The long, long wall of the Garh (fort) running along the top of a hill greeted us long before arrived in Chittor. Thirty overwhelming kilometers of wall encircle the fort. Our hearts fell – how could we possibly visit this place during one afternoon – a very hot afternoon. Was this doable?
Yes, it was and quite easy and pleasant. First we sought shelter on the patio of the Hotel Pratap Palace, looking into a garden with flowers and a tortoise showing the signs of the Holi Festival.
An extensive lunch provided us the stamina to even ask how we could visit the fort in this state, dead tired, hot and dreading the nightly train ride to Pushkar ahead of us. We were not quite sure if we would last. We saw ourselves climbing the hill in 40 degrees heat, baking, suffering and then exploring an area surrounded by a 30 kilometer long wall. None of this happened! The friendly man at the reception informed us that a TukTuk takes you all the way up AND around the fort. As if he could read my mind the gentleman said the incredible sentence: “And if you want to wait out the worst heat, why don’t you rest in one of the rooms?” Kelly and Heidi stretched out on the barren bed of a dark, noise room, but at least could rest. Around 04:00 pm, we dared the ascent with a friendly TukTuk driver who stopped at every ATM on the way, in vain. We were running awfully low on cash.
Up we did not even notice that we were on top of a small tabletop mountain… That’s how big the area is. Only a few times, on the edges, did we get a view of Chittor down at the foot of the hill. Overwhelmed by the many sights and buildings, temples and former palaces we bought a small brochure, which proved useless.
When a guide offered out of the blue his overpriced services we took the opportunity… And ended to be the first guide we ever fired. Chatting incessantly to the TukTuk driver, he told us to climb up this or that tower, walk in to this temple and visit that palace. When he sent us off the viewpoint that we could not find – him chatting again with the driver – Gilles freaked out. He gave him some money (100 of the 300 Ruppies agreed upon) and told him that we did not need his services anymore.
The perfect decision, the driver knew perfectly well were to take us next and we had to look at the watch – our train to Ajmer (Pushkar) was leaving around 07:00 pm, which turned out to be another most pleasant train ride with Indian Railways.