralds. My girlfriend and I felt weird when we went into the factory and all the men were looking at us very creepily. Needless to say we got out of there as soon as possible.
When we managed to squirm ourselves out of the chokehold of the emerald pushers, we headed to the astrological area. The king at that time was very interested in astrology. He had many large sun dials to learn how to read the time. There were also steps per astrological sign, so if it was a clear night, you can walk up those steps and sit at the top and see directly at that star configuration. I took a picture with mine. It was incredible how exact the sundials were for timing. They were down to 2 to 3 seconds to what our current watches tell us.
Thinking that we would have already seen enough palaces, we headed to another which was even more amazing than the first. Many of the walls were decorated with jewel powder. That is jewels grounded to a powder and glue added to make a paint. There was the entertaining area where there were four doors and each of them represented one season. My pictures definitely do not show how beautiful it is. Some of the walls were decorated by gold pieces as well. There were two big jugs (I thought that was crazy comical) that we saw. These jugs were used to carry water from India (ironically) to the United Kingdom because the king didn’t like the taste of the water there.
At night we had tickets to a “show”, called Chokha Dhani , which was actually like the CNE or a carnival. We played some bowling games, I got a “free henna” (it was terrible btw), we rode a camel and we ate a “free” dinner. Overall I wouldn’t go back to this carnival again because it was very underwhelming, but for kids, it would be ok. The dinner was good as well but I wasn’t sure what type of water they would use, so I didn’t eat much of it. On top of that, I didn’t want to eat more Indian food.