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Published: February 6th 2018
Woolly says – Our bus journey from Udaipur took us through some lovely landscapes with monkeys lining the roads and wandering cows being passed every minute. A bit of negotiating by Jo and we even got a rest break which was a bonus. Pulling into a new place as darkness is descending is a strange and slightly scary part of being an adventurer and as our rickshaw cruised through the dimly lit alleys to our accommodation I felt myself breathing in as we navigated past some of the buildings, it was a tight squeeze.
We’d all agreed for a lie in and once roused the mammoth and I sat on the terrace admiring the cities fort whilst enjoying our morning brew. Woolly says – Being able to see a little more of the city, I was a little bemused not to be looking out at the Blue City or Sun City names by which Jodhpur is known. Instead it appeared fairly similar to other places we have already been to but without skyscrapers. The sun was hiding behind clouds and for the first time I considered the need for a jumper to keep
me warm, and although I could spot one or two blue toned buildings there certainly wasn’t enough to warrant the title of Blue City. Jodhpur is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan and was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name, the capital then being called Marwar. The city is also famous for giving the riding world the well known jodhpur trousers, originating from an ancient style of Indian trouser called the Churidar, which is tight around the calf and baggy at the hips and still worn at traditional Jodhpur weddings.
Having worn many a pair of jodhpurs in my riding days this was something I wasn’t aware of, I had however remembered that my Dad’s third wife had lived here with her parents when her Father had been headteacher of the Doon School. Prior to setting off on the trip I had contacted the school in the hope of visiting, knowing that she would have been very proud to know that we had taken the time to go back to her childhood, unhappily they had replied to my emails with an abrupt ‘no’ so it
wasn’t going to be on our list of places to see. Woolly says – We set off to find an ATM and breakfast and having ambled along the twisty windy lanes we found ourselves entering the large market place in the centre of the town. Sardar market was a bustling area with stalls selling bangles, saris’ fruit, veg and all manner of other items, it was colourful and had a smell of spices pervading the air. In the middle of the choas proudly stood the Ghanta Ghar Clock Tower which is over a century old, finely constructed it not only shows the time but was proving useful for the storage of motorbikes and proved a useful roundabout for the rickshaws to tear around. Having succeeded on our mission of finding money and our breakfast samosa’s we commandeered a driver and set off to explore the fort that stood towering four hundred feet above the city. Mehrangarh Fort was constructed around 1460 by Rao Jodha, known for its palaces, courtyards and seven gates it looked incredible from the bottom.
As we drove higher and higher it looked even better and having
gone through all the usual checks and paid for our tickets we eagerly set off to see if it lived up to expectations. Woolly says – The huge gateway appeared tiny under the brown latticed palace that stood above it and as we climbed the incredibly steep slope, steep to stop elephants of the enemy from racing up there to conquer the place, although any racing up there would need oxygen at the top and would be incapable of being able to take it over! Finally puffing our way through the second gate we stood attempting to breathe and looking across the view to find blue everywhere, it was a blue city after all, it looked very fine and having taken a number of pictures we turned to look at the buildings that seemed to disappear into the skyline. With a yellow base and more brown lattice work structures on top the intricate carving became visible, it was extensive and incredible. The first courtyard made me dizzy with trying to look up and take it all in and having decided to give my neck a rest I instead padded over to the marble throne which looked just
big enough for me. Several rooms led off the area where a whole exhibition of howdahs, those nasty seats that are cruel to elephants, were displayed with another room showing us a whole range of palanquin’s which had been used for carrying the royal ladies and shielding them from human eyes.
Another gateway beckoned, and we found ourselves even closer to all of the intricate carving work of the buildings as well as a fine view across the forts boundaries. Woolly says – Even more buildings to gaze at, each unique and exquisite, we stepped into a display of swords and shields before wandering around a gallery filled with fine artworks depicting the former kings in battle and at leisure. We seemed to be going higher and higher as we climbed one spiral staircase after another, the views got better and gave us a much greater idea of how blue the city really was, just a shame the sun was still in hiding! Having clambered up another set of steps we peered into a gold and green long room with a mirrored ceiling, as Jo stood waiting to take a picture I
watched a selfie brigade doing their usual routine. Next came an incredible room with a painted celling featuring all of the kings that had ruled the area as well as golden pillars and stained glass windows, it was a wonder to behold, no picture could do it justice even though we tried.
More stained glass and a ceiling of baubles came next, the kings bed chamber, the colours were wonderful and having read the information we took a further look at the floor. Woolly says – I had thought the floor was covered with a large and beautifully woven carpet, it wasn’t, it was paint, any artist being able to create something that looked like that was amazing in my book. A long narrow room came next filled with the royal cots and cradles, once used by the sons and heirs to the palace, the ceilings must have been incredible to go to sleep looking at and with more stained glass in the small holes in the windows the colours from the sunlight would have kept them amused for hours. We arrived in another courtyard which had a large formal room
leading off it, with an intricate ceiling and more vibrant colours of glass it was set out for yoga, a lovely calming place to practice this ancient art. Everywhere we looked still had the wonders of the architecture and detailing used on the outer parts of the building, you could barely tear your eyes away.
We sat for a while looking at the finery when suddenly the short one dashed down the steps and disappeared round corner. Woolly says – I’d spotted a whole range of cannons and the need to investigate was overwhelming, sadly the security man wouldn’t let me go and play on them but even from a distance they looked fearsome and from there viewpoint they had an excellent range to blow up anyone coming towards the fort. The women had wandered further on towards a white roofed building in the distance, as I caught up with them it seemed to be a Hindu area of worship where a man was happily blessing people as they passed. The roof inside was lovely as was the woodwork holding it up, it also had a brilliant view of the blue houses
from behind, worth another picture at least. As we stood looking over the city of Jodhpur before taking another look at the wonderful fort once more it, we all agreed that it was defiantly a place worth visiting.
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