Once in a while I get the opportunity to travel for my employer. This time I had to be on two different locations in India: Mumbai and Rourkela. These places are at opposite sides (west and east) in India and I had a free weekend to spend in between. This triggered me to organize a pleasure weekend in an interesting town. My eye fell on Jaipur, a lesser known city in the touristic triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. And hey, everyone is going to see the Taj Mahal in Agra so I will do something out of the ordinary.
On Friday morning I had the first flight from Mumbai to Jaipur and settled in a local hotel with a private car and chauffeur at my disposal. Jaipur is hot at this time of the year, 46 C at mid-day so careful planning is important. Going out in the morning and late afternoon, retreating to my hotel room during noon.
Jaipur is an interesting place for the seat of the Maharajas of Rajasthan. First he had built a place just outside Jaipur in Amer, Amber Fort and Water Palace, Later, after a period of drought, he settled in the City Palace in Jaipur. The Maharaja was a scientist and built several observatories around India of which the one in Jaipur (Jantar Mantar) is best preserved. The worldwide largest sundial is in Jaipur with an accuracy of two seconds on the local time. Very impressive and worth a visit. Nearby you find the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal), called after the coolness it provides for the Maharaja’s many wives.
In Jaipur you also find several forts on top of the hills which are connected with a series of walls, locals call them the little Chinese Wall. The forts are in a different state of restoration and some are vandalized by people.
Amber Fort is by far the most impressive site to visit. I took an elephant ride up the steep hill to the fort entrance and a guide told me about the history. Many motion pictures were shot on this location of which 007’s Octopussy (1983) is best known. Time to visit this location was short so I decided to come back the next day at dawn to take make some photo’s before my departure to Delhi.
Certainly a place to come back to in the future.