Our recent trip to Jaipur, in Rajasthan, India’s largest state, was short but we brought back a lot of photos. I posted awhile back about our encounter with monkeys our first day there; it turns out this would not be our only encounter! Our second day there, we decided to make our way to what TripAdvisor calls one of Jaipur’s must-see destinations – Amer Fort, often referred to as “Amber” Fort. Many of the hills in and around Jaipur are topped with spectacular forts, and the connecting ridges lined with huge walls, but Wikipedia calls this fort, located about 7 km to the east of the main city, Jaipur’s “principal tourist attractions” [sic] – so we thought we’d better give it a look.
The cab driver dropped us off at the base of the hill leading to the palace and fort, with its lake and fancy gardens. Temperatures were already approaching 40 Celsius, and there was no sign of the elephants or the jeeps mentioned in the guidebooks for taking tourists up the hill. We had already discussed the elephants and had resolved not to ride them in this heat, but without the jeeps, we were left only with the option to walk up the hill.
I bought two one-liter bottles of water from a vendor on the street and we started working our way upward. Within a short time we were soaked with sweat. Others around us looked like they were pretty hot too, but nobody was suffering like we were. It pays to grow up here, I guess! We eventually made it to the main palace area and enjoyed a great view – also spotting where the jeeps were dropping people off.
People were waiting in line to pay an admission fee – probably for the palace? – but we opted instead to continue further up. Eventually, however, we realized it was simply too hot, and after snapping a few more photos, we spotted an old, forgotten gate which allowed us to leave the walled area halfway up the hill, through a side entrance of sorts.
As we continued on down the hillside the pathway became less and less obvious, and more and more overgrown, so that we began to worry a bit. Eventually we ended up running into a road where we saw this guy herding his goats along, while a monkey watched from a tree overhead.
We followed where he was headed and found a little temple at the end of a road, and not much else.
Somebody would show up occasionally and go into the temple, but other than that, there were very few people. What we did find, however, was a colony of grey langurs – extremely friendly – with a single rhesus macaque who seemed to think he was a langur.
And unlike the langurs we had seen elsewhere (which were very shy) or the macaques we had seen elsewhere (which would become aggressive), these were extremely gentle and patient monkeys. When they discovered we had goldfish crackers to offer, they all rushed over, but would sit very politely and wait to be handed a cracker.
Eventually, however, it was time to head back, and we followed the sounds of traffic to find the main road again, and hitch a ride to the “Jal Mahal,” or “Lake Palace”, where we’d be able to snap some photos during that last magic hour of sunlight.