48 hours in Jaipur

My official trip to Delhi in October was fixed and I had to be there by Monday i.e. 23.10.2017. I planned to leave to Delhi from Trivandrum on Friday evening. Well, what would I do in Delhi on the weekend? Shopping in Chandini Chowk? Lazing around Connaught Place?? Or just relax in a cozy book cafΓ© in Khan Market??? Naaah… (-_-) It was then I decided to visit the neighboring city of Delhi – Jaipur! Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan is about 300 kms from Delhi, the capital city of India :-J

20.10.2017:

19.15 hrs – I was on board the Air India flight to Delhi from Trivandrum and reached Delhi around 22.30 hrs. I pre-booked my seat on a private bus service which runs daily in between Delhi and Jaipur. As it’s only a matter of 5 to 6 hours, I found this option better than catching a train at that late hour. I boarded my bus at Dhaulakuan around 12.30 in the night and quickly wrapped myself under sheets to have a small nap as I was about to have a long day. I was dropped at the Sindhi Camp Bus stand at 05.30 hrs in the morning πŸ™‚ Ola and Uber services are good in Jaipur and I chose Uber to reach my hotel β€˜FabHotel Dior Pink City’.

Sindhi camp was full of activity even so early in the morning. While vendors were offering cups of hot tea to those passengers, drivers and conductors who alighted the buses; rickshaw-pullers, auto-wallahs and cab-drivers were going about offering their services to drop their customers at the doorsteps of their destinations. The sun had not risen yet; the street lights were still on; and I am here gazing at this beautiful city through my cab’s windows, while the gentle morning breeze caress my face! I got the first glimpses of the great Ajmeri gate and the Hawa Mahal on my way to the hotel!

06.30 – The reception at the hotel was warm as my brother had already left some instructions to them πŸ˜‰ The room was cozy, cool and elegant with a small wardrobe in one corner, a king-size mirror into the other and a foamy bed with white sheets, a study table and a chair neatly tucked under it, a 42 inches TV and an Air-conditioner – what more could I ask for! =^_^= I have fallen in love with the room almost in an instant and fell fast asleep! 08.00 hrs – My dad woke me up with his phone call while I answered lazily and when he announced that it was 8 o’ clock in the morning, I thought I could rest no more and I got to go!

By the time I was ready, even my breakfast was ready – two hot aloo parathas with a cup of fresh curd and pickle! I relished every bit of them as the other day’s dinner on board was pathetic and I didn’t get a chance to eat anything at all during that night 😦 I quickly got down to the reception to inquire with the chaps about how to go around the places in the city! They gave me an idea about which all places I should visit and from where I should be starting my solo expedition! πŸ™‚

My first visit for the day would be to the Amber Fort and though I thought of booking an Uber, I found the fare quite high (350 approx) for a distance of 6 kms. So, instead of Uber, I opted for the local tuk-tuk (the battery cars) which costed me only Rs. 50/-. The mantra while choosing a tuk-tuk is check with two or three drivers. The local ones would offer you the best price while the others would simply demand two or three times the normal fare! While the first one I stopped had demanded me a sum of Rs. 250/- to take me up to the Amber Fort, the second one simply told Rs. 50/- as a matter of fact! πŸ™‚

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Agatti Aerodrome – One of world’s scariest

16.01.2017:

I reached the Kochi Airport around 11.30 pm on 15.01.2017. Uncle and Aunt would be joining me the next day and I have to spend all night in the airport 😦 . But, it’s ok! Am quite excited about my onward journey from here πŸ™‚ . When we thought of going to Lakshadweep, Aunt asked me whether we can go on a ship, but I denied! Firstly, ship schedules are tight, reservations needs to be done early; secondly, the journey would consume more time, which I cannot afford at any cost πŸ˜‰ . So, it was a flight obviously!

But, let me unearth the truth behind me choosing a flight to a ship. It is all about the Agatti Airport! The first thing that came to my notice when I was surfing the internet about Lakshadweep is the Agatti Aerodrome. It is listed in various lists like the most beautiful airports in the world, world’s scariest airports etc. When I saw the images of this airport, the thing which attracted me the most is the airstrip. And, so.. I wanted to try a flight journey to this beautiful archipelago.

Uncle and Aunt joined me at the Kochi airport around 8.30 hrs on 16.01.2017. When approached the check-in staff of Air India, they asked us our entry permits and we produced the same and they in turn gave us our tickets. Done with the first check! In the meanwhile, I remember Avinash saying me to carry some food stuff as there is a slight problem for food in the islands and hence Aunt and I went to buy some instant soup mixes, cup noodles and chips etc. In the meanwhile, the boarding was announced and we made our way to the boarding gate.

It is a 42 seater ATR-42 plane and Air India runs a daily flight to Agatti from Kochi except on Sundays. As usual people started clicking selfies while waiting for their turn to board the flight. I made a special request to the check-in staff to allot window seats for all three of us so that we may get a chance to see the beauty hidden this archipelago and they did. We comforted ourselves in the seats that were allotted to us and were about to fly. I watched the vast expanse of Arabian Sea under us and the massive ships looking like tiny ants on a blue floor πŸ™‚ . Soon, the air hostess came with some refreshments. Once done with the small spinach corn sandwich and some fruit salad, I retired for a small nap.

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I woke up when the Captain made his announcement that we would be landing in another 15 minutes. I saw an island though I am not sure which one was that (my guess is Kalpeni), and within no time a jetty and a desalination plant. Yeah this is Agatti. Looking like nothing more than just a strip of land protruding out of the heavenly blue waters, this is the only one serving in the Lakshadweep islands. The Airport is located on the southern end of the island and is spread over an area of over 46 acres. The airstrip was constructed during the year 1987-88 and the airport was inaugurated in 1988. The aerial view of the airstrip is breathtaking, but overshoot the runway and we will be straight into the sea πŸ™‚

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Once out of the plane, the soft sea breeze caressed us and the scenic beauty of the airstrip which is almost like dividing the sea into two and the blue lagoon surrounding it offered a feast for the eyes. The airport is a small one which can accommodate around 50 passengers and there was Imran waiting for us! After exchanging pleasantries and the security check of our entry permits and all, we walked out where an auto-rickshaw was waiting for us. The area surrounding the airport is a vast stretch of silver sand beach with coconut groves and some bushes. And it was too hot! Imran took us to the local police station where in which we have to get our entry permits stamped from the Station House Officer.

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We went to the station which is located in the 2nd floor of the building and came to know that the SHO was not in the station and we can collect the permits at a later point of time. Without any more delay we went to our accommodation. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Finally I am here – In one of my dream destinations! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚