Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rajasthan 2015 - Feb 6th - Day 3: Jaipur Sightseeing: Amer fort and more

To read the previous instalment, click HERE.

Today morning, our family went early to catch the elephant ride from the base to the top of Amer Fort. This is an unique thing in Amer. Amer Fort is a historically rich fort that we glimpsed yesterday evening through the sound and light show. Today, we were going to actually go in and see the various beautiful buildings constructed within the ramparts and walls of the fort. To do this, one can go up by a car from a different path, or, one can ride an elephant. Two people sit inside the howdah, while a mahout sits just behind the head of the giant animal and controls it. Each elephant costs Rs. 900/= to take you to the top, a journey of about a kilometer. There are long queues to get atop the elephants, and we used the extra time to look around, take photos and generally enjoy ourselves. Here are a few of those pictures. The special wound-cloth caps that we are wearing were borrowed from the seller for a princely amount of Rs. 10/- each. The umbrella is something we purchased (Rs. 200, down from the seller's demand of Rs. 450) ... and boy, this was a really useful purchase for the remnant of our entire holiday. This is because Nishrin hates the sun, and Rajasthan is an awfully sunny place to be in, regardless of which exact place you are at!

The elephants we rode on were docile and swayed from side to side as they limbered up the stone pathways, and as we climbed higher, we could see the entire landscape around us. Right opposite us, we could see the outer walls of the erstwhile Amer fort; behind us was the current Amer town; spread out below us were the beautifully landscaped gardens of the fort (there were three in all, each at different levels from each other), and these were interspersed with canopies of different sizes, velvet-like grass and colours of flower beds, and water bodies. Truly, a lovely ride.

Amer Fort is a tourists' delight. The treasures within are so many and so diverse! We hired a guide, who took us past the intricately decorated main gate and into the palaces within the fort. Here are some pictures of the sights we saw.

The Diwan-e-Aam

Ganesh Pol (gate) has this statuette of Lord Ganesh embedded in it.

Pillars from the Diwan-e-Aam
Detail of the cupolas inside Ganesh Pol

Sheesh Mahal - the ceiling

Sheesh Mahal - the wall

Frescos made from Belgian glass inside the Sheesh Mahal
An extra-ordinary grill made from stone and marble

Playing with mirrors
After the long and exhausting visit to the rest of the fort,  our driver took us to a place known as "Maharaja Restaurant". This was a clean, relatively sparsely furnished touristy diner where we had a passable meal. Next, we proceeded to go to the Nahargarh Fort in the late afternoon. The plan was to see the place and then watch the sun set from either the roof of the fort or to go to a cafe nearby which is known for excellent views of the setting sun. Truth be told, we reached Nahargarh almost after 4 p.m., as it is located nearly 15 km from Amer. The fort was nothing extra-ordinary, but, even so, the rooms and the carvings here were nice. We could not take the car inside, and Nishrin opted out of the visit and stayed in the car. We avoided taking a guide, and so finished the round of the main building within 45 minutes. After this, we ascended to the roof and waited for the sun to set. They told us that the fort would shut for the day at 6 p.m. Hence, we decided to go to the cafe to watch the sun set. The cafe charges an entry fee of Rs. 50 per person, but offers a free soft-drink or tea to compensate for the charge; we never did go in as Nishrin was fast asleep in the car, and the driver wanted us to go back to our hotel in Jaipur. Thus, we left the fort by half-past-six and returned to Jaipur, but before we went back to the hotel, we went to the local markets and shopped for things. 

Some photos from Nahargarh:

After Nahargarh, we returned to the city and then went for shopping. I visited a Raymond's shop and gave an order to stitch a Jaipuri "achkan", a sort of inner coat, but more sophisticated as it has to be worn outside one's shirt. Next, I contacted my friend Dr. Sanjay Shukla, who is a Jaipur resident. With him, I went out to eat as the others were not in the mood for dinner. I eventually purchased some stuff from McDonalds and then went back to the hotel for the night.

For the enxt instalment, click HERE.

Thanks for reading!!

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