Rajasthan is usually the classic state to visit when coming in India; I let it for my last weeks. The capital Jaipur is a much bigger city than Agra! My guest house was supposed to be very close to the old city, but is still a few km walk. Jaipur is called the pink city because the city walls around the old city are painted in pink/orange. Manish contacted me via Couchsurfing and we met in Jah Mahal, a palace in the middle of a lake, in the half way between Jaipur and Amber. We then went to Amber, where he brought me to an elephant village. Although I did not want to ride an elephant, I finally let me convinced to support the local community. I should not have, the ride was expensive and very short, and the tour in a flat area a little boring! Back in Amber, I started going to the Amber Fort, but though it was too late to start the visit, just 1 hour before closing.
The next 2 days (9th and 10th October) were again a tourist marathon: I got the composite ticket and visited all places on it: the Hawar Mahar palace and its colorful windows; the Jantar Mantar observatory with its huge buildings (up to 20m high) for more precise calculation of the time based on the Sun rays; the Nahargarh fort to finish the day 1 and enjoy the view over Jaipur, the fort itself is quite empty. I initially though not to enter in the city palace, but being very close to the Jantar Mantar, I just wanted to check out how far I could go without ticket. And I actually passed the check point without being controlled! So I could see the opulent palace! On day 2, I visited the quite interesting museum in Albert Hall (even if many stuff were similar to the National Museum in Delhi) before coming a 2nd time to Amber and go up to both sides to enjoy the views: first on the city walls opposite to the fort and then into the fort itself. I eventually up to the Jaigarh fort higher uphill, famous for hosting the world’s largest wheeled cannon: 50 tons, requires 100kg gun powder for 22 miles range, the Jaivana was the nuclear bomb of the 18th, used only once and being more a dissuasive weapon!
Jeet from Couchsurfing hosted me the next days in Jaipur and I just enjoyed the time with him and his family. One evening, we went to the cinema in Raj Mandir, watching English Vinglish, a nice Bollywood comedy about an upper class Indian family invited to a wedding in New York. The mother went one month before to help the preparation but actually took English courses in secret to finally impress them all. As the movie is all Hindi without subtitle, but with many parts in English, I could get most of it quite easily. Jeet translated me a few times. The funny part is that a French guy was in love with the mother within the English course and used to speak in French, so that I could translate that back to Jeet 😉
Getting out of the cinema, we saw 2 pretty girls entering in a restaurant. Jeet and I simply joined them, and we finally had a nice diner all together, speaking about the movie first, then the culture differences between India and Europe, the ladies being from Denmark but one of her had her Dad working in India. It was a good restaurant and was glad I could offer it to Jeet.