No ‘singin’ the blues’ in Jodhpur

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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jodhpur
January 14th 2011
Published: February 19th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

After visits to the ‘pink city’ and then the ‘romantic city’, it is now the turn of the ‘blue city’ of Jodhpur, so named after the number of houses painted this way (see accompanying photo). This has really just been a double transit stop for me, being the ‘hub’ to the frontier city of Jaisalmer. With Jaisalmer being so close to the ‘troublesome’ Paki border, all flights there have been discontinued and the airport has been taken over by the Indian Air Force for their reconnaissance flights, which occurred with monotonous regularity.

So what of Jodhpur itself? While a reasonably pleasant city, it doesn’t have much in the way of tourist interest, apart from the Mehrangarh Fort, which sits high in all its splendour overlooking the city. I took the opportunity to visit the fort on my return visit, and I had expected something similar to the Jaisalmer Fort, which was full of hustle and bustle, but how wrong I was. It was almost deserted (partially because I went up there pretty early), but mainly because there are no shops, hawkers, traffic etc. It was almost eerily quiet, but gave for an enjoyable stroll, and a good outlook over the ‘blue city’.

Once again, Jodhpur contains an ‘old city’, guarded by city walls, where most of the interest lies, and most of the activity revolves around the Clock Tower and Sardar Market area. While this provided plenty of general interest, perhaps the greatest highlight of my day was my late decision to have a haircut, which turned into a haircut, hair wash, head and shoulders massage and double shave, which took over an hour in total, and all for the princely sum of about 3 bucks!

For the initial trip to Jaisalmer, some 300kms away, I booked the overnight train trip, leaving Jodhpur at 11pm and arriving Jaisalmer at 5am (ugh!). All the guidebooks and blogs warned of difficulties in locating the platform and carriage for the trip, and suggested arrival at the station no later than 9pm. This I did, only to be directed to my platform, locate my name of the published seating list and be ready to go by 9.05pm, only to find they didn’t open the carriage until 10.50pm. So don’t believe everything you read in the guidebooks – I certainly got plenty more reading done on the platform. While I wasn’t expecting the trip to be cushy, despite selecting the highest grade of sleeper berth, I was ill-prepared for the massive discomfort that prevailed. As well as the ‘bed’ being too narrow and too hard, and being surrounded by masses of snoring Indians, the vibrations of the journey meant my head was moving up and down the pillow all night, so sleep was minimal, and it was almost a blessing to arrive in Jaisalmer, albeit the horrible hour. I shall report on my interesting visit to Jaisalmer in the next blog.

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