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Published: June 16th 2017
Geo: 26.2816, 73.0232
Took the 5:15pm train to Jodhpur on Jan 20. It was a 5 hour trip arriving in Jodhpur at 10:40pm. Travel was on time and we met a young couple from Britain – Matt and Clare – who have been traveling for over a year – South America, Africa, India and then on to China and Japan. They got us very interested in going to Uganda and Rwanda – maybe next trip.
We are staying at the Devi Bhawan which is outside the old city. It is a lovely respite from the noise and smog of Jodhpur. The rooms are huge and very clean. Hot water and power are a bit iffy but I will say they aim to please. We had limited hot water last night and they immediately replaced the heater unit. Lots of hot water this morning.
We spent the day (Jan 21) in the old city. Once again, a maze of streets and alleys filled with shops for everything imaginable. Here there is lots of textile work and art on silk and camel bone. The people/touts are much more aggressive here and don't seem to hear the word 'no'. Several times we had to stop and explain
nicely that we did not want to be ‘escorted' anywhere that we just wanted to wander and look on our own. We did finally give in to one young man who kept showing up. We agreed to go into his ‘brother's' textile store for one minute if he would agree to leave us alone. It worked! It also turned out that this textile store supplies Nieman Marcus with fabrics and tapestries for their interior design studio. We also heard a lot about Richard Gere and Bill Murray had shopped there. We heard this at a lot of places.
We took a tuk-tuk up to the Mehrangarh fort which stands high above the city and can be seen from almost anywhere you stand. It is described as a very ‘masculine' fort in the Lonely Planet guide and they aren't kidding. It is huge and was built to withstand any kind of aggression and, in fact, it has over the centuries protected the royal family who still reside in Jodhpur today.
This fort is worth coming to Jodhpur if for no other reason. They have done a fabulous job of keeping the experience genuine and the audio tour, which is included in the admission
price, is well worth it. Besides explaining everything along the way, there is added commentary on several topics which add a lot of color to the overall experience. You hear the current maharajah talk about his coronation at age 4 and you hear the current queen talking about what it was like to arrive at the fort as a 16 year old bride.
Jodhpur is called the ‘blue city'. So named because many of the buildings are painted indigo. This is the color of the highest caste in India – the Brahmin. It is also quite practical, in that, it provides a cooling effect in the summer heat.
From the fort you get great views of the blue city, through the smog, and the maharajah's palace which is partly a high end hotel now but the royal family still lives there. They are still very much a part of life in Jodhpur and head many of the special funds that keep the ancient Rajput history alive. The beauty of this is that the fort is entirely an historical site. The only shop is the museum shop. It makes visiting it feel more like you are walking back in history versus the
Super large room!
experience in Jaisalmer.
We had lunch at the Pal Haveli at their rooftop restaurant, Indique. We came across it by accident. It is very colonial – lots of British colonial photos and saddles for bar stools etc. The food was delicious – garlic chicken with naan. And, of course, a Kingfisher beer.
Only saw one person wearing jodhpurs – he was a tour guide and looked very dapper in crisp, white jodhpur style pants; a starched blue and white striped shirt and navy blazer. Impressive moustache!
Speaking of mustaches – they are a very big deal in India and Richard has gotten a lot of comments on his. They don't see many westerners with any facial hair let alone a really good mustache. In India, a mustache that is curled up is Hindu and one that is curled down is Muslim. Hindi men even curl their beards to turn up – parted in the middle and swept up. Very dashing looking!
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