Nahagarh, Jaigarh and Amber
Sun 24 Jan 16 - Mon 25 Jan 16
Sunday was a rest day except for Jeni who went to the festival
For Monday's excursion to the forts around Jaipur we were supposed get the van that we would be have for the big trip. Instead they sent us a van that we wouldn't have the the trip - it was OK but not a recent model. However the driver was good and we were soon out of the city, climbing the winding road to Nahagarh (Tiger) Fort in it's in a wonderful setting among the hills, high (and steeply) above Jaipur.
A fort from around the 11th century, Madho Singh II added a palace for his nine queens in the 18th century; we were given an impromptu tour of the rooms but apart from a few painted, plaster walls there was not much to see. There was also an enormous step-well, literally a huge well/dam with a great flights of steps leading down to the water on three sides
From there it was a short drive to Jaigarh Fort which stretches 3km along a ridge directly above the Amber Fort (which itself is enormous) - a fort guarding a fort!
Within the fort is of the world's few remaining canon foundries and on display is the world's largest wheeled cannon, cast in 1726 with a 6-metre barrel; it was fired only once during testing
Most of the place area was pretty uninteresting apart from an exceptional walled-garden that we could see from the ramparts as we walked around - no-one was allowed in without special permission and sure enough there was no-one in there. Somehow, Greg persuaded a palace official to let us in - just for 2 or 3 minutes and it really was stunning
When we arrived in Amber, the traffic was absolute bedlam and after sitting in traffic for 30 minutes (and this is a tiny, horrible village), we were informed by our driver that he wasn't allowed to drive up to the fort and that the walk up took 1/2 an hour; we were running out of time and the only other way up was by jeep. We paid our 350 Rupees for the jeep ride and of course, it took about 30 minutes to get up there. By this time we only had 1 hour left, so we decided just to look around the first courtyard and not bother with anything else. Perhaps, it would be more pleasant early in the day but I doubt it and would not recommend going there. The first two forts had been a delight and were not crowded with hardly a foreign tourist to be seen
On the way back to Jaipur we stopped for a few minutes beside the Sagar Lake to see the Jai Mahal (water palace) and stroll along the promenade among hundreds of India Day visitors. The promenade was pretty clean, the lake looked OK but the fenced, 3-metre shoreline was covered in tons of rubbish