Saturday, September 17, 2016

[JAIPUR] The Hill Forts of Rajasthan


I think it was Nahargarh Fort that was stalking me from afar, peeking through my Airbnb window. There are more than three forts here in Rajasthan, so I’ve heard, each commanding a good view of the city thanks to their location high up the hills. Eons ago, the UNESCO declared the forts, as a group, as part of its world heritage sites. If you are based in the Pink City, a day tour of the forts is doable and should not take that long to reach, even via public transportation.


Let me tell you now to say no to persistent touts and rickshaw drivers. I guess my flaw is that there are days when I am in a good mood and I feel like giving them a chance. They will all try to take advantage of you. Mine used his “big family” BS story to ask for INR1,500 (~PHP1,125) after bringing me to the Amber Fort and back. The local bus will not cost you more than INR50 one-way. When I refused to pay, he brought it down to INR800 (~PHP600). Wow, 50% off? I gave him the money so he’d finally leave me alone.


If you have to trick people to earn a living, then that’s pitiful of you. But let’s not dwell on that. I did not go into the fort anymore because I thought I already saw enough and I haven’t had lunch yet so I did not have the energy. What irks me more is that the INR500 (~PHP375) I thought I saved, I ended up giving to that rickshaw driver. Damn it. Okay, fine, let’s go back to the fort. Why did I not go in? Like I said, I think I’ve seen enough. Forts are meant to intimidate from the outside, and I was indeed intimidated.


I believe that you can capture its glory through photos of the embattlements, a panoramic view of which is better seen from down below. I chose Amber Fort because it is the most popular among the Hill Forts of Rajasthan. To me, it also seems to be the most impressive in terms of appearance. It took no more than 30 minutes to reach it from my place in Chandpole. The local bus will have you save a lot of money, but it will also take longer because you have to go to the train station first and of course, the route has stops.


More touts will be hounding you even before you reach the entrance. It is worth enduring the heat to take some selfies when the rickshaw driver drops you off at the parking lot. The fort has some sort of a lake in front of it, and although the mirror image is not that impressive due to the murky water, it still is a beautiful sight. Oh yeah, the touts. They will sell you fish food. I don’t know how much that will cost you, but do expect it to be overpriced. Hey, we’re all just hustling for a living, right?


After the touts selling fish food come the touts who want to be your guide. Ignore. Or if you have the funds anyway, then go get their service. They do know a lot about the fort anyway and can explain a lot of historical shit if you did not Wiki before coming here. The views from down below are still impressive, and you also get a lot of human subjects appearing in the frame. Try to weed out the tourists from the ones who are part of that attraction. You’ll be surprised when you see the beautiful photos later on.


You can ride an elephant going uphill. It shouldn't cost you more than INR1,000 (~PHP750) but I forgot exactly how much it is. I never thought of doing it because it just seems so hazardous to me. I mean, the sun is stark raving mad, and then you are going up a hill. What if that elephant goes berserk and decides to throw you off its back? Good luck where you will land. I haven’t heard of such an incident happening before, though, so maybe I’m just paranoid. Or maybe I’m just an insufferable cheapskate.


I think the panoramic views of the city down below would be marvelous from inside the fort, but the view from the free area is not that bad either. From there, you can see the walls running all the way to the adjacent hills, with some gates photo bombing the mountains. It won’t be hard for you to take an awesome souvenir photo here. Just bring an umbrella, apply enough sunblock, and drink lots of water too. You don’t want to be dehydrated under this angry sun.

http://s208.photobucket.com/user/ihcahieh/library/RAJASTHAN%20-%20Jaipur
[JAIPUR] The Hill Forts of Rajasthan
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