Rajasthan at its finest, Jodhpur - September 5
India is said to be a very challenging yet rewarding country to travel. Our first week in India was surprisingly simple; we didn't understand what all the hype was about? It wasn't until Jaipur that we understood why people have difficulties traveling in India. Jaipur left us wanting to be finished with India, we were sick of being sick, tired of the relentless haggling and done with the all the filth and garbage.
We felt challenged.
We arrived at the bus terminal in Jodhpur expecting a herd of aggressive rickshaw drivers but were pleasantly surprised when we were only approached by a friendly and shy young man who was honest about the fare. He wasn't after a hotel commission and drove us directly to our desired location, a refreshing change that we had not yet experienced in India! We found a great haveli hotel that was 250 years old and boasted the best rooftop views… it did not disappoint. India has a great selection of cheap accommodations… we have yet to spend over $9 CDN per night and have enjoyed every place we've stayed at.
Jodhpur is Rajasthan at its finest. We instantly fell in love with the city and decided to add an extra day to the itinerary. Our Jaipur struggles immediately seemed like a thing of the past. The old city is dwarfed by the majestic Meherangarh Fort, the centerpiece of Jodhpur that dominates the skyline from a huge rocky cliff. Jodhpur is known as the 'Blue City' because many of the old stone buildings have been painted Brahmin-blue, a truly unique display of unity and tradition.
The rooftop restaurant at our hotel had perfect city views and a great menu for our mending stomachs. Every evening at sunset the restaurant manager (we're terrible at remembering names) would join us and tell stories about Rajasthan and Jodhpur. He would point out buildings and give us its history and relevance. He explained many of the Hindu and Muslim religious practices, which was a good thing because it seemed like every night was a religious celebration.
The peaceful city would come alive at sunset with loud sirens blaring, fireworks exploding, Muslim prayer calls blasting through large speakers, live traditional music and dancing on the rooftops, and parades of Hindu worshippers singing and beating drums in the streets. The restaurant manager joked that "Hindu's have a festival everyday!"
Jodhpur is a very cool old city that reminded us of Varanasi, only much quieter and cleaner. Unlike the rest of India, the drivers in Jodhpur seem to appreciate how annoying honking horns are. The rickshaw and motorcycle drivers use hand signals instead, a much better way to communicate than wailing on your horn along with everyone else. The city has a great vibe about it. The colourful city is rich in history and Rajasthan culture and it had us back on track enjoying India again.
Of course we had to spend a day doing the typical sightseeing circuit. We hired an auto-rickshaw and visited Jodhpur's top three; the grand Umaid Bhawan Palace (home to the Maharaja), the astounding Meherangarh Fort (along with its temples, palaces, museum and artifacts), and Jaswant Thada (a prominent white marble cenotaph that overlooks the city).
The clear highlight was the historical Meherangarh Fort and its stunning views of the blue city below. See the attached photo albums.
We spent three days in Jodhpur and were disappointed to leave, but we had to move on… our journey would lead us to the fairytale lake city of Udaipur.