10-11 January, Jaipur

Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal

Something about Jaipur grabbed us both instantly. The pink sandstone, the chaotic yet human scale streets and the warm afternoon sun made us feel like we could stick around for a while. Knowing we only had one night in the city though, we set off on a walk to explore the streets before sunset. Animals had much more of a presence on the streets than in Delhi – pigs, cows, dogs, goats and donkeys happily made their way through piles of garbage, unperturbed by the busy traffic surrounding them. It is amazing how they all (seemingly) live happily together.

Jaipur also had many sights well worth seeing. After visiting Hawa Mahal and the City Palace, we made our way to Jantar Mantar. This was one of the most interesting things we’d seen so far, possibly because it was something a little out of the ordinary. One of the members of the Mughal Empire established this place based on his interest in astrology, astronomy and the measurement of time. At first glance it appeared to be a playground with odd-looking, oversized equipment but the installations were in fact tools for viewing stars and measuring time. Each of them seemed incredibly advanced for the time they were created – particularly the sun dials which told the time down to 20 seconds.

Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar

On our way back to Delhi we experienced one of the most intense traffic jams ever. I’d never seen anything like it. The traffic is generally out of control here, but the stretch of highway between Jaipur and Delhi was something else. There is no such thing as lanes of traffic as cars and trucks seem to be constantly in a state of merging and as soon as the traffic starts to move, you end up 200 metres down the road among another sea of brake lights. The 250 kilometre, non-stop journey took us over seven hours and by the end we were absolutely exhausted. I can’t imagine how Praveen would have felt!

© Richard Munckton