Travel: Day 4 & 5: Jodhpur- The Sun City

Travel: Day 4 & 5: Jodhpur- The Sun City

We reached Jodhpur at around 4.30 p.m. in the evening. By the time we reached our hotel, it was 5.00 p.m. The ‘Radisson Jodhpur’ looks every bit like a palace. The hotel’s relatively new but the architecture is that used for the forts which make it look regal – perfect if you want to dress up and take some ‘royal’ photographs, which is what we did before we headed out to the city for dinner because it’s not always that you get yourself a royal setting.

Once we were done with the posing, we took a cycle rickshaw to Jodhpur city (after changing back to regular outfits) and found that the market was nothing like the markets in Jaipur. It was messy, uninteresting and had mundane stuff.

As we had decided to have dinner in a rooftop restaurant, called ‘Nirvana’ based on Trip Advisor, we made our way down the market road to the restaurant based on the directions provided by google maps. It led us to a narrow, residential, side street with two-storeyed buildings cramped together where hawkers stood selling marigolds and jasmine to be used in the mosque and temple nearby. There were more stores selling mojris (Rajasthani shoes) and provisions. Some store owners were already pulling down their shutters. We asked a passerby where the restaurant was and he pointed to a building across the street. We climbed the steps to the first floor- on the landing there was a temple and lots of potted plants. The temple was closed for the day. A man standing there informed us the restaurant was on the second floor. We climbed the carpeted stairs covered in a cloud of dust and reached the terrace- a few metal chairs and tables stood in the centre, covered in dust. A man standing there stared at us in silence and watched as we turned around and headed downstairs. The experience was weird- like you see in the movies just before something bad’s going to happen. Sometimes, my imagination needs restraint but anyway, we returned to the main road as quickly as we could and caught a rickshaw back to our hotel.

Radisson is a strictly vegetarian hotel and our dinner at ‘Ekatara’ restaurant was sadly mediocre. However, the ambience made up for it and most importantly, it felt safe. That marked the end of day 4 in Rajasthan. We went to bed hoping the next day at Jodhpur would be better than the first; thankfully, it was.

Day 5

Breakfast at Radisson was served at the rooftop restaurant and was a delightful mix of Continental, Mediterannean and English breakfast. The variety and the taste of every item in the buffet made up for the previous night’s lacklustre dinner, and we started our day more optimistic. The tour guide that we booked through the hotel was waiting with the car at the agreed time and as luck would have it, the car was brand new! Things were going well – I crossed my fingers that we didn’t run out of luck this time.

The first stop was Umaid Bhavan

The palace is one of the world’s largest private residences with 347 rooms. The royal family of Jodhpur resides in one section of the palace while another section is managed by the Taj group of hotels and still another section houses a museum that is open to public viewing. The palace also has vintage cars in the garden which are open for viewing.

It’s interesting to note that Henry Vaughan Lanchester drew up the plans for the palace- the same architect who was behind the Cardiff City Hall, Cardiff Law Courts, housing schemes in Portsmouth and Weybridge, and many others in and around the UK. Another interesting fact is that the palace was conceived by Maharaja Umaid Singh to provide employment to farmers in the area during a period of drought. It took 14 years to build the palace. However, the Maharaja died in 1947 and got to stay just four years here.

The next stop was Jaswant Thada

Jaswant Thada is a memorial built in 1899 and is the cremation ground for the royals of Marwar (which is Jodhpur, Pali and three other districts). The cenotaph is built out of white marble and is breathtakingly beautiful.

The main cenotaph which houses the pictures of all the royals
Lake beside the memorial and steps leading to the memorial

The next place we went to was Mehrangarh Fort which is at walking distance from Jaswant Thada (memorial). While the weather here was much warmer than it was in Jaipur, it wasn’t unpleasant.

The Mehrangarh fort stands 400 feet over the city of Jodhpur on a perpendicular cliff. The first impression one gets of the fort when seeing it from the outside is that it’s imposing and provides protection. Rudyard Kipling called it ‘The work of giants’. To me it looked like an extension of the hill on which it stood- it is the same colour as the rocks in the surrounding landscape. The 100 feet high imposing walls show no sign of what they hold within. The inside of the fort takes one by surprise- each inch of the burnished red sandstone wall is delicately carved – it’s impossible not to be stumped by the artisans’ exquisite detailing when all work was manual and the tools, ordinary.

The fort was built in the 15th century to provide a stronger defence for the then Maharajahs. Jodhpur city sprung at the base of the fort only after the fort was made.

The palace houses six galleries displaying the arms, palanquins, textiles, turbans, howdah (seats on the elephant or the camel with a canopy) , arts and sculptures. It also has 7-period rooms -Sheesh Mahal (palace of mirrors), Sardar Vilas, Takhat Vilas, Jhanki mahal, Dipak mahal (palace of lights) and Moti mahal (pearl palace)

A staircase leading to the rooftop
The Durbar (where the Maharajah held an audience)
The inner courtyard

Before we exited the fort, we visited the Chamundi Devi temple. There was a musician sitting on the verandah playing music and singing bhajans (hymns). He began singing a hymn in Marathi, assuming we were from Maharashtra. Since Mumbai is in Maharashtra, he got it right. But as we are not Maharashtrians, we could not understand when he struck a dialogue in Marathi. So, I told him I was from Mangalore, and he surprised us by singing a bhajan in my language. When my husband did not look too enthusiastic, I felt the need to explain to the singer that he was from another state. The versatile musician immediately sang one in my husband’s language too. Not only was the pronunciation right but the diction too in every language he sang. It was definitely a ‘wow’ experience.

We finally got to have our first authentic Rajasthani meal at a restaurant in the palace. Not the famed Meherangarh fort restaurant but another one housed within. The main restaurant opens only in the evening and has to be booked in advance. I believe it is a one-off experience to dine at night on the fort terraces under the stars based on the reviews I’ve read.

After lunch, we visited the gallery of paintings. Colourful stones were dipped in water and rubbed to provide the colour to paint. Being someone who paints, I had to buy a painting as a way to promote art and show my support to the local artists. And so, I picked one of ‘Radha and Krishna’ done on silk fabric using paint from the stones.

The last stop for the day was the ‘Blue’ city

We climbed down the seventy-odd steps etched into the hill and reached the beginning of what marked the ‘Blue’ city. The driver was right. It turned out to be a narrow, winding path going downhill with homes painted in indigo blue spilling over each other, trash overflowing from corner bins and a water leak somewhere that had given rise to a stream of water flowing across the lane. And yet, the pictures taken there are ‘insta-worthy’.

We made our way down, taking pictures only where we thought it was fine to- we had seen one house owner shoo away a bunch of people who wanted to take a picture of his very-blue house. We avoided taking pictures of people – women sat on the entrance steps of their homes watching their children run behind a ball that went rolling down and the children followed or chopping vegetables for dinner or simply chit-chatting. A few stores selling local stuff were open and the shopowners tried wooing us in.

As we got closer to the base, the lane got broader and the stores looked like boutiques – ones that you think twice before entering. If you happen to visit Jodhpur, please don’t make the mistake of not entering these stores- the curios, clothes, bags, mojris, antique jewellery, bedsheets, cushion covers and duvets sold there are not only good (much better than the ones sold in Jaipur) but are also economically priced. Boutiques in Mumbai and other big cities in India, sell the same items for three times or more than the price. Jodhpur proved to be ideal for shopping.

In and around there were also reasonably priced accommodations providing bed and breakfast. We noticed a few foreign tourists and backpackers entering one such lodging.

At the end of the lane is a stone arch that serves as a gate. It marks the end, or the beginning of the ‘Blue city’ (depends on where you enter from) and the beginning of the market area (the place we had taken a rickshaw to the previous day). The clock tower stands between the market and gate.

Now for the photographs of the ‘Blue City’

With that marks an end to day 5. It was in all ways perfect and made up for the previous day. I’ve shared a few videos I took there, so you can get the feel of it. I do this because at times, I feel words fall short and in no way would I want my words to limit the grandeur of the experience.

The entrance to the fort and the fort walls – the video was taken while we waited in queue for the tickets to the fort.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. We returned to Mumbai the next evening. With so many places that we still wanted to explore and things we wanted to do, it was difficult choosing just one that we could see in the hours before our flight. After a lot of thought, we went with the two-hour drive to see the Bishnoi community of Rajasthan. The experience was unique from the rest of our stay at Rajasthan and I’m glad we went. Don’t forget to check back here if you want to know about it. Have a wonderful day!

You can see previous posts on the trip, here.

Cheers,

Smitha

23 responses to “Travel: Day 4 & 5: Jodhpur- The Sun City”

    • Aww, Selma. Thank you! You are kind. I suppose Rajasthan has a way of making one feel royal 🙂 It’s good to hear from you again. Trust you’ve been well.

  1. Ohh my, oh my, so much wow. 😮 That blue city… I’d make sure to take photo of every door, except maybe if the door owner would yell something in my direction. 😀 But elsewhere too, so many pretty, delicate patterns. And I’m glad that you dressed up and did a photos shoot. Thank you for sharing this trip with us!

    • Ha ha…I know I wished I could take more pictures too but I wasn’t sure about the yelling so steered clear. 🙂 Yes, Manja. Rajasthan is stunning and makes me want to go back to see the rest of it.
      My husband thought we were crazy to carry our stuff all the way and dress up but we did it anyway. You don’t get to play royalty everyday. Lol. Thank you again for checking the post, your wonderful appreciation which never fails to make me smile. XXX

  2. You all looked so elegant in your royal attire! The architecture of the palace was breathtaking, but I think the blue city photos would make interesting watercolor subjects.

    • Thank you, dear Jo💕. It was pretty crazy of us to carry the attire all the way for a few pictures but we thought, ‘you don’t get a setting like this everyday.’ I had painted one of the blue city a long time ago…before visiting but you’re right, these photos make interesting subjects. Thank you for suggesting that I try❤.

  3. We didn’t really get the best out of our few hours in Jodhpur. Our guide at the Fort embarrassed us by rudely pushing Indian tourists aside so that his foreign guests, i.e. us, coukd get a better view, And we didn’t have time to walk through much of the Blue City area, only see it from above. So I really appreciated seeing it through your eyes – thank you 😊

    • Oh! That’s terribly sad…to remember a place by an unpleasant experience. I’m glad I was able to share Jodhpur with you and hopefully erase some of the memory you have of it. Thank you for sharing your experience here.❤

  4. Beautifully described and beautiful pictures.Each and every description is so beautiful Smitha.The “royal photographs”indeed is royal. You all looked beautiful

    • Thank you, dear Vineetha for taking the time to read and write back🙂. I appreciate it.
      Lol…we had a lot of fun dressing up and imitating the royals😉.

  5. Very nice, I felt like I was travelling along with you. I love the way you write and describe things .

    • Thank you so much dear Subhashini for visiting the blog, taking the time to read and comment. I’m so glad you felt like you were with us.🙂

  6. Very well narration of your trip, with photos and videos and about your experiences….👍🏻Thanks for sharing… I went there and came back virtually😊

  7. Trip to Rajasthan was my all time dream after reading your article I felt like my dream is being fullflled

    • That is so good to hear,Sapna. Thank you! I’m so happy I could make your dream come true. I hope you get to visit Rajasthan in real. Hugs.

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