Today is a big festival in India. Celebrated by Hindus, it is the Festival of Lights to honor Rama-Chandra and a magical time to celebrate with loved ones. As they say, “May your life be as colorful, magnificent, shimmering and magical as the lights from the lamps.” So, Happy Diwali…
This morning, we had another lovely breakfast in Delhi, then set off on our van to Jaipur at 10:30. After the crush of traffic we have experienced, we were amazed to see almost empty boulevards as we were leaving. Holiday and weekday traffic must start later, which made our departure effortless.
Jaipur is about 233 km away, but the “highway” is pot holed and not marked very clearly with lines. We weaved around wandering cows, pigs, monkeys, not to mention the scooters, motorbikes, auto-rickshaws, the occasional dog and slow moving people. There were small towns with markets selling fruits and vegetables and long stems of sugar cane, carried or held on their motorbikes as part of the holiday celebration. The folks didn’t seem to notice that vehicles were trying to pass by on the road.
Along the roadside were hundreds of large trucks, waiting until after 8:00 PM to enter the cities for deliveries. As we were traveling around Dehli, with the throng of cars, buses, motorcycles and auto-rickshaws, we noticed that there were no trucks. It seems that truck traffic is relegated to between 8:00 PM to 9:00 AM, to cut the already unbelievable congestion on city streets. Not a bad idea for any large city.
The poverty was pretty evident, with some people living is tarp-covered shacks. In the middle of a huge field was a JW Marriott started and abandoned in early Taj Mahal style. Sorry I didn’t get a picture of it. Amazing! By the way, did I mention that even the lowliest bathroom stalls for women (not sure about the amenities for men) included a bidet? So civilized.
We are checked in to a Four Points Sheraton in Jaipur, also called the Pink City. After the palatial Le Meridien in Delhi, this hotel is a little disappointing. It is still very nice, just not as opulent. The staff was very helpful.
Before dinner, we lit sparklers and there were fireworks all around Jaipur. Very festive… Buffet dinner, then off to bed.