Jaipur: Nahargarh Fort and Republic Day

Good morning everyone,

So in the last post I wrote about time, well there’s a caveat to my description of Indian time.  If a monument says it’s closing at 5 p.m., that’s exactly what time it’s going to close.  We were busy driving up and down mountain roads and stopping to take pictures so we missed Nahargarh Fort by 5 minutes.  5 freakin’ minutes.  Oh well, we still got some amazing views and saw tons of peacocks, macaques and something large that moved through the thick brush too quickly to be a person… I don’t even want to know what that was.

FYI, while you’re up here you’ll get a very good view of an Indian Air Force Base.  You are NOT allowed to take pictures of it.  (It’s not attractive anyway so why would you want to?).  Poor Sameer was very concerned that my camera was at all times, pointed away from the air base.

The road up to this fort and the one above it is narrow and in very bad shape.  It’s also a private road owned by the Air Force so it can be closed at any time.  It took us a good 45 minutes to drive from the base of the mountain to the top fort (can’t remember it’s name).  It was 3 p.m. and we thought we would have plenty of time to get back down a bit to Nahargarh Fort… wrong.

First, traffic was insanely thick at the top fort.  It’s apparently a favourite spot for people to fly kites and given that it was Republic Day, that’s just what a lot of people were doing.

Second, by the time we found a spot to park I still had a 10 minute or so hike to the top, and the ruined fort there.  Worth it though.  The views over Man Sagar Lake and Jaipur City were spectacular.

Also, when I open the gate to the upper fort to take a peek inside, I was greeted by a cow just tucked in there, in an alcove.  She did not want company so I quickly closed the gate again and left her alone, continuing along a path that took me to a curving cobblestone road that zig zagged it’s way down the other side of the mountain.  A couple of motorcycles took the drive down, the steep winding road.

By the time I left it was 4:15 or so, so still lots of time to see Nahargarh Fort.  Yeah, no.  That’s when I lost Jagdeep and Sameer.  Lost them.  Could not find where they parked for the longest time and when I did find the auto, I couldn’t find them (they had become concerned about me and took off up to the fort to find me – don’t know how we passed each other without noticing).

Then the white cow came along.  While I was trying to get a signal to call Jagdeep and find out where he was so we could get down to Nahargarh, a while cow came strolling up the road, directly toward me.  At first I took a picture because… it’s a white cow in a great frame!  Then I thought “what’s this now, what could she possibly want with me” and “should I be worried about her – those horns are impressively sharp looking?”  Yeah.  I should mention here that my only escape route by the time she veered in my direction was through very thorny bushes.  Very, very thorny bushes.

She came right on up to me and I just stood still and calmly spoke to her.  “Go on now, cow.”  She kept coming.  “Stop there cow, that’s good.”  A few inches more was lost between us.  “No cow, I have no food for you.”  That’s when she licked me.  Licked me.  Or tried to anyway.  I barely dodged that enormous tongue of hers.  Once she did that, she turned and made her way up the road, blocking traffic from coming down and blocking Jagdeep from seeing me standing there.  So he walks on past me…

What a gong show that was.  We finally all caught up to one another and get back to the auto and… it won’t start.  What ?!?  That’s right.  It won’t start so Sameer had to go get his rope to kick start the thing.  Finally we’re on our way down to Nahargarh.  And it’s 4:50 p.m.  We joke about Indian time and we think we’ll make it.  Sameer pushes that little auto all the way to 50 kph and we hit little traffic on the way down.  How lucky are we?

I’ll tell you how lucky… not at all.  We pulled up at the entry to Nahargarh at 5:05, 5 minutes past the last entry.  There was no talking the gatekeeper into letting me in anyway.

It’s okay though, I didn’t get to see the largest cannon on the planet (so they say) but I did get awesome pictures of the macaques that were hanging out everywhere.  These are a different species of macaque, clearly a different troop than the common, brown macaque.  These have grey bodies and black faces and travelled in a much larger group.  One of the pairs started ummm… orally pleasuring one another right there.  Didn’t bother me much (they’re animals – where do you expect this stuff to happen but in the outdoors) but one of the auto drivers chased them off, disrupting their activity.

That was our last stop for the day and other than dinner at the hotel and one more night in town, my trip to Jaipur was concluded.  The next day we would be moving on to Sikar, Hanumangarh and our pit stop in Muktsar Sahib.

I’m glad we got to Jaipur when we did, despite the Republic Day crowds.  It was crowded and noisy almost everywhere we went but at least it wasn’t all shut down so a foreign dignitary could have every place to himself.

India actually gained its independence from British rule on August 15, 1947 and horrific, bloody Partition followed.  More than two years later, it’s new constitution was passed by a Constituent Assembly in November of 1949 and was officially adopted on January 26th, 1950.  So January 26th became Republic Day, celebrated all over India in various ways but in Jaipur it seemed that people were celebrating by visiting the forts, palaces and other historic landmarks with their families and by flying kites.

For our part, we celebrated Republic Day by going back to our very nice hotel and hanging out outside enjoying the very warm evening.  The three of us watched and talked together as all the shops closed around us and traffic moved off to more residential areas until it was 9 o’clock and it was finally time for dinner.

Luckily the stomach bug was finally dead and gone (I think I sweated it out on the hike haha) so the dhal and paneer and rotis tasted extra good to me.  A good night’s sleep after a long but fun day and we were off the next morning.  Sikar, here we come…

Until then everyone,

Peace and love all,
Himmatpreet

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