Day 4 (October 20, 2014)   Jaipur: Amber Fort


Map of Jaipur outskirts

   This day will be spent on the visit of the great places in Jaipur’s outskirts.

   We’ll get transport for the entire day in the city.

   The main visit, and probably the first one, is to Amber Fort. In our return trip to Jaipur we can enjoy the view of Jal Mahal, the Palace at Lake.

   The spots marked at map are:

 0- Hotel Umaid Mahal
 1- Amber Fort
 2- Jal Mahal
 3- Royal tombs
 4- Galta


   After a good breakfast we’re ready to be picked up by the driver from yesterday, Khan, at 9 AM. We leave the Pink City to Amber where we’re going to visit its popular fort.

   Khan stops by the lake to get some nice pictures of the fort from here. He will be waiting for us at car park and points us the door we should appear later but, as we want to do the way up on an elephant ride, he take us to the right place.

Amber Fort view

   The elephant ride has a fix price: 900 Rs, and we get up one of them running away the pressure of vendors. Somehow, we’re not free of them as they’re still yelling their offers all the way up to the fort. Saying “no” a hundred times is useless and spoils a little bit the experience. Anyway, the way up to the fort is spectacular, with the stone paths between the yellow walls and the views getting better as we go higher and higher.

Place to take elephant to Amber FortElephant ride up to Amber Fort

Views from Amber FortElephant ride up to Amber Fort

   Once at the fort we get our tickets by 200 Rs each and scape definitively from all vendors by getting in the fort complex.

Amber FortAmber Fort

   Buildings recall the ones we saw yesterday at City Palace: structures with arches and unequal levels, but here they have a characteristic look making them different. There are fantastic spots in the fort.

Amber FortAmber Fort

   We're seeking the shadow whenever is possible. When we’re feeling the exit is near, some music makes us look for its source. It is coming from a snake charmer who stops every when and then by closing the basket where the cobra is.

   In a moment he makes signs to the public offering a place at his side and I go with no second thoughts. I can see here how he plays the flute until the cobra stops staring at it. In my case, it happened when the snake turns to look at Eva, who is getting closer for pictures, and then he sets the cover in front of it and close it in the basket. I can see how the cobra attacks that cover with its lethal, but now useless, bite.

Way to Amber Fort exitSnake charmer

  We take what we’re pointed as car park exit, but soon we see the car park is up here and it is not the place our driver is waiting for us, that is in front of the fort, by the lake, and we’re now actually behind it. We keep our way down hoping this path turns somewhere to the lake, but it is strange we’re the only pedestrians here.

   We find the cheapest gift store just when the way gets flat, almost reaching the town, and then we have a nice walk along the road between elephants, cows, pigs… but we are the only foreigners around.

Walking by Amber

  When we have a while walking and see the road leaving the town it’s the moment to assume we’ve got lost, so we stop a rickshaw to take us to the right place by 100 Rs, although it was already occupied by a young Indian woman who makes us place at her side. In our way back to Jaipur Khan tells us Galta is the next visit as it is closer but, before, we have a short stop in an avenue by the lake, with good views to Jal Mahal, also known as Water Palace for clear reasons.

Jal Mahal or Water PalaceJal Mahal's environment

   Once in Galta we’re assigned a boy. They tell it is for our security as monkeys known the local boy and won’t attack and there is no charge, just tip him at our will. We start our way up and the heat is making it harder than what it really is. There are monkeys all around and the boy is explaining us things as if we were there because of the monkeys.

Views of Jaipur from Galta

   At the top, the boy points us a small white house and says that is the monkey temple and propose turning around to come back. It is then when I tell him we’re not there because of the animals, but the landscape of the real temple, set in the gorge between two stone walls. That temple is far down the mountain and, although the way to it doesn’t seem complicated, we can guess a hard way up back to here, so I think is that what this boy is trying to avoid for himself. When I say I'm going and my wife states she doesn’t think to have energy enough as per doing that way the boy quickly propose to take her back to the gate. It seems I can make this way alone as the monkeys are not dangerous anymore.

   The way down is easy and there I’m welcomed by a man introduced as priest of Hanuman – Monkey God – temple. He shows me an image of Hanuman appearing on the rocks, which has been highlighted with orange paint. I refuse to be put a wristband showing I’m not wearing anything in my fingers, wrist or neck, but I agrees on drawing the orange point in my forehead. Monkeys are looking shy from the temple door.

Entrance to Monkey God Hanuman TempleAnimals in water, besides Hanuman Temple

  He obviously asks for a charity and I give 50 Rs for the temple. The change of my 100 Rs note is going to the 50 Rs ticket I knew I should pay for taking photos here. Admission is free.

Galta TempleGalta

   I feel like special here, like Indiana Jones reaching an isolated city. I walk between ancient walls, surrounded by monkeys and some cow. A narrow stairs are the only way down, along the temple occupying the gap in this gorge. The first opening in the temple wall shows some women taking baths on this holly water and some boys come to me as if I was coming from another planet: they want to touch e and talk to me even if there is no way of understanding. The only adult men here are the gurus, with grey beards and hairs and wearing austere clothes.

   I finish this special visit by taking the steeped way up with this heat. I rest a couple of times in my way and join my wife and driver really wet.

Path to GaltaGate to Galta area

  The tip for the boy is 50 Rs. He asks for more, but don’t say more when I recall he has tried to fool us.

   Our last visit for today is Gaitor, the Royal Tombs, and we’re driven to it.

   It takes a little bit more than expected to get there, with horrible roads and narrow and busy streets, but the visit is quick. After paying 30 Rs each we get in to explore the three parts of tombs. We’re alone here, which is really a gift on this country.

Royal TombsRoyal Tombs

Royal TombsRoyal Tombs

   We’re again at hotel for lunching, around 3 PM, after saying goodbye to our friend, who has been a sort of blessing in a city where everybody seems to be here to get the maximum money from you.

   We look after avoiding spicy food for a change and rest in our room and hotel until the time to sleep. It’s just then when we can hear the noise of the crackers in the streets and go to the terrace to see something of the fireworks. Diwali is here!