Day 2 - Apr 6 - Jaipur

We started early on Sunday to visit the Rajput city of Jaipur and the Amber fort nearby. The highway was just next to Gurgaon and was a breeze to drive through. My brother and sis-in-law joined the trip and it was fun to drive (I mean watch the driver drive ;-)).J wanted a stop at the McD on the road hoping to picking up hash browns and nuggets. The Indian McD unfortunately, don't even has a breakfast menu, let alone hash browns. So we just picked up coffee and ate the Idlis cooked by mom and proceeded onwards to Amber fort.
Amber fort is about 30Kms before Jaipur and through its narrow lanes one can drive almost upto the entrance of the fort. The fort is huge and interesting to go around. There was a festival in the local temple inside the fort and so the fort was crowded with tourists and the pilgrims. It was amazing to even think that someone can conceive of a fort in such a place and of the magnitude which defines belief. It was just fantastic to walk around the rooms and the long corridors and the ramp-style dark walkways leading to different parts of the fort. It was easier to imagine the kind of life the Rajputs must have led in this hot region with their forts/palaces built in marbles and feuding with each other on a regular basis. I cannot but keep my mind off of the people who live in squalor outside the fort and the little, if any, comforts they have.
Talking of squalors brings to mind the Pink city of India, Jaipur. You enter the city through a road overflowing with sewage and the path to the city palace of the local Maharajah strewn with petty shops and dust. It is a shame that such a high profile place is maintained in such a shabby manner. The city palace was huge and displayed the Maharajah's dresses, swords, guns, the Jar to carry Ganges water etc. I was left wondering what they ever did to the people of Rajasthan apart from fighting the wars and carrying jars of Ganges water to bathe in London. While the older Rajahs might have been benevolent, I couldn't bring myself to admire the big, fat Rajahs of the past 250 years with the trophies of Tigers and bending over back to accomodate the 'white Sahibs'.
The hawa mahal was beautiful with ASI digs all around the place. While J wanted to do some shopping, we did spent few minutes and left. The traffic during the return journey was unbelievable to find our way through 100s and 100s of trucks. One thing I found was that the truck drivers simply park their vehicle on the highway and vanish. Being a 2 lane highway this results in traffic jams after traffic jams. After a tiring drive of 3 hours, came back home to Gurgaon.

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