From the last posting – about the Taj Mahal – did you notice something? Especially at the second set of pictures after the Interior tour? The banner picture (above) is from the Taj Mahal’s Guest House and / or the Mosque ceiling! We discovered that while touring and just HAD to take our own picture!
It takes about 6 hours to drive from Agra to Jaipur. Raj, our driver on this trip, did an amazing job, tootling his car horn almost constantly. Luckily it’s not too loud and obnoxious like the shrill shrieks from some of the well-decorated trucks.
The odd thing about driving (we’d noticed in Sri Lanka also) is that generally driving is on the left-hand side of the street – but not always. This is the first time I’ve seen wrong-way driving, being face-to-face with vehicles driving toward us on the right – AND LEFT – side of our lanes! There is a median strip that prevents vehicles from making a right turn and when they can’t cross over, they do the next logical logistical thing – drive on the road in the opposite direction till they can turn around! We’ve seen cars, donkey / horse carts, buses, tuk tuks, and trucks. Disconcerting. Especially when they’re on the left shoulder as well as the right side!
I thought Beijing and Bangkok were noisy with the constant car honking, but India so far, beats them all. Painted on the back and sides of the colorful trucks is the encouragement, “Blow Horn!” Also “Use Dipper at Night” – whatever that means (signal?)! What has kept me awake during the drive around the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur/Rajasthan) are the many forms of transportation used around the farming areas; tractors, of course, donkey- or horse-drawn carriages or wagons, tuk tuks on steroids carrying a minimum of ten people (vs 3 max in Mumbai), and normally 14 with folks hanging on the backside, and sometimes out the sides, next-next to the driver!
Amy was thrilled and amused by the animals that roamed so freely around – the many cows, some pigs, chickens, goats, dogs, cats – well, pretty much everywhere.
One of the amazing places we toured was the Amber Fort. The walls of the fort run along the hillsides just like the Great Wall of China, though not as thick nor as extensively. The vegetable dye painted frescos are impressively intact from hundreds of years ago when they were first applied!
Jaipur is known for textiles, and we checked out a factory, and purchased some custom-made tunic and pants sets. Some prints on fabrics are still handmade. Most are not, however, but tailors and seamstresses are available to sew up custom fitted clothes within a few hours at the factories. They were more expensive than we thought it’d be, however.
While waiting for our clothes to be made, we toured the Observatory, a royal collection of time-keeping structures! It was amazing how accurate the timepieces are!
Some street scenes in Jaipur … from a vendor selling roasted seeds and nuts snacks wrapped up in a newspaper cone, palace on the water in the lake, Queen and harem buildings for viewing the street or courts of the King’s, little Muslim children playing, camel carts, and kids oggling us as our hands are henna’d … ways the local flavors and colors are shown off in Jaipur.
One of the beautiful sights on the road was a tractor loaded with sheaves of long cut wheat, and about 20+ women in variously colorful saris perched atop the sheaves, as well as a number arranged around the tractor driver! We waited for them to catch up to us for the photo opp. I got a good shot of the riders. As they passed by, I waved to them, and they smiled and waved back. I wish I could have gotten THAT picture!
We also henna’d our hands. Then we headed back to Delhi.