Roaminallover-Here, There and Everywhere
The Blue City turned out to be pretty much the same as any other, until that is you climbed up one of the nearby hills to view from above. The town is large and contains a large number of medical colleges and related establishments in the newer parts, but we were based amongst the narrow lanes of the Old Town. Having experienced Diwali eve in Jaisalmer we were expecting a noisy hectic night ahead. Indeed on stepping into the Sadar bazaar we found the place buzzing with hoards of people, all trying to get their last minute shopping. The open spaces of the bazaar had been taken up by groups of colourfully clad women in saris who were selling material and bangles, others selling vegetables, and others various household knick- knacks. Traders were doing a roaring trade in strings of electric lights and tacky paper decorations. We soon discovered that Jodphur had all the usual types of traffic - rickshaws, cars, motorbikes, camels and donkeys, people balancing all sorts of things on their heads, but in addition we had to contend with horse carriages, and the occasional elephant. It all makes for exciting jaywalking, especially when something decides to go the opposite way to the rest of the traffic. After finding something to eat and heading back to the sanctuary of the hotel we decided to head for the roof. We'd been lucky to find a hotel with a fantastic view of the Merangarh fort, which was beautifully illuminated in the evening. The fireworks had been going off for most of the day, but now darkness had fallen the pace picked up and we were soon surrounded by a cacophony of bangs and hisses as fireworks exploded across the town. To say it sounded like we had been posted to a war zone would not be much of an understatement as huge bangs shook the buildings. The bangs continued through the night until we finally dozed off around three. The following day there was a trail of debris everywhere in the quiet streets. The day after Diwali is a holiday so many shops were closed for the celebrations to enable people to spend time with family. Time which many of the seemed to prefer to spend exploring the Merangarh fort, like us. As we strolled through the fort grounds following the directions of the complimentary audio guide, we learned all about the forts previous occupants, and how wives would set fire to themselves when husbands left to fight in battles they were unlikely to win. Yes I know- they don't strike you as an optimistic lot, I think I would have waited to be sure he lost first, but maybe they knew something I don't. The chipmunks provided a lovely distraction again in the grounds as they scampered around, annoying birds, as they pushed their way along the branches. It was a really interesting day, and I'm not usually a big lover of historical stuff as you can probably tell. The climb up and down to the fort also allowed us to view the old town from above and witness the blue hue of the painted buildings. Originally the blue denoted Brahmin houses although as the colour was found to have a natural repellent effect on insects it soon caught on amongst the other groups. footnote to Kitchener residents- don't panic we won't be painting the walls of number 15. (Unless we're subject to a plague of mozzies of course then might have to reconsider !) After three days of climbing up and down to the fort we packed up and moved onto our next stop - The Pushkar Camel Fair.