Cars 6 Hotels 3 Flights 1:flying hours 8.5 Rickshaws 4 Buses 2
Left Agra after breakfast for a 5 hour drive to Jaipur, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri on the way. Fatehpur Sikri is the deserted ancient capital of Emperor Akbar, built in the 16th century, the city was abandoned twelve years later due to the lack of water. My guide for this is Imam. The city is still intact and there are some beautiful sights here.
To get to the site one has to get on a bus, these are natural gas buses, the aim here is to reduce pollution which is why cars have to stay in the car park, there seemed to be more pollution inside the buses than out and while we were waiting for the driver to decide to get in and drive, it felt as if I was sitting in an oven, nice. I’ve captured the essence of this experience in these photos.
After the tour of Fatehpur Sikri another couple of hours in the car on the freeways, which are very well maintained, I arrive at Jaipur.
Having spent rather a lot of hours on the roads here now, I want to record my experiences. On the freeways (motorway) vehicles drive on the wrong side of the road if this is the direction they want to go in, I’ve seen everything from huge great trucks, to people pulling carts, coming towards the car, thank goodness I have a really good driver, it was an interesting experience seeing a truck looming towards our car as the driver swerved out of the way! Actually this goes for the smaller roads as well, but it seems slightly more dangerous on the motorway. No one takes any notice of road markings, they seem to be there for decorative purposes only! Over taking occurs on both sides and often involves several types of vehicles at the same time. The horns, the horns are constant, if a car is mobile the horn will be going, the only respite is when we are on the freeway and there are no other vehicles anywhere near us! Animals wander just freely on the freeway as they do on any other road. On the motor way; people cycling, several varieties of animals pulling carts, as well as humans pulling carts, and perhaps the sight that I found most frightening, women sitting on the road painting the white warning stripes on the central reservation, no warning bollards, no protective clothing, just women in saris sitting on the road painting, you couldn’t make it up…..welcome to India!
Oh and one final thing the number of people that can be crammed into and onto a vehicle, my driver very helpfully slowed down so I could take these photos after we went through a toll, the chap hanging out of the drivers door is the driver.
And so to my hotel, Shahpura House, Jaipur, well what a joy arriving here was. I was taken to a beautifully furnished room where a Tilak, red vermilion paste placed on my forehead in between my eyes, as a greeting, was carried out by a delightful man, who then gave me some delicious iced tea. My suite is divine, the whole hotel is.
This evening I went up to the hotels’ rooftop bar where traditional Rajasthani folk music and dance were performed, it made a prefect back drop to a scrumptious dinner and a couple of rather strong cocktails. The evening was rounded off by a puppet show, I was the only one left in the restaurant, so I had a personal show and actually it was rather good, I love stuff like this, and then it was time for my tipsy toes to go to bed.