As the decorations from last night’s wedding celebrations were cleared away, the crews got ready for another day on the road, albeit shorter than most of the others.
Today was a short 157kms drive to Jaipur so crews had the afternoon off to explore the city. It was going to be a relatively easy day…
For the mechanics, there was a hub cap to fettle from Alastair Caldwell’s Mercedes. It had got mangled in traffic and needed to be straightened out.
As children headed off to school and the elders took their place to hold court in village square, the last thing they expected was to see lots of westerners driving through which caused quite a stir. Especially when Doc John Llewelyn and Rally Director Andrea Seed set up camp as a photo point. Lots of people came to chat in their best English and seeing a camera, many wanted their photo to be taken. It certainly created an unexpected buzz.
Back on the road and the cars ate up the miles. However a missed turn resulted in an adventure for Tony Williams and Joyce Whitman in Car 23, one of the 4×4 class, and Car 5, Michael and Frances Joseph in the Bristol. Accompanied by the media team, the two crews headed through some very rough terrain and into a remote town before they realised their error.
Swapping the camera for an E-Trex, the media crew then led the two cars back to the previous waypoint some eight kms away. The GPS gave a direct route that meant not only did they have to retrace their steps across the rough terrain but were then faced with sandy tracks, narrow gravel passes and into authentic villages with incredibly narrow lanes. Whilst the 4×4 handled all this with ease, it was the Bristol that was the most impressive, never missing a beat on the challenging route – planned or otherwise.
Once back on the road book, crews were given a unique Indian experience – a flat tarmac road with no traffic. We were on a brand new toll road that joined the highway that took us into Jaipur.
Just before we arrived in the city, crews made a quick stop in Bagru, famous for its block printing industry. We visited Doyasa, a seven generation family business specialising in hand block printing and natural dying.
Welcomed by the owner, his two daughters then gave the crews a guided tour of the process including the ten foot deep indigo dying wells, the drying station and the printing process itself. In this digital age, to see each process completely done by hand was refreshing and crews found it fascinating. The factory shop also did brisk business as people purchased gifts for home.
Then it was onto Jaipur and the stunning Ramgarh Palace Hotel. Some of the crews decided to spend the afternoon enjoying the hotel while others ventured out sightseeing.
The capital and largest city in Rajasthan, Jaipur is also known as the ‘Pink City’, due to the dominant colour scheme of its buildings as well as being one of the pinnacles of India’s ‘Golden Triangle’.
Many headed to Jantar Mantar, the most famous of five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh. Jai Singh was a great admirer of progresses and research made in the fields of science and technology, but he was passionate about astronomy. Considered as the largest stone observatory in the world, it was fascinating to see the various sun dials including the World’s biggest which is accurate to two seconds.
It was then onto the City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings.
Dinner tonight was hosted in the stunning Rajput Room with a delicious menu of fine dining. Luckily, our crews get to spend tomorrow morning in Jaipur too as its only a short drive to Samode, our next destination.