How I ended up in India?
Luckily, some time ago I was working in a tourism agency and I got this proposal to go to India. As a Fam trip. So that means cheaper than normal, with a group, guide, tour leader and excursions. Not the way I always travel, but I was open. So why not? Let‘s try it. And India is a really exotic country. At least for a girl from Lithuania.
So all was set and I started my journey in Vilnius airport, the business lounge. Actually it is good to travel with partners 😀
Let the journey begin
It was easy to enjoy the trip as we were flying with Turkish airlines, so music, movies and food all the trip. Just in the Istanbul, there is only one spot for the wi-fi, next to Starbucks and only for 2 hours. So if you ever go there – be prepared for a boring waiting. But then you can just sit and observe people from all over the world. Such a mix. That‘s one of the reasons I love airports.
After a 5 hours flight finally we land in the New Delhi airport. Our group is 19 people. Some agents from tourism agencies, some from an Indian restaurant and some more. All very different with different needs.
So in the airport we meet our guide. And apparently he will talk only Russian during all the excursions. That was a first „oh damn“ in my head. I do understand some, but not perfectly. But oh well, perfect opportunity to practice it, right? 🙂
So we get our bus and start the journey to Jaipur.
First impressions of India
I knew that it will be chaotic, and I really looked forward to actually see that. And it is true. So much fun to observe the traffic, with the cows on the streets, tuk tuks and just people. No car accidents. At least we didn’t see that. To a Jaipur it is around 200 km but it took us 6 hours to get there. If you go by bus or a car – do not be surprised to spend a lot of time on the road. I hope with trains is better, but as far as I heard about it – it is crazy too.
After a long bus ride I fell asleep. And suddenly our guide welcomes us in Jaipur. I open my eyes and I see a road, and on that road – 3 elephants with the riders. First I thought I am still dreaming. But no, that was true. On the other side there were camels, cows, lazy dogs but no cats. Also we passed through a great palace, a big wall that reminds me of a great wall of china. I wish we could go on top. No, as we are with a group. (many times this happened)
What we hear from a guide? Jaipur, with the population of 3,1 million people is in top 10 biggest cities in India. (It has more people than all Lithuania. Sometimes it is scary to think in this way) Jaipur is the capital of the Rajastan state, sometimes it is called a „Pink city“ as the old town is pink. It was founded in XVIII century, by a Maharaja Jai Singh II.
So we go to the hotel. We rest and after we go to the city. The best thing for me it is just to be on the street and be amazed of how people can drive like that. Of course, there is a specific smell on the streets, but I can live with that. It gives a taste of real India. All the women walking with Sari, men are watching us as there are 20 white people in one place. Kids come to ask for a food or money. And there is a cow that doesn’t care about us, and is just trying to find something in a big garbage hill.
First object that we see – a King‘s summer palace. It is on the water and looks really impressive. We can look only from further, but it is amazing. The promenade seems to be popular for locals too, to come in the afternoon to spend some time. India is full of contrasts. If you look down next to the water, you see dozens of rats. And children are feeding them. So maybe that is the answer why there are no cats in India? 😀
As you enter the old town you see the world with the rose glasses as all seems to be pink. That is the color of the old town. We stop next to the Hava Majal building where the royal family girls used to observe people on the street. It was built in 1799 by one of the Majarajas for the royal women to see the world but the world would not see them. As it was a rule that no one can see a girl before she gets married.
Another stunning object in Jaipur is the Amber (Amer) fort.
This magnificent fort is largely made up of a royal palace, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone and white marble, and divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. As it is built on the Eagle hill you can trudge up to the fort from the road in about 10 minutes, but riding up on elephant back is very popular. That is what I did also – a unique experience. If trying not to think about the poor animal it is really fun. So we entered Amber Fort through Suraj Pol (Sun Gate), which leads to the Jaleb Chowk (Main Courtyard), where returning armies would display their war booty to the populace – women could view this area from the veiled windows of the palace. The ticket office is directly across the courtyard from Suraj Pol.
It is easier to walk in there with the guide as there are not many written information.
To go down you can hire the 4 DW cars so it is another fun experience, and you do not have to walk in that heat. All in all the palace is beautiful, surroundings too – great for the pictures. Of course, really touristic, so you will get many sellers. If you do not want to buy – do not pay attention, otherwise you got a “friend” for long. And if you wanna get something cheap – prepare to bargain.
In the afternoon we drove to the elephant farm. To see where they live. What they eat. Where they swim. Some local kids greeted us, but they were friendly and not so annoying as in the city. Elephants are so nice and big. Interesting to observe them. The worst thing that everywhere they try to take your money. So the owner greeted us and invited for a tea and coffee. All free because he is such a great host. And after 5 minutes he was telling the prices for feeding, riding, washing, painting on the elephant. It was too late to do any of the activities and honestly I didn’t feel like. This is one of the thing when you travel with a group, that everyone see you as walking dollar signs. Or maybe it is Asia.