We’re trying not to fall too far behind in the blog. Keeping the dates accurate and the sights, smells and sounds clear in our minds is a bit of a challenge at times but I think so far so good. We departed Jaisalmer on Monday, Jan 15th for another fairly long drive arriving into Jodhpur around 2:30 in the afternoon. We found a great hotel and Tony at the front desk offered to take us on a walking tour of the old town and see sights he says most tourists will never see so we said forget it! No, we of course said yes and after a little bathroom break we joined Tony for a good 1 1/2 hour, 8,000+ step, 10 story walk/hike through the old town of Jodhpur, also known as the “Blue City”. We escaped the congestion and made our way through narrow winding and sometime steep inclined roads and were able to get a glimpse into the other side of the day-to-day existence of the city’s inhabitants. We felt lucky to see this and we did not encounter any other foreigners throughout our walk. The blue city is slowly losing its blueness. As homes are sold, some new owners have decided to change the colours of their homes, some are adding tile facades, others leaving the paint to peel away. Of course we had to ask why the homes were painted blue in the first place and the answer is threefold. First, blue does not attract heat and since Jodhpur is also known as “Sun City” because of the amount of sunlight received every year, blue helped keep homes cool in the summer. Second, and this is interesting, blue repels mosquitos. No mosquito will ever land on a blue surface so the homes were not just painted blue on the outside but inside as well. Third, blue was the colour of the Hindu god Krishna, the deity of love and compassion.
While walking through the neighbourhood Tony made a call and guided us to a home under renovation and after climbing several floors we reached a roof top terrace with a great view of Old Town and Mehrangarh Fort in the distance. Making our way back we slid through an inconspicuous side door for a great view of part of the castle and then finally through the market in Old Town and a stop at an ancient step well.
Pooped we retired to our hotel terrace restaurant and Joyce caught this great three-tiered pic, the illuminated castle, Old Town and our terrace restaurant.
Another sunny day in “Sun City” and a day spent exploring Menrangarh Fort and Museum and Juwant Thada. Originally built in 1459 with many other portions built up to 1803 the fort also houses a palace, now a museum and is an exquisite example of Rajput architecture. Perched atop a 130 metre escarpment the materials used to build the fort were chiseled from the rock on which the fort stands.
We were getting sore feet but decided to head over to the Juswant Thada, a marble memorial to Maharaja Juswant Singh II. The whole structure and funeral pyres are chiseled from solid marble.
After a short visit to Juswant Thada our tuk tuk driver suggested a leisurely stroll in a park which we cannot find the name of but contains several beautiful hindu memorials/shrines dating to the 14th century. The walk to the temples were filled with beggars, lepers and filth. The temples seemed out of place, there was garbage everywhere and it was a huge disappointment to see such beauty among all the shit and crap and filth. The Indians (most) seem to have no concern for their environment. It is truly a pity to see this but sadly it is not just India that this problem and we wonder what the solution might be if any.
Next stop, Ranakpur.