Despite my struggles with culture in Jaipur, I will concede that one morning we went to see a palace surrounded by a fort that was beautiful.
After the long tour, we asked our guide if it was possible to climb the wall surrounding the fort. He said it was allowed, but not advised. Ha. The adventuress in me said, something not advised? Perfect. I’m going. [Mother and all other concerned individuals with parental instincts, please keep in mind that our guide is used to speaking to his idea of pampered foreigners and the only thing in danger was our comfort more than our safety.] He told us we would want to change our clothes, go back to the hotel and rest first, then come back. Nonsense. Pay another 600 rupees for a taxi and change into another pair of shoes which none of us had? We were headed to the wall. Our guide’s look of disbelief was priceless. He told us women didn’t usually do this sort of thing. Well, we said. We are usual women.
If you are trying to envision this wall, think Great Wall of China in miniature form, except walls only surround the staircase on one side instead of both. The large stone steps are twice normal size. Half way up you are exhausted, stopping every twenty steps to catch your breath, slightly light-headed. But you don’t quit. With every step the view flourishes with beauty and you will not be robbed of reaching the uppermost watch-tower.
When I reached the top the first thing I did was collapse onto my back and not move for at least several minutes. The second was to settle into a nice perch and just be still for a while. It was the highest view of India I’ve seen so far. Several villages and/or cities were laid out on the valley floors below, a couple of mountainous hills added variety to the landscape.
All the clamor of Jaipur was far below. The wind was blowing, dancing in my hair. I love India, I remember. It was worth the climb.