Heart of India

Day 05 - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - Fly to Jaipur; Walking Tour of Pink City

Namaste and good day to you all!

Our wake up call came at 6:00 am - time to prepare for our flight to Jaipur. The full buffet was not ready so we had juice, fruit, and yogurt for breakfast. We are learning that yogurt is our best friend to reduce the chance of "Delhi Belly" or other intestinal uncomfortables.

A transfer bus took us back to the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 7:30. Sujay arranged for the OAT airport representative to have a group check-in that really simplified the process. After a thorough search at security we then made our way to the gate area.

Because we were early, we had to wait for a few minutes before our gate was available. The shuttle for the flight to Jaipur left from Gate B11 taking us to the aircraft on the tarmac at 9:30.

The IndiGo A320-NEO domestic flight was almost full and our seats were A (window) and B (center) in aisle 19. Our group sat together along with another OAT group that began their tour on the same day. We will be shadowing each other as we complete the remainder of the trip.

There were several VIP aircrafts at the terminal causing delays in getting on the runway and then for departure. The pilot updated us as to our status in the takeoff line and the air conditioning was on keeping us cool.

Gennie began writing the journal and we talked to our seatmate Chuck from California to pass the time. It was over an hour at 11:50 before we took off. The skies were still overcast and the visibility was limited.

In about 45 minutes we were on the ground in Jaipur, the “Pink City”, named because of the red and pink colors of the sandstone buildings. Sadish, our driver from Delhi and the bus assistant, Salin met us at the airport after their 10-hour drive delivering the luggage.

On the way to the hotel we stopped for fifteen minutes at the Central Park Gardens. A new ornate gate is being built featuring many Indian Gods and themes from their history. The gardens are beautiful and being improved to reflect the growth of the city.

Sujay gave us an overview of the history and activities of the city as we continued our drive. One of the first things we noticed were the number of the Hindu Holy Cows wandering the streets. We are definitely in India!

Once we reached the Radisson Blu we were welcomed with a fruit drink. Our room was on the 4th Floor giving us a good view of the streets below. The AC and the Internet functioned well so we were happy campers.

At 1:30 we went to lunch near the hotel at Barbeque Nation. Our starters were grilled right at the table. We enjoyed fish, shrimp, chicken, and pineapple. There was also an ample buffet of Indian specialties, salads, and desserts.

After our late lunch we met our local guide A.J. who began the tour with an explanation of his home, “The Land of the Kings”, Jaipur, Rajasthan State. In 1947 when India won its independence from the British, there were 22 kingdoms all vying for influence in the fledgling country.

The first priority of the new nation was to bond the Rajas who were fighting against each other. The concept of democracy was the only uniting factor to keep the whole country together. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first president and the man credited with transforming the many kingdoms into one unified country.

When we arrived at the Amber (Amer) Fort it was late afternoon. The bus could only take us to the city of Amer and then we rode the rest of the way on four-wheeled vehicles, made by an Indian company called Mahindra from Mumbai. The drivers managed to get us up the steep hill to the fort in these very rustic but reliable trucks.

The fort and inner palace was started in 1036 and built in the traditional Hindu style of carved sandstone. It was the main residence of the Maharajas and their many wives and extended families.

The Amber Fort was abandoned and the center of power was moved to Jaipur in 1727 because a lack of water, no more room for expansion, and a hope that the move would give more access to the southern route of the Silk Road for trade.

We were still taking photos and learning about the fort at 6:00 when one of the guards told us we had only 2 more minutes to leave the grounds. We made our way back down the stone steps in the dark and found our vehicles that took us back to meet the bus.

It was about 7:30 when we reached the hotel, went through the security scanner, and then back to our room. We had hundreds of photos to peruse and lots of words to commit to the journal before we could shower and get to sleep.

As we look back on the history of India and things we have seen so far, Mark Twain said it best:

"India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!"

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Jaipur Hotel - - - Meal: B & L

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I really enjoy reading about this trip. Steve and I took that trip in 2008 this same time of the year. I remember the rickshaw ride and all the wires above our heads so twisted and dangerous-looking! Jaipur is so beautiful and Pink! I'm looking forward to reading your journals for the rest of the trip! Thank you!

Carol Larson   November 1, 2016 - 11:56pm
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Sujay, Our Trip Leader

Sujay, Our Trip Leader

New Gate at Central Park Gardens

New Gate at Central Park Gardens

Tuesday Street Market

Tuesday Street Market

Hindu Family at Amber Fort

Hindu Family at Amber Fort

Amber Fort at Night

Amber Fort at Night

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