Our next destination was Jaipur. We were able to take an overnight train. We arrived at Jaipur early in the morning, and the auto-rickshaw drivers and touts were all over us. Sick of the whole thing, we took a very long walk (getting lost several times) to the hotel.
We were staying at Atithi Guest House. The hotel room wasn’t that clean, but in their defense, the cleaning crew had cleaned the room in a hurry while we waited, since we arrived early in the morning. The room was quiet, though and the owner was able to arrange a car and driver to take us to Agra.
We visited the City Palace. It was built between 1729 and 1732, and is one of the main draw cards for Jaipur. Unfortunately the sights were not that exciting and we cruised through pretty fast.
The Jantar Observatory is right next to the City Palace. It was a somewhat interesting diversion with it’s Escher-like structures. It is the largest stone observatory in the world and is one of the Maharaja Jai Singh’s most conspicuous additions to Jaipur.
The Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) has a beautiful facade , but there isn’t anything inside it except for a good vantage point to watch the hustle and bustle of the street below. It was built in 1799 as a comfortable retreat for Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It’s designed to catch the breeze.
We tried to eat lunch at LMB restaurant. It was recommended by our guidebook. Unfortunately it was terrible food, and service to match!
We visited Amber Fort which can be seen from almost everywhere in Jaipur. It was built for residential purposes (not defensive), up high on a hill overlooking the city. Again, the main sights had been sadly damaged by graffiti (including some dated from the previous day!) and explanatory signs were non-existent. Neither the Lonely Planet nor the Let’s Go provide maps, and their description consists of such location information as “elsewhere in the palace’”…
We tried to do more shopping but didn’t really find much and we decided to clear out of Jaipur a little early – it wasn’t what we’d hoped for – the shopping was supposed to be great but it really wasn’t and there are way too many tourists so they’re really pushy.
So, we got a car and driver to take us to Agra so we could see the Taj without racing.