Thursday, December 16, 2010

Journey to North India - 2

Day 1 – A train journey I would never forget. October 31st 2010.

The early morning wee hours of day 1 of our journey saw us wrapped up warmly in the station of Kacheguda waiting for the Jaipur train to arrive. Nowhere else I had seen the ticket checker checking our tickets in the platform of the departure station itself. I realized the reason for this only after boarding the train. It was jam packed with very little space to breathe. There was no kind of normalcy prevailing in the compartments. I cursed all my stars to start my journey in midst of this crowd. But slowly we got settled down and had a little sleep. There were so much fights and misunderstanding with the co-passengers. Yet we managed to enjoy the journey playing some journey games and reading and non-stop chatting in our language which irritated most of the others in the train. While we could understand Hindi, they were left helpless other than to stare at us talking in a language which none of them could understand.

Jaipur Memoirs: November 1st

Day 2 saw me getting down in the pink city of India. I should say honestly that the city was clean and less polluted. We contacted the Railway accommodation centre and got a big room to freshen up ourselves. And then we booked for one-day sightseeing tour package in Rajasthan Tourism Office which was in the Jaipur station itself. As we had very less time before the tourist bus started, so much of commotion within ourselves and it so ended up in a first fight of the tour between mom and aunt.

The Tour package we opted was a Full Day Tour from 9.00 A.M. to 6.00 P.M by a Non-A/C bus charged 200 bucks per person. After a small breakfast in the bus, we alighted at the Birla Temple – the same white marble one which I had marveled for his cleanliness and the architecture. The guide who accompanied us for the tour was very strict with the timings and that has irritated a little at times. But as time passed by, we got used to his constant bugging and his watch. Our Second monument to visit for the day was Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) in which there was hundreds of windows in the front. The palace was also slanting a little towards the back. When I had asked why the reason was that the ladies in the palace those days used to have a view of the city without being watched by others. I don’t have anything to say on this stupid idea of keeping women within four walls. Our tour itinerary included only the Front View and I was sad that I could not visit the Mahal inside. But took a couple of snaps and proceeded to the Observatory aka Jantar Mantar. Had a recap of all the physics and measuring instruments studied in school days. Two foreigners from Singapore gave us good company in Jantar Mantar and it was astonishing to listen to the details of Jantar Mantar how in olden days, the calculation of days, months, star positions and astronomy were studied.

Next, we went to the City Palace – a private palace owned by the King’s generation. It was damn costly to have a view of it and hence we had seen it from outside. Thus we saved a few time to check out the local people and colorful shops outside the observatory and infront of the City Palace. I saw a snake charmer first time in life and he was making the snake to dance to his music. They were all dressed so differently with all those multi colored turbans. After buying some souvenirs from there, the guide took us to some Rajastan crafts & arts gallery. We had a live demonstration of how the peacock and elephant patterns in dress were made with natural colours. It was a pleasant morning and we headed to our next tourist spot – the Jal Mahal. Here, I had the chance to ride on a camel and take some beautiful shots which I could treasure for long. It was so nice to sit on a high place on the camel’s back. While I was enjoying the height, my poor sister was scared to hell and got down immediately. The City Palace was so calm and serene in midst of a lake. I breathed fresh air and enjoyed the cool breeze hitting my hair and face.

Satisfied well with the beauty of the city we had seen so far, we moved next to the magnificent forts – Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort and the Amber Fort. The Madhavendra Palace inside the Nahargarh fort had seven portions looking exactly the same as the other. Each portion had a big portico, so many rooms and a long corridor with many windows on both sides. We turned to kids playing there and running the whole corridor and hiding from each other. All five of us had a very nice time in that palace giving all royal poses for the snaps. We had a quick lunch which was surprisingly tasty in the Nahargarh fort. Then we went to the Jaigarh Fort where there were lots of monkeys than the tourists. We walked so much to see the giant cannon kept protectively. We also heard the story of the treasure unraveled from inside the Jaigarh Fort during the emergency period by Indira Gandhi and the then queen of Jaipur.

As time moved on, the strength in our legs slowly got reduced and there was just one monument left for us to enjoy before we rest for the day. It was Amber Fort and there were thousands of tourists flogging into this fort on the day when we went. All those Diwani-Aaam, Diwani-Khaas, King’s private room, Queen’s Palace gave us the total history of those days and the sophisticated life which the royal family spent. The Sheesh mahal – the hall of mirrors inside the fort was gorgeous and there were so many mirrors in a single hall which reflect the sun rays in all directions lighting and warming up the room inside magnificently. We also saw an arrangement for cooling up the rooms using repeated flow of water on the sides of the rooms. I witnessed a very aged foreigner in wheel chair interestingly listening to the stories of Indian rulers inside the Fort and he was taking a video of the entire palace. He would have definitely traveled so far and waited long years to visit this world heritage site. I am proud to say that our country has so much marvelous architecture to wonder about. That ended the Jaipur sightseeing and we were back in the station to catch our next train to Chirawa.

Day 3 in Pilani: November 2nd

The train journey from Jaipur to Chirawa was terribly cold inspite of wearing so much woolen stuff. We managed to get separate compartment but the mad guys next to us were constantly trying to assault on us and show their heroism. My mom was in constant fear throughout the night when she guarded us sacrificing her sleep. Thanks to our stars and karma we reached safely in Chirawa station – a small one in the North Western Railways. Outside the station, we boarded a Jeep to reach Pilani and lodged in a safe room recommended by the BITS. The next day morning was the D-day and I and my sister went to present our dissertation. Mine turned out to be a horrible day answering to all those questions by the professor. She was just making me appear as an ass who knows nothing of the project I did. I had managed to finish the formalities of forms filling up and submitting the reports. Thankfully I had secured a Fair grade in it and passed the course with Flying colours. After our work in the BITS institute, we immediately left for Delhi. To reach Delhi, we first took a cab to Loharu and from there boarded a train to Rewari. From Rewari, we took the next train to Old Delhi Railway Station. The journey was tiring and at night 10 o’ clock, we checked into our cozy hotel room in Delhi. We had booked this hotel room earlier and it was close to a Tamil Restaurant. Both our boarding and lodging were secure as we had some Tamil contacts – thanks to my aunt. Day 3 ended with a good night sleep and the adventurous trips in trains and running in the stations ended for all good.

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