I'm going to keep this entry fairly short, because to be honest there wasn't all that much to do in Jodhpur.
The centrepiece of the city is the imposing fortress built on a ridge above the Old City. Many of the buildings in this part of the city are painted a pale shade of blue. I was told by one person that the painting signifies membership of a particular caste, although I am not altogether certain if this is true, much less what caste the colour implies. Whatever the purpose, the cumulative effect of the blue buildings and the massive fort is quite stunning. From the roof of my hotel, the view was fantastic. (I stayed at the Cosy Guest House, which was a little pricey for the rooms but very clean. The food in the restaurant was pretty tasty, but a little overpriced in my opinion.)
My first full day in Jodhpur, I set out to find a way to the fort. However, the city's rolling hills and narrow, winding streets make it virtually impossible to know where you are at any given time. I got horrendously lost on my way to the fort, and consequently got an accidental tour of the entirety of Jodhpur's Old City. This wasn't an entirely bad thing though, as there were a lot of sights and sounds to be experienced. There were entire streets of craftsmen and merchants all engaged in the same trade, or selling the same wares. The overall ambience of the city made me think of everything I have read of medieval Europe: If you took away the motorcycles and the Levis, it would have been easy to believe that I was at some point far in the past.
While staying in Jodhpur, I also took a day-trip to the Jain temple complex at Ranakpur with a French mother-son pair who I had met on the bus from Pushkar to Jodhpur. We hired a car and driver for the day, and so made the 3-hour journey each way in relative comfort. (I spent much of the drive debating the respective merits of Trotskyism and social democracy with the son, Tristan, who is a member of the League of Revolutionary Communists back in France. It was an unusual feeling for me to be the more right-wing person in a political debate!)
The main temple at Ranakpur, the Temple of Adrinath, was stunning. It is constructed of white marble, and contains exactly 1444 columns. Much of the stone is carved into the intricate and detailed shapes of deities, demons, and similar symbolism. Set against a backdrop of lush green vegetation, the site of this temple is a bit of an anachronism in the otherwise arid province of Rajasthan. Even inside the temple, a single enormous tree grew inside a tiny courtyard. According to the Jain priests, the tree is meant to imbue the temple and its visitors with its vibrant life force.
My final morning in Jodhpur, I finally made it to the fort. Rather than tempt fate by trying to find my way on foot again, I relented and took a rickshaw. The fort was indeed impressive, but no more so than many castles in Britain. All things considered, Jodhpur seems to me to be worth no more than a one-day visit. I highly recommend a trip to Ranakpur, though, as both the drive and the destination are well worth the time and money.
Next entry: Jaisalmer, including a two-day camel trek.