The last city we visited in Rajasthan was Jodhpur, also known as the “Blue City” because of the many blue painted homes. The blue color is historically indicative of the Brahmin caste of the Hindu society, but the use of the color in modern times has spread to, well, anyone that wants to paint their house blue. Whatever the reason, it looks really cool, especially in contrast to the brown sandstone fort set high above the city.
Blue houses of Jodhpur
During our brief two day visit we decided to finally do a proper tour of a fort. There are quite a few forts in the Indian state of Rajasthan but up until visiting the fort in Jodhpur we’d simply done a walk through on our own without a hired guide or audio-guide. As part of the admission fee in the Mehrangarh Fort an audio-guide was included. The information provided in the guide was great. It was very informative and professionally narrated. Later in our travels we found out from a fellow traveler that most of the audio tours in Rajasthan are well done. Oh well, at least we were able to experience one.
Unlike the fort in Jaisalmer, which had hotels, restaurants, and stores inside, the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur could only be seen from the inside by paying an entrance fee. The fort was more of a museum. We were able to walk through the old living quarters and meeting chambers as well as view the city below from the many balconies and walls around the fort. Because the fort sits so high up from the rest of the area there are views as far as the eye can see and the haze surrounding the city will allow. As with theme parks in the U.S. there were a few actors and musicians placed throughout the grounds of the fort to help replicate the atmosphere of old. Though, the musicians would only squeak out a handful of notes in an attempt to get a donation and then stop if no donation was given.
View of the fort from the city below.
View from one of the balconies of the fort.
Enjoying the audio tour. Those circles behind me on the wall mark the spot where cannon balls hit during battle. The fort was never penetrated in its history.
Supposedly the spot where wives of a previous ruler left their hand prints with orange paint as they left the fort to commit suicide in response to the ruler’s (their husband) death.
One of the courtyards inside of the fort.
Actor pretending to smoke opium from a hookah.
One of several balconies used by the aristocracy to look down on the city.
Beautifully decorated hall.
Assembly room for the emperor and his guests.
Another courtyard. I really like the sandstone carving, especially the awnings over the windows.
A handful of examples of different turban rapping styles and colors.
One of the cannons collected by the army during a victory.
Looking down on the blue city from the fort walls.
Another cannon collected from a victorious battle.
One of the musicians squeaking out a few notes for a donation.
Flag flying on the fort wall.
Near the fort was the Jaswant Thada mausoleum dedicated to the past rulers of Jodhpur. On our second full day in the city we took the slightly longer walk from our hotel to the mausoleum. The main building on the premises is made of a white translucent marble. At first I thought the marble was thin enough to allow light to pass through but it turns out that the marble is pretty thick and just naturally translucent. The main building is surrounded by individual sealed chambers housing the remains of past rulers as well as a few large grassy areas. Unlike the bustling Mehrangarh Fort we’d visited the day before, the mausoleum had a fraction of the visitors. Because of this we decided to seize on the opportunity and take a rare break from the usual hustle and bustle of India and perch ourselves under a tree on the lawn outside the mausoleum.
Statue of a man and horse near the Jaswant Thada mausoleum pointing to the Mehrangarh Fort.
Jaswant Thada mausoleum.
A painting of one of the many emperors inside of the Jaswant Thada. There was a painting of each emperor from as far back as the middle of the 13th century. Interestingly, all of the images were pretty much the same.
Front of the Jaswant Thada mausoleum.
Front of the Jaswant Thada mausoleum
Tombs outside of the Jaswant Thada mausoleum.
Relaxing on the grass outside of the Jaswant Thada mausoleum
View of the city and fort from near the Jaswant Thada mausoleum.
Jaswant Thada mausoleum and protective fort wall surrounding it.
The rest of our time was spent walking through the market near our hotel searching for foods we haven’t tried yet, shopping for blankets to keep us warm during train travel and just good old people watching.
I hope Sarah and I are traveling when we’re the age of this couple.
Clock tower in the center of the market in Jodhpur.
Night shot of the clock tower in Jodhpur.
Famous Makhania Lassi drink. Not too bad but doesn’t live up to the hype.
Yummy omelette sandwiches for breakfast. The guy running this stand started it when he was 11, so he says, and now he’s 22. He was a very happy dude.
I love seeing these vendors. They remind me of the images I see of old markets in the U.S.
This guy was making bangles by hand to sell in his store. So much is still made by hand in India.
We’d traveled around India for nearly two months by the time we’d reached Jodhpur and along the way have witnessed quite a few funny animals. We’ve included some of the images in previous posts. While in Jodhpur we came across more funny animals and animal related situations than normal and captured many of them. So I decided to include them in this post for no other reason than to add a bit of humor.
Curly eared horse of Rajasthan.
Not sure how he got up there. Maybe the wall to the right. Not the safest resting place though.
This feisty goat was butting heads with the cow. The dog was observing from a safe distance.
It gets a little chilly in Jodhpur. By the look on his face I think the goat feels a little ridiculous in that sweater.
Local pack of dogs simultaneously soaking up and hiding from the afternoon sun.
Continuing with the theme of a previous post of mine (Ellora Caves), I will include another fun travel experience we had while in Jodhpur. Before heading to the heart of the city to find a hotel we decided to stick around the train station we’d just arrived at to try to buy train tickets for future travel.
It’s hard to tell but there are two separate lines at the window where Sarah is standing. More people joined the line a few minutes later.
A relatively orderly looking ticket reservation area. Though, the group to the far left was having problems creating an orderly line.
Some stations have foreign ticket sales windows or even altogether separate rooms for foreign tourists. Jodhpur has a window, but that same window is for women and elderly people as well. Whenever possible we try to use the window for women because it usually has the shortest line. In this case the one window actually had two lines, one for women and the other for foreign men and elderly men, though, the two lines were not visibly distinguishable. So Sarah waited in the women’s line while I hovered behind her to defend our place in line. Defending your place in line is serious business. There are always people trying to find even the smallest space to squeeze their bodies into. My tactic usual involves making obvious gestures with my body to claim our space or even physically putting my arms between me and the window to prevent anyone from sneaking in. It’s really a fun game to play and the line cutting-perpetrators usually don’t put up a fuss if you thwart their attempts to cut into the line. I said “usually”.
While slowly making our way to the window and waiting in the somewhat orderly mixed women’s, foreign tourist’s, and elder person’s line an elderly Indian man appeared just to our side, cutting in front of everyone behind us in line. I wasn’t too concerned because Sarah was waiting in the women’s line and was clearly the next to be served at the ticket window. Nonetheless I still kept an eye on the old guy to make sure he didn’t cut in front of us. It turned out that the old man was indeed trying to not only cut in front of us but also in front of the two old men who were already at the window being served. He physically wedged his body in between the two of them but was quickly pushed back by one of the men. At first the two men began to argue with a little physical contact in the process. A little physical contact escalated to a lot with the two old men pushing and pulling one another accompanied by even more heated arguing. We obviously didn’t understand what they were saying but could tell that it wasn’t good.
We and everyone witnessing the event nearby began laughing at the absurdity of these two old guys going at it. Soon the third old dude joined the scuffle helping his partner push the line-cutting old dude back. I don’t understand how this guy thought that cutting in front of people already being helped at the window was a good idea. Did he think that the ticket teller was going to stop in the middle of serving the two men that were already there to help this other guy. On one hand, yes, because we’ve seen somewhat similar situations in India where the teller (or who ever is providing the service) helps the person who is the most assertive in a given situation. Anyway, the three men continued pushing and arguing while we continued laughing, and maintaining our place in the line of course.
After a few minutes of this they all calmed down, though, the line-cutting perp still held is ground behind them. They also came to an agreement without our involvement that Sarah would still be next in line, but the line-cutting perp did cut in front of everyone else behind us. Oh well, it’s dog eat dog at the railway ticket office I guess.
Though we were unsuccessful at getting the tickets we wanted, we were happy to have witnessed the absurd situation of the three old guys going at it. There you have it, another travel adventure from India.