Friday, August 12, 2005

Jaipur Express

The Shatabdi Express to Jaipur spoilt us rotten as far as trains go. We later had a big shock! It's a short trip (4.5 hours), there are complementary newspapers and an unending supply of free mineral water, tea, snacks and a vegetarian in-flight meal. So far, so good. Jaipur is a tourist town, you get hassled from the moment you emerge from the train station. We stayed in a former thakur (nobleman)'s palace, now the Hotel Diggi Palace, which whilst not a 5 star establishment, was certainly a big step up from Paharganj. Jasmine and Dylan enjoyed the big garden. It was worth splashing out on 14 euro a night for the room.

We visited a few of the sites here over a couple of days – the City Palace where the son and family of the last Maharaja still live; Jantar Mantar, an observatory with massive outdoor astronomical devices built in the eighteenth century by Maharaja Jai Singh; the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, where the princesses and ladies of the court would watch goings on from behind screens. Jasmine and I visited Amber Fort just outside town on our own as Dylan wasn't feeling well – it was amazing and a great day out for just the two of us.



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