The Golden Triangle
India pt. 3
The most common route taken by visitors on their first trip to India follows a path called The Golden Triangle. One usually arrives in Delhi, heads southeast to Agra, and then west towards Jaipur.
We didn’t exactly follow this route, but we did make the same stops, plus a few.
After spending a week or so in Delhi, and constantly saying to the people we met that we were planning to head out the next day, we finally decided to make the drive over to Jaipur. By motorcycle. Word of mouth brought us to southern Delhi, and to the home of some young Indian man who rented out motorcycles through his small family business. We knew we needed a Royal Enfield and this guy just happened to have a nice one available, suitable for the two of us to ride over long distances. We paid for 10 days rental, as well as a deposit to be collected upon the return of the bike. Surprise, surprise, we never did get that deposit back.
We set out from Delhi a bit late, but conveniently after most of the traffic jams had dispersed. Inconveniently, it began to rain not an hour after we had left the city. We rode slowly, soaking ourselves to the bone, searching everywhere for a place to crash for the night, in hopes that the rain would calm down by the morning. We drove in a few circles, finally found a place to sleep, and prayed for better weather the next day. The weather wasn’t better the next day. The forecast actually predicted rain for like the next 3 or 4 days straight. So, back on the bike we got, and into the rain we rode.
When we arrived in Jaipur we were totally drenched, but excited to be greeted by such a pink and unique little city. The hotel I booked was absolutely adorable, and by the graces of some God, we were upgraded for our first night’s stay into the master suite. The design and decoration was fresh, colorful, and spotlessly clean. We were extremely glad to have arrived.
We did our best to clean and dry our muddied clothes, and despite the drizzling weather outside, decided to head into the town center to explore. There was a lot of construction going on right in the middle of the city, but it seemed as though anyone who passes through Jaipur in the years to come will be in for a real treat. They were working on the underground metro system as well as renovating the iconic Mughal/ Rajput facades of the shops that line the streets. We were extremely hungry and spent a good hour looking for a place to eat. Surprisingly, there are not really many restaurants in this downtown area of Jaipur, and we had to cruise from one extremity of the city center to the next in search of anywhere that sold food. Okay, there were a few options around but they were targeted at foreigners and a much higher budget than ours would permit. We found some tiny little biryani shop eventually and stuffed ourselves up.
The drizzle continued, but we finally made our way over to the famous Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds. Anyone who follows any travel account on Instagram will have seen this famous pink façade. The trick, which you will easily discover if you ever go there yourself, is to head across the street to one of the second or third floor cafes and grab a seat out on the balcony and snap your pictures from there. The angle will be better, the whole building will fit into the frame, and the obstruction of fences, cars and other tourists will be eliminated.
The other must visit places in Jaipur are the Amber Palace, the Nahargarh Fort and the Jaigarh Fort. We visited the two forts which are perched upon the top of a large hill that overlooks the city and lakes below. We were not fortunate enough to actually see much of what lay below, due to the rain and misty conditions obscuring all visibility. Walking around within the forts themselves was quite impressive, however. The sheer size of these compounds makes one wonder at the importance of the royalty who resided in them long ago, when powerful dynasties ruled over the land.