Chapter 34, Jaipur to New Delhi
Today, the 17th of January, we are leaving Jaipur, bound for New Delhi, the capital of India. We will fly home on the 20th, so we have a lot of sightseeing to do in three days, and it begins as soon as the coach gathers us at the hotel and heads for the old city.
|An auto-rickshaw hauling passengers and a rusty propane bottle.|
We pass by one of the phenomenal gates into the Pink City and soon the coach stops for a photo op. Across the street, rising 50 feet in a five-story pyramid, is the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of the Winds.
Built in 1791 of pink and red sandstone, it has 953 windows decorated in intricate latticework, the ladies of the court could look out on activities in the street without being seen and thus not breaking the strict purdah that required face cover. An even more appreciated effect was that the open windows allowed cooling breezes to enter the interior.
From the Hawa Mahal, the coach stopped again across from the Amber Fort and we could see the elephants making their way up and down the stone approaches to the edifice.
|Feed and water for the pigeons.|
|The Amber Palace|
|The elephants have finished their day before it gets too hot and are headed home.|
I’m sad to be leaving Jaipur, even sadder that this journey is coming to an end. I’d like to continue through the country for much longer, but this wretched cold that began at the Ranthambhore National tiger reserve has knocked me for a loop. Which is why I sleep for much of the way to Delhi, waking only once for ice cream. I’d even passed on the home-hosted dinner in Jaipur in favor of sleeping and not spreading my cold any farther.
This is a pleasant stop. Many opt for snacks. I get an ice cream bar (a Drumstick!), eat it, and go walkabout.
|Clothes drying rack.|
|I have no idea why these shoes are in this hole.|
Back aboard the coach, I go to sleep again. Sometime later, I wake up to watch the approach and looooong drive through New Delhi to our hotel.
|Look at how packed the back of that truck is.|
|Gives me a headache just looking at her.|
|Schoolbus? Or getting your money's worth in an auto-rickshaw.|
|Ever since the terrorist attack in Mumbai (Bombay) years ago, hotel security has improved substantially.|
|That round thing in the driveway is one of several that rise and lower hydraulically, effectively preventing any vehicle from approaching the hotel when raised.|
As soon as I walk in the doors of the Taj Mahal Hotel (there is only one true Taj Mahal, but there are many businesses that have usurped the name or part of it for their own purposes), I feel like a fish out of water. This is a fabulous hotel!
|Doorman at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi.|
We wait in the cocktail lounge while our guide takes care of checking us in, which requires making photocopies of our passports.
Dinesh returns with the passports and room keys and we depart for our rooms.
Holy Smokes! I check all the goodies in the room….and go to sleep. We are free until dinner this evening.
OTHER SIGHTS ALONG THE WAY FROM JAIPUR TO NEW DELHI:
|Home Sweet Home|
|Water buffalo in traffic|
|Dumpsters, but overflowing.|
|The fourth insect I've seen.|
|I wondered what would happen if one of the hundreds of cows approached a produce stand. The answer is that a simple wave of the hand deters the cow from dining on the goodies.|
|Washing up at a public water basin.|
|Our coach. We had noticed that sometimes we had curtains and sometimes not. The reason is that curtains are not allowed in cities for security purposes.|
|Pedestrian, motorbike cow, tractor, automobile. Quite the progression.|