We will manage for the second time to find a place a little withdrawn and quiet, a few tens of kilometers after Nasirabad, to wake up again in the middle of cattle, goats for a change. The shepherds, and especially the shepherdesses are less shy and gather around the truck. As usual, they speak to us in Hindi despite all the signs that show that we are not around! Here no mobile phone, no selfies, but we will play the game by leaving the truck so that they can see us more closely, without lingering because the children are a little impressed. Then everyone goes back to their business: them to their animals, us to the cooking, school and storage, before resuming our trip. I will seize the opportunity to drive several kilometers, a first in driving to the left and in the middle of traffic!
Arrived in Jaipur at the end of the afternoon, we will go directly to the north, where the forts and the walls are. It is in the parking lot of the Amber Fort, empty at this hour, that we will set camp, before beginning a visit of the fort by night with a guide and an entry fee 5 times cheaper than during the day. Two hours spent following him in the maze of this huge and beautiful palace, taking pictures of black-headed monkeys, masters of the place and enjoying the breathtaking view of the walls running over the hills covered with dense vegetation. Awesome!
On the way back, we will make to a small tour in the « craft village », where traders will try to sell us, without too much insistence, replicas of the Taj Mahal in miniature marble or even unwearable sandals.
Early awakening the next morning, to free the parking space before the arrival of tourist coaches. A resident of the area is kind enough to drive us in a parallel street (where we probably would not have ventured as easily), narrow but not too much, with some cables down, which will take us to THE location: very nice locals, not really frequented, some curiosities to visit a few minutes on foot. Perfect and unexpected in such a touristy place!
We will stay there for two days, on foot and rickshaw to visit the Khrisna Meera Temple, the Jaigarh Fort (part of the same complex as the Amber fort, with the Nahagarh Complex), and go for a walk in one of the many elephant farms that make daily trips to the fort for their daily « activity » transporting tourists. Not big fans of this type of entertainment, we will just watch and feed them a few bananas, to the delight of children.
In the meantime, the message posted on Instagram has paid off: appointment is made in Jaipur to meet Irshad, very interested in adding Indian colors to Arty!
No need to move the truck: our camp will be perfect for Irshad and her « team » (including two women) to work. However, it will be them and not her who are going to paint us a nice artwork grouping the symbols of Rajasthan: a man with a big turban, the palace, etc (a shame they did not choose a female figure, but it’s all about freedom of expression!). They even thought about the children who will have their own aprons, sheets and brushes to participate in the painting workshop! All this with a fairly mild weather, especially dry: we’ve avoided the dramatic heat wave, the monsoon is supposed to be here, but the rains are still rare, apparently causing some drought issues in a region already almost arid.
After the artists’ departure, we will finish on a very local note, with a very nice nocturnal expedition in the jungle to go to a temple of Shiva where a party is taking place. Only tourists, we will not go unnoticed, despite the small crowd. The small group that accompanied us is honored to give us the little ritual: washing hands, powder on the forehead, and visiting the place of offerings, before we join one of the rows of followers taking their meals (offered) sitting on long mats on the floor. On the menu: dahl, roti, potatoes massala something and delicious rice pudding. We eat while trying not to throw sand everywhere! For the trip back, we will squat a little space in a jeep already full, fortunately with very relaxed people!
Last visit: the City Palace, in the historical center of Jaipur, which will not leave us an unforgettable memory.
But time passes, we still have to go to Nepal, and our crossing of Myanmar will be for the end of August. We will not go further to discover the many other beauties of this province (Udaipur, Bikaner, Barathpur…), so direction Agra in Uttar Pradesh, more to the northeast.
Oops, alert on the braking system, which showed signs of weakness lately. So we take a day off on a « lay-by truck » area, fortunately quite calm. Loïc will pass under the truck to disassemble and clean part of the valves of this rather complex air circuit. Mission accomplished, even if some balances of pressure elude us, we can start again, direction Taj Mahal!