This story is about how an unexpected Tuk Tuk drop-off turned out to be one of our best experiences in India. We learned that when you want to be surprised, you just have to fully trust your local Tuk-Tuk driver (also if you only know him for like 30 minutes).
One of the top places to visit in Jaipur is Galta Ji, also known as the Monkey Temple. It’s situated in a valley and can easily be reached by car. A car will drive you passed the hills and will drop you almost directly at the entrance.
There is however another way, far more interesting. Hire a Tuk-Tuk driver who has no intention of driving you all the way out of town to the other side of the hill, but has more faith in dropping you as quickly as possible on the edge of town.
We were disappointed (not angry) with the guy at first, realizing he dropped us off for a 30-45 minute hike in 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit). But he knew he would be providing us with one of the most fascinating walking trips of our stay in India! Look at the pictures of all the people we met and you can imagine that afterwards we felt like Dorothy on her yellowbrick road!
This is the City Gate where we started our trip. We had to move some cows before our Tuk Tuk could pass….
There are plenty of opportunities to prepare for the trip….
The trip starts with a steep walk to the top of the hill. The sun can really be a burden with not many shadow places, so be prepared. After 15 minutes (depending on your physical shape) you will reach the top of the hill, offering a great view on the city of Jaipur. There are lots of local people who are also making the walking trip to the temple, so you are never without friends!
Fascinating man….he didn’t say a word
The second part of the trip is (luckily) rather flat. Watch out for the monkeys (they don’t call it Monkey temple for nothing!). Don’t carry any bags and certainly no bananas in sight…
We stumbled upon a group of women who were sitting down while taking a rest. At that moment on we knew this trip was tough but worth it: we were meeting so many colorful and interesting people!
Temple of the Sun
Right before the road makes it descent towards the actual temple you arrive at a crossing which seemed to be a favorite hangout for local boys, girls and holy cows.
We also met this smiling man at a small shop/cafe, who told us he was managing the Suraj Devra Mandir or Sun Temple, a bit off the main road. He was so funny and even left his bottle of Coke behind to accompany us along the way!
Finally we reached the temple…..or at least one of the entrances. A young priest approached us. He was kindly (but with devotion) convincing us to first enter his small temple before moving on to Galta Ji itself.
We were taking it slow, so why not? His small temple looked nothing more than a hole carved out of the rocks. But according to the priest this was a very special place. “Look here”, he said, “this stone right here shows our Hindu God Hanuman.” We looked at the stone and actually did saw a resemblance with Hanuman, also known as the Monkey God.
“Come in please!” He prayed and with a single upward stroke he marked us with red powder on our forehead: the so-called tikka. Although very spiritual, he did asked us to make sure the door was closed. He didn’t want the monkeys to come in and steal his food (or our shoes for that matter!).
The great thing about approaching the Galta Ji from this side is that you can walk down with a continuous great view on the temple (click here to read more about this temple). And after the first part of the walking trip we were now about to meet even more fascinating people!
If you want to take this road, ask the Tuk Tuk driver to drop you at the Galti Ji gate at the end of Surajpol Bazar road (it’s actually at the end of the main road through the Pink City – the historical center of Jaipur)
Make sure to also check these other posts about Jaipur and other places in India:
- Cooling down in Jaipur (with more pictures of this Galta Ji temple!)
- Delhi surprises
- The architect and the Jama Masjid
- Tribute to the colorful people of India