B - Spent 2 days here in Jaipur. Big city, over 2 million people, capital of Rajasthan, and debated whether to go there or not as has reputation for being the most touristy and hassly place in Rajasthan with many stories of touting and cons, however we didnt encounter much of this! Low season in Rajasthan so few tourists and touts just dont seem bothered. Glad we made it.
Arrived late at night, so first time we went out it was afternoon the following day. Streets v busy, full of traffic and pollution - worse than delhi - but beautiful nonetheless as I suppose less modern and more what you would call traditionally 'indian'. As soon as we went out we saw sky in the west change to a beautiful glowing dusky pink-orange. As we stood watching thinking it abit early for sunset, the wind picked up and started blowing things on the street around, scraps of rubbish swirled around, street sellers wares blew away, shop signs fell over, clanging, smashing windows. Then we realised what the colour of the sky meant, as huge clouds of dust were blown towards us, getting in hair, eyes, nose, mouth. We did as locals did and used scarfs to cover our faces. Our first dust storm. Bit scary but v dramatic. Will not forget image of dusky pink-orange clouds heading toward and swirling around us, with people running to secure things, ladies' scarves and saris flapping in the gusty wind. And then two huge, painted elephants coming out the cloud, slowly strolling along the middle of the street.
Later that evening we went to a great restaurant. Was on 14th floor of posh hotel and it was a circular revolving restaurant! Had fantastic views across Jaipur. Watched as dusk fell over the city, then tucked in to excellent Rajasthani meal while live musicians played traditional indian music. Beautiful singing. Felt underdressed though as huge parties of indian friends and family came in wearing their best saris and outfits. We had just come in fromthe dust storm and had washed our filthy feet in toilets!
Next day decided Jaipur too big to see everything ourselves, so booked tour. Again, was mainly with Indian tourists. Was whistle-stop tour of all sights in Jaipur. Most were in the old city of Jaipur, in the centre of town, where every building is painted a dusky pink by law. V delicate-looking buildings with intricate latticing, arches but also many falling into ruin.
Bear - We spent three nights in Jaipur a big city, the capital of Rajahstan. There were many warnings about it, Mr Lonley being particulary causious and as we arrived from Bharatpur it felt very different.
Coming out of the train station we were followed by about 5 touts all giving you wrong directions, and asking questions but we managed to find a tourist beaurau and a solider to help us find a rickshaw to the hotel. You had to step over about 200 (Not an exageration) people sleeping on the pavement in and outside of the station, (India makes my homelessness placement a joke) Got to hotel which was grubbyest yet and didnt move from there till the following evening! Once we were out however it was not so bad and although there were many street kids and poverty the general atmoshere was safe and welcoming. We did however walk straight out into our first monsoonal dust storm. The sky was the colour of glowey orangy doom! It was a bit scarey as glass in the shop windows was blowing out and stuff flying around and the grainy hot dust got into your very insides, i have never felt so gruby! Took revugue in Jaipurs poshest new OM tower revolving restuant (Unit of OM metal amd minerals Ldt as it said on the bill!) It was amazing, fireworks from Hindu wedding celebrations, which all take place on the same night according to the stars and the preists fortuatous predictions, were going off all around the city, it was so high you could see distant mountains, the old city and we watched the sunset to live india music slowly turning round on the revolving floor!! Very romantic. The next day we did a very rushed half day tour of Jaipur which was good because we had a guide and a small group to pretect us and managed to do some good sightseeing of forts, temples, emporiums and palaces. There were also elephants everywhere! By mid day in the armoury section of the city palace however i dont think i could ever get any hotter without exploding, all i could do was look at the Mugal knives that were right next to the fans!