The journaling continues, the last three days I have been in Jodphur, known as India ‘Blue City’. Many houses and buildings are painted blue, and there is an effect when you see it from the rocky hills that surround Jodphur, but what puts Jodphur right on the map is the fort to end all forts.
Tuesday 20th March
After arriving and finding my way to my guesthouse, it was time to see the Mahrangargh, the city’s mighty fort that stands on a huge rock, forming one of the hills that surrounds the city. It’s really an incredible monolithic beast, and the construction must have been an incredible feat. It dates back to around 1459/60 and the founding of Jodphur.
After seeing forts in Jaipur and Jaisalmer, I might have thought I was ‘forted out’, but this was the most incredible of the three, in fact it’s right up there with any building I have seen in my life. Part is set up as a museum, and features amazing lattice work, royal rooms and chambers decorated to a tee, stairways and passageways to explore and that’s only the beginning. And of course, amazing views across Jodphur.
Wednesday 21st March
I started by visiting a place called Tunwarji ka Jhalra, also known as the ‘Step Well’. Which is an appropriate title as indeed it’s a deep, well-like structure with many steps that lead down to the water at the bottom. It used to be a rubbish dump according to the faithful guide book, but now is a special place in Jodphur. Locals gather and relax, and children swim and dive from quite a height.
Then there was a journey to a close by town of Mandore, to see some amazing gardens filled with temples. Only around 10km by auto-rickshaw, I was warned the place hadn’t been ‘restored’, but actually the amazing temples were in good nick. The grounds were filled with people, dogs and monkeys. Whilst the temples were amazing, the park was in dire need of a clean up. Rubbish was strewn everywhere.
Back to Jodphur and the central market, known as Sadaar Market. In the middle an impressive clock tower which you can go up, right to the top and see its inner workings which is kinda cool. The market itself doesn’t have a lot of interesting stuff, and is a bit of a tourist trap.
Thursday 22nd March
Today I headed out and saw two sights of Jodphur. The Omaid Bhawan Palace was built by the local Maharaja in the 1940s, and sits up on a hill in a different spot to the fort. It has a small museum which was briefly interesting, but really it was the incredible degree of opulence that shocked me. Today the local Maharaja still lives in part of it, and the majority of it is what must be the swankiest hotel for thousands of miles.
Then to the Jaswant Thada, a temple in gardens surround by cenotaphs. They are tombs or monuments to people who have passed. It’s quite a nice spot, beautiful temple, white marble, the only detraction was the number of people taking selfies.
So Jodphur has really impressed me. The streets are narrow and crazy and if you’re not careful people will knock you over with their motor bikes and auto rickshaws, but it certainly has character. Thanks for reading – Friday sees me off to Delhi and Saturday to Sri Lanka, so most likely the next post will be from a different country! May the Journey Never End!