“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” – Freya Stark
This was my first visit to Rajasthan to attend the marriage ceremony of a close friend. I had travelled directly after Everest base camp trek to here. Pali was the actual destination I was travelling to, but I was expected to meet my other friends here at Jodhpur and to move together to Pali the next morning. I reached here after travelling by train for 3 continuous days: Kathmandu to Birganj by Bus, Raxaul to Delhi and Delhi to Jodhpur by train (12461-Mandor Express). I arrived at the sun-city in early morning and my friends were expected to reach in the evening. So in-stead of going to the hotel, I decided to explore the city for the day. I had kept the extra luggage at NDLS cloak room as I had to catch my return train from there only. Travelling light actually helps a lot. I bargained with an Autowala to cover the famous tourist spots of Jodhpur and finally settled for INR 500. And then the solo exploration began in an auto…
This was the first destinations in my list. The grandeur of the fort could be seen from far away. The fort is well maintained and guarded. A lot of locals have got employment inside the fort. There were a few playing instruments, singing Rajasthani folk songs making the dull atmosphere lively and energizing. The entry fee for Indian tourists is INR 70 excluding camera pass. Audio guide is also available on chargeable basis. Inside the fort, all the historical pieces are well organized for display with its details written by its side. The lavishness and luxury of the royal family can only be believed when seen in own eyes. From the top of the fort, the entire Jodhpur can be seen. Flying fox and a few other adventure activities can also be experienced at the fort. There is also a Chamunda mata temple at the fort.
It is located just beside Mehrangarh fort. There is a small lake and well maintained garden. The well designed white structure stands out among those green lines.
Umaid Bhawan Palace:
It also can be seen from the top of Mehrangarh fort. Only a small part of the palace(left side) is open for tourists and the rest has been turned into a hotel. There are also a few parks at Jodhpur: Mandore garden, Machiya safari park, Rock park etc. I skipped those due to lack of time.
Ghanta Ghar (Sardar Market):
I had booked my hotel just a stone’s throw away from Ghanta ghar due to the proximity to market and Mehrangarh fort. The Ghanta Ghar is located at the center of the market. There is a famous lassi shop(Shri Mishrilal) in the market and another good one just in front of clock tower near the main gate. I tried 3-4 varieties of Lassi: Makhaniya Lassi(Must try), Mango Lassi, Chocolate Lassi etc. Just outside of the inner main gate, there is a famous Omelet shop. Do try Masala cheese bread omelette and other Omelettes there. The shop is a tiny one and there is no space to even sit, but the omelette is a must try.
I was staying at Hotel Blue Turban, the location was awesome. The proximity to the market and Mehrangarh fort was such that I could see Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Ghanta Ghar(Clock Tower) from its rooftop. Did I mention, there was a well-designed rooftop bar from where one can see the lighted Mehrangarh fort. Just imagine… dim lanterns hanging on an open rooftop and trying hard to do away with the darkness, blow of gentle cool breeze soothing you and you sitting there with a can of chilled beer in front of the magnanimous Mehrangarh fort just wondering… how ? when ? why ? someone would have created such a gargantuan fort ? The cannons(topes) could clearly be seen on the top of that enormous wall-line. If you ever happen to visit to Jodhpur, do try this experience(PS: The fort is lighted till 10 PM). I bet the philosopher in you won’t be able to hold it back any longer.
PS: On the way from Jodhpur to Pali, I came across the Bullet Baba Temple. The people here vehemently belief him. There is in interesting (or rather sad) story behind this temple also. Do google about it.