Jodhpur - palace & markets

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September 14th 2018
Published: September 14th 2018
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We have been staying in the Raj Mahal Boutique Guesthouse which has been superb. We were in the King suite as the other rooms had sold out and were pleased with the huge, beautifully decorated room, cleanliness, modern bathroom and balcony complete with a swing. It has let itself down a little on the penultimate day though. As we were enjoying dinner from their restaurant last night we had a new member of staff come over and ask us when we were checking out and if we could pay now. Given we hadn’t finished our dinner, or had our breakfast (not included in room price) yet, and didn’t have a card on us we were a little taken aback. The owner then came over, repeated the questions and then explained that yes, we could pay by card in the morning but that we had to pay for the food in cash. Fine, we had better google the nearest ATM then...
It’s a silly complaint but it felt rather odd and aggressive and most frustratingly no one asked us if we wanted desert (I did) so we ended up going to bed without.
The other staff have been exceptional though. And even after checking out have offered us a bathroom to shower & change in before our train so I would definitely recommend this place.

This morning we got a tuk tuk over to the Umaid Bhawan Palace. This huge palace was built in the 1930s - 40s by the Maharaja it’s named after as a famine ‘work creation scheme’. The royal family of Jodhpur still live in part of the palace, there a luxury hotel in the majority of it and a small museum to the side. It’s cheap to get into at 100 rupees each and there’s a small collection of vintage cars you can look at. The museum covers the construction and decoration of the palace (in Art Deco style) and gives information about the royal family. It’s not a must see but interesting enough if you have time. I found the unquestioning adoration of the royal family a little odd. They claim to be descended directly from Rama, the Hindu God, and the palace was described as one of the best ‘development projects ever’. I can’t help but think the money would have been better spent on developing reliable water supplies to aid farming if they really
Deserted coffee shopDeserted coffee shopDeserted coffee shop

We even checked inside the kitchen!
wanted to help the starving population...

You cannot visit the hotel unless you are a guest or our visiting one of its 3 restaurants & bars - during the off peak season this requires a minimum spend of 3500 (just over £35) each and so we weren’t able to have a look at either the views of the city or the hotel.

There’s a small coffee kiosk on the lawn outside with plenty of shade from the trees where we enjoyed a drink before heading back into town.

This afternoon we decided to explore some more of the markets and bazaars. We visited the Sojati Gate market, Tripoli Bazaar, Mochi market and the Clock Tower market again. I found it interesting that all the shops cluster in terms of what they sell. The Mochi market, for example, is mostly shoes, and the Tripoli market clothes. Unlike the bazaars we saw in Istanbul these are mostly just small roadside shops. Even in the beautiful clock tower square (which would be pedestrians only at home) you have to watch for tuk tuks and motorbikes. The other odd thing is that there are very few places to eat. There were quite a few bakeries selling sweets and a small number of street food stalls but none had seating, unlike many other places we have seen.
We ended up eating yummy cheese masala omlettes perched on a bench by the side of a busy street. We then found the Cafe Sheesh Mahal - an air conditioned oasis with excellent coffee and pancakes. They have piles of magazines, books and newspapers and you’re welcome to sit for a long time. This is the first coffee shop we’ve ever been left in - at one point, despite checking the kitchen and outside the shop we were completely unable to find any staff to get us a refill for well over 20mins. This despite the fact we hadn’t paid and they’d left their rather expensive smart phone near us!

We ate back at our hotel so we could pick up our bags before heading over to the train station for our first 3rd class journey to Jaisalmer.


15th September 2018

Umaid Bhawan
This huge palace was built at a time of drought and famine throughout Rajasthan. Alas, although developing a water source might have helped a few locals in the short term, the construction work provided employment to thousands for many years. I've been inside this glitzy place - only once and before it became a Taj group hotel with a minimum spend! Oh, and I've met Maharaja Gaj Singh II, the current owner - what a fortunate (and very wealthy) man he is. Can you imagine living there?!
15th September 2018

No - I cannot imagine living there. I think I’d get lost! It’s sooooo huge! And was the current maharaja nice? He came across very well in all the things I’ve read and from the clips I’ve seen of him.

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