It was another very bumpity bumpity bump journey to reach the last point of the Golden Triangle, Jaipur. Our driver redeemed himself slightly– the main road to our hotel was one-way and the opposite way to how our car was moving, but after dodging all the oncoming cars/auto-rickshaws and taking a few side roads we safely reached our accommodation. However, due to the lack of English, knowledge and smiles (i.e. bloody useless), I decided to dismiss our driver as it would be much cheaper to get a local Jaipur guide who actually knew where to take us.
For Indian standards it was pretty straight forward to hire a new driver. I scootered off to the government tourist office. The auto rickshaw driver who took me there kindly offered to do a tour at “a good price”. The guy gave a hard sale and showed me a scrap book containing comments from other travellers recommending his tour, hmmm maybe if I was on my tod but I really couldn’t imagine 6 of us squeezed into two rickshaws.
Then in true Indian style, on arriving at the tourist office I was given a price list for car hire, to be told it was out of date and given the more “up-to-date” list. Grrrr I hate there being an Indian price and a foreign (more expensive) price. However, it was still cheaper than my Delhi driver so I booked a day tour of Jaipur.
The first stop on the Jaipur tour was the Amber Fort, which is pretty spectacular, set high on the hillside. There are still hundreds of merchants trying to sell their wares (ok tacky souvenirs) and sitting just outside there was a snake charming working his magic on a cobra. I could imagine what it would have been liked in medieval times when it was a hustling, bustling city.
The highlight of the tour was seeing all the pigeons in front of the palace museum. I have never seen so many in my life, everything in India is extreme. It was excellent fun acting like a child and running amongst them, making thousands of pigeons take flight.
I enjoyed Jaipur and the Golden Triangle, but I was getting a bit over sightseeing. There are only so many old heritage sites you can visit before they become quite samey.
Info: Even though you probably pay a few hundred rupees more than the local price, I recommend organising a trip through the Rajasthan government tourist office. They run daily city bus tours from 250 rupees or you can hire a taxi. I paid 2400 rupees for a 6 seater taxi. Note prices do not include entrance fees.