We left Agra on Thursday morning at 9am, Mr Singh there waiting to drive us the five or six hours to Jaipur. It took a while to get through the bumpy, crowded streets of Agra but eventually we were on the longer, quieter roads, stopping after an hour to visit Fatehpur Sikri.
Mr Singh recommended stopping at this palace, built in the 1500s, and I vaguely remembered it from a very boring Salman Rushdie book I’d read years ago. The emperor was only there a short while, about 14 years, before the water dried up and he was forced to relocate.
Mr Singh gave what has become the standard warning. Don’t say anything, even no, to the street sellers, because they’ll follow you. Don’t accept a guide because they’re not real. He dropped us off at the parking lot and then we ran the gauntlet past these people who want to sell you things until we got to the bus. Then the bus took us to Fatehpur Sikri where we were accosted yet again.
I really hate having to ignore people like they don’t exist. I think it’s rude and it’s really difficult and unpleasant. The alternative, however, is worse. I switch between thinking that they’re only trying to make a living and then to wanting to be left alone. It’s made visiting sites in India a bit unpleasant.
Fatehpur Sikri was another fort type palace. We wandered around. Took some photos. Thought that if they employed all the people touting out the front as interpreters they could make the whole place come alive. Seeing the difference between experiences back home and those here is really interesting. I was imagining gift shops and live interpretation all over the place. Would be nice.
Afterwards we walked towards the mosque but didn’t go in and then waited for the bus to take us back down. It stopped halfway down the hill, picked someone up, then reversed all the way back so they could get off and pick up a load of Koreans. It would have been quicker to get to the bottom and come back than reverse the bus but hey…
Chand Baori and Beyond
We continued our journey, stopping at an 8th century step well called Chand Baori in Abaneri. It was sadly devoid of water but rich in architectural wonder. Quite something to see.
We then continued on to Jaipur. I finished my book, Elizabeth is Missing, which was excellent and I was sad to finish. We got into Jaipur and Mr Singh dropped us at our hotel in the city, Comfort Inn Sapphire. It’s not as nice as the others we’ve been staying in but the room is clean, the shower works and it’ll do us for a few nights.
In the evening we walked around the block, stopping in at a few shops and stalls. Christine bought some things, I tried on a shirt but didn’t buy it. We had dinner at the hotel which wasn’t all that good, and then went to bed early. We’re all exhausted by 8pm for some reason.