Left Gatwick Saturday evening and arrived in Goa on Sunday. We had a few hours before
our flight to Delhi and had a break for lunch at a local hotel. The flight to Goa
was delayed so we spent almost as long at the airport in Goa as at the hotel.
Lunch at Hotel in Goa.
Arrived in Delhi Airport and met the three other people on our tour, Geoff, Nicky
and Gwen. We were greeted at the airport by hundreds of people waving cards with
names on and it took nearly 30 minutes to find our guide. We transferred to the Claremont
hotel. Had a bit of trouble with the shower and leaking bath but otherwise a reasonable
hotel and big room.
Monday 6 Nov
A day in Delhi
We started with a tour of Qutub Minar just south of Delhi
And then ...
Isa Khan's Tomb built 1547
and then ...
Humayun's tomb, built by his widow, and was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal
and then ...
Mahatma Gandhi Cremation site
finishing with a drive through very crowded old Delhi
General Traffic in Delhi Some safe looking wiring in old Delhi
Spent a lovely evening with Helena's cousin Fatima walking around Delhi and visited
Many thanks to Fatima.
Tuesday 7 Nov 2006
Delhi to Agra by Train
Early transfer to Delhi train station to leave on the 6:00 am first class train
carriage to Agra. The guide wanted to avoid the front of the station with our cases
as it was absolutely chaotic, even at 5:30 am. Lots of beggars, people sleeping
on the streets and people wanting to sell you something. To avoid all this we drove
around several back streets and the guide and driver carried our cases across the
railway track on to the platform in the dark and then stayed with the cases while
we drove around the front to get our tickets. All a bit James Bond-ish but it seemed
to work and we boarded the train. A big foggy (and hot) but the train was air conditioned
and we arrived in Agra in about 2 hours. The station at Agra was very busy but we
found our coach OK and drove to see the Taj Mahal. Then off to see Agra fort before
arriving at our Hotel.
The Taj Mahal - A truly amazing building built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1630
in memory of his wife Mumtaz.
He was going to build a black replica on the other side of the river but his son
decided he was spending too much of the family fortune and had him locked up!
Agra fort built in 1565. This stretches for over 2 km. We walked for a good 2 hours
and still did not see it all.
We spent overnight in the the Mansingh hotel which (after we changed room) was very
good and we had a lovely meal in the restaurant (yet another Indian curry)
Wednesday 8 Nov 2006
Drive to Jaipur
The following morning we boarded the 8-seater coach and "drove" to Jaipur which took
some 6 hours. I use the word driving a little loosely here as it is a little bit
different to England. Firstly there are no rules! If there is a bit of road that
does not have another car, rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, bike, cow, bicycle or person
on it then you can drive on it. Any road markings (and there aren't many) are purely
road art and are not meant to be obeyed. So you put your foot to the floor, and keep
it there, put one hand on the horn and just overtake all the time, on either side,
even if the gap is not really wide enough and there is a big lorry coming straight
towards you. Probably the most scary was one section where they were widening the
road, and to prevent anyone driving on it they had scattered large rocks all over.
Not to be discouraged our driver overtook a bus on the inside while dodging the rocks
(had to close my eyes at this point).
Driving from Agra to Jaipur
Just outside Agra we stopped at Fatehpur Sikri citadel. Another immense set of buildings
which took several hours in the heat to see.
We eventually arrived in Jaipur and as our original hotel was booked up, we were
upgraded to the Clarks Amer for two nights. A very posh business style hotel and
as good as any I have stayed in on business trips.
Thursday/Friday 8/9 Nov 2006
Two days in Jaipur
We spent two days in Jaipur. This has been called the pink city ever since Maharaja
Sawai Jai Singh II built it in 1727. All buildings within the city walls are painted
the same red colour (not really pink)
Street scenes in Jaipur
Palace of Winds and some snake charmers
The afternoon was spent visiting the City Palace which started with an elephant ride
up the hill. All a bit hard on the back as they sway a lot as they walk.
Elephant rides up to Amer Fort. The pictures are of the other people on the tour
Nicky and Gwen, and Jeff
Hall of Victory within the Amer fort. The walls and ceiling are all inlaid mirror
tiles and semi-precious jewels.
The garden and a panel carved from one piece of marble
City palace just outside the city walls.
Finally the Observatory. This is a huge collection of sun clocks and instruments
depicting astrological data. Jeff and I decided to climb the largest one at some
speed and the steps got steeper the higher we climbed. On returning back down and
standing still for a few minutes neither of us could move. The next two days I found
it very painful to go down slopes or steps.
This was the end of a lovely 5 day tour and the following morning we were transferred
to Jaipur airport for a flight to Mumbai, 2 hours to change terminal and get the
flight to Goa where we were met and taken to the Heritage village hotel for 2 weeks
visiting Goa and our family.