The Amber Fort, Jaipur

on Friday, 19 March 2010

Our second day in Jaipur was spent visiting, what is probably the main attraction in the city, The Amber Fort. We thought we were being picked up by Papi in the morning at 9:30am, but at about 9am we get a knock on our hotel room and Papi is there with his brother who is apparently taking us to the fort. It takes about 30minutes to reach the fort. Along the way we pass an unfortunate man whose cocunut trolley has fallen over going through a big pothole.

There is elephant rides available in front of the fort, but it’s not very interesting, just travel about 1km down the road and then back the same way.

We decide we will save the elephant ride for when we can ride one in a more interesting setting. We have had to check out and bring our rucksacks with us, we get to the fort and don’t know whether to take them with us or not, our driver convinces us not and I take a photo of his number plate just in case. We get inside and there is a entry charge of 150R each, quite a reasonable charge considering the amount we have paid for much lesser attractions. The fort is a huge maze of weird rooms and tunnels going all over the place, we got pretty lost several times, there is also some underground caves they used to move around secretly and for escaping, you can only walk along one small section, but we where lucky to find it, because it’s not very obvious.

The whole place is very confusing and a guide would probably come in quite useful here. The path leading up to the fort is lined by some weird people, including lots of people with weighing scales, I have no idea why and a man with a cow, with a leg growing out of its head. We spend about 2 hours in the fort and then return back down to the bottom to get our rickshaw back to the hotel.

We stop off briefly at a internet cafe, then decide to go explore the city, I have a look at the thermometer and it is reading 50 degrees Celsius. We spot a Pizza hut and pop in to get out of the heat, we end up ruining the budget and eating here, mainly because it’s air conditioned and we don’t have to lug our bags around. We then head to the train station to catch our train to Delhi, while there we book our ticket from Delhi to Amritsar leaving tomorrow. The train is supposed to be due at 4:30pm but doesn’t arrive till 5:15pm, so we are going to be even later arriving in Delhi at 10:30pm with nowhere booked to stay! We get on the train and people don’t seem to be sitting in the correct seats, but Tom takes a spare seat and I take one of the upper beds. Shortly after the train stops again and about 50 other people rush into the carriage, now in a carriage for 8 there are 27 people, and Tom comes up and sits on the top bunk with me after getting abuse down the bottom.

This is going to be an absolutely nightmare for 5 hours. We finally get to what we think is New Delhi train station and after barging our way through the crowd of people rushing on before anyone has got off, I finally manage to push through just before the train leaves. We walk outside the station and it seems to be in the strangest place and not at all as big as I had thought it would be. We walk through some alley ways and finally reach a main road. By this time it is past 11pm and oddly I can’t find a single hostel. We ask a rickshaw driver to take us to a hotel we have found on hostel hero that says it is 5 minutes from the railway station, but he wants 300R to take us. We don’t think so and carry on walking, until we see a policemen and he trys to arrange a taxi for us, but the taxi driver says there are only rooms for around 2000R. We carry on walking until we come to a security gate and they ask what we are doing, we say we want a hotel that’s close, they say there are no hotels here and we discover we got off at Delhi station and not New Delhi station. I don’t believe that there is no hotels at all and we carry on walking, until eventually we stop a rickshaw driver and ask him to take us to the hostel we found near New Delhi station. It takes about 20 minutes to get there and we actually only see one hostel on the way there. We arrive in a road with hundreds of places to stay and loads of travellers around, even though it is past midnight, we spot a hostel that we had read about and go to have a look. It looks reasonable at first sight and we are just so knackered we can’t be bothered looking around, we get it for 300R for the one night we are staying. When in the room we realise part of the window is missing, the mattress is absolutely disgusting, the TV power cable has just had the wires stripped and stuck in the hole, so they spark every time you move them, there is no head on the shower, so it is just a pipe with water pouring out and every time you flush the toilet loads of water pours out of the handle onto your hand. This is the worst to date!