After Pushkar we spent a few days in Jaipur. Jaipur is another big city, it is the capital of Rajasthan, and on the first evening there we took a walk around the old town and saw our first Bollywood film, Dear Zindagi. I say first because Cara really wants to go see another. There wasn’t as much dancing and singing as we thought a typical Bollywood film would contain, although there was the bonus of the children running around the theater and people having full conversations during the movie. Apparently that was all normal though, and you’re not supposed to be upset that the kid behind you kicks your chair over and over…
The next day we took some tuk tuks and went and saw the Amber Palace. It was a gorgeous fort/palace up on a hill, and we really enjoyed exploring the area. After that we went and explored the Monkey Palace which wasn’t as overtaken by monkeys as we thought it would be. We really enjoyed the walking about both of these locations, and made a few more stops for photos as we rode around that day. Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’ because of all of the sandstone used to build it. It turns out that sandstone is actually brown, but Indian’s didn’t know the English word for ‘brown,’ so someone translated it as pink!
The next day we hopped on another bus and rode to Bharatpur, which is just known for the Keoladeo National Park. This park is a great bird sanctuary and draws photographers and naturalists from around the world. We rented bikes and rode around for a couple hours, and it was very fun to just ride and relax for an evening.
As the bird sanctuary is really the only attraction in Bharatpur, we got a ride to Agra the next day. Jaipur, Delhi and Agra make up India’s golden triangle (a popular tourist route). Agra is the home to the Taj Mahal, and is also home to tons of Indian weddings. We got a small taste the one night we spent here, as the music from the wedding lawn next door was pumping late into the night (~2 am) and that was just for the ring ceremony. The proper wedding was the next night (which we missed) and we were told it would go all night. Weddings here are at least 3 days for most people from what we’ve been told.
The first afternoon we were in Agra we went to the Taj and experienced it in all the foggy/smoggy glory. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the McDonalds, and we had to try some just because the selection, while mimicking the selection in the States, was so different.
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then went to check out the Red Fort of Agra. It is giant for complex, ¾ of which is still being used by the Indian military. You can walk around some of the palaces and grounds in the remainder of the fort, and on a clear day you would have a great view of the Taj. We grabbed some snacks and fruit on the way back to the hotel and got prepared for the second of our three overnight train rides in India, this one taking us to Varanasi.