The train from Lucknow to Jaipur was a sleeper train in name only. It was our first trip in sleeper class (no air con and much cheaper than the luxurious 3A or 2A classes). We boarded shortly after midnight and crawled into our respective bunks fairly knackered and ready to pass out. Some of the other passengers had other plans. Despite the fact that headphone walas (in amounst the chai, fruit, keychain(?), and samosa walas) continuously wander up and down the carriages selling their wares, no one seems to use them. Bollywood music and random Hindi was blasting out of smart phones on several bunks up and down the carriage. In addition the train seemed to be stopping every 30 minutes to let more people on who had no qualms about yelling at there mate (who was about 10 centimetres away from them) right beside me.
We eventually arrived into Jaipur knacked and ready for a nap. We walked from the station to our hostel. Note: if the walk from the station is less than 15 minutes then it is actually quicker than getting an auto rickshaw as it will usually take about that amount of time to beat them down to a semi sensible price. We got to The Hosteler, checked in and immediately got into bed for a nap. Unfortunately the hostel was right on a fairly big junction. The level of noise pollution in Indian cities is pretty appalling and Jaipur is no exception. The sounds of horns blasting up from the road did not make it easy to get to sleep but apparently we eventually managed as Lucy was woken up by one of the hostel staff telling her that he was a “party leader” (because that’s a thing…) and that we should join him later on the rooftop for a shanti (peace) party. With absolutely no clue as to what a shanti party was and feeling a bit weirded out by hostel staff waking us up in the dorm we ate dinner quickly on the roof of the hostel then went straight to bed. We weren’t woken up by the shanti party so I guess it must have been peaceful…
The next day we were woken once again by the sounds if car horns and dogs but at least fairly well rested. We had downloaded an app called tripmyway which gives free audio walking guides round various sites in India. The Jaipur pink city tour said it took about 2 hours so we thought we’d give it a go. We’d been in Jaipur about a month before with the cycling tour and it was interesting remembering some of the places we had already been and reflecting on how much we’d learned and done since arriving in India.
The tour took us down some of the market streets. It was Sunday so many of the stalls were closed which was a shame but it was significantly easier to walk down then it was the last time we’d done it. For the most part Indians are very helpful and friendly which is great, but when you’re trying to listen to your audio guide and every 3rd person is trying to tell you about the best way of getting to a temple or the Janter Manter it can get a bit annoying.
Our tour took us down one of the many side streets to the bangle market. There were maybe about 30 shops lining the sides of the narrow road with people melting the resin for all their brightly coloured bracelets. We sat down at one of the stalls and watched them resize a a couple for us. Some pretty amazing work.
The two hour tour had taken us three hours so far and we were only half way through. We were getting pretty hungry so grabbed some lunch at the aptly named hawk view restraunt where we were greeted by two teenage boys playing a drum and a string and bow instrument (possibly called a ravanahatha(?)). One of the boys then got up a danced for us which was unexpected but quite good. The food was pretty amazing too. We had some weird veg filled, deep fried veg balls for which I have forgotten and cannot find the name for :(.
We continued our tour and passed the Janter Manter and the Hawa Mahal. In total the 2 hour tour took us 6 hours! Just as we finished we got enticed into a shop where Lucy was dressed up in a peacock sari which, although amazing, wasn’t quite her style. We did however end up buying a beautiful wall hanging for some room or other in the house.
That evening we had dinner at the Peacock restraunt which was on the rooftop on top of a hotel with some lovely looking rooms. Being some what bored of the loud and slightly odd hostel we had chosen for ourselves we decided to splash out (a whole £20 a night) on a double room there for the next two nights.
The next day we went to a cooking class (see separate blog post)
The day after we took a trip to the Albert hall museum which houses many artefacts from around Rajasthan and the rest of the world. The information on some of the items was fairly sparse but it was still interesting to wander round. After 3 hours we decided it was time for lunch, we went to a fairly non descript cafe and had some pasta which took roughly another 3 hours to arrive.
We spent our last day in Jaipur chilling out in the park and reading our books. The next morning we got our train to Jodhpur for the next adventure.