Day 4 - 07 Apr 07 - Jaipur
My plan was to get up early (sunrise) and see the city before it got too hot, but I didn't get too much sleep due to heat, so I decided to skip that plan. Did breakfast at the hotel and caught a rickshaw to the Jantar Mantar to look at the structures. I paid my 10R entrance fee and 5R camera fee. The main sundial is huge and much be able to count down minutes. I saw the Hawa Mahal in the distance so decide to walk over to it. As the crow flies it's next door, but as the road turns it's a long further away.
Anyway, got there and took a good few photos of the outside, very impressive, a bit like a huge pink cake. Nipped around the back to get in, and found that it was the same spot that my driver tried to get me to yesterday. But the inside of the building is far less impressive than the front.
Then I walked down on of the main streets of the city, to one of the city gates, and caught a rickshaw back to the hotel. The driver must have been about 12, and he had to stop to ask directions. Back at the hotel I checked out, checked my e-mails and had a nice pizza in the restaurant up on the roof. I've got about 2hrs to kill before the train leaves.
Caught a rickshaw to the station and found that Indian platforms are laid out like Japanese ones. An LED sign shows the train number, and then the carriage number so you know exactly were to stand to get on the train.
The train arrived 10min early and I got swept along with the bundle to get on board. I found my seat which is perfectly fine. Each section has three bunks on either side, and another along the length of the corridor. Eight bunks in quite a small space. The AC on the train is running full pelt and I even had to put my fleece on. The whole journey there was a small child jumping and climbing all over the beds. I tried to escape her by climbing into my top bunk, but that didn't get me away from her for long.
There were a couple of Italians on the train, but their English wasn't that good so conversation was limited. Apart from that I didn't see another western face on the train. The train was about a hour late getting into Agra Fort. I tried to find out if I had a seat on the train tomorrow - but I was told that I'll find that out tomorrow!
Got a auro rickshaw to the Taj area for 75R and it was only as we drove off from the station did I spot that we didn't have any lights! I was aiming for the Hotel Sheela but on the way I spotted the Kamal which the Planet said had good views of the Taj from the roof, so I got the driver to stop, and I jumped out to see if there were any rooms.
Yup - there were plenty of rooms, I chose the bigger of the rooms I was shown for 500R, that's 100R less than last night. As soon as I had dumped my stuff I popped up to the roof and at first I thought I'd been sold a dud, as there was no sign of the Taj Mahal. But as my eyes became more accustomed to the dark I spotted the outline of the Taj about 1km away - Cool!
Got some snacks from the shop around the corner. Did a quick wash of my clothes, and I'm ready for an early start tomorrow. The Taj opens at 06:00 and I plan to be first in the queue.