Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jaipur Happenings & etc

The last time we wrote was about a week ago and we were enjoying our time in Agra. Much has happened since then; we have visited Jaipur and now are in the middle of the biggest camel fair in Pushkar.

We stayed for 4 nights in Jaipur which was more than enough. We visited many sights and walked through countless bazaars while there. The most notable sights where the Iswari Minar Swarga Sal which stands 140 feet in the sky in the middle of the pink city, and the Amber fort. The views from Iswari Minar Swarga Sal were impeccable and you can see the 3 other forts in the distance.

Marsha and I have been slowly transforming into the budget travelers we set out to be. In Jaipur the rickshaw drivers were way too expensive so we took the city bus to Amber fort 30 minutes away from Jaipur. The bus was 5 rupees each and extremely packed. We really enjoyed the city buses and used them often. The Amber fort was magnificent, and if visiting Jaipur it’s a must go. The fort sits atop a strategic hill 15 Km outside Jaipur. Amber used to be the capital of Rajastan before it was changed to Jaipur. The fort is huge and really fun to just explore its several rooms and chambers.

We also decided to go off the beaten path and travel 2 hours and a half to a town called Balaji. This town which sees almost no tourists has a temple that exorcises bad spirits. There were hundreds and hundreds of devoted Indians lining up to send their prayers at the temple. People were in a trance in line and were humming together. It was really an eye opening experience. The exorcisms happen at around 7pm and can be viewed on TV screens outside the temple. (Buses come ever 30 minutes to Jaipur. )

We are now in Pushkar and it’s a mix between Risikesh and Delhi/Agra. I would estimate its half tourists and half pilgrims. It’s a very interesting mix, with a scenic desert backdrop. This is the first time that either of us has been to a desert so it’s a really amazing experience. We walked through the desert and into a maze of unhappy camels. Its really a different side of India that either of us has encountered yet.

We are now going to meet my parents which have also traveled to India and just arrived in Pushkar. They seem hesitant on eating local restaurant food but we are going to try and get them to dive into India budget travel style!!

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