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krisek Jodhpur - A travel report by Krys
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Jodhpur,  India - flag India -  Råjasthån
13026 readers

krisek's travel reports

Rajasthan Trilogy. 3. Jodhpur. Spectacular.

  9 votes
Page: 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Jodhpur is known as the blue city. It does not look like one from up close. Only the view from above, best from the Meherangarth fort, makes it clear. It is the faint blue paint of the buildings that gives such an impression.

Meherangarth Fort
Meherangarth Fort
I came to Jodhpur to see only a couple of major sights: the gigantic Meherangarth forth situated on a hill overlooking the city, and the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The rest of sights were less important to me and I was leaving it to fate, how much could be visited. I had planned just about 24 hours to visit the city. This should be enough provided I was not thinking of escaping to the reportedly pleasant lake outside Jodhpur.

As soon as I checked into the hotel, the manager suggested that I went to see the fort that afternoon. So I did. But first I took to the old town. The afternoon sun was letting everyone have long shadows, which moved like ghosts on the ancient walls and the hyacinth blue buildings. It was delightfully mysterious. I had a great time already. I took my time.

As I was strolling slowly in the maze of narrow alleys obscured by the shadows of several-centuries-old buildings, something unimaginable and horrific happened. I was standing back to one of the buildings taking a picture of a grand balcony across the alley. The motorbikes and autorickshaws were rushing through like they had a death wish. An interesting combination of sewage and incense smells penetrated nostrils deep, very deep. A couple of kids played in the alley. They didn’t do anything in particular, just hang around, I guess. Suddenly, from a very dark doorway a three-year-old child emerged, lit a match and set fire to one of the older children in the alley. I could not believe what I was seeing!! The child's shirt burnt in a split of a second in a freakish blaze as he screamed helplessly! The other one just looked on. Nobody even noticed anything. The shirt’s fabric disintegrated so fast that the child was not even that badly burnt. Fortunately!

Favourite spots:
Jodhpur travelogue picture
I took an autorickshaw to the Meherangarth fort. It looked impressive, as if it was an integral part of the mountain it stood on. The elaborate balconies of the living quarters were only visible from up close.

I paused outside the stronghold to take a few photographs in the setting sun. I didn’t realise that it was almost 5 p.m. and that the fort was closing at that time. The ticketing clerk advised me that I had ten minutes. I ran upstairs. Catching my breath like a beached fish, I reached the entrance of the museum and the guard told me to relax, as I had plenty of time and that I should take my time. I gladly did.

Actually, I found many many people up there and they all seemed to be taking their time. A number of locals wandered about, mostly along the massive outer wall dotted with impressive cannons. The view from the walls down to the blue city was highly spectacular. I took about an hour there walking between the cannons snapping occasionally. I was genuinely impressed.

What's really great:
Jodhpur travelogue picture
I made my way up to the westerly flanks where an Hindu temple stood painted all white, making a striking contrast with the red sandstone walls of the fort. I left the remarkable castle at about 6 p.m.

I kept walking off to the spot from which I could take this perfect shot of the giant fort. It was only a few yards away from the car park. I could hear that an autorickshaw was following me. It was a young guy who was hoping to strike a deal with me having heard how discontent I was with the previous quote five minutes before. He in turn actually told me that I would only pay as much as I wanted. This won him a deal for the next day. I hired him to take me around Jodhpur the next morning. He waited for me as agreed at 8 a.m. He must have been the only genuinely friendly and honest chap I met during my trip in India. He introduced himself as a 20 year-old Muslim, called Mashid.

Jaswand Thada & the Meherangarth Fort
Jaswand Thada & the Meherangarth Fort
First, I wanted to see Jaswand Thada shrine so I could take the picture combining it with the fort. I had to do a little bit of trekking to get to the right spot with the angle I wanted. It involved negotiating between long grass covering loose rock, a perfect habitat for snakes like cobra. I wore my trainers not designed to withstand a cobra attack, so I had to pay a close attention where I was putting my feet. My driver accompanied me and carried my bag!

I did not realise that when I decided to visit the small Maha Mandir temple, supported by 100 pillars, I would actually be visiting a school. It was impossible to take a picture of the temple without brats in the foreground or the background or both. I created more enthusiasm there and more interest than the wonder of acquiring knowledge in classes. The lads, as it must have been boys school, were on a break so they could follow me around and get into my view finder.

Jodhpur travelogue picture
Hotel Govind, at the foot of Jodhpur's old town, was a steal, a genuine bargain. For a cosy room on the roof, with a fan and super clean bathroom, the owners charged 350 rupees (5.30 euros)! A fabulous deal. They had many rooms and all were charged at the same price, but only the room on the roof was so great.

The door of my room opened to the roof-top fort-view restaurant, which had tables at the open air and a small air-conditioned dining room. I chose to sit outside admiring the view. A corner of the roof was shaded by a wooden hut with two walls. This is where I was hiding from the burning sun. The owner told me that the evenings were becoming chilly, as the winter was coming, so I should bear that in mind just in case I thought a t-shirt would be fine for the night out.

Jodhpur travelogue picture
However, I went for a short stroll looking for a place to go out. I could not find anything. If there were clubs or night cafes in Jodhpur, then they must have been well hidden. Of course there were cafes at the more expensive hotels, but that was definitely not my cup of gin & tonic. Those little cafes I spotted in the old town during the day, were closed at night. I was not that desperate, though. So, I turned back to the hotel. I had a couple of drinks on the terrace chatting to other travellers. This kept me up until midnight, which was good enough for me. I was indeed getting up early next morning for my autorickshaw with Mashid, with the plan to make most of the day. It was my last day in India.

Maha Mandir Temple and School
Maha Mandir Temple and School
The Mandare Garden, a home to a few maharaja tombs, set in a large and very pleasant park was a popular place to wind down do some walking, having a snack. Many monkeys jumped around those tombs and the rest of the park actually. Many of them had offsprings and the mothers kept showing their teeth when one approached too closely.

The garden was green and although it lacked water, it was frequented by locals of all sorts - richer and poorer. I can imagine how this place might get crowded in the weekends. I could not linger too long in the park. There were still a few more items on my itinerary and my flight was leaving later that evening.

Jodhpur travelogue picture
There was even no time for a meal at a restaurant. I usually don’t want to waste time on taking food during daylight, unless it is already passed 10 p.m. with the sun still shining, in a place that still requires exploring. But with the night falling in Jodhpur at about 7 p.m. that was not an option. The only restaurant I tried therefore was the one at the Hotel Govind. They seriously impressed me with the value for money for the room prices that I decided to give their restaurant some of my business as well. Their menu was comprehensive and had the usual vegetarian Indian dishes. No surprises there, but the portions were large and their naan bread was fantastic. Plus, of course, the view of the giant fort was awesome.

Other recommendations:
Chittar Palace in the distance
Chittar Palace in the distance
The Umaid Bhawan Palace is also known as Chittar Palace for the stone that was used to build it. Until recently, it was just a palace and a museum. It has been occupied by the Maharaja Gaj Singh II, and he still lives there, using the vast majority of the complex. In the early 1990s, part of the palace was converted into a luxury hotel with prices starting from 450 US dollars a night. The hotel has 65 rooms and when I visited it was full. Upon arrival at the airport the palace organises a pickup in eight meter long vintage 1950s soft top cars. Very impressive! I saw them when I arrived. They looked really cool.

The dubious prepaid taxi booth overcharges significantly for the five kilometres between the airport and the city centre. Compared with the only, as it seems, genuine prepaid taxi service in Delhi, which asks 150 rupees for 17 km ride, the 220 rupees in Jodhpur is a robbery.

Previous parts of the trilogy:

Part 1. Udaipur. Splendid.

Part 2. Jaipur. Overwhelming.

Published on Wednesday June 4th, 2008

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Sat, Jul 19 2008 - 09:52 AM rating by frenchfrog

Great Triology, amazing reports, well done!

Sun, Jun 08 2008 - 11:54 AM rating by eirekay

Krys, I really enjoyed Jodpur too - you brought back lots of GREAT memories. This is a terrific report with GREAT photos! Nicely done!

Sat, Jun 07 2008 - 08:33 AM rating by jorgesanchez

just fantastic

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