The rain comes at first like a welcome mist, faint droplets on our overheated skin. Sometimes it fades back away; sometimes it builds to a squall.
The first faint droplets catch us as we enter Nahagarh Fort. We’ve hiked up the hill from Jaipur’s old city in the morning, despite our tuk tuk driver’s advice.
“I will take you there, but I don’t want you to feel misled by me. This is a sunset place for viewing the city. In the morning, you should go to Amber Palace.”
We’re contrarian. On nobody’s advice, we picked this fort from the map to start our day, and we’re sticking to it. So we hike up the hill under cover of clouds, and we’re not disappointed. There are parapets to climb, sweeping views, peacocks meowing invisibly from the bushes.
We feel the droplets.
“We might get wet,” I comment, my arms outstretched.
“I hope so,” rejoins Rick. But the moisture fades as fast as it came.
Our ride had mentioned a 9k way to Amber Fort from the top, so we check the map: sure enough, one skinny road along the ridgeline. We decide to hike it.
Cows meander across the road, tuk tuks, cars, trucks, and motorcycles swerve around each other. But it’s much quieter up here than in the city. There are views to either side. Down below, there’s a palace that’s half submerged in the lake. White buildings stretch out in a flat expanse interrupted only occasionally by ridges of green land.
Rick wanders into the bushes and finds peacock feathers; Eileen tucks one in her hat band. Stone buildings stand to the sides of the road in varying states of decay: from bare archways from medieval times to functioning temples. We find porcupine quills; I tuck one into my braid.
Motorcycles are clearly the conveyance of choice for this route: though cars barrel past, the motorcycles pull off the road and park for a good view.
On the road, we’re a source of bemusement. There isn’t a sidewalk, but it’s overall pleasant. I’m feeling surprisingly good in my body for having flown for two straight days and woken up at three am…