Published: June 4th 2011
June 1st 2011
The previous day held nothing but driving as we made our way west from Mandawa to Jodhpur, called the blue city. Typical of India during this time of the year, the temp was about 100 degrees when we left our hotel and peaked at 104 degrees around 4pm. Its funny that India doesn't wake up early. When we were in Vietnam the locals rose before the sun, since before sunrise it is much cooler. India does the opposite and works more the 9-5 (and sometimes later) hours, which happen to coincide with the times of peak temperature. Our first stop in Jodhpur was the Umaid Bhawan Palace. This palance, built in the early 1940s is the second largest palace in Rajasthan, which is the area that encompasses Delhi, Agra and all the places we are touring. While we were only allowed to see about a tenth of the inside of the building, the architecture was spectacular. Pillars and courtyards surrounding the building and were abundant on the inside. The main courtyard housed the royal family's car collection, which consisted of many old school Rolls Royces. It was one hell of a collection. Most of the palace is now a 5-star hotel, which sits on top of one of the highest points in the town. I wouldn't mind spending some time there, however the 20000 rupees a night (500 USD) wasn't in our budget for the day. Our next stop of the day was Jaswant Thada, a memorial, which was made of beautiful marble. The memorial had a great view of the neighboring fort as well as the surrounding area.
The Mehrangarh Fort, which is the main attraction in the town towered above anything else in the area. Set on a big hillside and surrounding by walls, the fortification must have been very formidable in its time. We took a great audio tour of the fort/palace, which told of the history behind the dynasty that ruled and protected the town from Mughal invasion (the Muslim dynasty that ruled most of India for 600 years).
Briefly during the day and later again at night, we went into the main section of the town, which surrounds the clock tower. This area is known for its spice market and the Sardar market, inside the old town walls. Intrigued by Indian spices, we bought a variety, some for gifts and others for fun. Recommended by our lonely planet book was a restaurant called Indique, which had a beautiful view of the lit up fort and some pretty good food (best food in Jodhpur is at a restaurant called On The Rocks).