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THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF JESS & DAN back on the road again...

The pink city and the most populated Indian City

INDIA | Thursday, 10 December 2009 | Views [1168] | Comments [2]

Dear All,

After Delhi we made our way to Jaipur which is south west of Delhi and in the desert state of Rajhastan. Its known as the pink city after the pink sandstone walls and buildings of the old part of town. We stayed in the newer part of town where there were very tasty Indian restaurants mixed in with pizza hut and coffee shops. We had 2 nights in Jaipur, but by the time we arrived early afternoon on the first day we were a little wrecked so didn’t do any major tourist sights.

The next day we hired a tuktuk for the day (total cost $10 aus) and saw the sights of the large city. First stop was Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of the winds. It is a five storey building pink sandstone building crammed in between shops and restaurants. Each floor has beautiful honeycombed windows with turrets topped with gold. Thee palace was built in 1799 by the maharaja for the ladies of the royal house to watch the streets below without being watched themselves. The tiny little windows are tiny and u have to position your head to see anything and wouldn’t be very comfortable for a long time. What surprised me was that behind the façade there is nothing else, no rooms or corridors, its just little platforms behind the windows.

From there we visited the City Palace, which is still in residence by the Maharaja of Jaipur and his family. There were 3 courtyards with several buildings housing royal costumes, armoury (dans favourite) and several other exhibits. Our ticket included an audio guide so we learnt a lot about the life of the maharajas in Jaipur. The most amazing were huge silver round vessels that are the largest silver objects in the world..they were massive..and they hold water from the River Ganges. Although for dan nothing compared to the massive guns, daggers with guns, quadruple barrelled guns, cannons and more guns in the armoury. From the city palace we could also see Jantar Mantar which houses an observatory with massive wooden and stone instruments used for measuring all different things from the time to eclipses, the biggest is a 27m high sun dial.

From there we tuktuked past the elephants carrying tourists towards the Amber Fort, although it looked fun the elephants looked a little out of place walking to bitmen road next to the cars. The fort was built in 1597 and was also the residence of the maharaja at that time. The fort was massive and dan and I ended up lost wandering the hundreds of rooms, balconies, corridors and halls. The maharaja used to wear so many layers of extravagant clothing and jewellery that he had to be pulled in cart around the massive fort.

The sights were amazing in Jaipur however the city felt like Delhi with dusty busy streets and crammed stalls selling everything from elastic bands to samosas to leather sandals to enamel jewellery to haircombes. So we decided to move on to Mumbai.

The train to Mumbai left Jaipur at 2pm and arrives in Mumbai the next day at 8am. Even though we had beds and slept the night, it was a long train ride that we passed teaching the two Indian business men next to us how to play a card game called Mexican rummy (it’s a great game mum, ill show u!). I’m not sure if they really picked up the simple game though because they lost by 200 points each game. Dinner on the train was rice, dhal (curried lentils) and a tasty curry sauce with chunks of cottage cheese (the cheese part isn’t so good, but the sauce was good) and chapattis. The train journeys have been great for meeting normal Indian people and chatting about where to go, what to eat and where to stay. We have tried vegetable curries (it looked like sticks in sauce, lol) and a very sweet clear chunk that looked like jelly but was made of pumpkin..apparently, that could be a translation error??..

Finally arrived in Mumbai at 8am, found a hotel (Mumbai is definitely the most expensive city) and crashed till early afternoon. Mumbai doesn’t have the same historical landmarks like Jaipur, however it does have great shopping! There are thousands of stalls selling jewellery, incence, massive balloons, tailored clothes, leather sandals, fruit..anything!in between them are the proper shops like nike, reebok etc. Dan finished his course of antibiotics on our first day in Mumbai and has made a full recovery and is feeling a lot better. Was feeling a little curried out so we went to a very nice restaurant where dan had risotto and I had pasta and then a raspberry tart with icecream..all very tasty.

The next day we went out to Elephanta Island. Wandered past the Taj Mahal Hotel (I remember watching the news last year when terrorists attacked the hotel, there is still scafollding on the front where theyre doing repairs, we went inside and the security was crazy, rooms start at $450 aus per night!). Walked behind the huge stone gate that was built in 1924 to commemorate the royal visit of King George V, it is called the gateway to India as all those arriving by sea use to come through. These days only the ferries going out to Elephanta Island leave from behind the gate. It was called Elephanta Island because there use to be a huge stone elephant, however it disintegrated and fell apart. The 15 walk up the stair was sweaty and sticky, the temperature in Mumbai sits around 35 degrees but the humidity is a killer at 88%. At the top of the stairs are amazing caves built into the hills, theyre not completely sure of the date but estimates are around 450 - 750 AD. Inside the caves are massive pillars, tiny little elephant sculptures and other huge sculptures of various gods and goddesses.

The caves were so peaceful inside however outside you had to be on guard. The signs warn “Do not tease the monkeys or they will attack”…ahh..we huddled to edges of the path and snuck past the monkeys however we watched a large monkey approach a large burly guy with a plastic bag with crisps inside, the guy dropped it in a flash and sped off..Monkey 1, Man 0...the next monkey saw a guy drinking from a water bottle, monkey approached man and held out his hand for the bottle, the guy handed the monkey the bottle and the monkey took the bottle and drank the rest of the water! Monkey 2, Man 0. I think the trick was to not eat or drink anything in front of the monkeys because they hang around in gangs, screeching and showing they nasty little teeth, I don’t want to be attacked and then catch some nasty monkey disease all over a bottle of water that cost me 30 cents!

For our last day in Mumbai we wandered around the Colaba (our hotel is in this area) and fort areas. Mumbai has a totally different feel to Delhi or Jaipur. The architecture seems very English, with yacht houses and huge stone museums, add in a few mosques, churches and modern art galleries and then finally top it off with old taxi black and yellow fiats swerving and tooting around the city (there are over 40,000 of them!). it’s a huge city, here are a few facts…

Mumbai population density is 29,000 per square kilometre

The average annual income in Mumbai is $1000 USD which is three times that of the national average.

There are 17 public toilets for every 1 million people in Mumbai.

2.5 million people pass through the Victoria Terminus train station.

There are 7000 on average crammed into a 1800-person-capacity train..hence the roof is handy.

The numbers are crazy, but away from the train stations it dosnt feel anymore crowded than anywhere else in India.

Tomorrow we are off early to Goa, were going to start with the Northern beaches and make our way down south. Not sure how long we are planning on staying, if we can find a nice beach spot to relax we may not leave (:

Love to all,

Jess xoxo




Hi Honey's.
Great to hear Dan is better. I was speaking to the Indian car wash man at Chirnside the other day and he said Goa is the best place to be at this time of year and they host the best New Years Eve parties on their huge stretch of beaches These go on for days. In fact I've spoken to 2 other Indians and they have all said Goa is it and they don't know each other. I'm off to help Mel move now so had better go. Speak to you soon.
Love mum.

  Tina Dec 10, 2009 9:40 AM


Hi Guys, nice to know Dan is back to normal and you are enjoying the continuation of your trip. It all still sounds fasinating and colourful. The shopping sounds great too Jess. Not too sure about the toilet ratio though, hate to be in a hurry in a pubic place! Enjoy Goa and the beach seems like a good place to stay for awhile. Love always Bassos xx

  Gai Basso Dec 10, 2009 2:55 PM

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