Jodhpur and the first overnight train

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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jodhpur
August 12th 2018
Published: August 15th 2018
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A six am bus, my first in India, and I left Udaipur for Jodhpur, Rajasthan's second largest city (after Jaipur) and about 250km north of Udaipur. The bus was fine, luggage went on the roof but people stayed inside which surprised me a little having seen all the stories of people on the roofs of buses! My favourite part of this 5 hour journey was when, 10 minutes after we left, the driver stopped for 20 minutes to drink Chai (Masala tea) with his friends at a shack at the side of the road whilst the rest of us waiting rather puzzled on the bus.

Arrival in Jodhpur was a bit eventful! The driver first stopped in the street and some people boarded shouting something in Hindi. Eventually a couple of people got off and as we were leaving, I noticed my bag on the street at the side of the bus- the driver had just got all the bags off and hadn’t realised that one hadn’t been claimed. A bit of a commotion later and back we went to retrieve my bag – ironically Facebook tells me that it was this time last year that my bag nearly ended up in the Bay of Kotor after the hold of the bus opened and several bags flew out.

Jodhpur is Rajasthan’s second largest city after Jaipur and is home to the state government and courts etc. It’s most famous for being on the edge of the Thar desert and therefore being boiling hot and also for the Mehrangarh Fort, once home to the Mewar dynasty. My first day here was spend wandering round the back streets, watching teenagers jump from high up into the step well below and visiting the central market to see the spices that Jodhpur is famous for. Despite its size, this old town area of the city had a really nice, relaxed feel and it was nice to not be hassled every 5 minutes. I spent the evening on the roof of the hostel chatting with the owners and watching kids fly kites from the rooftops, all in the shadow of the beautiful fort.

The following day I wandered up to the fort and had a look at the blue city the other side of it – most of the houses are owned by Brahims people and have been painted either blue or mauve, it’s quite a sight! After this, I spent the afternoon in the cool A/C of a cafe booking the next part of the trip before heading to the station for the overnight train.

Having taken overnight trains through North Korea and China, I rather foolishly thought I had an idea of what I was letting myself in for. Wrong. Finding the platform and carriage was easy this time but as I was waiting tens of people started running towards me. Eventually I realised it was another train coming in and they were banging on doors asking for them to be opened long before the train had stopped at the platform. People were swinging from window bars and all sorts. It was carnage. Once the train had stopped, people were hanging out of windows (no a/c in these carriages – open windows are separated by bars), hanging out of doors and clinging onto the steps that lead into the carriages. I’m not sure how they hold on for hours throughout the night! I was very relieved to realise that was not my train or my carriage haha. Eventually my train pulled up and a guy showed me where the sheets, pillows and blankets were and I settled in for the night. When I braved the bathroom, I was a little surprised to have two members of staff tell me how to clean my teeth and then ask me to take a photo of them – no easy task when the train is bumping along! It wasn’t the best night’s sleep – noisy snorers and new cabin mates (there were 4 of us in 2 sets of bunks) who arrived at 2am and proceeded to have dinner and shout loudly! So I was very tired on arrival in Agra, especially as the guard woke me up and we then spent an hour queueing to get into the station!

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