Monday, November 30, 2009

Respect. Please!

Back in Delhi at the Bajaj Homestay, this time in the penthouse room on the roof by the terrace, which is less posh than it sounds, but more comfortable than our previous room which had no window but did have a pigeon living in the ventilation opening which was rather nice.

It's been an exhausting few days and I have to say that the forts and palaces have rather merged for the moment, though I know I'll sort them out once I get home and coordinate my notes and photos. Lots of cows, camels and elephants, and this morning bits of goats by the road when we ventured out of the manicured perfection of the Raj Palace into Jaipur's busy streets.

I wasn't able to write about the Taj as I had no internet, but it was a little sad. The building is still gorgeous, untouchably perfect, gloriously serene and symmetrical - the trouble is the 40,000 tourists who visit every day. They have no manners and no respect, and are encouraged by the professional photographers to treat the poor Taj like a prop for a series of cheap and gimmicky photos - pretending to hold the top of the dome, for instance and for goodness sake. The so-called Diana bench? A scrum, nothing less. And inside, good grief, whistles blown by guards and guides, and people shouting for the echo. It was like a sports hall - but it's a mausoleum!

We were unfortunate to arrive mid-afternoon on a Thursday - it's closed on Fridays - so the crowds were at their worst. Far better to have got there at 6am, if the programme had allowed. But it was still worth visiting and I would still recommend it to anyone, with those provisos.

A whole day to fill in Delhi tomorrow, by ourselves. Some shopping seems called for.

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