Jodhpur

The next stop on our journey through Rajastan was Jodhpur (“the blue city”), being the second largest city in Rajastan we were expecting a busier town than Udaipir. We knew of a handful of tourist attractions to visit and had booked a guesthouse in the winding streets of the old city in the shadow of the grand fort which dominates the city.

The ride to Jodhpur was hairy to say the least. We thought we were smart booking the front seats on the bus but it turned out we had guaranteed ourselves one of the scariest journeys – near misses are better when you don’t see them coming! Overtaking on narrow mountain paths, games of chicken with oncoming traffic and a man who had come off his motorbike in a really bad way, without a helmet of course. I really wished the bus has seat belts.

We eventually arrived at the bus station. luckily in one piece, and from there we took a taxi to the outskirts of the old town, it was at this point we discovered that only tuk-tuks could fit down the narrow streets to where our guest house was located. It was dark now and the streets were full of kids running around setting off fireworks which seemed to be the most popular thing for kids to do in the run up to Diwali. Our guest house was really nice, very clean and the view was great as it was just underneath the fort.

The view of the fort from in town.

Our first morning in Jodhpur we wanted to visit the palace, we could see it from our accommodation and it looked incredibly grand up on the hill on the far side of town. We felt like walking it as it was just over 5km, the walk was eye opening taking us down old alleyways, through busy markets and around unfinished roads. Eventually we arrived, dusty and sweaty we were sure of one thing, we would not be walking back!

The palace on the far side of town – further than it looked!

The palace was home to the Maharajah of Jodhpur, a keen polo player and Jodhpur itself is said to be the home of the game hence the name for the riding breaches – jodhpurs. The palace was stunning with such amazing detail and accuracy in its design and build, most of it is now an incredibly fancy hotel run by the Taj group which unfortunately was a bit over our budget. There is however a good museum which walks you though the history of the palace and its construction, we were impressed at the use of large blocks of ice which where used to literally slide the large stones in place so accurately.

The palace from up close

When we had finished marvelling at the grandur of the palace we jumped in a tuk-tuk down to the clock tower, were we had heard you could get some of the best samosas. We were not disappointed, the place is constantly busy with fresh samosas being made all of the time and being bought just as quickly. This was not going to be our only visit to this fine establishment.

The market in town centre

After a few samosas and a bit of a walk around the neighbouring market we went to find some more food, all of the restaurants in town are situated on rooftops, each boasting amazing views or the fort and the palace. After lunch we spent some time hiding out of the heat and exploring the market. before venturing for dinner. Dinner was really nice and we sat with views of the fort lit up and the faint sound of a party, it turns out someone had hired the fort for a wedding and Shakira was performing, unfortunately we didn’t bump into her on our travels.

The entrance to the market

Dinner was really nice and we sat with views of the fort lit up and the faint sound of a party, it turns out someone had hired the fort for a wedding and Shakira was performing, unfortunately we didn’t bump into her on our travels.

The blue houses of the blue city

The next morning we were up early to visit the (Mehrangarh fort) this is the most popular attraction in Jodhpur and shadows over the town sat high upon the hill, it was no surprise to hear that this fortress has never been defeated. We were really impressed with how well the fort had been maintained, only a few years ago it had been left as if a ruin but in recent years it has seen investment and restoration works as well as a really informative audio guide. I liked that when they started the renovation process the first income they received was from the sale of the bat faeces which covered to fort on to farmers at fertilizer. One man’s waste and all that.

After a few hours being amazed at the fort we walked over to the rock garden, a nature trail through the desert. Naturally we chose the hottest part of the day to begin our voyage, I would recommend doing the opposite and visiting at dusk or dawn as it was way too hot!

Claire looking at the baking hot sun

We found some much needed cold water and walked on to Jaswant Thada (the White Palace). This comprised of a few stunningly beautiful white marble buildings, the quality of which was almost transparent, and immaculately maintained gardens, a brilliant opportunity for some Instagram worthy shots of my sweaty self. The building itself is an extravagant crematorium for the great and good of the city.

Andy was keen to walk to town after this and I told him he was welcome to but I would be riding in a tuk-tuk, so after some quick negotiations with drivers Andy found a price worth not walking for and we went to find some lunch.

The view from the White Palace

We would be leaving Jodhpur that evening on the train and being well versed in them now we thought some snacks for the journey would be a good shout, so we went back to our samosa spot and bought an embarrassing amount of food before we were off on our way to Jaipur.

Overall Jodhpur was way better than we expected albeit much busier. Everywhere you look the fort towers over you which acts as a great reference point.

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