Jaipur and Agra

I have spent that last three days touring Jaipur and Agra. It was the India that I had always imagined this country would be! We spent two days and a night in Jaipur, staying over at a guesthouse.

Jaipur

The first place on the itinerary was the Amber Fort. It was fantastic! After a five hour bus ride, we got driven to the entrance of the Fort and it was a beautiful yellow that envelops you. Also, there was a group of goats that greeted us when we got out of the car – a nice surprise. We wandered throughout the Fort discovering new rooms and corridors at every turn.  We climbed all the way to the top and had an amazing view of Jaipur!

Jaigah Fort was at the top of the Amber Fort. Once again gorgeous views and more great architecture. It was definitely worth the hike, we walked up a stone driveway where there were shuttle golf carts to drive people to the top.

Next, we drove through the mountain top to Narhargarh which housed the largest canon in India. There was a camel where you could pay for a ride but I told S it wasn’t worth it – we could just walk 🙂  Since we were getting tired, we drove down the mountain and stopped in front of the Lake Palace, which literally is built in the middle of the lake. Not sure what the entire purpose of it was to place it there but it was beautiful to look at nonetheless.

As the sun was setting, we got walked around the Pink City (aka Old City) and did a little shopping. All the store fronts and buildings are pinkish orange due to the type of red sand found in the area. It was super crowded and there were a lot of cows and stray dogs – though this is can be found in most parts of India! The style of clothing and availability items are geared towards cooler weather such as thicker scarves, duvets and blankets, Rajasthani clothing and shoes.

On our second day, we started off visiting Albert Hall (aka Central Museum), which housed many artifacts including pottery, statues, artwork, an Egyptian mummy and many more interesting pieces of history. It was a great walk through to see so  many different facets of Indian history – especially artwork that depicted different mythological stories. A distinct characteristic of the place was the flock of pigeons that hung out in front of the building. It was quite the sight to see the whole flock in flight flying above your head.

The City Palace was enormous! A series of gardens, grand halls, numerous rooms and once again, amazing views. There were a lot of stairs but once you got to the top, it was totally worth it. Taking a short walk from there, we went to Hawa Mahal (aka Wind/Air Palace). The intricate carvings of the place was breathtaking and I could only imagine what it would have looked like if it was fully furnished. It was a beautifully symmetrical building The last attraction was the Jantar Mantar. It houses the largest sun dial/time telling instrument that is said to be accurate within two seconds. Very interesting to think how people used to figure out the time without all our current gadgets.

For food, we had lunch at Niro’s Restaurant on MI Road that served very yummy Rajasthani food (dal – it’s made of lentils and spices, gutta curry is a specialty, pineapple raita and naan). On the second day, we went to Steam in the Pink City. We all got a Rajasthani Thali which included a dal, gutta curry, chickpea dish with naan, pappard and roti. Super delicious and very filling!

Overall, Jaipur was a great visit and I would definitely recommend it. Get a composite ticket for 300 rupees because it gives you access to most of the aforementioned attractions.

Agra

The Taj Mahal was first place we visited. With a hefty price of 750 rupees, it was still worth it to see. I must say that it looked more impressive from far away. The notion of building such a monument in the name of love is quite statement. The marble inlays and patterns found on the building is something to marvel at – considering it was all carved by hand! Inside the mausoleum, lay the wife and the husband that commissioned the place – it was very dim and you couldn’t really see anything. The corridors on the other hand received tons of sunlight.

We had lunch on a rooftop patio where we got to enjoy some great food and a bottle of Kingfisher. Very light beer but perfect for a sunny day. We ordered paneer, mutton curry and dal along with lots of naan (butter and garlic).

The Agra Fort had more interesting sights to see and was a lot bigger than the Taj. There were more rooms to explore and had amazing views of the Taj. I took over 150 pictures of the place! We caught sunset over the Fort walls, which was gorgeous! There was a lot more of the Fort that we didn’t have enough time to explore, so definitely worth another visit. It cost 250 rupees to enter if you show your ticket to the Taj Mahal (50 rupee discount).

Overall, it’s been a great couple of days but looking forward to a day of rest and then second wedding, here we come!

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