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India Day 5 - Gwalior

Added: December 07, 2008

Tags: India castle city photos
Wednesday 5th November. It's not vacation, it's a boot camp! We are getting up at 5:25, because we need to catch train to Gwalior and then another one to Jaipur.

My throat is still sore, so I look into notes with advice from Robo. From list of medications I decided to buy Azithromycin as it matches my symptoms and promises solution in 3 days (with feedback in 2 days - if it does not work Ciprofloxacin will be next :-) ). Now just to find a pharmacy...

We ate breakfast our hosts prepared and paid for the stay (+ meals and bottled water). We gave colonel postcard with Cardiff castle as we enjoyed our stay here.

Our driver from yesterday was waiting for us (we made arrangement yesterday). I asked him to stop at open pharmacy, but he was not sure as it was about 7:00. Later on he showed us one closed pharmacy, but then he found open one on next street. Normal garage. Since then we knew garages are fully fledged shops :-) 3 pieces of Azithromycin were for 90 Rs. I will take one later if throat does not get better.

We arrived to train station early. But that does not surprise me, I just need to be everywhere on time and with some reserve. About 30 minutes later couple from Netherlands staying in our guest house arrived and there was still plenty of time...

Our train arrived, we found our coach. It was not very hard because displays at platform show where each coach will stop. We got in, it was AC Chair coach. We even got bottle of water and breakfast! We were bit surprised, but I decided to eat mine even I was not hungry. Zuzka did not touch hers, so I took it for later.


We arrived to Gwalior on time. We had several hours to see Gwalior Fort before catching train to Jaipur at about 3pm. During our planning we considered possibility to walk there as it did not look far away on map :-) But because we had all our baggage with us and rickshaws are not very expensive we decided to get one. Rickshaw drivers had to know that because they stood around us shouting different prices. We told them we want to go to Fort and picked one with the lowest price.

Gwalior is dirty city too. Road to fort was slightly up to hill and it was not close at all! Driver asked if we want to go to hotel, we denied it. So he tried another trick: "Fort is open from 12:00", he tried to lie. But we were prepared better, so he needed to take us there. As we arrived to gate bellow hill fort is sitting on he asked for 40+40 Rs. We did not want to pay twice, but a lot of suspiciously looking people came and stand around rickshaw. Somebody told us that you do not need to pay much in India to save your life (robbers are decent :-) ) so we paid what he asked for. Mental note: "Make clear before ride we are two during price negotiation next time.". It turned out they were not muggers, but collectors of government tax for entrance or something like that. But they were not straight completely. They asked for 1 Rs per person, but as we learned later we should pay only 20 Paise (0.2 Rs). They also offered us rickshaw to get up to hill. "It is 2km!" I did not believe them any more and we could walk! We can use some exercise. If it only was not so hot.

As we got closer to fort area we could see Jain sculptures carved in the slope. We decided we will skip south part of fort, because road got us to the middle and it was too far. I hate hot weather and 15kg on my back after going up to hill helped me to decide :-)

The first building we reached was beautifully decorated. We took a few photos from outside, then went inside. We rested there for about 20 minutes, enjoying coldness of shade. Plenty of people passed by - it is busy place.

Then we continued outside, but following buildings are in sorry state, I am not saying they are not worth of taking photo, but from the sight of the first palace we expected more. But we got only decaying buildings with overgrown grass and weed. We continued by other gate down to another complex (archaeological museum), but we decided to skip it after learning our ticket bought for fort does not work in museum (I got impression it could be used there from table while we were buying ticket for fort). We ate in shade. I ate breakfast from train that Zuzka did not want. It was big mistake as it was probably not good any more...

As we headed back to the railways station I wanted to walk through the city at least some time to feel life in Gwalior. Unfortunately rickshaw tout spotted us and offered us good price :-).

The first glimpse of Gwalior Fort. Still long way to go up

Jain sculptures carved in slope below fort.


The nicest building in Gwalior Fort (but we did not see all of them).



City below fort.



Inside of palace.


But not everything is in good shape...

You can see better photo of distant group of children in the 1st post.

Cows relaxing in shade.


Square complex is archaeological museum.



One of these boys asked me to take photo of them, so here it is :-)




Rickshaw driver from Gwalior and his friend.


It is hard to see, but distant building has label Hotel India. And it looks so. Place close to station.

Gwalior Railways Station

So we came to train station well ahead of train again. All benches were occupied so we sat on floor next to column as experienced traveller in India would :-) I guess.

After some time flock of small gypsy children materialized around us and begged. "Money, money, money... sir, money, money". We ignored them completely. They were cute, but in terrible state. They jumped around us and tried to get our attention. After about 10 minutes they left. We stayed there for about 20-30 minutes more and then went to find another place to sit. This time we were more lucky and found bench. In the meantime I realized that our train is already waiting on platform 3, but we stayed at our newly acquired bench for some time.

Later we decided to move closer to train. We have realized our mistake soon as platform was full and terribly smelly (probably from rotting stuff on rails). Or it could be that end of train (with general class coaches). I do not know. We tried to find our coach, but we could not. As we finally found coach A1 paper glued on it said different number of train and of course we were not listed on it. So we hurried to office to find more information. Guy in office told us it is correct train and our coach is the fifth. So we went back and this time I have asked conductor. He pointed to door he was staying next to "this is A1" and really, newly glued paper stated our names :-)

Later in train I realized I got Delhi Belly (stomach ache), probably from that saved breakfast that had plenty of time to rot. Great, now I need to cure two problems :-( Where's my trustworthy whisky :-D


Whole ride was uneventful. Plenty of people were sleeping on floor of Jaipur station. We ignored touts and drivers and went to pre-paid booth to buy rickshaw ride as owner of guest house told us to. 65 Rs for about 6km.

As we got in and told driver where to go another guy got next to him. We thought it is his friend who wants to get somewhere. But he started to talk with us. Where are we from, how long we have been here and what we have seen. His name is Alibaba (and we did not take it as a hint). He also asked how we found place we are staying at, as it is way out of centre, there is nothing to do there and so on. Clearly he had better place for us to stay at ;-) Commission granted.

After some time he asked to stop and got to bunch of people staying at street. They greeted together and started to laugh. After short time a girl came to us and told us she together with her friend had been to very good sight seeing with Alibaba only for 600 Rs (they were 6). "Only problem was he took us to shopping we did not want to". She told us she is from Argentina.

So when Alibaba returned and we continued in our ride he could finally get to the point. He offered us sight seeing, we will see all important places and also Amber Fort. That sounded good (again - 600 seemed great price, we paid more previous days). As we reached our guest house I have asked how much it will cost. "You will be surprised by price" was his answer. I am not sure how, if it was because it so hard to say NO or because it seemed convenient we agreed that he will come at 9:30 next morning.

Snehdeep guest house

We were invited by owner of hostel Manoj Kulshreshtha and his wife. They are very kind people, well educated and intelligent. We were talking with Manoj about many things during our stay, we were talking also with his father next day (mostly about his visit in Scotland). Manoj has Nikon D80 so we have also the same hobby :-)

It was interesting how different was his approach to ask questions from other people (drivers). While others ask how long we had been in India and where we have been already, Manoj asked what we do for living :-). He asked about our plans and told us there are 4 more people staying there who are going to Jaisalmer next evening (by the same train we will). Then we discussed what we want to see in Jaipur and gave us a few helpful suggestions.

We arrived at about 23:00 so it was quite late when we went to bed. We knew we found another place where we would return without thinking twice.